Reviewed by Chris Ross (October 2003)
The joint NASA-Russian exploratory space launch was minutes away. As the American Flight Commander for the mission, I approached my comrade counterpart and introduced myself.
"Clutch MacGroyne," I said to her.
"Ivanna Kutcherkokkov," she replied.
"Well Ivanna, glad to meet you."
The niceties completed, we boarded the starship and prepared for liftoff. While Ground Control initiated the countdown, I reached into my spacesuit and pulled out a Bolivar Petit Corona. Nothing like the thought of a luxurious spicy little smoke to calm one's pre-flight jitters.
Bolivar Petit Coronas have always been a particular favorite of mine, and this one would be no exception. It was a classicly-built Boli: a deep chocolate brown wrapper wound with such precision as to make it appear seamless. It was smooth and oily to the touch, and it felt heavier than one might expect from a 42 ring shorty, an indication that there was no skimping on the bunching of the filler.
The launch went without a hitch and soon we were above the Earth's atmosphere, streaking to the heavens. I unhooked my space helmet and rolled the window down to breathe the cool, clean solar wind.
"Here, Ivanna, you take the wheel for awhile," I said. "I can't sit down for extended periods of time or I'll develop asteroids." With Ivanna at the helm, I stood and began my pre-light ritual on the Boli. Gently, oh so gently, I squeezed the foot of the cigar to confirm its moisture content. It ceeded slightly to my pinch and rebounded properly. This baby was ready to fire up! Next, I held the shorty to my nose and took in its medium strength tobacco-perfumed aroma. For me, the enjoyment of the pre-light smell of a well-crafted cigar is second only to actually smoking it, and I sometimes finding myself savoring the aroma for five, sometimes ten minutes.
Clipping, on the other hand, is a serious task. You get one shot to do it right. The cap must come off whole, leaving no shards or tatterings. I liken this procedure to uncorking a bottle of wine. I hate to break off a piece of the cork and re-drill to remove the rest. Granted, the taste isn't really compromised, but the ritual is. I guillotined the cap and it flew off faster than the mailman did that one morning I came home from work unexpected to surprise my wife on her birthday. Victory!
As I prepared to fire up my Boli, I reached into the compartment normally reserved for emergency oxygen supply and pulled out a bottle of 15 year-old Glennlivets that I had secretly stowed away. I then wired Houston Control and asked them to pipe in some soothing contemplative music. They suggested Pachelbel's Canon in D Minor. As starship commander, I overrode their recommendation and insisted on The Very Best of Rod Stewart.
As I toasted the business end of the shorty, a wonderful aroma escaped into the capsule. I wish I were poetic enough to say that I detected hints of leather and bayberry and such, but I didn't. It simply smelled like a very, very deep rich strong honest tobacco, sorta like when you walk into a pipe-tobacco store and catch that first whiff. Smelled almost good enough to want to eat. I puffed the cigar slowly as I rotated it, being careful not yet to attempt to taste it. Believing it to be sufficiently and thoroughly lit, I gently blew the tailpipe and watched it turn cherry-red. Game on.
I took a quick swiggle of Scotch and proceeded to my first official puff. Quite honestly, it was OK. Not great, but OK. It had a decent flavor, but nothing that would make me want to do a weightless-in-space-sommersault. But to be fair to the Boli, it's rare for me that the first few puffs of any cigar are ever outstanding.
Meanwhile, Ivanna seemed to like my Rod Stewart selection, because I could hear her singing and groovin' to the tune. "Vake up Maggie, I tink I do believe I gotts somethin' to say to yoo."
This shorty had two stages of taste. The first stage began after a quarter inch or so of ash had developed, and lasted until about the midpoint of the cigar. This was the "sublime" stage, where I enjoyed the straightforward, pure flavor of a classic Habano. It was cool burning with a medium-rich taste. The flavor of filler, binder and wrapper was well-married, even though this was a young, 2001 Boli. The burn was a little uneven, but I didn't mind for I tend to enjoy "working" a cigar to keep it on course. This stage put me in a very introspective star-gazing kinda mood that Ivanna subsequently noticed.
"Clutch, vhat are yoo staring at?" she asked.
"Uranus, Ivanna. It's quite lovely."
Stage 2 of the Boli was a bit more intense than a confined space capsule could handle, so I decided on a little space walk to finish off the little leafy sin cylinder.
"Ivanna, grab my lifeline, for I do believe I'm in the mood for a quick spin"
"I BEG YOU PARDON, CLUTCH!" she replied.
Rephrasing my question so as to avoid another limp double entendre, I implored Ivanna to tether me securely to the spacecaft and proceeded on a leisurely outside walk as I partook of the second half of the shorty. The flavor had matured now, and was bold, pungent and spicy. The smoke became thicker and more voluminous, and the taste more adventuresome. This was clearly the crescendo of the smoking experience. Frankly, the flavor became so intense that I decided to halt my enjoyment at the three-quarter stage of the cigar, fearing that it would become too harsh and unmanageable.
As I re-entered the spacecraft, Ivanna was setting the table for our dinner of freeze-dried Spam-flavored macaroni and cheese.
In conclusion, as a professional astronaut, I would recommend this smoke for those who would choose to enjoy a 30 minute smoke that accelerates from medium to very strong on the taste buds. If you're fortunate enough to enjoy it in the company of a Russian Cosmonaut who can appreciate the syncopated nuances of solid gold Rod Stewart, so much the better. 10-4 over and out.
An entertaining read! Long on creativity, and deep in imagination. However it was a little short on 'review' so, as much as I chuckled when I read it.
Reviewed by Pete G
I was lost from the get go with this review. It didn't help I had no idea what the heck the person was writing about, which is a shame since I've enjoyed smoking these for many, many years.
Reviewed by Jody B
What kind of nonsense is this guy trying to pull?? Just give a review of the cigar without all the sci-fi crap! His "fantasy" detracted from the cigar he was rating. We want to know whether or not to try this cigar! Luckily I know this is a great little smoke but this review put me off.
Reviewed by Mike W
The Bolivar Petit Corona reviewer is definitely not of this planet. He should probably take a real walk in space without his helmet on to bring him back to earth. However I do agree with his comments about the Boli, however the almost religious aspect of his ritual of smoking a cigar tends to put him in the upper snob level of smokers.
Reviewed by Barry V
OVERALL SCORE: 18/40