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Cigar Review: Bolivar Gold Medal (Cuban)

15 Aug 2011

About six years ago, the Bolivar Gold Medal was brought back to life by a cigar shop in Cologne, Germany. Prior to that tobacconist commissioning several thousand boxes, this special release had been long discontinued.

Today the Gold Medal is back in regular production. And, while I can only confirm my hunch via anecdotal evidence, it seems to be experiencing a revival among cigar smokers who are paying more attention to the Cuban Bolivar brand due to the success of the Royal Corona—an excellent smoke that earned a five-stogie rating in September 2008.

The lonsdale-shaped Gold Medal (6.4 x 42) has a reputation for being one of the strongest cigars to come out of Cuba. But you certainly wouldn’t guess that on appearance alone. This elegant specimen comes draped in attractive gold foil that’s accented by two regal bands. Underneath is a toothy, oily, milk chocolate-colored wrapper with an aroma of cocoa and a triple cap.

Toasting the foot reveals a rich smell of nuts and black licorice. Then, after studying the first few puffs, I find flavors of leather, earth, black pepper spice, and cereals. The smoke leans toward the bitter spectrum on the tongue but the aftertaste is decidedly sweet.

As the burn line approaches the midway point, I find myself wondering how the Gold Medal earned a reputation as a really bold cigar. The strength resides in the middle of the medium-bodied range and there’s hardly any nicotine kick, especially as softer, creamier tones come to the fore. Sure, the spice and the bitterness from the leather are more prevalent in the final third, but I would hardly consider this Bolivar to be overly strong.

It is, however, well-constructed. All three samples I smoked for this review exhibited straight burns, sturdy ashes, and easy draws.

I enjoy the Gold Medal, especially the interplay between sweet and bitter that’s apparent in the aftertaste. I remain unconvinced, though, that this Cuban is worth its cost of $115-120 per box of 10. There are many superior smokes that can be bought for that money or less. So I’m arriving at a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

5 Responses to “Cigar Review: Bolivar Gold Medal (Cuban)”

  1. Brooks Whittington Monday, August 15, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Great review 🙂

    Just a note: The Bolivar Gold Medal has been discontinued again, as of the end of 2011.

    • Patrick Ashby Monday, August 15, 2011 at 10:23 am #

      I hadn't seen that, but thanks for letting us know. I still see these avialable for purchase lots of places, and that probably won't change for awhile, so I hope the review is helpful to those who might be considering a purchase.

  2. Brooks Whittington Monday, August 15, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Yep, the backlog will prob be around a while, but no more are being produced…kinda sad, I always loved the look of the cigar 🙂

    • Patrick Ashby Monday, August 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      No question that the cigar looks great. Unique presentation, really pops out of your humidor. There's something to be said for that.

  3. Jason Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Just bought a box in Dubai tonight (6-24-12) and had one. They're great, and they are much less than $115-$120 now. I bought the box in duty-free for about $94. Worth every cent! I only wished I tried Bolivar sooner. I'm generally not a fan of Cubans (after recently smoking some over-priced but terrible tasting Trinindads I almost quite Cubans altogether), but brands like Bolivar keep Cuban smokes competative (and I'm referring to quality not hype) against markets in other parts of Latin America.