This week, just about every cigar smoker with a blog is in a mad dash to get a review of the soon to be released Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary cigar posted. But for my money, the most exciting thing in the World of Rocky Patel these days is the quiet re-release of the very popular Edge Sumatra. That’s right, the Edge Sumatra is back, and all because fans of the stick kept asking for it. Kudos to Rocky for giving the customers what they want.
But the Edge Sumatra may not be around for long. The 2010 release is limited to around 2000 trays of 50. Half of them will be toros and half torpedos (both vitolas 6 x 52), for a grand total 100,000 cigars. I’m told that the reason for this is that they simply don’t have enough of the Sumatra wrapper needed to create a continuous line, so they rolled as may as they could with leaf they had available.
The big question is, how do they compare to the original release? I’ve been told they are the same, blend, primings and all, but will they taste the same? In addition describing the new Sumatra’s smoking experience, I’ll try to answer that question by burning one of the original Sumatras from my stash. Let’s see how the new one is and how it compares.
Size: 6 x 52
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.20
The first thing I noticed about the new Edge Sumatra when I picked it up was the new band. It’s still at the foot, and it’s still red, but it’s a darker shade of red with bolder, easier to read text. Once I had the new and original sticks side by side, it became clear that the color difference wasn’t limited to the band, the whole cigar is noticeably darker than the original.
Focusing on the new Sumatra, the wrapper is maduro dark, with just a touch of red, and very oily. It’s both smooth looking and smooth to the touch, which relatively few, fine veins. A quick inspection of the cigars revealed flaws in only one stick, a few small holes in the wrapper. I did notice that new sticks were not quite as firmly packed as the old Sumatra as well.
The wrapper scent on both the new and old sticks was a pretty pungent compost, and there was a similar sweet cocoa raisin flavor in the cold taste, though the old Sumatra was a tad more spicy.
Both the new and the old Edge Sumatras burned very well, good draw, pretty even burn lines, with maybe a single touch up needed, if that. Where they diverged was in the burn speed, color and length of ash. The old Sumatra burned slower, produced lighter colored, longer ashes than the new stick. Again, neither had a bad burn, but the original Sumatra was clearly superior.
The new Edge Sumatra started off with a combination of dark cherry sweetness and leather that grew gradually more woody in flavor as the cigar progressed. At times the sweetness was slightly bitter and the wood took on a bit of an edge.
The occasionally sharp wood flavor continued to grow in prominence in the second third, and the leather began to diminish, appearing mostly in the finish by the end of the second third. The dark cherry sweetness lightened and faded a bit as well, but was still present in nearly every puff.
Woody flavors dominated the final third, but the leather also seemed to make a bit of a comeback. The cherry sweetness was even less of an influence, and was frequently tart in the final third.
The original release Edge Sumatra followed a similar flavor path, however, the sweetness was more syrupy in flavor and mouth feel. What comes to mind as a good way to describe the difference would be comparing a young tawny and aged one. Additionally, the wood was less aggressive, and generally speaking the all the flavors were a little more nuanced and mellow in the original. In short, it seemed very much like the difference between a new smoke and an aged cigar of the same variety.
The fact that Rocky brought back the croud-pleasing Sumatra is a good thing. That he brought it back at a price of six bucks and change is great.
I love the original Sumatra still, and it is a superior smoke, but I also really like the new release. I will absolutely be buying more of them. If you enjoyed the original, you’ll probably also be a fan of the new one, and at $6.20 a stick (plus your local taxes), it’s worth the money to find out for yourself.
But I can’t end the review without making a few important points on the comparisons I’ve made between the two cigars. To begin with, my comparison of the new and old Sumatras isn’t entirely fair. The original release has had the benefit of probably two years of humidor aging, while the new release just hit the shelf. That alone could account for much of the difference between the two sticks. Also there is the differences in vitolas, which may play a small part. (I didn’t have any original toros for comparison, and new torpedos weren’t available in time for this review.) And of course there is the natural difference in crops and weather from one year to the next. However, I think that if I were somehow able to magically age the new release two years, the cigars would be acceptably similar.
It’s good to have you back, Edge Sumatra.
Liked It: Yes, box-worthy. Perhaps even tray-worthy.
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.