Cigars of The Year 2015 No.9 - Bolivar Belicoso Fino
Perhaps the single most consistently full-bodied smoke that Cuba produces, the Bolivar Belicoso Fino is a perennial favorite for those favoring strong Cuban smokes. Its named after Simon Bolivar, who lead the effort to liberate much of South America from Spain. Consider him the George Washington of Americas Southern hemisphere. The brand was created in 1902 and features a bold, prominent portrait of the man on both the bands and the boxes.
The Belicoso Fino is the only figurado in the Bolivar line, which is probably why it registers as the strongest smoke across the brand. The fairly heavy ring gauge provides an abundance of smoke while the tapered head concentrates it before it reaches the palate, resulting in an elementally earthy smoke, heavy in minerals, raw cocoa and coffee bean. But the tapered head also adds a piquancy to the already full-bodied cigar.
Strong and earthy, Bolivar Belicoso Finos are offered in both wooden slide-lid cabinets and paper-lined dress boxes. Some believe that the cedary environment of cabinets are ideal for long-term aging, while others prefer the neutrality of paper. The cigars we smoked for this test were from traditional dress boxes (with a March 2015 production stamp), so they were packaged as 13 cigars on the top row, 12 cigars on the bottom, causing the tightly packed Belicosos to take on the kind of squarish, box-pressed appearance that cannot be achieved in a cabinet.