Reviewed by Michael Polakow February 2001
First I have to thank my good friends at C.GARS Ltd. How did they know that one of my favorite cigars was the Bolivar Royal Corona? It must have been ESP, or some kind of stealth surveillance, because that's what showed up in my mailbox. Three absolutely perfect Robustos. Simon Bolivar is a great old line of cigars and was named after that great submarine USS SIMON BOLIVAR
It was raining like crazy in Los Angeles, and I had been itching to get outside and smoke a cigar. Someone must have known that I was getting desperate, because suddenly it stopped raining. The sun came out from behind great white clouds, I was more than ready to light up. So, off to my favorite beach I went. Paradise Cove is just a few miles north of Malibu, cliffs and rocks isolate it from the tourists, what an exquisite place to enjoy exquisite cigars!
I took all three out and admired their beautiful construction. All were very close in color, a warm Colorado, the color of rich well worn leather and all had that pre-light aroma of woods, or maybe more of a meadow or field, a kind of subtle earthy musk fragrance. All were exactly 4 3/4 X 50 and only one had a really noticeable vein running a short distance, but when you're in love you tend to overlook such things.
I was eager to light up and as I did, some of the initial smoke wafted my way, I inhaled deeply so to enjoy the first flavors of the cigar. There I was sitting on my favorite beach with the sun warming my face and smoking a full bodied and consistently great smoke. Ah, life can be good!
This Bolivar provided a full easy draw and was cool from start to finish, a sure sign of great rolling and construction. This has always been very important to me, I want a cigar to come to me, I don't want to work at smoking. And that's one reason this Bolivar is one of my favorites.
As I sat and smoked I tried to pin down and define the flavor and the perfume of the smoke. The harder I thought, the more I tried, the further away the words went. I soon found myself simply sitting, gazing out, and smoking. I felt as if I were in a trance, time seemed to stop though it really was speeding by. My cigar was soon burned to the band and I sort of tumbled out of my meditation. I felt warm and contented, could a cigar do all this? I think this Bolivar can and did.
I know many people use words like nutty, spicy, nutmeg and cinnamon to describe the taste of this cigar, after much stupor and some thought I think I would rather use the words, powerful, rushing, full bodied, smooth, complex and immensely enjoyable.
After my day in the sand I then drove home to dinner and to sit on my patio in my rocking chair and consume the next Bolivar. Though this experience was somewhat more mundane, I was able to stay a bit more in the moment and note how well the cigar burned, not once did I need to re-light or to even out the burn. The ash was a very dark grey and somewhat ragged. It stayed until about an inch long when it abruptly and with little grace fell into my lap. The flavor was consistent throughout, though I think the first third was a might fuller and tastier.
The next afternoon I was able to polish off the last Bolivar and found it to be of equal taste and construction. This simply is why I love and highly recommend the Bolivar Royal Corona, it's very consistent. You simply know what you're getting. It might be stronger than some like, however, I'm one who wants to know in no uncertain terms when I have a cigar in my mouth and Bolivar makes it no secret. It smells great, tastes great and if I had to be marooned on a desert island with an unlimited supply of only one brand, this may well be it
Reviewed by Phil Beecroft in January 2001
This cigar was marvelous to behold. It was exactly 4 7/8 x 50. Its wrapper was a rich colorado-colorado maduro or the color of raw sienna. There was only one large vein present and very few smaller ones - they in no way interfered with the burn. The cigar was almost square, a very box-pressed cigar, not that I mind. The cap was a perfect triple cap that was flat across the top. The foot was evenly cut. This cigar was firm to the touch with no soft spots evident. The unlit aroma was that of earth, leather and had hints of coffee. Upon clipping - a full shoulder cut just across the first layer of the cap - the pre-light draw was absolutely perfect. No need to fight this one, I could tell that generous amounts of smoke would follow. The taste on the unlit cigar was quite enjoyable with flavours of leather and spice. The cigar lit easily and produced a fine and intoxicating aroma - wood and spice were ever present. The ash on this cigar was comprised of two colours. The first - the wrapper - produced a very light grey ash that tended to flake the whole way through the cigar. The second colour - that of the binder and filler - was a very dark grey that help its shape throughout and needed only a little coxing to fall off after about an inch to an inch-and-a-half in length. The flavors in this cigar were very consistent and didn't really change and no on taste became dominate. The was an overriding flavor of gum/sourness that tended to mask the other flavors - I believe that this cigar would benefit from some time in the humidor, say about six months or so - but the other flavors were present and were delightful. These flavors included spice (cinnamon), leather and a strong cedery or woody flavor. However, a nice hint of dark chocolate and/or coffee was also present and made this cigar enjoyable even though there was the gummy/sour flavor.
This cigar was almost a twin to the first but it differed in wrapper color - a true colorado-maduro - and dimension, measuring 4 15/16 x 50. The construction was just as good and the wrappers were identical in terms of veins. The ash on this cigar was not as flaky but still enough to annoy at times. However, the major difference in this cigar was the taste! This cigar was PERFECT! No gummy/sour flavors here and the progression was very nice. This one started out woody - cedar again - and about 1/3 into it the spices came out big time. Flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper (cayenne) were making my taste buds dance. The power started to pick up here too. This cigar can at times be a little less powerful - more towards medium bodied - than the others vitolas in the Bolivar line. This cigar was between the medium and full range and was slightly heady. During the last third of this cigar the flavors of dark, semi-sweet chocolate come out in full and the woodiness takes a back seat. This cigar was so enjoyable that if I had a box of these it would be smoking nirvana. I would rate this cigar around a 9.5 towards a 10 on a 10 scale. This cigar was the best of the three.
This cigar was the exact match of number two in terms of dimensions, looks and construction. Absolutely flawless. The draw was slightly easier but this did not make the cigar smoke hot as can happen. The ash was not flaky and tended to hang on to the very end, I only lost the ash twice before I was finished. The flavors were almost the same as number two but not quite as complex. The woody flavors were dominate but the spice and leather were there. The only flavor missing was the chocolate which was too bad as this was very, very nice. The flavors were very consistent throughout indicating to me some age. On the point scale I gave this one a 9.0 - it was missing the dark chocolate. As a final note, this cigar - and all of them - were what is to be expected from this vitola. This is not like the rest of its brothers in the Bolivar line in that it has a pronounced woody flavour and not the trademark earthiness that the rest of the line had. I still love having this cigar around and it is worthy of the name Bolivar.