After spending more than a decade in the cigar industry I’ve seen tons of cigar brands (and “Cigar Super-Stars” come & go. Don Juan, Don Smith, Don This & Don That…the list just never seemed to end. Now, long after the dust has settled from the Cigar Boom of the 90’s we’re well past the end of the Don’s & only the strong are left standing. Survival of the fittest. The way I think the world is meant to be, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there....but I digress.
One of the fellas who's never been voted off of the island is Rocky Patel. And because The Edge is Rocky’s #1 selling cigar, I thought I’d take a look at it’s less-expensive clone. As I clip the head I’m very impressed with the oily dark Corojo wrapper on this “Counterfeit.” Not a soft-spot from head to foot, and it’s got a little resistance in the pre-light draw that opens up beautifully upon lighting producing thick, creamy white billows of smoke throughout my side of the store. Spice & leather is the primary taste that I’m picking up in the beginning & I like it. I like it a lot. I’ve always been a huge fan of Rocky’s Edge & Edge Counterfeit maduros, but today I’m taking a closer look at their Corojo cousins. Edge was introduced right here at CI’s Downtown Bethlehem Store in September 2004 and I instantly became a fan of these full-flavored un-banded, non-celloed cigars in big boxes of 100. The current day Edge cigars have cello & a pretty band on their feet, but true-to-their-roots, Edge Counterfeits still come naked & sans cello. And speaking of the Edge Counterfeit, I’m at about the one-third mark now & the spice has given way to make for a very complex, full-flavored creamy taste & I can almost literally chew on the smoke from this cigar. So far - SO GOOD!
The Edge Counterfeit is actually no counterfeit at all. Edge’s “from-the-factory” look of raw cedar aging boxes of 100 filled with tough-looking, naked & unbanded cigars was copied by a handful of cigar makers. Not a single one of them I can even think of right now, but there were a bunch of look-alikes (but none came close to the taste of Rocky’s.) Fed up with all the Edge look-alikes these other companies were spinning Rocky decided that if anyone was going to make a counterfeit Edge cigar – it was him. So he took off to Nicaragua with the same exact recipe that makes an Edge an Edge & put cigar-roller, hall-of-famer A.J. Fernandez to work to make the same exact cigar that was being made in Honduras. After all, if anyone knows what an Edge is made out of it’s certainly Rocky himself. Using the same wrapper, binder & filler tobaccos, Rocky, along with A.J. Fernandez created their own version of the Edge & since each cigar factory implements slightly different methods of drying, aging & fermenting their tobaccos, there are ever-so-slight differences between the Original Edge & the Edge Counterfeit. I can’t really put into words the differences, but one thing I know is that the Edge is quite a bit more expensive with absolutely no difference in quality, construction, or anything other than a bit of flavor difference than the Edge Counterfeit – And I still can’t even figure out how to put that ever-so-slight difference into words.
I’m just now finishing up this 6” x 52 cigar which has become much more flavorful with intense leather, nuts & the spice has kicked in again at the last third of the cigar. I can honestly say that I’d be in trouble if my life depended on making the distinction between an Edge and an Edge Counterfeit.