In 2021, Robert Caldwell of Lost&Found joined Justin Andrews, new business development manager of STG North America Branded and Rest of World Division, on a visit to the STG Danlí factory in Honduras to begin working on a new collaborative project. As they considered different tobaccos for the project, they came across bales of two specific types of tobaccos that had been aged between five and eight years.

Those tobaccos would go onto be the axis upon which the new project would spin, and which would be named Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found.

There are two blends released as part of the collaboration; the black-banded Oscuro uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. The red-banded EMS blend keeps the filler the same but flips the wrapper and binder, meaning an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Connecticut broadleaf binder.

Both blends are offered in the same two sizes and at the same price points: the 5 x 50 robusto has an MSRP of $6.99, while the 6 x 54 toro is priced at $7.49 per cigar. That translates into $34.95 and $37.95, respectively, for a pack of five cigars. Those packs come wrapped in a heavy paper that will be immediately recognizable to fans of Lost&Found.

“Lost & Found started when a Central American factory gave me a rare blend to sell in the US, and today with the release of this capsule collection from Bolivar Cofradia, it feels like Lost & Found has come full circle,” said Caldwell in a press release. “I would have never imagined standing among a sea of bales at HATSA, knowing that any tobacco we wanted to blend with was available to Justin and me. This collection represents the power of a strong collaboration.”

  • Cigar Reviewed: Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: STG Danlí
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Habano Seco), Honduras (Habano Seco) & Nicaragua (Habano Viso)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $7.49 (Pack of 5, $37.95)
  • Release Date: February 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The wrapper has a color that reminds me of homemade beef jerky; a reddish brown that is just past what I would call medium on the darkness scale. There’s some decent vein structure, though it tends to be confined to one prominent vein and then just a few smaller ones. That said, one of those veins is prominent enough to prevent the wrapper’s seam lines from laying flat on one sample. The wrapper doesn’t have much in the way of oils, with a fairly matte appearance and a dry, fine grit texture. The cigar is generally firm but with a bit of give, though after hearing what I think was a crack from the second cigar, I’m not going to push things with an inspection. While the cigar looks good below the cap, two of the caps aren’t applied as cleanly as I would expect, reminding me of ironing a wrinkle into a shirt. The foot has a bright, nose-stimulating and occasionally sneeze-inducing aroma that has a crisp pepper, sweet cedar and sweet meat, the latter cool like a steak tartare but lacking the oiliness and complementing flavors that come with that dish. Air moves with a bit of resistance on the cold draw; it’s not obstructed, but it’s definitely not loose. The flavor is much more subdued than the aroma, with peanut shells, a dry and almost ashy earth, and then a light but lingering peppery tingle with the occasional wood accent.

The Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro starts off without too much fanfare, but there is a lingering pepper that is not too far off from what I got from the cold draw to tingle my lips and tongue. Through the first inch, I find myself focusing on the peppery tingle that the cigar provides, while also looking for more from the blend beyond a fairly light earthiness. The aroma begins to offer a bit of a campfire sensation at this point, which is always a welcomed smell to fill the air. The flavor seems like it’s heading to a hearty earthiness, but for now is on the lighter side of the earthy scale, dry and with just a bit of salt. While the first third is plenty good and generally palate-friendly, it’s not the most exciting or engaging of profiles that I’ve had, but that shouldn’t be construed as a knock, just a simple observation. While the burn line has looked pretty even thus far, knocking off the ash seems to set it askew just a bit. It’s nothing terrible, but it is enough to for me to notice. Other than that, construction is very good, with good amounts of smoke production and a problem-free draw. Flavor is medium, body is medium, and strength is mild.

The start of the second third sees the flavors of the Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro start to unfold; it’s not a drastic change in terms of what is being offered, but the light earth and increasingly hearty pepper show much more vibrance. There’s a bit of cedar, but the cigar doesn’t seem keen on letting go of its earthiness. It’s still dry and slightly rocky, with a mix of white and black pepper that is a natural complement to that earthy core. The building of flavor continues, and towards the end of this section the pepper is noticeably crisper and sharper on the palate, while a new addition makes the earth taste a bit charred. Construction is still quite good, the burn line issue hangs around but hasn’t turned into anything serious, and each puff is dialed in with a good amount of smoke. Flavor is medium-plus, body is medium-plus, and strength is just shy of medium.

The charred sensation that started at the end of the second third is the one I find myself most focused on, as while it’s dynamic, it’s also a bit off-putting for what has otherwise been an enjoyable cigar. Beyond that, the pepper settles down for a bit, but the cigar isn’t mellowing out on the whole. I noted that during the second third, the vibrancy of the flavors was steadily building; in the final third, the Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro builds in both the strength of the flavors and the body of the smoke. It’s a much stronger and fuller expression than the blend has offered thus far, including a lingering, robust and peppery finish. To put it another way, the cigar now has a good bit more oomph than it did earlier. Flavor finishes medium-full, body is medium-plus, and strength has crept north of medium. Construction is very good on all fronts.

Final Notes

  • Two of the three samples had a dog-eared bend in the secondary band, one quite pronounced, but both in the style of how you would bend back a page in a book when you don’t have a bookmark.
  • Also of note on the secondary band, this seems like one where there could be multiple opinions on what the center of it is. For my money, the center is the X in Bolivar X Lost & Found, as it represents the collaboration between the two parties. However, whoever printed and put the bands on decided that wasn’t the case, which means the word Lost becomes the visual center.
  • One more note on the bands: two of the three came off impressively cleanly, in case you’re into saving your cigar bands.
  • Regarding the text on the bands and packaging, what is usually stylized as Lost&Found gets spaces so it reads Lost & Found. This happens as it sits next to the Lost&Found logo that would imply there shouldn’t be spaces. But then the press release included a quote from Robert Caldwell that was written up with the spaces.
  • It’s also interesting and somewhat puzzling that Honduran habano seco is mentioned twice on the stickers on the packs.
  • As I was smoking the second sample, a thought came to my head about good, affordable cigars. Specifically, while I was struggling to find some more detailed flavor notes, I realized that not every cigar has to offer such flavors in order to be enjoyable.
  • What strength the Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro has to offer comes out in the final third, just enough to be noticeable after standing up once the cigar is finished. I didn’t feel like I needed to have any white sugar to neutralize the effects, but that was more situational than a reflection of how much strength the cigar has. In retrospect, having a bit might have been a good idea.
  • Robert Caldwell was featured in halfwheel’s Portrait Series back in November 2017.
  • The Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found project is being sold by STG’s Forged Cigar Co.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • General Cigar Co./Forged Cigar Co. advertise on halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was two hours and 40 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigar carry the Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro.
89 Overall Score

I could recap the flavors and performance of the Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro, but hopefully you read them above. But if you didn't, the biggest takeaway is likely to be found in the final notes. This might not be a cigar that is loaded with detailed flavors, subtle nuances, graceful changes, symphonic harmony or any of the other terms we tend to lay on cigars. Rather, this is just a very good cigar rooted in an earthy and peppery profile that makes hardly a misstep from start to finish. And while we don't factor price into our reviews, to be able to find a cigar that can do that at this price point is even more impressive. As with all of our reviews, I don't know what score the Bolivar Cofradia Lost & Found EMS Toro will get as I write these words, but in this case I feel like the actual experience is a bit better than what the score might suggest.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.