The Bolivar is the second re-imagining of a traditional Cuban announced brand by Foundry Cigars this year. The Foundry Bolivar, along with the Foundry Ramon Allones, are set to hit the market later this year. The Bolivar has a shipping date of mid-October while the Ramon Allones (check out our review here) due sometime in November.
Each cigar will be available in three vitolas:
Check out my interview with Michael Giannini of Foundry Cigars for more details on these upcoming releases.
Foundry Bolivar 550
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano
Binder: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican and Dominican Republic
Cigars smoked for review: 1 per reviewer (3 for me)
Cigars for review provided by General Cigars
Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system
Rob's Rating: 84 AKA "I'd Buy a Couple"
Pre-Light: Much like the Ramon Allones, the Bolivar's appearance is hurt by the band. The look of these bands are a big turn off for me. The Connecticut Habano wrapper is dark and beautiful, but the big red band covers most of it.
The wrapper was beautiful and exceptionally dark. Pre-light notes of barnyard, cinnamon and black tea emanated from the wrapper. The cold draw offered the perfect amount of resistance and tasted of dried stone fruit and dark chocolate.
Beginning: The flavor profile opened up with a deep and bitter earthy note. There were some notes of peppercorn and black pepper in there as well. The black pepper flavor ended up being the main component. There was black pepper spice on the retrohale and black pepper flavor on the tongue. The first third was rather one-dimensional with the black pepper running the show.
Middle: The second third was much more entertaining. The black pepper was still there on the tongue and retro, but notes of sweet molasses, chai tea and earth brought some much needed depth and balance. This profile was significantly better than the first third, but I found myself wanting a bit more balance. The black pepper still ran the show.
End: The overall flavor profile took on a burnt quality. I know that sounds negative, but it was quite the opposite. Think about it. Black pepper and molasses notes with a smokey quality sounds a lot like BBQ, doesn't it? The Bolivar ended strong for me and this is the reason that I will see this cigar out again.
Final Thoughts: I can't say that I loved the Bolivar, but I liked it. Much like the Ramon Allones, the Bolivar got better as it went on. The profile started out heavy on the black pepper, but ended with a nice balance of spice, sweet and smoke. I don't see myself stocking up on these, but it's a cigar that I will smoke again.
Surgeon's Rating: 89 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
The nose on the Bolivar is leather, barnyard, spices and hay.
The first third starts with lots of leather and pepper. Once the leather gives way on the post draw some sweetness manages to break through. The pepper on the retrohale really hits the back of my throat. Some rich spices start to surface about 8 minutes in. Some light cocoa adds to the mix at the 10 minute mark. Around the 20 minute mark the flavors all start to balance together really nicely, with the pepper still lingering on the back of my throat. As the Bolivar transitions to the middle third the sweetness on the post draw drops off and becomes entirely leather.
In the middle third the sweetness comes back and picks up, with the pepper falling to light plus strength. The spices also fall in intensity to a light plus. I find a rich savoriness coming through with a balanced retrohale.
The last third the leather ramps back up in strength to medium intensity. I struggle to find any other flavors standing out against the leather.
The Foundry Bolivar is another great release, deserving of a 5-Pack buy.
I would definitely pair the Bolivar with some bourbon or rum cocktails.
Matt's Rating: 87 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
I went into the Ramon Allones with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised so I'm eager to see how the Bolivar performs. Again, the branding is a bit cartoon-y, and I'm not in love with it, but I've never really let the branding of a cigar impact my enjoyment before so I won't start now. Like the Ramon Allones, the cigar has a pigtail cap and a covered foot. The wrapper, again, is similar to the Ramon Allones, but seems a bit darker. The "rustic" look of the wrapper hides the seams and veins which are visible if you look up close.
I pull off the pigtail and take some pre-light draws that give some wood and earth flavors with a bit of spice on the back of the throat. As I light the cigar, the initial puffs are very mellow and mild. The wood and earth are prevalent on the front of the tongue with a bit of spice on the retro. As I make my way a bit more into the first inch, the spice on the retro picks up in strength a bit. As I move into the middle, there is a bit of a sweetness that joins the fray resembling a bittersweet chocolate.
If there is one negative of this cigar so far it is the size of the band. I'm just entering the second-third and I must take off the band to avoid burning it. As I write this, a rep from a different brand comments on the cigar first noting the obnoxious size of the band, and then commenting on the perfect burn. I have to agree as the burn line is poker-straight and there is some solid smoke output on this - even at rest. The sweetness tones down a bit, but the chocolate is still the predominant flavor with the earth and spice still lingering.
The sweetness seems to have all but disappeared as we enter the final third, but the earth flavors have intensified. There is a slight muskiness to the flavor profile now. Not bad, by any means, but a departure from the beginning of the cigar.
All in all, I've been very happy with the new offerings in the Foundry line. This cigar smoked for about an hour and a half, maybe a little more, and was extremely pleasant. I can see myself smoking this again (even beyond the 3 I smoked for this review) and will likely keep several on hand for casual smoking throughout the winter.
Tuna's Rating: 82 AKA "If I had them"
As everyone else has said, the band on the Bolivar is bad. I could use a better word or multiple words, but bad pretty much sums it up. The cigar itself though has a nice pigtail cap and closed foot. The wrapper is incredibly dark, clearly maduro, and it is firm throughout. There are some medium sized veins present in the wrapper and is smooth in texture. The cigar delivers an aroma of rich and earth and chocolate, and that is present on the wrapper and foot.
The cigar delivers a flavor profile that is consistent from beginning to end and there are four flavors present: black pepper, rich earth, soft chocolate and molasses. It starts off by showing the black pepper, and then it gives you the rich earth which is then followed by this chocolate and molasses combination. It does this from beginning to end, and there is no transitioning or major complexity to the cigar. It smokes around a medium to medium-full level in terms of body and flavors, but the strength is on the medium side of things. The construction is top notch though and it is producing a beautiful burn line with a nearly white ash on the end. The draw is cool, giving off a nice bit of smoke, and it has a smooth finish.
Presentation aside, because I don't rate a cigar how great or terrible the band might be, the cigar failed to deliver what a great, or even good cigar should deliver. There was one flavor profile present from start to finish and it never went anywhere. There are times where consistency can be enjoyable, but this was not that time and was the cigar was simply uneventful. I smoked three of these, and while they were consistent from sample to sample, it was not a pleasant consistency but merely disappointing. Yes, the body and strength worked with the flavors delivered, but you need a good flavor profile overall to have a good cigar. I give the cigar an 82 rating and I would smoke one if I had one lying around.
Group Rating: 86 AKA "I'd Buy a Couple"