When Bolivar cigars were first created, by José Fernández Rocha in 1902, a strong name was sought. Something had to set them apart from the other Cuban cigars available at the time, and a famous figure to be the emblem of the brand was a safe bet. Simon Bolivar was hailed as a hero by much of the Spanish-speaking world at the time, having led millions of people to freedom from Spanish colonial rule. His was the name adopted, his portrait chosen to adorn every box and band. To this day the image of El Libertador smirks out from the Bolivar livery, resplendent in his military uniform and...READ MORE
When Bolivar cigars were first created, by José Fernández Rocha in 1902, a strong name was sought. Something had to set them apart from the other Cuban cigars available at the time, and a famous figure to be the emblem of the brand was a safe bet. Simon Bolivar was hailed as a hero by much of the Spanish-speaking world at the time, having led millions of people to freedom from Spanish colonial rule. His was the name adopted, his portrait chosen to adorn every box and band. To this day the image of El Libertador smirks out from the Bolivar livery, resplendent in his military uniform and surrounded by the honours won by the brand for the excellence of their cigars.
Simon Bolivar may have only had a short life – he died at the age of 47 – but in that time he achieved an enormous amount. As well as this brand of cigars, one of the nations he helped to found (Bolivia) is named after him. He travelled extensively throughout South America and the Caribbean, fighting the rule from distance by Europe and assisting burgeoning nations with the creation of their constitutions. His name has become intrinsically linked to the quest for self-governance, and towns in not only the countries he freed, but his ancestral homeland of Spain, today host statues in his honour. To associate a new cigar brand with such a revered figure was a brave move indeed, and one which paid off handsomely.
By the middle of the 1950s Bolivar cigars were highly prized. Most of the production was moved to the Partagas factory, as ownership of both brands came under the same control, where it continues to this day. Fittingly for a military and political leader of such considerable might, Bolivar cigars are known for almost unmatched strength, as well as a full body and rich flavour profile. All cigars in the vitolario are classified as full-strength, and are made totally by hand using long-filler tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo region. A degree of credit for the strength and richness of the cigars is due to the generous use of ligero leaves in the blend – found at the top of the plant, so harvested last by the Cuban method, these leaves have extra exposure to the sun and are picked last so absorb more nutrients, giving them the richness of flavour which have become the Bolivar trademark.
The superb flavours of Bolivar have led to them being chosen by distributors on more than thirty occasions for the Regional Edition programme. This ranks them amongst the most highly-favoured brands for these exclusive releases, and in 2013 the Libertador – originally a Regional Edition for France in 2006 – was promoted to Regular Production, albeit for sale only in La Casa del Habano franchises. The rest of the brand’s line-up comprises classic Cuban shapes, including the ever-popular robusto and Mareva vitolas.
Bolivar Royal Corona: The classic robusto shape – 50 ring gauge by 4 ⅞ inches – and available in tubos to protect it during travel, this is the consumate Bolivar cigar. Around 45 minutes of full-bodied smoke, with flavours of roasted nuts and black pepper. For the true aficionado.
Bolivar Belicosos Finos: A pyramid shape with a thick 52 ring gauge, this cigar is packed full of nutty, spicy, chocolatey flavours. It is one of the most popular from Bolivar, and in 2020 was the first cigar outwith the 6 Global Brands to be made into a Reserva – the line of cigars rolled with tobacco aged at least three years before being shaped into the cigar.
Bolivar Petit Coronas: Another classic shape, this time the Mareva. Many Cuban brands use this vitola, as it has the perfect balance of convenience and flavour. Bolivar’s edition will coat your palette with leather, spice and nuts for about 35 minutes.
As well as the many Regional Edition over the years, Bolivar have been selected to produce four Limited Edition cigars – the joint-highest total from the non-Global Brands. The Soberanos of 2018 was the recipient of particular praise, as the statuesque size of the vitola (a 54 ring gauge by 5 ½ inch Duke) offered smokers even more opportunity to enjoy the Bolivar flavours.
Choosing the name of Simon Bolivar to adopt for a new brand was a risky choice. His exploits, and the reverence of them, throughout the world give him a special place in people’s hearts, and to have been perceived as dishonouring his name or taking advantage of his reputation could have been a death-blow to a fledgling business. Instead, José Fernández Rocha created a blend of tobacco as bold as its namesake, won the favour of smokers everywhere and began a legacy which is now able to compete with any in the world of tobacco. Bolivar cigars may not be for the faint of heart, thanks to their power and richness, but they are universally known for their excellence. True aficionados will tell you that a Bolivar is very often best.
Brand Founded: 1902
Construction: Handmade, Tripa Larga
Continuous Production Cigars: 7