(Size: 5″ x 34 — Time: 45mins)
Bolivar, the brand founded in 1902, is a name steeped in Cuban history. The marque is named after Simon Bolivar, the South American revolutionary who helped liberate much of the continent from Spanish rule. The cigars have a similar reputation to their namesake – strong and never shy of imposing themselves. As with many others, I was perhaps a little apprehensive when I first partook of a Bolivar cigar – I needn’t have worried, the Boli RC being an exceptional and smooth beast. Since then, Bolivar has gained a bit of a soft spot for me, making it a no brainer for me to try one of their little known vitolas, the No3, when my local cigar store had no RyJ Wide Churchills for me to try.
The Tubos No3 is a small cigar with a narrow ring gauge – a small panatela. It’s best described as a morning espresso cigar – a short burst of power which works well with a strong coffee. And so it was that I gave this a run out with a strong coffee – Columbian, one sugar, a splash of milk.
Okay, I’ll be honest, this is a bit of an ugly duckling. Small cigars are rarely particularly attractive, and this is no exception. Small veins, made to look bigger by the lack of wrapper on display, and a prominent seam didn’t help. The wrapper leaf itself was a little knobbly, but was a fairly standard Colorado Claro shade. The cap was functional, if not especially attractive. A couple of small green spots weren’t exactly the icing on the cake. I think the most euphemistic description I could use for the No3‘s appearance is ‘rustic’. It was good to the touch though. 10
Smoking Characteristics /25
The No3 lit first time, with considerable ease. You’d kind of hope so though, there’s not exactly much of a foot to get going… The draw was absolutely spot on from start to finish, and it produced very pleasing mouthfuls of full-bodied smoke. Unfortunately, it did go out at pretty much exactly half-way, this was the only issue of this type, though I did a preventative touch up a little later. It burned evenly for pretty much the whole cigar, going slightly off-true on the re-light; however, within literally seconds it had righted itself. Overall, pretty good construction. 23
Small panatelas are small cigars, but Bolivars don’t do small taste – and the No3 is no exception to that hard-and-fast rule. Right from the first draw I got a strong, very nutty flavour. This very quickly gained that good bitterness of a strong espresso – this was like something you’d just ordered from an Italian cafe. Lovely. Around the half-way stage the nuttiness came back to the forefront, spearheaded by roasted almonds and cashews. Some more understated tones of coffee came back on occasion. Finally, the No3 gave some earthiness (accompanied by hints of leather), finishing with one more blast of coffee. The flavours perhaps lacked a little depth, and it wasn’t a complex development of flavours – more of a school band than the London Philharmonic – but it maintained my interest through a surprisingly lengthy 45 minutes. 21
Overall Impression /35
Bolivar have provided a lot of bang in a little stick with the Tubos No3. The flavours aren’t particularly rounded, and the development not particularly complex – but both are present none-the-less. This is certainly one of the more interesting small panatelas I have smoked, and perhaps with a few years of age on them they will be a little more stylish. If you want a full-bodied cigar to wake you up with a snappy hit in the morning, alongside a caffeine rich coffee, this will certainly do the trick. I’d personally still pick the medium-bodied Trini Reyes, but the No3 would make a nice change-up occasionally… 30
Grand total… 84/100