Making a Rocky Patel Cigar
Welcome to the interactive tour of Rocky Patel’s tobacco fields and factory. To continue on, please click on the bottom orange arrow or simply just scroll down. You may also navigate the tour through the chapter selection on the left.
If you are having trouble viewing this page please use the links below to update your browser to its newest version:
DISCOVER HOW CIGARS ARE CREATED
SCROLL TO DISCOVER MORE
Cigar as an Art Form
Great cigars are more than just fire and tobacco. Only a true artist, who loves his craft as much as he respects it, can achieve the distinction and flavor of a premium cigar. Utilizing the finest tobaccos in the world, and an unyielding drive for excellence, Rocky Patel has redefined the industry.
continue to the nursery
Think Big. Start Small.
All great ideas start out small. Each one of our premium cigars begins life under close observation in one of our signature nurseries.
Upon arrival, our two varieties of tobacco seeds – Habano and Criollo – are separated into thousands of individual pods and carefully placed underneath a layer of cheesecloth for over a week. After being consistently monitored and watered for 7-10 days, only the absolute healthiest plants are transported to the main nursery.
At our main nursery, plants spend another 45 days under the watchful eye of our seasoned growers. At the end of this time the plant will be nearly six inches tall with a healthy root system in place.
Only the best. No exceptions.
Before leaving the main nursery, a lawnmower goes over each bed and precisely severs the tips of each plant. By severing the tips, the plants develop a need for survival causing them to be stronger, yielding unprecedented growth.
Since we expect great things from our tobacco we must maintain the highest standards for quality even before the first leaf has sprouted.
From the ground up
Prior to each growing season before our precious new plants take root, the soil is tested for five key elements. Sufficient levels of Boron, Magnesium, Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphate are measured and mixed into the soil. The trademark of such highly nutritious soil is a beautifully dark, almost black color. Once the field is properly assessed, each tobacco plant is transplanted individually to ensure maximum quality.
Parts to the Cigar
Wrapper, Binder, & Filler
Tobacco plants are grown to provide the building blocks of every cigar. Once harvested, each leaf will be classified as a wrapper, binder or filler. These classifications pertain to the different layers that create a cigar. Filler tobacco is located in the center of the cigar and is responsible for the cigar’s taste. Binder tobacco wraps around the filler tobacco, holding the cigar together. A wrapper leaf is the outer most layer of a cigar, giving the cigar its color and feel.
Tobacco plants can be either sun grown or shade grown. Sun grown tobacco will only reach 5 ½ feet in height and its leaves will be used for the wrapper, binder, and filler.
Made in the Shade
Shade grown tobacco will be grown under cheesecloth, blocking out up to 65% of the sun’s UV rays. These plants will grow up to 9 feet, and unlike sun grown, shade grown leaves will generally be used only for wrapper.
Reaping the benefits
After 100 days, the plants are harvested from bottom to top in sections. These sections are classified as Seco the bottom of the plant, Viso the middle, and Ligero the top of the plant. These three sections are further subdivided by layer into smaller groups called primings. Each leaf of the plant can supply a slightly different flavor. By dividing the plant further into primings, Rocky Patel has greater control in pinpointing the exact flavor he wants from each of his plants.
Turning up the heat
After 100 days of toiling in the hot sun, how do we treat our plants? We hang them.
The harvested tobacco is brought from the fields to the curing barns. At the curing barn, plants are subjected to a drastic increase in humidity and moisture. Sections of the plant are partitioned and hung in their primings to guarantee the finest quality flavor.
Turning over a new leaf
After forty days of curing, plants will transition from green to yellow to brown, shrinking significantly. The vein that divides the leaf known as the “midrib” is particularly shrunken during the process. Once an even color of brown is achieved the tobacco is brought to the factory for sorting.
see the factory from above
From the coveted fields to our signature curing barns and facilities, to our bustling factories, our tobacco moves from one premium establishment to another – because everything we do is premium. Anything less wouldn't be worthy of the label.
continue into the factory
Our cigars are premium inside and out. But it’s not just the quality that makes it premium; it’s the delicate nature in which each individual tobacco leaf is sorted. After curing and prior to fermentation, every single leaf must be classified as either: wrapper, binder, or filler.
FILLER leaves are the heart and soul of our cigars. Located in the center of the cigar, these smaller leaves are responsible for the rich, distinct flavors found in every puff of a Rocky Patel premium cigar.
BINDER leaves wrap around the filler leaves, holding them together, sealing in the bold taste that makes our cigars the best.
WRAPPER leaves are the last and outer most layer to our cigars and are the absolute finest tobacco leaves in existence. A wrapper leaf is pristine with no water spots or tears, minimal veins and an even color. Nature’s beauty and man’s ingenuity are truly realized in every single leaf.
Binder and wrapper leaves will remain intact, but filler tobacco will be stripped after inspection. The thickest part of the vein, known as the “midrib,” is carefully stripped to ensure that none of our precious tobacco is lost.
After the curing process, the real healing can begin in fermentation. Fermentation is designed to remove unwanted nutrients within the leaves to supply a clean fresh tobacco flavor. The process begins with the rehydration of every leaf.
Once the tobacco is evenly dampened, it is placed by hand into large stacks called pilons. Weighing approximately 2,500 pounds, each of these pilons utilizes their immense weight to create pressure. This coupled with the added moisture of the leaves, creates heat - allowing the tobacco to ferment, releasing all of the nutrients that were used to grow the leaf: leaving the leaves with a clean tobacco taste.
Each individual pilon rests in place until it reaches a certain temperature (110-130 degrees). Then, the pilon is rotated into the next resting position. The pilons are flipped from top, to middle, to bottom, every 7-10 days to ensure that the leaves are evenly dried out. This painstaking process takes anywhere from six months to more than a year. That’s time well worth it.
ROLLING THE CIGAR
Once the tobacco is up to our standards it’s finally time to start rolling. Rolling a cigar is the process of constructing the filler, binder, and wrapper into a single form.
ROLLING THE CIGAR
SIDE BY SIDE
This process is broken up into two steps: bunching and rolling. Bunchers and rollers sit side by side in teams of two during the construction of each cigar.
First the bunchers will bunch the filler tobacco within binder leaves. These skilled individuals are personally tasked with the fabrication of every single cigar.
From here each cigar is taken through a draw testing machine to guarantee a consistent draw before the wrapper can be applied.
After the filler and binder leaves have appropriately adhered together and have passed the draw test, our rollers apply the wrapper. To keep quality and consistency at an unparalleled height, we only allow our rollers to construct 250 cigars per day. Quality isn’t created with numbers and our reputation wasn’t created in a day. Great things take time.
Once rolled, each cigar goes through a series of quality control steps. Every cigar is carefully examined to guarantee that only excellence gets our stamp of approval. Each cigar is meticulously judged on its color consistency, veins, soft spots and ring gauge. Any cigar that falls short of perfection is classified as a “Factory Select” or a “Second.”
After quality control, the cigars are sent to an aging room for a minimum of 90 days. This final aging period allows for the different layers of tobacco within the cigar to fuse together.
A Second Opinion
After the aging room, each cigar goes through yet another round of quality control. We sacrifice nothing when it comes to flavor. We don’t cut corners and we don’t compromise. We make every effort, no matter how tedious, to clean up any and all rough edges. The result: the smoothest tasting cigars known to man.
After the second quality control a cigar may journey down a number of different roads. The first choice of which is if the cigar is box-pressed or not. Box-pressed cigars are a specialty that we take much pride in. The cigars are laid out on trays and are separated by individual slabs of wood.
A signature look
After they are laid out and separated, the trays are stacked and then compressed - the pressure from which causes the cigar to press out against the wood slabs surrounding it, forming the cigar into a box shape. Once released from the tray, the cigar is no longer round but instead boxed.
Whether box-pressed or left round, our cigars are then branded with our label. Carefully, decisively and proudly we band each of our cigars. The band is not just a label to queue what tastes will be revealed within the cigar, it is a testament to the labor and craftsmanship that went into every individual leaf. Each exhale is worth a thousand tired breaths in another part of the world. Because quality isn’t just a sacrifice, it’s a gift.
The creation of a cigar is finished once it is placed next to its brother in a Rocky Patel box. It took our tobacco at least 5 years to get to this point. It took 300 hands almost 2000 days to make it this far.
We put a lot of love into our cigars. When we brand and box them with the Rocky Patel logo, it’s not just for the purpose of sale. It’s an opportunity to pay homage to a living legend. And it’s our chance to say, “goodbye, good luck, and make us proud.”
back to top