⊗ Bolivar has always been a name close to the hearts of Cuban cigar lovers. Regardless of size, the brand offers rich, powerful cigars that often need a few years of aging to come into their best. At the moment, Bolivar Belicoso Finos from 1993 are smoking fabulously. They have loads of character still, but the almost heady nature of youth has evolved into something extremely complex and satisfying. That sort of special quality is why we chose the Bolivar Royal Corona as Cigar of the Year. The robusto, which measures 4 7/8 inches long by 50 ring gauge, delivers a sophisticated flavor bomb of a smoke with an array of rich character, including touches of chocolate, coffee and leather. The finish is long and it should only get better with age. This year’s production illustrates the better quality of the new generation of Habanos. Greater care in production, particularly in some of the new factories in Havana, is bringing the world better Habanos all the time. Current Bolivar RCs seem to take their inspiration from what we consider one of the golden ages for Cuban smokes, the late 1980s and early 1990s. That was when Cuban cigarmakers created and made some of their best cigars.
To summarize, one very good thing about this smoke is that it does not need long aging. Even when young, the Bolivar Royal Corona is a remarkable cigar. You do not have to wait to enjoy it. However, aging makes it even better.
⊗ This smaller Cuban brand is known for its power, and its namesake Simon Bolivar—the liberator of South America—makes for a fitting image. Created in 1902, the brand once had a vast array of sizes which have been whittled down to only a few. The Belicoso Fino has long been prized by those who truly love a strong smoke.