Rocky Patel Sixty Robusto.
Rocky Patel Sixty Robusto.
Image: Supplied

While some may enjoy a good cigar to celebrate a moment or accomplishment like getting married, the birth of a child, a promotion, and so on, this isn’t as easy for me, as a relatively regular indulger in cigars. For those moments, or simply when I want to treat myself, there are several cigars that I turn to.

I have at least one stick of each in my humidor as I write this and I am already mulling over what will be in my hand and between my lips when the clock strikes midnight, as we transition from 2021 into 2022. I am leaning towards one of these three.

Rocky Patel Sixty Robusto

To be honest, if I was writing this a month ago, the Rocky Patel Sixty Robusto wouldn’t have been on my list of “spoil myself” cigars. It recently landed on SA shores and bullied its way in. Rocky Patel, the man, is a larger-than-life who never seems to stop, having built the Rocky Patel brand into a respected, leading cigar manufacturer while also expanding into premium accessories, including humidors, lighters, cutters and even art. The Sixty, made in the TaviCusa factory in Nicaragua, is a celebration of Rocky’s sixtieth birthday, early in 2021.

Rocky has talked about how they went through more than 145 different blends, using the rarest and oldest tobaccos from his original Esteli farm in Nicaragua, as well as older Mexican San Andrés wrappers, which give the cigars a dark chocolatey colour and smooth texture. The cigars were made, put away for two years to age and box-pressed resulting in a lovely, rich and complex cigar that is full of character. This is also reflected in the three bands, one of which shows an image of a tobacco field, and the beautiful, deep red packaging.

El Septimo Short Dream Topaz

Have you ever had something talked up so much that you start to doubt whether it will actually live up to the seemingly unrealistic expectation that has built up? This was me with the El Septimo range of cigars until, one day, a few years ago, I was handed an El Septimo Short Dream Topaz with an expresso, for my birthday.

The Geneva-based El Septimo uses 100% long filler tobaccos, and each cigar is rolled using the Entubar Method, which involves each filler leaf being rolled into a tube, and the rolls bunched together with the binder.

While only 4 inches (about 10cm) in length, it has a ring gauge of 60, which is quite large and is made from Costa Rican tobacco (wrapper, binder and filler) that has been aged for five years. It is an exquisite full-bodied smoke rich in flavours and spice, with tinges of dark chocolate, vanilla and roasted nuts. The hints of expresso were enhanced by the liquid expresso that I paired it with and the wrapper is dark and oily.

El Septimo Short Dream Topaz.
El Septimo Short Dream Topaz.
Image: Younan Company

My Father The Judge

I have yet to meet a My Father cigar I didn’t like, from the La Gran Oferta, Flor De Las Antillas and La Opulencia to the Jaime Garcia and the Don Pepin, but The Judge Grand Robusto is my favourite. At 5 inches (just under 13cm) with a 60 ring gauge, The Judge ranked #7 in the highly anticipated and prestigious Cigar Aficionado Top 25 cigar ranking in 2017. It is considered a medium-to-full-bodied with an Ecuadorean Sumatro Oscuro wrapper, a combo Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo binder and a Nicaraguan filler comprising three different tobaccos, grown on the Garcia family’s farms.

A slow burner, it smokes strong without overwhelming the chocolate, pepper and gentle sweet flavours. The variation in flavours as you go through the thirds isn’t extreme but enough to make it a truly enjoyable smoke.

My Father The Judge.
My Father The Judge.
Image: Supplied
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