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Bolivar Cigars Taste Test

Bolivar Tubed No. 1
Reviewed by Stuart Dixon (December 2003)

The Bolivar No. 1 Tubed is a corona, 51/2" x 42, and I noted this example displayed a little bloom on inspection in the store, brushed away by the assistant. With a smooth, milk-chocolate wrapper, the cigar was firm to the touch and gave off distinct leather and earth aromas.

It was placed into a humidor for two weeks before I finally picked it out, after a long, hot sunny day. Taking it out onto the patio with a glass of port, the evening was quiet and tranquil, not too warm after the day's blazing heat, but not cold either. 

It sliced nicely with a double-bladed cutter and the cap popped away, leaving a good piece of binder in place, ensuring that it would not unwrap. 

The pre-light draw, and my heart sank. It was hard. Very hard. Plugged, or simply tightly-packed? It was certainly a well-packed cigar, looking at both ends of it, but this is a Cuban after all and is to be expected. 

I pressed on and toasted the foot before striking a second match to light the cigar proper. The first draw signified trouble ahead. I really had to suck hard in order to get the meanest amount of smoke through - a light, wispy, disappointing effort, suggesting that putting this cigar down for more than a minute would result in a re-light. As for taste? Leather and earth tones for certain in the first few draws.No discernible spices or nutty flavours.

Not really enjoying the hard work that I was having to put in here, I felt that Bolivar deserved my best efforts and pushed onward. The flavours in the first 3/4" were consistent and medium and I noted that the ash was holding nicely - dark, showing the classic concentric circles and with just a trace of a vein or two from the wrapper. I also noted the first faint stirrings of a headache! 

At an inch down, all hell broke loose. There was now a distinct hotness on the tongue, probably brought on by the amount of effort necessarily expended to draw. The smoke continued to be wispy, mean and ungiving - and then it went out altogether. 

As the cigar had been pretty much a disaster from the start, I toyed with the idea of not relighting but my natural frugality came to the fore, so I ashed for the first time and re-lit... 

There was an immediate burst of bitterness to the tongue initially, but it settled down and I noted that the flavours had moved from medium to medium-strong.

The burn, even at first, now began to lose its way somewhat and, towards the end of the second inch, was looking decidedly ragged.  

At this point, I tasted some serious bitterness and thought that enough was enough. 

With 3 1/2" remaining, I finally put this highly unsatisfying cigar to rest.  

The corona never has been my favourite vitola - I purchased it in the store simply because they had no attractive robusto's - and it will be some time before I deviate again! 

As for Bolivar - well, this was my first, and unless anyone can reassure me that they have a decent robusto, it will be my last.

All in all a review I would rather forget.  Made me want to NEVER purchase a Bolivar Tubo again.  Since the experiece was so wanting, there are not really any tasting notes in regards to the vitola.  I would recommend someone try this again, and give us a review next time. 
Score: 1 /  5
Reviewed by Jason Rhine

Very straightforward, honest review of a disappointing experience, being very specific as to the nature of the problems. The reviewer obviously gave the cigar every chance to develop, and was left unsatisfied. A negative review to be sure, but both honest and frank.
Score: 4 / 5
Reviewed by Jeff Slatton

A little unfortunate with a plugged Boli, but generally ok if a little verbose (blow by blow). Ignore the first half of the review about cutting and all that (setting the scene blah blah), condense the next 3 paragraphs into "...it was plugged" and the rest was just fine. Mo, please send this person a Royal corona - I think, one of the best production robustos money can buy. I think the reviewer did what we all do in that they persevered with what they knew to be a bad stick, but you know you can't resist. 
Score: 3 / 5
Reviewed by Tricky (Asgard)


Bolivar Petit Coronas
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.
Rating: 6/10 
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.
Rating: 2/10 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.
Rating: 5/10
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.
Rating: 5/10
Reviewed by Barry V


Bolivar Belicosos Finos - 5 1/2" x 52 ring gauge
Reviewed by Roger Safian (May 2003)

Let me tell you about my current favorite cigar.  It's the Bolivar Belicosos Finos - Cabinet. This is a beautiful cigar, that is about 5.5 inches with a 52 ring gauge.  The wrapper has a wonderful oily sheen, that highlight the slight toothy-ness of the cigar.  
To me, this represents the classic cigar.  A torpedo shaped delight that emits clouds of wonderful smelling smoke.  It reminds me very much of the classic cigar smoking hero in the movies.  The cigar's construction is perfect, with a cap that clips nicely.  The pre-draw is excellent.  Firm yet you don't have to force the air through the cigar.  I light the cigar, and lean back and relax.  The flavors are wonderful.  As the cigar burns the oils glisten on the wrapper before they are consumed in the next puff.  A friend recently described smoking this cigar as an almost religious experience, and I would have to agree.  You won't want this to finish, and you will find yourself smoking it until your fingers can't hold the nub anymore.  When it does end, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have enjoyed one of the true pleasures of this life.  I give this cigar two thumbs up.  Try one, you won't be disappointed.

Bolivar Lonsdales - 6 1/2, 42 ring gauge
Reviewed by Eric Vandervalk - August 2002 

I was pleased to receive the three Bolivar Lonsdales to test, as I had written taste test notes for a similar size for the same brand, the Bolivar Inmensas. The inmensas proved to be a cigar of great character, belying its delicate size with a complexity that was striking and made me wish the smoking experience wouldn't end. But I'm not writing about that cigar right now, and I will try to concentrate on the Lonsdale. The three examples which I received had identical silky Colorado wrappers, and displayed excellent construction. I enjoy the delicate size of this particular cigar, and there is no danger of wanting for the supposed advantages of a larger gauge vitola that the magazines say exist, such as more complexity, full flavor, volume of smoke, etc. 

The first example was smoked at a few minutes past 11:00 one weekday evening. I usually do not like to smoke later in the evening, as fatigue is not the best state of mind to be in to enjoy any experience, let alone one that should be remembered. But I woke up upon cutting the cap off and sampling the pre-light draw, which seemed just about right, and the unlit flavor was interesting. I don't know exactly why I taste the unlit draw, as I don't think it's representative of the smoking experience, but I've found many non-Cubans to have an almost offensive metallic taste when doing this. Not so with this cigar, thankfully, and I took time to notice that there were no hard or soft spots along the length of the stick. Upon lighting, a full, almost meaty aroma passed the lips, as well as the aroma in the air. I was glad to be smoking the cigar inside, as I quite enjoyed the aroma which remained in the room throughout and after the experience. The first third of the cigar was characterized by the first impressio 

The second example was accompanied by a nice crisp micro-brewed beer from a local brew-pub. This cigar had a slight hard spot about one-third of the way down from the cap, and this may have been the reason for the slightly tighter draw for this one, compared to the first example. There was still enough smoke to make for an enjoyable experience, however, and the full spice from the Lonsdale complimented the spicy aspects of the accompanying beer wonderfully. No roasted meaty impressions this time, rather there were earthy, woodsy notes that were consistent throughout the smoke, getting progressively stronger all the way to the last two inches of the stick. The burn was not as consistent as the first one I sampled, but this did not interfere with the enjoyment at all. I stayed with this one for an hour and 15 minutes, and again it was time very well-spent. 

I smoked the third of the Lonsdales after a tough day at work, and immediately I was put into a better mood upon lighting it up. No desire this time to accompany the smoke with any drink, just no movement or extraneous thoughts for an hour or so. As in the first one, the construction appeared flawless, and the draw and burn were excellent, with the ash holding on until one decided to tap it off. This last example confirmed that the Lonsdale seems a little less powerful than the Inmensas, and sometimes that is a good thing. I would smoke the Bolivar Lonsdale after even a light meal, as it does not overwhelm the palate, yet certainly has a satisfying fullness and richness. The earthy qualities are always welcomed by me, and I hope I've conveyed some good reasons for someone who has not tried this vitola to sample a few, as there are numerous ways to be charmed by this particular Bolivar. Thank you to everyone at CGARS LTD. for the chance to sample these, and right now I'm writing out an order to try the Bolivar.

Bolivar Corona Extra - 5 5/8, 44 ring gauge
Reviewed by Jody Brown - January  2002

First, I would like to thank smokeymo for the opportunity to participate in this.

Next, everyone who knows me will be shocked by this review. In the past couple of years several have been posted on ICG and ClubStogie and I usually don't do negative ones. That being said, if someone asks my opinion about a cigar and I do not like it, I am not bashful in telling them it sucks.

I only write positive reviews on cigars I really enjoy. I put myself in the readers position, why waste your time reading bad stuff? I mean anyone can turn on the TV or listen to the radio or pick up a newspaper and get polluted with a full force of negative crud. Cigar smoking is an awesome hobby to enjoy and should be positive as much as possible. Ok, enough of my mumbling, I made an agreement to write a review on these three BCE's and I am living up to it. All three were smoked under the same exact conditions. First cigar of the day, all with cubita coffee and all at Charlie's Club.

When the cigars arrived the end of last month, I opened up the package and had an immediate frown on my face. These were not fresh 01's, they were from 99 I bet.  A quick email to smokeymo and sure enough, I was correct - '99, partagas factory. I've smoked too many of these to know I wouldn't like them, but hey it's been a while, maybe they got better? 8*)nPrelight - ugly, leather looking rough thick wrapper, several protruding veins and no real isom smell.

First light - average draw with some effort, flavor was flat - mild to medium, taste was just basic tobacco, nothing else. First 1/3 - no change in flavor, does not have the classic flavor or taste of a Boli. Anyone who has smoked a '86 Boli and/or a '94 Boli knows what I mean, geez, even a '98 Boli has a distinct taste and flavor only it can have. Not any of the 99/00/01 stuff I've smoked, anyone could have made these.

First 2/3 - no change in flavor. Actually, it is starting to remind me of a Padron, not a PAN or PAM, the regular line. It has tobacco taste, but not the classic isom dirt or earth taste that is easy to pick up. Nothing more than flat tobacco with some tastes of mild chocolate and coffee.

The final burn/Overall - this was not a very pleasant cigar. I was surprised at its lack of depth and how little flavor or taste it had. It really never developed at all. It has some of the same characteristics as a Padron, semi-rich, but actually all the maduro Padrons I've smoked have had more flavor and taste to them than this cigar - for a lot less money. Sorry this review was so bad. I really hated writing it, but I am not going to make up some story for a chance to win a cigar - that is not my style and I have to be honest.

Bolivar Belicosos Finos
Reviewed by Robert Reitzfeld (September 2000)

The package arrived on a wet Wednesday morning. The New York Yankees had just lost to the Boston Red Sox and I needed something to cheer me up. I knew who the package was from, but not what it contained. To my delight, upon opening, I found 3 gorgeous Bolivar Belicosos Finos. I immediately placed them in my humidor and began to anticipate enjoying them and writing about the experience. Before starting, I thought to look at what other reviewers had to say about this particular cigar. What I found was confusing and contradictory. Cigar Aficionado had rated the 5 1/2 x 52 Figurado an 89. Not bad, but not great for a Cuban. 
None of the reviewers I read could make up their minds, and comments were all over the place. 

For instance: 
*Earth & leather notes. 
*Creamy. Peppery bite. 
*Strong but temperate. 
*Spicy but not harsh. 
*Light to medium body with little depth, body or spice. 
*More strength than flavor. 
*Very nice coffee richness. 
*Dark leather & spice. etc. etc. 

I could tell I had my work cut out for me. In all my years enjoying fine cigars, I believed something was wrong with my palette. I had trouble finding the notes and flavors that others described in their smoking enjoyment. Where were the hints of chocolate, blueberries, pepper? Where was the leather? The coffee? The earth?  Without finding those hidden wonders, could I still enjoy a cigar? Would other cigar smokers look down their Robustos at me?  Should I cancel my Cigar Aficionado subscription?  Judging from the many and varied opinions gleaned from different reviews, it appears that each ones experience bears little resemblance to the next. Many things can influence the smoking experience, from the meal you've just eaten, to the drink you've consumed, to the time of day.  The same holds true for the cigar. It would be difficult if not impossible for every single box to be the duplicate of itself. There are far too many variables involved within the process of growing and manufacturing to expect that.  I have had wonderful and disastrous experiences within the same brand. Sometimes within the same box.  I'm not sure I'm up to the task of delivering rosy prose about flavors, smells and notes, but I am sure I'll enjoy myself trying.

Since I am an artist, I might as well begin with aesthetics. After all, we do look at what we smoke before we smoke it.  The shape of these figurados is indeed beautiful. Tapered at the tip and gently widening towards the end, with a slightly box pressed look . The wrappers are dark, somewhat oily and not too heavily veined. A truly lovely looking cigar.  The construction of each of the three felt uniform, except for one which upon feel, seemed more densely wrapped at the tip. 

After 4 days in the humidor, I thought it time to begin.  On the rooftop garden of my building, mid day, I clipped the end of the first cigar and lit it with the beautiful new Dunhill lighter my wife had given me that morning for Fathers Day.  My very first impression upon lighting was that this cigar was milder than I had expected. From the initial puff, it was very smooth with an easy draw. I guess that's what people mean when they say a cigar is "creamy"?  At 1/3rd the extremely dark ash falls off. 
Up to this point the cigar feels full bodied and there are different flavor notes that are tasty, but I cant identify as anything specific. This particular Bolivar seems to have gotten stronger and slightly harsher as it burns down.  At the halfway point, the harshness fades and smoothness returns. The cigars aroma turns sweet.  The last third, which is usually my favorite part of the smoking experience, continues to smoke smoothly and cooley. But a hard vein in the wrapper leaf caused it to burn a little unevenly. Undeterred, I continued to smoke it down 'till it burns my lip!  After extinguishing, what remains on my palette is a slightly dry taste. Perhaps this is the "leather"or "earth" referred to by others?  All in all, a wonderful hour on a beautiful day, spent with a good book and a fine Cuban cigar. 

Cigar #2, two days later, early evening, a slightly tighter draw and a stronger and harsher beginning than the previous.  The harshness fades after about 2 inches, but not the strength! The aroma was light and somewhat sweet, concealing the strength of the figurado.  This was a fantastic smoke that lasted an hour and twenty minutes and left me feeling the way Cannabis might have at an
earlier time in my life.  For the following few hours, I felt I had the wonderful taste of Cuba's soil on my palette. 

I hope you'll forgive, but cigar #3 is being saved for my 20th anniversary in August.  A worthy smoke for a very special occasion. 

Thank you to C.GARS Ltd for allowing me to take part in the test. I was flabbergasted, yet delighted that I was selected. 

Bolivar Inmensas
Reviewed by Eric Vandervalk in June 2001

I was obviously very happy to receive the package in the mail containing three identical, beautiful Bolivar Inmensas. I mistook them for Lonsdales at first because of the slightly darker wrapper from the one example of Inmensas that I sampled from CGARS Ltd last year. It is great to be able to purchase one stick of many different brands/vitolas to satisfy a budget (and avoid divorce), but the danger of this is getting one that is not the best example of that particular model.The Inmensas I remembered had burn problems and was quite harsh throughout the smoke. I attributed the experience to both the reputation of Inmensas being very strong, and the uneven burn.

Contrary to that experience, I was quite impressed with the three examples that I tested.  I will combine the three reviews into one, as all three examples were consistent in appearance, draw, and aroma/flavor. Before I give my details of the cigars themselves, I must share with you the way the first of the samples truly enhanced a vacation evening. I wasn't going to do this, but I hope that all who read this have similar experiences, as it really is what enjoying a good smoke is all about, and always will be.

Cigar #1 was enjoyed in the peace of the late evening at a seaside Inn at Cape May, NJ, after the other guests had turned in or were somewhere else, at least. With the nice large porch all for me and my wife, it was nice to fantasize that we owned this large Victorian home, and could enjoy the sea breeze and the porch on any night we chose. What better way to enjoy the experience than to fire up a lengthy cigar?

Usually I don't care too much what reviewers drink, if anything, while tasting a cigar, in fact I've thought it may do a disservice to the cigar if the beverage is not a good match for it. So what did I do with cigar #1 but enjoy it with a whiskey & soda - hell, it is vacation -- specifically a Jack Daniel's with a splash of ginger ale - I've loved for some time the way the ginger mixes with the woody qualities of the whiskey. What was a real nice surprise, though, was the way the drink enhanced the spicy qualities of the Bolivar - suffice to say it was a wonderful, harmonious meeting of Tennessee and Havana.

No small point: The experience was further enhanced by the breeze coming through the quiet Inn out onto the porch, revealing the scent of old woodwork and god knows what else - what is it about old buildings, even after renovation, that allows them to have such a wonderful aromatic character - it really was a wonderful mixture of drink, smoke, and ambient air that really allowed me to feel on vacation, truly away from the concrete, glass, and plastic modern world.

As for the cigars, they were well constructed with a rough looking wrapper, like the Partagas 898 varnished, only much lighter in color. The rich aroma from the wrapper was very nice, with a good spicy character - I've found that some non-Cuban brands, such as the CAO Extreme may have a very spicy wrapper scent but just don't compare in flavor to most Habanos. The pre-light draw didn't reveal much to me, but the first few puffs display a spicy, strong, but not harsh smoke with good draw, and a flavor that makes one want to pay attention to the experience.Not what I would describe as 'creamy' or 'delicate' or 'subtle', but full-bodied and spicy, with what I would imagine is a 'classic Havana' taste. Very, very satisfying. I was expecting the smoke to become harsh, based on my previous Inmensas experience and its reputation. But the nice, straightforward spice in the first third combined with what I can only describe as a slight papery (not peppery but paper-like) taste in the second third of the cigar. I've never been a big fan of the last third of a cigar, but the Inmensas did not lose its good qualities, in fact it was enjoyable to about 2 or 3 inches from the end, with a nice power at the end that does not become monotonous or harsh. I can not wait to try the Bolivar Royal Corona and other vitolas, if this vitola is so impressive.

The thought came to me that this would be a cigar I would recommend to someone who sought out something different, something with generous strength. All right, to be truthful I thought, "I'll have to get me some more of these at some point". I just didn't want to appear greedy. I wouldn't give these away too easily if I were to purchase a box, which I may do soon. Thanks to all at CGARS Ltd.

Bolivar Royal Corona
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.

Bolivar Royal Corona
Reviewed by Phil Beecroft in January 2001

Cigar One
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.

Cigar Two
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.

Cigar 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.

Bolivar Inmensas
Reviewed by Joe Gellman

The cigar measures 17.91 x 171. It is firm, a few small bumps showing on the wrapper, but otherwise smooth. The cigar has a slight sweet smell though this sweetness is revealed for quite a while in the smoke. The cap is a little ragged and the band placed to exacting standards. The wrapper is not characteristic of the darkness I am used to, and is a pale claro colour.

I use a Punch on this size and the residue is removed intact and does not disturb the rest of the cap. The cigar lights quickly and has a first impression of being very strong. There is plenty of smoke per draw, which was consistent throughout. There was a hot-spicy taste and powerful aroma in the room almost from the start of this smoke, but it mellowed out at the last 1/3rd of the cigar. The draw was excellent and the cigar smoked cool.

The ash was tight, 6/10, almost perfect concentric patterns in the ash. About 25 mm into the cigar I was reminded of aromas one might associate with the dry earth where succulents are grown. The cigar develops slowly, and quite well. It shows power in reserve, and is not for the timid smoker.

A 30 mm ash is on the cigar, almost hypnotic is design. At 35 mm the hot-spiciness has mellowed a bit but remains. Swirling the smoke in my mouth leaves a taste of the leaf. At 42 mm I began to taste a sweetness from the wrapper. The ash remains perfect, teasing me to flick it into the ashtray.... which I do. Examining the ash I note that it is solid to the touch and, when crushed, leaves a dark grey flannel colour. Half-way through this cigar the firmness has yielded a bit and the spiciness has subsided although the smoke tingles my nose. At 80 mm the wrapper suddenly starts to crack but remains firm to the end. No floral tones in this cigar! I feel as if I were taken back in time to my first Inmensa, in the 60's; this full bodied cigar has lost none of it's charm. I feel there is quite a bit of ligero leaf here and also note that there is more seco than in other vitolas. I have to wonder what this cigar would be like if aged a few years.

Surprisingly, this cigar mellows out in the final 1/3rd but has a powerful ending. The spice has returned and lasts to the very last puff, though not as pronounced as at first. While this cigar has been describing as having a 'dry' finish, I am at a loss to explain what those cigar 'mavens' mean. This is a grand cigar to end a heavy meal with, or just to relax, after a hard day at the office.

Bolivar Lonsdale
Reviewed by Joe Gellman

While little has been written on this vitola, it deserves more space in the various cigar tomes. The shining example of this cigar is the Gold Medal, a cigar no longer made and as rare as hen's teeth. 

This cigar measures an exacting 6 x 42 (165 x 16.67), and has a factory shape called a Cervantes. The body was squarish and varied from 41 to 42 (16.55 to 16.67). I assure you, however, you will not be fighting wind mills when smoking this wonder.

The cigar is considered a "light" smoke; I consider this a medium bodied cigar with light aromas which do not permeate the room, and a taste which lingers only a little while on the palate. It is perfect for an early smoke and ought not be lit up after a heavy meal.

The wrapper was typical of a Bolivar, especially when first received. I let the cigars rest for two (2) months and they all took on a pleasant sheen with the first coming of oils. I suspect that after more age this cigar will develop a silky sheen. There were no veins on this cigar and the cap was neatly wrapped. It was smooth to the eye, supple to the touch (but not soft or tender), and had a slight spicy (akin to a dash of pepper) when tasted prior to lighting. 

It cut perfectly and lit without a moments hesitation. Ample smoke on every draw made this an easy cigar to smoke. The ash was medium gray and took a hardy shake to remove it. The ash was rather powdery and I was surprised that it had a nice crunch when squeezed. The ash color was indicative of a properly constructed cigar and was consistent throughout.

The first impression was a bit dusty but quickly developed a ripe, woody, taste, and the aroma was a tad green, perhaps of undergrowth. I suppose one would describe the cigar as earthy, and not be far off the mark.

The cigar almost smoked itself and I had to remind myself that the nicotine content was enough to get me started in the morning but not enough to make my eyes glaze over.

The flavors and aroma remained constant to the last, though it did taste stronger towards the last 2 inches, leaving me with a mild, woody, sweet aftertaste which dissipated all too soon.

In deference to other writers, I did not find any powerful matt aromas, perhaps due to the short age placed on the cigar.

This is a cigar to have on hand for daily smoking. Kudos to C.GARS Ltd on this one.