One thing I’ve noticed over the years is how quickly a conversation in a cigar shop can turn into an in-depth discussion of firearms. I’m sure the number of cigar smokers who are packing heat varies considerably from one area to the next, but I’d guess it’s pretty significant percentage overall. And it would seem Rocky Patel thinks so too, because he recently released a cigar exclusively for the National Rifle Association (or NRA), called “Valedor”.
I don’t have many of the juicy details I’d like to include with this review, like whether or not Rocky himself is an NRA member, and whether any of the proceeds go to support the organization. And I can’t help but wonder if this is Rocky’s attempt to the get the NRA’s lobbying muscle to help back our cigar-smoking rights. But I did get the Valedor basics from the folks at Rocky Patel:
Valedor by Rocky Patel is exclusively made for the NRA. It has a gorgeous reddish – brown Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador with a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan & Honduran filler tobaccos. The Valedor is a medium to full bodied cigar with loads of rich complex flavors consisting of sweet spice, white pepper, dark chocolate & hints of leather. Valedor is a B&M exclusive & is available in 3 sizes; Robusto, Toro & Torpedo all in 20 count boxes with a retail price of $7-$7.50 (excluding state & local taxes).
And now it’s time to find out if the Valedor is on target, or if it misses the mark.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $7.00
The Valedor does have an attractive reddish brown wrapper, as noted above, with few, medium-sized veins and a smooth appearance. It’s solid, and by all appearances well constructed and without any glitches or flaws that I could find. If you didn’t know it was made for the National Rifle Association, that fact wouldn’t remain a mystery for long. It says as much on the main band, and includes the organization’s logo on either side.
The cigars were firm to the touch, with a little bit of give. The cold draw was just a tad on the snug side of good, and offered a lip tingling sweet raisin and wood flavor.
The Valedor was a little off the mark in the burn department. I had to touch up, and in some cases, relight the cigar several times, most right after it ashed. There was also some inconsistency in the draw, from stick to stick. Some were firmer, others much looser.
On the plus side, the ash was solid, compact and strong, and a reasonably attractive light gray. Once it you get it burning straight, it’ll stay that way most of the time. Also, it’s a slow burning smoke. You might want to budget a little more time than you ordinarily would for a robusto with this one. I am a slow smoker, but this stick easily took me half an hour longer to burn than most smokes its size.
The Valedor started off creamy and sweet with a rich combination of graham, leather and wood, but the graham note was short lived. A little way in, I also picked up a flavor that very much reminded me of green beans. By large margin, the leather and wood team owned this third, but a faint cream and sweetness was present throughout. (The cigar with the loosest draw was the most leathery of the bunch.)
Sweet wood and leather continued to be the dominant flavor in the middle third. There was a peaty character early on as well. The pepper mentioned in the blurb above made it’s appearance in the latter half of this third when the cigar took a turn towards a less sweet, drier paper flavor.
The paper, wood and leather closed out the cigar without the sweetness and the slight creaminess that preceded it.
No complaints about the price, it’s right were we like it.
I wouldn’t say the Valedor is a bulls-eye, but it’s definitely on target. The burn glitches aren’t too big of a deal, the flavors are good, if a little inconsistent, and I liked how slowly it burned. The name means something like “supporter”, “defender” or “champion” in Spanish but I can’t help but notice how close it is in spelling to “value”. Probably because it’s a good value for your money, and worth giving a shot.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Probably
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.