No, you cannot have a box.
And that’s how my attempts at purchasing the Bolívar Tesoro went at Cigar World in Düsseldorf, Germany. Eventually, I was allowed to buy a handful of singles of the since sold-out Edición Regional and thus, today’s review.
The Tesoro is the latest German regional, the 13th by my count and the second one to wear a secondary band that reads 5ta Avenida, the Spanish translation of the German distributor, as opposed to Alemania, the Spanish word for Germany.
- Bolívar Colosales — 2006
- Por Larrañaga Lonsdales — 2006
- Bolívar Especiales No.2 — 2009
- Bolívar 5ta Avenida — 2009
- Por Larrañaga Robustos — 2010
- Ramón Allones Belicosos — 2010
- Juan López Distinguidos — 2011
- Sancho Panza Escuderos — 2011
- Punch Sir John — 2012
- Rafael González Petit Piramides — 2013
- Ramón Allones 8-9-8 — 2014
- La Gloria Cubana Glorias — 2015
- Bolívar Tesoro — 2016
As is often the case when it comes to Edición Regionals, it was a bit delayed. Technically, the 7 1/4 x 57 salomones was part of the 2016 Edición Regional program, but it didn’t arrive until this February. It’s limited to 6,000 boxes of 10 cigars with pricing set at €22.50, which was $23.99 at the time of release.
Here’s our weekly refresher on Edición Regionals. Bonus points if you can spot the new line:
In 2005, Habanos S.A. introduced a new series of limited production releases that would eventually become to be known as Edición Regional (Regional Edition). The program took regular Habanos S.A. brands and gave their regional distributors special sizes that aren’t part of respective brands regular production line-up. In some cases, like the Bolivar Gold Medals, Habanos S.A. gave specific distributors sizes that had been discontinued, but most are sizes that have never been available prior. There are cases of multiple distributors getting the same cigar, but there must be at least two years between the first and second release. There’s one major exception to the rule and that would be perhaps the most famous ER, the Edmundo Dantés El Conde 109, which is an ER available for Mexico that is related to the Montecristo brand, but is largely its own brand.
The first Edición Regionals didn’t feature the red and silver secondary bands that read “Exclusivo (Region Name)” that have become synonymous with the ER releases.
Tesoro means treasure in Spanish.
- Cigar Reviewed: Bolívar Tesoro Edición Regional Alemania (2016)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 7 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 57
- Vitola: Salomón
- MSRP: $23.99 (Boxes of 10, $239.90)
- Release Date: February 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: 6,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Every six months or so, Brooks Whittington will go through a kick where he pays special attention to how much a cigar weighs. It’s not something I pay much attention to or mention regularly, but the Bolívar Tesoro feels noticeably light for its size. This is a big cigar that would be beyond my comfort level in parejo format, but in perfecto size, I look forward to smoking it. There’s not much off the wrapper aroma-wise, but one cigar is stronger than the others with leather, some ammonia and touches of vanilla ice cream. I forgo the process of sticking the end of the perfecto up my nose like a four-year-old, but I do get a much stronger floral flavor with some butterscotch ice cream. One sample, the same one that had a stronger wrapper aroma, was noticeably different with some woody flavors and Welch’s grape soda. The cold draws are largely similar: floral, some creaminess, a sweet creamy orange, lime and some sawdust. Two of my cigars had some slight cracks at the top of the cap due to transport, so I had to make slightly more aggressive cuts than normal, but even with that, the draw is extremely tight.
As is expected, there’s not a ton of smoke coming to the mouth once lit. I’m sure if I engulfed the entire bottom of the cigar, or cut it off, things would be different, but the small entrance way at the bottom doesn’t provide much room for air. The initial flavors are cedar, cream, pistachio and coffee. One sample has some weird diesel aroma and another has an extremely sharp pepper in the back of the mouth. Fortunately, both of those irritations are short-lived and despite all the differences up until this point, the cigars seemingly come together into a universal profile. The Tesoro has sweet cedar and oak on top of spearmint, caramel candy and white pepper. It’s medium-full to full in flavor and medium-full everywhere else. There’s no denying the cigar shows signs of youth, but the flavors are smooth and detailed enough. Outside of a tight draw on one sample, construction is awesome and at least on the two normal-drawing cigars, it’s burning a bit quicker than I would have expected.
The cedar base remains and really shows no signs of letting up. It’s intertwined with a sweetness that reminds me of buttermilk more than anything else, not acute, but ever-present. Behind that is potato chips, pistachio, a generic citrus and a pepper that reminds me of a lemon pepper. I’m not sure how much the latter is because of the aforementioned citrus, but it’s definitely softer than where the pepper was in early parts of the Tesoro. Strength picks up a bit to medium-full, perhaps even hitting full, but starts to recede right before the final third. Two samples need touch-ups to help with the burn, which I suspect on one cigar has more to do with the draw.
Flavor-wise, the Bolívar Tesoro definitely lightens up, which is a welcome change. The cedar finally gives way, replaced by some charcoal tastiness and peanuts. Behind that is orange peel, espresso and black pepper. For the first time in the cigar, there’s a really distinct finish: burnt popcorn and black pepper. While flavor and strength are both medium-full, the body actually picks up to full. Construction is similar to the second third in just about every regard: a couple touch-ups and one cigar with a bad draw.
- When I finished smoking my final sample, I thought about smoking another large Bolívar salomones, the Bolívar Armonía, a 2008 Chinese exclusive. As you can see, that cigar is identical in terms of shape and size.
- There are two notable differences between the cigars. One, the Chinese version cost $160, five times the price of the German. The Chinese version is also much more limited 16,064 cigars compared to 60,000.
- I had never really thought about the possibility of duplicate Edición Regionals, but it’s definitely a thing. I asked Christoph Puszkar, the marketing director for 5th Avenue Products Trading GmbH, the German distributor, about the duplicate nature. He told me that Habanos S.A. allows it, but that it cannot be within two years of the release.
- This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some other examples of duplicate Edición Regionals:
- El Rey del Mundo (5 5/9 x 50)
- Vikingos (Baltic 2007)
- Elegantes (Switzerland 2010)
- Juan López (4 x 50)
- Ideales (Austria 2011)
- Chiado 1864 (Portugal 2014)
- Por Larrañaga (6 7/10 x 50)
- Magnificos (United Kingdom 2007)
- Legendarios (Spain 2012)
- Ramón Allones (4 x 50)
- Petit Robusto (Israel 2011)
- Special Selected Robusto Corto (Países Bajos 2013)
- Ramón Allones (4 1/3 x 52)
- Lusitanos (Portugal 2010)
- Petit Allónes (Andorra 2013)
- Ramón Allones (5 1/2 x 52 pirámides)
- Especial de Allones (France 2008)
- Belicosos (Germany 2010)
- Vegas Robaina (4 x 50)
- Petit Robusto (Portugal 2008)
- Petit Robusto (France 2010)
- El Rey del Mundo (5 5/9 x 50)
- The two that stand out are the Tesoro and the Por Larrañaga Legendarios. Both of those cigars are examples of much more affordable versions of cigars that are highly sought-after.
- While I had to touch-up the cigar a bit, it was never because the burn line was uneven, rather, sometimes the cigar just needed help from going out.
- There’s something beautiful about the thick ash forming on the bulbulous head.
- These came out of a box with a box code of ETP SEP 16.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time ranged widely from two hours and 15 minutes to three hours.
The Bolívar Tesoro is a good cigar. It wasn’t until I finished smoking my last sample that I realized that I thought about comparing it to the Armonía. I then realized it was identical, at least dimensions-wise. I smoked that cigar over seven years after it was released, whereas the Tesoro is obviously much fresher. The differences are stark, albeit predictable. The Tesoro is much more vibrant, much bolder and at least comparing the two experiences, much better. Flavor-wise, this is one of the better regionals I’ve smoked in quite some time. Construction-wise, it wasn't flawless and our scoring system punishes it, but I'd gladly buy more of these and smoke them now.