It’s 3 in the afternoon and I’ve got a craving for a good smoke. Brandon was kind enough to give me a Sun Grown from his employee purchase, and although I’m on an empty stomach, I think it will fit the bill. Smell, snip, light and away we go. Right off the bat I am hit with an assortment of unique flavors. The dark sun-grown wrapper leaves a slightly sweet aftertaste on my lips while I pick up a subtle nuttiness, almost like toasted peanuts. Surprisingly enough, I’ve yet to receive any spicy notes and the strength is quite tame. I’m about 2 inches in and the flavor is quite mellow – a creamy earthiness dominates, while that subtle sweetness lingers after each puff. The burn is slow and true, and the cigar seems to ‘breathe’ relentlessly as it sits in my ashtray. Side note: when you see smoke coming from the head of a cigar, it’s ‘breathing’. About 75% of the way through my head starts to swim a bit. The strength is building, and the spiciness I expected up front has shown itself. The earthiness has grown richer, while the sweetness has been replaced with a definitive peppery flavor. Although this transition was gradual and balanced, it didn’t sneak up on me. Rather, the richness developed nicely, and then BAM, the spice kicks in towards the nub. The ending was phenomenal – robust and flavorful – a great way to finish a complex, well-made cigar. Good choice Brandon, and nice work Rocky. I’ll be gettin’ me some of these.
The 2004 RTDA in Vegas showcased a slew of great offerings from some great makers, and of all the makers, it seems Rocky Patel was the busiest. His booth was utter madness, spilling over with onlookers trying to catch a glimpse of his new releases. The Edge, Java, Royale and Sun Grown – each one causing what seemed to be a riot, only less gunfire and more flashbulbs. But don’t worry, Team CI was safe, Brandon was “packin’ heat” that day. Sun Grown seemed to be the favorite among the masses, probably due to the amazing success of the RP Vintage line. Although samples were given out, the blend has since changed, becoming a better balanced display of flavor and strength. Since the show, I’ve only had a few, and they were fresh off the factory floor – we smoked them while visiting Rocky’s operation in Honduras. Indeed, the blend was perfected and the Sun Grown is sure to build upon reputation of the RP brand.