In 2001, Habanas S.A. announced the first in what would become a yearly series of releases called the Colección Habanos Series. Each release is contained within a box that is shaped to look like a book, with each book containing 10, 20 or 30 cigars, depending on the year of release. While most years constituted boxes of 20, the inaugural release was in 10-count boxes, while the 2011 release was a 30-count box containing three of each of the preceding releases.

The Bolívar brand was chosen for the 2010 release of the Colección Habanos Series, and the cigar was named the Bolívar Gran Belicoso, a 7 1/8 x 54 gran belicoso. Limited to just 20,000 total cigars, they were sold exclusively at Habanos S.A. licensed franchises stores called La Casa de Habano stores world wide. 

The press release has additional details:

This tenth volume is dedicated to the Bolivar brand, and contains 20 Gran Belicoso, a vitola made in a very special way for the occasion by a select group of experienced Cuban cigar rollers who work at one of the most emblematic cigar factories of Cuba: Partagás.

Only 1,000 units of this case have been made for exclusive worldwide distribution through the franchise network “La Casa del Habano”.The figurado format of Gran Belicoso in this Habanos Collection deeply connects with the tradition of the brand. Today, the normal Bolívar range of sizes includes the Belicoso Finos, a Habano figurado that is one of its most representative examples.

With a blend that has carefully taken into consideration the complexity of richness that characterizes this brand flavour, these 20 Gran Belicoso are ideal for the most special moments of enjoyment and full delight. Like the rest of the range of sizes of this brand, all these Habanos have been made totally by hand with selected leaves from Vuelta Abajo plantations, the best tobacco region in Cuba, located in the province of Pinar del Rio. 

Including the Bolívar Gran Belicoso, there have now been 12 different cigars released under the Colección Habanos Series, with a rerelease of the first 10 cigars in the series in one box in 2011.

  • Cuaba Salomónes — 2001 — 300 Boxes of 10 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
  • Partagás Serie C No.1 — 2002 — 300 Boxes of 20 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Extravaganza — 2003 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Romeo y Julieta Fabulosos No.6 — 2004 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Montecristo Maravillas No. 1 — 2005 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Trinidad Torre Iznaga — 2006 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • H. Upmann Magnum Especial — 2007 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Cohiba Sublimes Extra — 2008 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • San Cristóbal O’Reilly — 2009 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Bolívar Gran Belicoso — 2010 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Obras Completas Edición Única — 2011 — 1,000 Boxes of 30 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)*
  • Cuaba Bariay — 2012 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Partagás Serie E No.1 — 2013*

*Not yet released.

Bolivar Gran Belicoso 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Bolívar Gran Belicoso Colección Habanos 2010
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: Francisco Pérez German
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Size: 7 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Rodolpho
  • Est. Price: $100.00 (Boxes of 20, $2,000.00)
  • Date Released: 2010
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1  

The Bolívar Gran Belicoso is a gorgeous looking cigar, covered in a cinnamon brown wrapper that is fairly smooth to the touch, but lacking any obvious oil at all. There are quite a few veins running up and down the length, and the weight of the cigar makes it feel more dense than I expected, even for such a large vitola. There is an appropriate amount of give when it is squeezed, and the aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet nuts, cedar, earth and leather.

Right after toasting the foot of the Bolívar Gran Belicoso, I am greeted with a multitude of competing flavors: sweet vanilla, creamy peanuts and leather, nutmeg, oak and light coffee. There is just a hint of white pepper on the retrohale, but it combines nicely with the other notes in the profile at this point, and the sweetness coats the palate nicely. Construction-wise, the draw is a bit tight for my tastes, but easily within normal limits and the burn is excellent so far. There is less smoke production than I expected for such a large vitola, and the strength hits a point about halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

Bolivar Gran Belicoso 2

While the flavors remained pretty much the same at the beginning of the second third, there is a major shift in almost every aspect of the profile starting around the halfway point of the Bolívar Gran Belicoso. The sweetness that is present not only gains strength, but also morphs into a wonderful caramel note, while the dominant flavor changes to a wonderful Café au lait note that combines well with other flavors of leather, creamy nuts and oak. Another change is the amount of white pepper on the retrohale, which has increased noticeably, but the smoke production remains well below average. The draw is still a little constricted, but the burn continues to impress, and the strength easily hits the medium mark, although it does not seem to be getting much stronger.

Bolivar Gran Belicoso 3

The final third of the Bolívar Gran Belicoso features flavors from both the preceding thirds: creamy nuts, Café au lait, leather, vanilla and oak, with no one flavor very dominant over the others. The caramel sweetness remains pretty much in evidence, although I also notice an interesting peppermint note that is all too fleeting. The white pepper on the retrohale has calmed down significantly, although it is still strong enough to notice, but the smoke production has still not increased. Overall strength stalls out at a solid medium, while the construction remains a carbon copy of the first two thirds: excellent burn and a slightly too tight draw.  

Bolivar Gran Belicoso 4

Final Notes

  • The tobacco in this cigar was harvested from Pinar del Rio in Cuba, and the cigar themselves were rolled at the Francisco Pérez German factory, where the Partagás brand is produced.
  • The finish on the Bolívar Gran Belicoso is excellent and coats the inside of your tongue with a combination of sweet caramel and an oak note that lingers on the palate.
  • As has become more the norm when it comes to Habanos S.A., the 2013 release of the Colección Habanos has still not shipped to retailers.
  • The official factory name of this vitola is rodolpho, and only two other cigars have been made in this size so far: the San Cristobal de La Habana Murella and the Bolívar Poderosos, which was the Edicion Regional release for Belux in 2013.
  • Interestingly, Rodolpho is also the first name of famed Cuban cigar roller “Taboada” Campa, who passed away in late 2012.
  • Prices are all over the map. Two boxes sold last year at C.Gars Ltd’s June auction for £1,220.00, roughly $2,000.
  • The draw was a bit tight for my tastes for the entire length of the smoke, and I cut more than I usually would to try and compensate. Having said that, it was a fairly minor quibble, and some people would probably like it that way regardless.
  • The cigar smoked for this review was purchased by halfwheel.
  • Looking at the size, I expected a long smoke, and was not disappointed, as this cigar took just over two hours to finish.
93 Overall Score

From the first few puffs, everything about this cigar clicked for me. While quite a bit larger than my usual smoke, the blend is perfectly suited for it, and the profile constantly morphed on me, never letting me come close to getting bored. At times overly sweet and creamy, at other times dense and rich, the profile of the Bolívar Gran Belicoso shifts so drastically around the halfway point that it is almost like you are smoking two different cigars. Extremely well balanced, extremely smooth, extremely rich and just all around an extremely great smoke. Well worth the price of admission.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.