March 29, 2018

Cigar Review: Bolívar Royal Coronas

Bolívar
When you name a cigar after Simon Bolívar, you need to have the cigar live up to the man. If you are unaware of who the man was, he was a key figure in the struggle for independence against the Spanish Empire throughout Central And South America. He is probably one of the most notable figures in Latin American history, and if you visit most large cities in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, you will most likely see a statue of him. Nearly 100 years after his time, a man by the name of José F. Rocha founded the Bolívar cigar brand. Founded in 1902, the brand did not become registered in Cuba till 1921, and was run by Mr. Rocha until his death in 1954. After his death the Bolívar brand, along with La Gloria Cubana, became part of the infamous brands of Cifuentes y Cia, which is known as Partagás. With the Castro takeover of Cuba, the line continued to remain in production, and today is a Multilocal Brand for Habanos S.A.

If you are wondering what the Multilocal Brand classification means, it is a brand with signficant interest in the Habanos portfolio. It is not as heavily produced as a Cohiba Robusto, which is a Global Brand, but its production is more than the Trinidad brand which is a Niche Brand. Habanos S.A. classifies the Bolívar line as being full in body, and as they say, "Bolívar is among the strongest, most full bodied of all Habanos. It boasts an unrivalled richness of flavour in its blend of Vuelta Abajo region tobaccos that makes it one of the most sought-after marques amongst experienced smokers." While the Belicosos Finos is probably the most well known vitola in the Bolívar line, my favorite vitola is the Royal Coronas.
Solid Colorado Wrapper
 Rated Number 1 Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado in 2006, the Bolívar Royal Coronas is a cigar that I believe gets overlooked by popular brands such as Cohiba and Partagás. Of course, the cigar is a Cuban puro, and consists of tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo region in Cuba. This region is the most southern part of the western part of Cuba, and it is in this region that we find the infamous fields of Pinar del Río. The robusto is slightly shorter than the everyday robusto, and measures 4 7/8", but it does have the standard ring gauge of 50. I find Bolis from 2008 are smoking great now, and recent production is even better. I typically age mine a year before I begin smoking them, but these I am smoking are from 2017 and are terrific. The wrapper on the cigar has that solid Colorado coloring, really the coloring of dark red clay, and it silky to touch. There is this gritty texture to the cigar, and there are few veins present, but it has lovely aromas of hay, barnyard, coffee and spices. I really consider the flavor profile of a Boli to be old school, and it is right up my alley.  

As I light up the robusto, I am immediately greeted with the warm and comforting flavors of hay, Asian spices, coffee and wood. As I get further into the first third I begin to get some soft cocoa notes, and that barnyard flavor profile is still dominant and enjoyable. The flavors are really balanced with this cigar, and it is rich cigar, but not too rich. I would say the strength level of the cigar is right around medium full for me, and it is a perfect cigar for anytime of the day. The burn line is slightly wavy with the cigar, not uncommon, but it is still fairly even and producing a nice solid gray colored ash. So far this is a great opening to a fabulous cigar, and I look forward to the second third.

When I get into the second third, there is really a continuation in terms of flavor and strength from the first third, but there are some additions as well. I am getting a nice bit of leather, wood spices and barnyard on the forefront, but it has a lovely finish of nuts, toast, coffee and cocoa. It is definitely a complex cigar with those rich characteristics, and very flavorful. This cigar is always consist to me, and provides those core flavors from cigar to cigar. While a Cohiba can be terrific, there are times when it is lacking. Consistency is a major problem with Cohiba Robustos, in my opinion, and I don't get that with the Bolis. The burn line in this third has corrected itself, and I am getting a nice even burn line with a solid gray ash. The strength is still around that medium full level, and I am getting a great amount of smoke rings with each exhale.
Nice Triple Cap
I am in the final third of the cigar now, and I am really getting a culmination of flavors from the first two thirds. There is definitely a mocha flavor profile with the cigar. Those coffee and cocoa flavors really came together, and they paired wonderfully with this nutty and toasty flavor profile. There is still some hay and barnyard touches as well, and the cigar has a nice strong finish of leather and spices. In terms of strength the cigar ends stronger than it has been, but I would say it is still slightly under full in terms of strength. It is still burning wonderfully, leaving that nice gray ash, and I am getting some great smoke rings right now. I smoke the cigar down to the nub, where it stays cool, and I put it down with very little left. To me, this is really a classic cigar that I love to enjoy on a warm summer day, and I typically smoke several of them back to back.

When it comes to robustos and double coronas, it is hard to top those that are being produced in Cuba. I honestly believe they set the benchmark for these two vitolas, and they do so because they offer so many great cigars in those sizes. When I think of great robusto, I think of  the  Bolívar Royal Corona, but there are so many other great ones as wall such as the Partagás Serie D No. 4, Cohiba Robusto, Hoyo Epicure No. 2, and the Ramón Allones Specially Selected. I am not saying that there are no good non-Cuban robustos, I just feel that these are classics. The Bolívar Royal Corona has always delivered in every department for me, and they offer this great classic old school flavor profile to them. The cigars I have been smoking lately have been resting since 2008, and they are burning wonderfully, smoking cool, and producing a great amount of flavor with a nice solid strength level. One of my favorite cigars, this is a cigar that I will smoke for the rest of my life, I give this cigar a 95.
Royal Coronas