Generally, you miss the memo.
This was not how I had hoped to start out the New 12 months at Quill & Pad. I used to be planning a narrative a few favourite cigar, a a lot liked one that could be a little bit of a legend. I pull one out each from time to time, as do buddies, and so they by no means fail to thrill. So it got here as a little bit of a shock once I began researching particulars for this text I checked the www.habanos.com website for info, not solely on the model, Bolivar, but in addition the cigar, their great Gigantes cigars.
No downside with the model, however when it got here to the cigar there was no signal of it. However this was the official website, and I knew that numerous retailers right here and there had them on the market, or claimed to take action. I couldn’t think about that that they had been discontinued. Say it ain’t so!
So, it was off to the ever-reliable and informative www.cubancigarwebsite.com.
Appears that the Bolivar Gigantes cigars have been, actually, discontinued in 2017 (maybe I can declare some mitigation in that my cigar bible, ‘An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Put up-Revolutionary Havana Cigars’ by Min Ron Nee, was revealed earlier than the ultimate discontinuation and that I had been blissfully having fun with my remaining shares with out realizing that impending doom had already been set in movement).
At that stage, 2017, that they had been obtainable in costume bins of 25. The slide-lid bins of fifty have been discontinued in 2010, whereas bins of 25 in particular person aluminum tubes ceased manufacturing way back to the late Nineteen Eighties. Now, that might make them largely a curiosity, besides that an incredible many cigar lovers nonetheless have bins of their humidors – they age exceptionally effectively – and, as talked about, bins nonetheless pop up sometimes at retail.
Extra importantly, they’re regulars at Bond Roberts, the world’s main cigar public sale website (www.bondroberts.com), showing nearly fifty instances in the previous couple of years, together with a number of instances as slide bins of fifty cigars.
These bins range in age however some date again greater than 25 years, confirming simply how effectively they age. Better of all, whereas not low-cost (belief me, high quality Cuban cigars are unlikely to ever be thought-about low-cost once more, as latest value rises try to re-position them as elite luxurious merchandise, priced accordingly), there may be nonetheless wonderful worth.
The newest value for a field from 1999 was US$1,355, and in 2016, US$1,305. For a slide lid field of fifty from 2008, US$2,505. All of those costs are from the final couple of months.
In fact, this raises, but once more, the totally bewildering apply employed by Habanos as to discontinuations. The Gigantes are immensely widespread cigars or have been, however they too, have been tossed on the scrap heap of previous glories. As a substitute?
Effectively, evidently no less than 9 out of ten new cigars as of late are what we would name fats boys – cigars which might be often fairly quick in size however usually with huge ring gauges. Why individuals choose these to the fantastic cigars that made Havana’s fame is past me, however it’s what it’s. The general public has apparently spoken, and as soon as well-known cigars discover themselves thrown out like outdated newspapers.
Earlier than we take a look at the Gigantes, maybe exploring the model, Bolivar, could be so as. There’s a ‘Bolivar’ model from the Dominican Republic, however they’re nothing to do with the Cuban Bolivar model. There are quite a few cigars produced beneath the Bolivar model, apart from the Gigantes, and they’re greater than value a glance.
Nobody is kind of sure when the model first got here into existence, however it’s believed round 1900 (1902 is mostly accepted, although not definitive), based by Jose Fernandez Rocha. For a few years, the registration was beneath Rocha’s identify.
And in case you have been questioning, the Bolivar model is certainly named after the legendary Simon Bolivar, the person thought-about to have liberated quite a lot of South America from the Spanish within the 19th century. Born in Venezuela in 1783, Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios, to provide him his full moniker, was the primary President of Bolivia (one thing else named after him).
Which will simply have been essentially the most steady interval in that nation’s historical past, provided that they’ve apparently loved practically 200 coups and countercoups since then. In addition to Bolivia, he’s the person who introduced independence to Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru. All of this earlier than his demise on the comparatively youthful age of 47. Not a nasty legacy and absolutely yet another than deserving of being commemorated by having one of many nice Cuban cigar manufacturers named after him.
After the demise of Rocha, the model was offered to the Cifuentes household in both 1944 or 1954 – data have been discovered for each dates, although most think about 1954 extra possible. Manufacturing was then relocated to the Partagas manufacturing facility. By this time, and with the help and experience of the Partagas manufacturing facility, the cigars had established themselves in export markets, particularly Britain.
The model of Bolivar cigars is taken into account to be highly effective, ‘sturdy’, old style’, ‘full-bodied’, and with the flexibility to age for a very long time. Certainly, Min Ron Nee has described them as being ‘unparalleled’ with regards to growing old. Maybe the strongest of all manufacturers, what’s attention-grabbing is that they’re usually described as altering in model within the mid-Nineteen Nineties to a milder model.
The older examples should actually have been ‘take no prisoners’ cigars. Flavors will range from cigar to cigar, however most are thought-about to be toasty, earthy, wealthy, and full. A excessive proportion of Ligero leaf is taken into account to be a key purpose behind the facility of the model.
If we would have liked extra proof as to the standard, Min Ron Nee has stated that if he have been ‘condemned’ to smoke just one model of cigar, he would “don’t have any hesitation that Bolivar can be the selection”. No increased reward…
And so, we go to the Gigantes, or Coronas Gigantes to provide them their full identify (different manufacturers have additionally launched ‘Gigantes’, most notably Ramon Allones). First made earlier than the Revolution, they have been/are ‘Churchill’ in dimension, with a hoop gauge of 47 and a size of 178 mm (what a great dimension for a cigar! Why can’t we’ve extra of them?).
Bolivar has additionally launched Churchills, however these are completely different from the Gigantes. Min Ron Nee describes them as tangy, toasty, sturdy, and earthy with a delicate fruity notice. He acknowledges that they noticed a discount in energy within the mid-90s however gained ‘in suaveness’ as a trade-off. He describes these as a should for any humidor and notes that he may smoke them each single day, having by no means failed him.
Fully agree, and although it’s all way more tough now to supply them, it’s well worth the effort. For those who ever come throughout any, seize them.
For me, these are splendidly full and flavorful cigars, with toasty notes, espresso beans, a touch of orange rind, leather-based, spices, and earthy touches. Sometimes, notes of figs and stone fruit with an underlying creamy honey character.
They’ll give taste from the primary puff to the final, and as we’ve seen, placing them away for a protracted spell in your cellar will solely be to their profit. The Gigantes could be sturdy and highly effective, however they at all times appear balanced. Sadly, this can be an expertise that turns into rarer and rarer within the coming years.