Well, in the first of my ‘special’ series of reviews, I bring you the Bolivar Royal Corona. One of the world’s most revered robustos!
Yes, the Bolivar RC is the first robusto in our play-off championship to find an opening day robusto for the MLB season.
I decided that it was high time to light up another stogie – tonsillitis and dreadful weather would have to play second fiddle. So, I decided to light up at home for the first time in a number of months (bad memories of how long it had taken to get rid of the smell had previously stopped me – there were five of us last time though…)
Window open, anti-tobacco candle lit and a couple of episodes of House to catch up on was all I needed to get sorted. I really like the way that they’ve reinvented the House series – after a few series it was getting just a little repetitive (almost formulaic). In the more recent series, however, the way which they’ve started to have some interesting character-led storylines has really given it a new lease of life.
Anyway… for those less interested in the brilliance of Hugh Laurie and co… Here’s the review.
The Bolivar Royal Corona has a quintessentially Cuban wrapper – a lovely colorado claro shade. There were only a few small veins – so overall a good looking wrapper. The cigar was ever so slightly box-pressed (no bad thing in my book) and had a beautifully applied cap. Visible at the other end of the stick was some really quite nice bunching of filler leaves. The RC was firm to the touch and had just the right amount of springiness. Overall, pretty good effort by Bolivar’s rollers. 14
Smoking Characteristics /25
Pre-light aromas were quite quite subdued, they were slightly cedary with hints of nutty chocolate. The initial lighting was a little bit suspect – after a good toasting with the jet flame I took a couple of puffs, very little happened. The draw seemed very loose and there was no smoke. I blew on the end and it seemed lit… I grabbed a match and gave it another go. Bingo, it went off beautifully the second-time around – excellent draw (it had firmed up to just the right resistance) and the smoke was perfect in volume. The burn throughout the first half of the RC was exceptional, I was really quite please. However, at around half-way there was a bit of canoeing. This straightened up, but then happened again. For a second time it sorted itself out within a few minutes; unfortunately, shortly after it went out. I re-lit the stick and was happily on my way again. Finally, well into the last third of the cigar it went out again… this time I let it be. Strength wise, the RC started off relatively light (by that I mean medium, but this is a Boli), as it progressed so the strength of the cigar increased. By the end of the RC it had developed towards a good, full-bodied smoke. A couple of re-lights aside, and a touch of canoeing this cigar smoked really well – it burned nice and slowly (I mean, 1hr 20mins plus from a robusto!), the draw was spot on, the ash was strong and the strength developed nicely. 22
On lighting the RC, you are immediately greeted with a nutty creaminess. I have to say that this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, though it was just a very smooth start to a serious cigar – consider it the concierge who is holding the door open to a rally car. As the first third developed the nuttiness caramelised somewhat, becoming almost popcorn-ish. This strengthened into a solid honey-roasted nut flavour after about twenty minutes. As we moved into the middle section of the cigar, these nutty flavours gave way to a leatheriness which is common to many Cuban cigars. The leather itself developed from a sweet and slightly fresh, ‘new’ leather towards slightly spicy and woody flavours which hinted at an older leather. As the RC enter it’s final stages, the roundness of the leather gave way to a punchy and spicy pepperiness; never harsh, but punchy none-the-less. I can happily say that the RC passed my ‘three-stage’ test very well. Whilst there were just a couple of short patches where it seemed to loose its way, it would quickly come back with its new flavour profile. 22
Overall Impression /35
The Bolivar Royal Corona is a cigar with a reputation for a reason. It develops in strength and flavour throughout the lengthy smoking experience. Whilst the burn was not flawless, it maintained a good level of smoke throughout and the draw was pretty much spot on. The cigar also did well to cope with my hashed first attempt at cutting the cap… All of that said, there was just a little something which was holding it back – the couple of re-lights that were required unfortunately came with baggage – the first couple of draws after both had that slightly stale-ish flavour that often accompanies such an action, and there were a couple of very short periods when the cigar couldn’t quite decide exactly what it wanted to be doing. Overall though, a damn fine smoke to enjoy with some ginger beer, cheese, biscuits and chutney (as I did). 32
Grand total… 90/100
This is definitely a cigar which could challenge for the top three robustos for opening day. We’ll just have to wait and see what the competition’s like…