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Rocky Patel

Rakesh “Rocky” Patel entered the cigar business in a rather unconventional way compared to many of today's prominent cigar-makers who are often continuing a family tradition. In the early 1990s, Rocky was working as an entertainment and product liability lawyer in Los Angeles. A previous girlfriend who smoked cigars introduced him to premium cigars and convinced him to join the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills. He quickly fell in love with cigars and decided to get into the business with the encouragement of his friends.

In 1996, Rocky attended his first industry trade show where he debuted his new cigar brand - Indian Tabac. Despite his Indian heritage, the company was actually named in reference to the Indian Motorcycle brand, of which he paid a royalty for the use of the name. The cigars were an instant hit with retailers who tried to get as much as they could get their hands on during the cigar boom of the 90’s.

Rocky was successful in establishing Indian Tabac as a premium brand by pumping his product into the marketplace and making nonstop visits to the retailers. By 2003, after many years of steady growth, Rocky decided to take what was considered a sizeable risk at the time. He shifted his focus away from Indian Tabac to create a new line of cigars - the Rocky Patel Vintage Series. 

He decided to leverage Indian Tabac exclusively as a catalogue or online brand that could be sold over the internet at a significant discount and introduce a fresh line of premium cigars for the retail market. Indian Tabac was officially discontinued in 2015, but building the brand into a success was a learning experience for Rocky.

Early on Rocky discovered the best cigar manufacturers had the best tobacco and because the best tobacco is aged for very long periods of time, it is not easy to come by. He had to form relationships with a select group of tobacco brokers, growers and cigar factories to access the highest quality tobaccos. Another thing Rocky learned was to cut production quotas for his cigar rollers down to 250 cigars per roller per day to ensure a better and more consistent construction compared to some rollers who could roll 400 or more cigars per day but have poor quality or consistency.

Rocky Patel cigars are currently handmade in Nicaragua and Honduras. He branched out and partnered with other factories and cigar makers to produce his new brand and in less than a year the Rocky Patel branded cigars racked up more top ratings than Indian Tabac did in nearly a decade. By 2006, Rocky officially changed the name of the company from Indian Tabac Cigar Co, to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. Among the first releases were the Vintage 1990 and Vintage 1992 ranges and they continue to please many cigar smokers to this day. The Vintage 1990 was rated 92 twice by Cigar Aficionado in their top 25 - it is known for delivering spicy and nutty flavours in a sweet wrapper. The Vintage 1992 was rated 89 by Cigar Aficionado delivering rich leather and French peanut flavours. Meanwhile the Vintage 2003 is the highest rated blend at 93 points and uses a Cameroon wrapper giving the cigar sweet and sour flavours.

Today, Rocky Patel runs his hugely successful cigar company as a family enterprise with the help of his brother, Nish and cousin Nimish Desai. In late 2010, they opened Burn by Rocky Patel, which is a high-end cigar bar in Naples, Florida. The cigar bar has been hugely successful and has since branched out to other locations across the U.S. 

Many people believed Rocky would never last in the cigar business during his early days but with his determination, the Rocky Patel brand thrived and he now owns the Tavicusa cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Cigar lovers all over the world love meeting the man behind the brand. His enthusiasm, charisma and passion for cigars makes him a man you need to meet. He is one of the most active marketers in the industry and adheres to a rigorous schedule across the world to try to meet as many cigar lovers as possible, it is because of this, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars is a leading brand today.

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