(Size: 5 3/8″ x 48 — Time: 1hr 30mins)
Box Code: RUE DIC 11
The Bolivar Britanicas was one of three UK Regional Edition cigars released in 2012 (the others being the Punch Medalla de Oro and Ramon Allones Petit Belicoso); though it was initially slated for a 2011 release, along with the aforementioned Punch. As it was, the much delayed 2010 UK RE, the La Flor de Cano Short Robusto was the only RE actually released in the UK during 2011. Originally planned to be a 46RG cigar, it ended up as a 48RG, which feels good in the hands, and with its perfecto shape it looks a treat too. The box harked back to the days of old, with a large seal displaying Simón Bolivar wrapped around the side. Meanwhile, in a modernising twist, the Britanicas were the first UK RE to sport the new regional band, ‘Gran Bretaña’, replacing the previous ‘Reino Unido’.
I initially bought a box of Bolivar Britanicas when they were released around a year ago (April 2012). There seemed to be quite a bit of hype around that time, and I was caught up in it when I tried my first one from the box. As a result, I remember feeling it was a good cigar, but that it wasn’t quite all it had been cracked up to be. However, when I tried more, I came to conclude that I had probably over-reacted to the hype – these were, indeed, very good cigars. So, how did this example fare?
The cigar was very firm to the touch, offering little give when squeezed. The shape looks amazing – why can’t we have more perfectos? The wrapper was a lovely mid-chocolate wrapper – a couple of shades darker than is traditional on a Bolivar. This cigar had very few veins (none of any note), a very neat seam, and a well applied cap. As with most Britanicas I have seen, this is a gorgeous stick. 14
Smoking Characteristics /25
The pre-light draw was excellent – perfect resistance with just a few millimetres clipped off the head. The cigar lit incredibly easily – another reason I love perfectos – and the early burn was nice and even. The cigar’s girth and shape ensures it feels excellent in the mouth, and the thick, voluminous smoke produced was delightful. The cigar went out after about five minutes – which took me rather by surprise as I’d been paying it a lot of attention. This one mishap aside (I actually wrote “pathetic” in my notes), the cigar burnt beautifully, and produced good smoke throughout. 23
Upon lighting, this Britanicas provided meaty flavours – savoury and gamey, with just a slight mustiness. This was quite a surprise given the straw and sweet cherries which had made up the pre-light flavours. Soon the flavours developed, with slightly more mustiness coming through – altering towards a peppery creaminess – with the gamey flavours becoming richer, but more subdued. Towards half-way, the cigar became a true Bolivar, with some warm spices adding a nice note as the peppery creaminess intensified. Into the second half, as the cigar approached the final third, these flavours started to dissipate, whilst a tannic, yet smooth, profile took their place. Hints of oaked Cabernet Sauvignon with leathery notes became predominant, but not especially strong. Just as the cigar made its way into the final ten minutes, the wine faded away and was replaced with the spicey, creamy, pepperiness of the middle. Slightly tannic notes of leather remained however, making for a fairly complex, although slightly muddled finish. 22
Overall Impression /35
Whilst this probably wasn’t the best Bolivar Britanicas I’ve had since their release, it was still a damn good cigar – they are amazing on their day. The flavour developed as the cigar progressed. It had enough Bolivar flavour traits to let you know that you were smoking a cigar from the top Cuban marque, but with a couple of twists – to my mind, a good thing for a special edition. As these have aged, they have dropped to probably just above medium in strength, so not quite the powerhouse of standard release Bolivars. Combined with an attractive look, special feel, and generally very good construction, this is definitely a cigar which needs to be sampled, even by those who might normally be put off by the traditional strength of Bolivar cigars. 32
Grand total… 91/100 (I have smoked these rating up to a 93 – so definitely worth a try).