Cigar review of Rocky Patel 1961, Bowl game venues, Sugar Bowl in New Orleans

Rocky Patel 1961

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New Orleans: Arguably the best place for a bowl game

I've lived long enough and my alma mater, The Ohio State University, has thankfully fielded some pretty damn good football teams, giving me enough opportunities to attend major bowl games and providing me a fairly credible perspective on this topic. I thought I'd share it with the faithful, who might have been to a bowl game or may have the opportunity in the future.

First off, for the complete bowl experience, you must plan on at least staying three nights, with your last night being the night following the game. You will want the time to ensure that you are participating in the all the pre- and post-game activities (i.e., the parties) that are put on by the city, the bowl sponsors and the respective universities. This amount of time allows you to see the sights and taste the local cuisine in whichever city you are in.

Of the four big bowl venues – Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange – the only one I have not experienced directly is the Orange Bowl. However, of the respective host cities, I have been to the Orange Bowl host city, Miami, for business and pleasure more than any of the others. My most recent experience was the 2011 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and it proved to be the best!

So why New Orleans as my top choice? For starters, the bowl experience will be enhanced if you are an avid fan of one of the teams participating and enhanced even more if your team wins the game. Both were true for me in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. In addition, and unique to the Sugar Bowl, you really do not need to drive or "cab it" anywhere. There are ample hotels within walking distance of both the French Quarter (the party district) and the Superdome, the location of the game. You may want to take a cab, but it is not necessary. So with such a concentration of people with a common interest in a relatively confined space, it proved to be the most consistent festive bowl atmosphere that I ever experienced. This is not true of any of the other venues.

Add to the fact that New Orleans is very party friendly – you can drink in the streets as long as your drinking vessel is plastic. Most importantly, New Orleans is a relatively cigar friendly locale! With many places allowing smoking and a number of cigar shops peppered in the mix.

So, if a major bowl game is on your Bucket List, do it! If it's the Sugar Bowl – all the better!

So, let's close our eyes, imagine yourself on Bourbon Street – and lets get smokin'!

Cigar Review:

1961 – Rocky Patel

Size: Torpedo (6.125" in length; 52 Ring Gauge)
Price: $8 - $9

Rocky Patel 1961In commemoration of his birth year, Rocky Patel introduced the ROCKY PATEL 1961. It's described on Patel's website as a medium-to full-bodied cigar that is blended with a Habano seed wrapper from Ecuador, a Honduran binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The result is a smoke that's rich and spicy, yet smooth and elegant.

Tobacco blend:

  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Filler: Nicaragua


I smoked this torpedo on a very cool afternoon on my side porch under a propane heater. I was looking forward to this smoke, having smoked my first one at a Rocky Patel sponsored event this past summer.

Look & feel

The cigar is highlighted by its dark chocolate maduro wrapper. Though it isn't a very shiny, oily wrapper, it does have a good earthy, farm-like pre-lit smell. The wrapper had very earthy scents: barnyard and hay were noticeable. It had consistent and firm feel. It definitely feels like it is hefty and packed with tobacco.

Though the cigar has two bands, I thought the banding art left a little to be desired.

Aroma & taste

In the initial puffs, the cigar started nicely with a burst of spiciness on the opening puffs. The spicy burst definitely caused me to focus on the flavor of the cigar, but I must say I was glad that it evened out for the balance of the smoke. I found the smoke to be fairly full-bodied and flavorful, with hints of dark chocolate throughout.

The aroma was inviting, both pre- and post-lighting. The burn was good; certainly not perfect, but good enough to not be an issue. The cigar produced lots of smoke and a rich tobacco aroma, though admittedly the cold weather that day did toy with my sinuses. I like so many of Rocky Patel's blend and the 1961 is certainly no exception!

RATING: 9.0 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – I like this cigar for a post dinner, fully flavored cigar. It would hold up well to other rich evening flavors and drinks, like scotch, bourbon, port, etc. The big plus for me – though it is full flavored, I thought the nicotine content was very manageable. This cigar is ideal for the cigar smoker who is ready to experiment with a more full flavored cigar, without making themselves dizzy as hell with a nicotine buzz.

Keep the comments and recommendations coming – email:

Cigar Quote

"When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name."
Charles H Spurgeon