Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cigar Review: Bolívar Royal Coronas (TEB NOV-08)



You keep that Cohiba because today I am talking about what I believe to be the greatest robusto coming out of Cuba. It has always done well in terms of ratings by critics and there is reason for that. There is a great Habanos smoker that I know who swears by these robustos and he believes them to be the most consistent and best quality of robustos in the Habanos portfolio. I know you already know what I am talking about, the title is in the label, but if you missed that by some chance, I am talking about the Bolívar Royal Coronas. In fact it gets that name because it so good of a robusto, that to name it such would not do it justice. Instead, they title it the Royal Coronas, implying that it the most royal of coronas as well. Yes, I am making that up, but it sounds so good that I am declaring it to be a fact. But who is this Bolívar, and why is he so special? Well, let's take a look at the man that inspired one of the greatest brand to ever come of Cuba.

Simon "Big Tuna" Bolívar
At the beginning of the 19th Century, Central and South America were under the control of Spain. As you can imagine, the individuals living in Central and South America under the control of Spain were not too happy with Spain and outbreaks began to occur. The independence movement was due to the actions of the American and French Revolution. Individuals began to take arms against the Spanish Empire and one of those men was Simón Bolívar. He quickly became the leader of the armies fighting against the Spanish and by the 1820's he had successfully removed the Spanish from South America. He then began his political career before his death but his name lived on. To this day there are monuments in honor of him around the entire globe. I always envisioned him as a Hispanic Andrew Jackson, but that might upset some people. 

Anyways, the brand was brought to live in 1902 by José Fernández Rocha and it has continues to be in production since it was started 112 years ago. All Habanos in the brand are made of tobacco from Vuelta Abajo and are rolled in Habana, Cuba. For a long time production was at the Partagas Factory, but it has since moved. The Royal Coronas is one of the eight remaining vitolas in the brand and it is a traditional robusto. It measures 124 mm (4.9") and has a 50 ring gauge. It is available in 25 count boxes, where the cigars are pressed, and ten count boxes in tubos where they are your traditional round offerings. The Habano features a wonderful triple cap and it has a nice light Colorado coloring. There is a some light marbling here and there are there are a few veins present as well. There is an aroma of cinnamon, coffee beans, cocoa powder, earth, tobacco and wood at the foot, and the wrapper shows some similar qualities as well. 

The Habano begins by showing some lovely tobacco and damp wood qualities but it slowly begins to show the boldness and richness of the brand. I am picking up some definite pepper and spice notes, and it is producing some cinnamon and coffee bean qualities as well. There are hints of dark cocoa powder present as well, and this is an elegant and yet bold Habano. There is a way to make a fuller bodied cigar, and this is how you do it. I would classify the strength level as being medium full and the body is right there as well. At no point are the flavors lessened by the strength or body, but everything works together to make an incredible experience. In terms of construction the Habano is top notch and it is producing a cool draw that has a nice bit of smoke with that, and it has an even burn line with a dark charcoal ash on the end. I have always loved this smoke, and this is the reason why. 

I am in the second third now and the Habano continues to deliver those terrific flavors from the first third with some variation. There are some more earthy notes present in this third and they are pairing with those spice, pepper and cinnamon qualities from before. I am getting some dark cocoa powder and coffee notes as well on the finish and this is a really tasty smoke. There are bits of wood and leather present as well and I am loving this. I find that it is complex smoke while not being all over the place. It has the perfect flavor profile and it is a Habano that is great for those who smoke those medium full body and strength cigars like this. I smoke these in the afternoon and evening all the time, but I know some prefer this in the evening. In terms of construction the Habano continues to show a perfect burn line, solid charcoal ash and a cool draw each and every time. 

When I get into the final third of the cigar the finish is spectacular and it is producing strong spice, earth, leather and wood notes. There are some tobacco and coffee bean qualities present as well and it is a robusto smoke that is filled with flavors on each draw. It is complex and it has depth which is so important in any cigar. This particular Habano is one that I can smoke back to back and never get tired of. In terms of strength and body, the Habano continues to produce those medium full characteristics and it is a terrific way to end the evening. As I said earlier, I can smoke these in the afternoon with no problem, but it is an evening cigar if you ask me. The construction remains perfect in the final third and it has a cool draw to the end with a perfect burn line and a dark charcoal colored ash. The Habano leaves me wanting another, and that is the way a great Habano is meant to be.

I am a huge fan of the Bolívar brand. With the H. Upmann, Juan Lopez and Ramon Allones, I sometimes ask what more I could want, and the reason is because there are so many great offerings in each brand. I feel that this particular brand those has a great variety of smokes with ring gauges in the 40s. I think the Royal Coronas is the best in the brand though, and at a 50 ring gauge it is at that standard ring gauge offering. The robusto delivers nothing but terrific flavors from beginning to end and it has depth, complexity and transitioning. I have never had an issue with construction on these smokes, and the box that it came from was one of the best. I have a handful left, but the sticks I have from 2011 are smoking just as great. These do well young, improve with a couple years and after five plus years of aging they are absolutely sublime. I recommend that you reach out for a box of these because they are smokes that will never disappoint. I am giving this Habano a 90-92 when young, but with age they get to be between a 95 and 97. 

Young Rating: 90-92
With Age Rating: 95-97