The more one smokes cigars, generally speaking the more one tends to gravitate toward strength and complexity over time. I guess that's natural, just like beer, wine, coffee or anything else - as you get more sucked in your palate evolves and you explore the boundaries. Thing is, mellow cigars never really get fantastic ratings or wild-eyed reviews because most of the people who write that stuff, subconsciously or not, seem to give less weight to tame smokes. Maybe it's machismo, maybe it's group-think, who knows. If you read reviews of micro-brews you tend to see stouts and Belgians get more high praise than lagers do. But of course there are great lagers out there - and you can't compare apples to oranges anyway.
That brings me to the Connecticut by Rocky Patel. To be sure, Rocky is known for full-bodied cigars. Most of his blends - whether it be his Indian Tabac lines such as Super Fuerte, Cameroon Legend, or Maduro, or his Rocky Patel series such as RP Vintage, RP Sun Grown, or The Edge - are complex cigars that lean toward the fuller-flavored side. This is very different, and it all started last August. I was in Danli with Rocky, and I asked him to develop an easy going blend for CI with a Connecticut-shade wrapper to be called Rocky Patel Connecticut (he claims now that it was all his idea, but Scout's Honor, that's the way it happened). Rocky, his sidekick Nimish "The Hindu Prince," and I each smoked about 35 samples on that trip before settling on this particular blend. Now 8 months later, the shipment has arrived and it was well worth the wait.
First of all, it's really pretty. The Connecticut wrapper is nice and smooth, the band elegant and simple, the box beautiful with its gold cliche logo, nothing ornate. That's just how the cigar smokes: elegant and not ornate. The blend is tame from head to toe, with a pleasant, slightly creamy taste - no dips and valleys, it's utterly consistent and unchanging from the moment you put the flame to it right up until the moment you lay down the nub. It's flavorful but not over the top, not overly complex, not bursting with flavor. In essence, it's got a clean, crisp tobacco taste, simple as that. Me likey. The most startling thing about it is the ash, it's as firm as concrete. In fact, burning my first RP Connecticut the ash was well over 2" - to pre-empt the ashheap from hitting my lap I decided to tap it off. But "break it off" was more like it. Amazing. Overall one of the top mellow cigars I've had recently.