Bolívar Petit Belicosos Edición Limitada 2009

Bolívar LogoAhhh, finally a Bolívar. This is a first one on these pages. Bolívar isn’t a big global brand for Habanos, but it is available in a lot of markets nevertheless. Not a big brand, but it has a specific and fanatical following under seasoned Cigar smokers. Bolívar is known for heavy and strong Cigars.

This 2009 is the first of two Edición Limitadas there are. In 2014 the second and last was released, which was a Super Corona. Don’t think that this means there aren’t a lot of special releases around, because there are. A lot of Edición Regional versions were made. These are limited editions, released in specific countries or markets. In 2006 the first was released for the German market only, and since then 25 more saw the light of day.

This Petit Belicosos is just like its bigger brother the Belicosos, just 15mm shorter. Another difference is that just like other Edicíon Limitadas the tobacco was aged for two years. As far as I know this Petit Belicoso is made in three different factories and thus boxes exist with three different codes: STA MAY 09, OMA JUL 09 and LRE AGO 09.

Bolívar Petit Belicosos EL 2009

Bolívar Petit Belicosos Edición Limitada 2009 (52 x 125mm, Petit Belicosos, Petit Pyramid, Box code unknown).

Color & Looks: Oscuro. Dark brown. No veins, quite stiff to the touch. When it warms up it becomes more flexible.

A cru: Strong leather smell. Cigarette ashes, mocha coffee and dark chocolate. Sawdust and (old) wood in general. Promising power.

Taste: Good smoke and the draw is good as well. Dark taste with hints of petrol. Stong mahogany wood. The whole is also quite on the woody side. It lacks the creaminess we know from Hoyo de Monterrey, but both brands couldn’t be further apart. This Bolívar is dry and sharp. Heavy indeed. Maximum strength dark chocolate. No stuff for beginners. This definitely isn’t one to start the smoking season with, so to speak. Strong powerful stuff, but by now I believe you get the picture. Extremely dry and woody, almost hard to smoke by itself. I wonder with what to combine this to balance the strength out a bit.

To be honest this doesn’t show a lot of development, even after six years in my humidor. Over halfway through some soapyness appears. The dryness is aided by some herbal notes like cumin and some restrained basil. These are all mere hints since the whole is wood, even more wood and some paper. I don’t know if my palate was anesthetized by this Cigar, but even given its power it doesn’t even have a long-lasting aftertaste, like I had with some Partagás from the past, which I could still taste the next day.

Well built and smokes very easily, but it does burn unevenly. It has a thick wrapper. Luckily the uneven burn is easily corrected. In the end I expected more of this. Ashes is darkest grey, black and brown. No white ashes at all. All the way through I had a craving for apple pie with lots of cinnamon, which I don’t even eat that often, so what does that mean? Will it go nicely with pie? I can tell you it went well with very strong coffee, two hammers, hammer as one.

What can I say. This is a heavy Cigar, and for me it was too much. Did I recognize the quality then? No, not really. I found it harsh, lacking development and it didn’t have a long and lasting aftertaste. Having said that, people who like these heavy Cigars do like this one very much, so I won’t argue with that. It probably is not for me. I have still a few of these lying around, so I’ll let them age more, and see what will happen. Maybe the Cigar will change or maybe I will.

Points: 77

Bodegas Ramón Bilbao Rioja DOCa Edición Limitada 2009

Today, Bodegas Ramón Bilbao is a modern winery with a long history dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century. The property is located in Haro, Rioja Alta, in the heart of the DOC Rioja region, and therefore Ramón Bilbao is considered to be one of the best. The soil is calcareous and loamy. The vineyards are located there, where the warm wind from the dry Sierra de Cantabria collides with the cooler Mediterranean breeze. This makes for modern, fresh and fruity entry-level wines and a classic ripe, vanilla and wood-scented Gran Reservas, and lots in between. Obviously, these Rioja’s are made with the Temperanillo grape variety.

Color: Deep ruby red

Nose: Bourbon vanilla, creamy, chewy, brooding and nice spiciness from the barrel ageing. It has that much vanilla I would say, American oak barrels or maybe the feisty Temperanillo grape variety overpowers the tannins of the French oak that could have been used in stead. Probably both are used at the same time. Dry leather and some dust. Red fruits, cherries, strawberry and raspberry. Lovely stuff.

Taste: Dark wine, dark spices, but with an added spiciness and a killer vanilla finish. Dry blackberry. Perfect woody spiciness comes through, late in the finish with no off notes whatsoever. The only beef one could have with this wine is that the finish is too short. It doesn’t have a short finish, but the wine is so good and the aftertaste is so pleasant as well, it should have gone on forever. Very mild in the tannin-department, which again makes me think that most of the barrels used for ageing is made from American oak.

Highly versatile wine. Is probably good with a lot of foods, but most certainly drinks very well on its own. For me a great Rioja! 14% ABV. Advised not to keep lying around for a long time, but another year or two can’t hurt this. Recommended.

Points: 87

Partagás Serie D No. 5 Edición Limitada 2008

Partagas LogoReaders that like my occasional reviews of cigars will know by now that I don’t smoke inside the house. The sparsity of these cigar reviews are only caused by long stints of bad weather. It almost seems to me that the last five years, we didn’t even had one decent summer! It’s june, and here we had only a few whole days of Sunshine! You do not have to be a rocket-scientist to figure out when that happens, a cigar will be freed from its humidor. This time I chose a Partagás. Partagás usually are on the heavier side and I thought let’s start the season with a nice nicotine rush!

This is a beautiful day. Sunny not too hot and a little bit of wind. Even without the cigar I’m enjoying the silence, the rustling sound from bamboo in my garden and the sloshing sound of the water behind my house. Don’t worry, no flooding, it’s supposed to be there. So, sun, water, bamboo and hopefully an excellent smoke.

This is a  Cuban Edición Limitada 2008 version by Partagás (50 x 110mm, Petit Robusto, Box Code Unknown).Partagás Serie D No. 5 Edición Limitada 2008

This Edición Limitada from 2008 was made with Tobacco that already was aged for two years. First released in 2008 obviously it turned out to be an immediate success. Since 2011 it is added to the current series of Partagás cigars.

Color & Looks: Nice wrapper, tightly wound with small veins. Packed with a lot of tobacco and clearly well-built. Draw is good, especially for such a tightly packed thick cigar. Right from the start, this is a good smoke.

A cru: Chocolate, dusty old books with a nice creamy touch and with a slight hint of toffee.

Taste: I have just set fire to it, and already this tastes very good. Not as strong as I have come to expect from a Partagás. Very rich taste, fabulous spicy taste. I actually have smoked just 5 millimetres from this cigar, but it already is one of my favorites! How’s that for a bold statement! Soapy feel on the lips. The Tobacco was harvested in 2006 and aged for two years, after that it almost aged another 5 years in my humidor, but still the cigar shows some youth. Still, it is already very, very good, but consider the additional ageing potential!

My cigar burns a bit uneven, so I had to “correct” that a few times, but that’s no problem. Dark chocolate, woody, warming and a fabulous smelling smoke, even for the one sitting next to the smoker. The ash is almost white (another good sign). After 1/3, the cigar becomes more like a Partagás, a very good one. Spicy and full of character, woody and dry. I’m having a mild arabica coffee with this, but the cigar doesn’t overpower it. So it is full of Partagás character, but it doesn’t pack that Mr. T. punch Partagás so often have. Excellent. With water on the side the cigar tastes more sour, so I wouldn’t recommend drinking water with this cigar because it changes the fine constructed character of the cigar.

The cigar is very consistent. There is some minor development in the beginning, but after that the cigar is linear. The first ash fell of after the half way point. Taste wise the first half is the better half. The second half is drier and more woody. But the difference isn’t that great. As mentioned before, the ash of the cigar is almost white, and near the end, the cigar shows a caramel colored heart. More wood towards the end too.

Personally I find the 50 gauge a bit too much. It doesn’t look very elegant and it cramps the jaw, but that’s probably my european opinion. The cigar is quite mild altogether, no big nicotine rush. And no turning points. I enjoyed this cigar thoroughly. I smoked this as long as I could, and burned my fingers, but it is that good, all the way through. This will probably score even higher after some additional ageing.

Points: 86

H. Upmann Magnum 48 Edición Limitada 2009

Considering all things nice and beautiful, there’s certainly more than whisky alone to enjoy, well, there’s a lot more actually, and why not try a cigar this time. Winter is over, sun starts to come out  more often, and it’s great to sit outside with a cigar again. But beware. I’ve never reviewed cigars before so let’s see how this goes.

First up a Cuban Edición Limitada 2009 version by H. Upmann (48 x 110mm, Corona Extra or Short Robusto, Box Code Unknown).

H, or Herman for friends, was a banker who was interested in cigars for personal use. After seeing the possibilities for a cigar business, Herman decided to start his own brand in 1844. Much, much later, Prez John F. Kennedy liked Herman’s Petit Corona’s so much, he had his assistant buy all of Herman’s Petit Corona’s they could find the day before announcing the embargo on Cuba.

Upmann used to be famous for their stellar Churchill. More recent is the popularity of their Magnum 46 (46 x 143mm, Corona Gorda). Two more Magnums saw the light of day. First the Magnum 50 Edición Limitada 2005 (50 x 162mm, Double Robusto) and of course our Magnum 48.

Color & Looks: Colorado, maybe Colorado Maduro. Small veins, nicely cut, without frays. Good build, was easy to cut.

A cru: powderish, hints of stable odor and fertilizer, dusty, green, now fat powder and finally; sour.

Taste: Combustion and draw were good. The burn was a bit uneven but it let itself be corrected easily with the laser flame lighter. No tunneling and keeps burning without any problems. It took the Magnum 48 about a centimeter to find its balance. It is spicy, full body and again a bit sour. After the first centimeter the taste became deeper and more refined (leather, slightly bitter), and stayed there. It turned out to be very linear and not very complex, again hinting at its youth (ammonia). It produces a medium amount of smoke, and nice and firm white ashes, which fell off halfway through.

There was still a third left, when the cigar announced, with lot’s of leather and harsh bitterness that it was time to leave… A bit of a shame though, since it’s a rather short cigar. Well this is a cigar that should be smoked slowly, to keep it balanced and if you want to control the amount of smoke. When it burns hot, a lot of smoke (and taste) will disappear. I tried this with double burnt, dark roasted coffee and water and both worked very well.

A good friend of mine suggested recently, that the Edición Limitada series could be made for instant gratification, so it has to be good immediately and may not win a lot of character spending some time in the humidor. After three years I found the Magnum 48 to be still young, and would certainly be patient with it. It may not win a lot over time, but why rush it.

80 points (of course not to be compared with an 80 point whisky)