Bolivar Cofradia Cuban Corona
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Once known as the “Bolivar Fuerte,” the name was changed to distinguish it from General’s Dominican-made Bolivar in 2005. The Cofradia is crafted at Villazon’s Honduras factory under the supervision of Estelo Padron. It is packed cabinet style in quantities of 25, and the bundle is tied with yellow ribbon.
A bonus for the collector is that Villazon is in the habit of writing the box date in pencil on the underside of the box. I don’t know if it’s a factory policy, but I’ve noticed it previously on boxes of JR Ultimate, El Rey del Mundo, and these Bolivars. Handy if you’re searching for aged stock in the B&M. Even when you’re buying on the net and don’t have the option of hand-selecting your box, at least you know the age of the smokes. My box, purchased in December, dates to August 2006.
This 5.62″ x 46 parejo isn’t pretty in the classic sense, but it looks tasty nonetheless. The dark Ecuador sungrown wrapper has moderate veining and an inviting, oily sheen. A glance at the foot reveals a patch of dark ligero.
The Cofradia grabs your attention right away with a peppery tingle, leather and a fleeting hint of molasses. Full-bodied, but there is plenty of nuance behind the power. The long finish starts with a dusty cocoa texture, but turns sweet and caramelized after a second or two. In this sense, it reminds me of the fantastic Oliva Angel 100 or (dare I say…) the Ashton VSG.
For the first two-thirds, the spice is balanced by the sweetness on the end. This sweetness fades on the final third, and is replaced by an earthier flavor along with some char. But it stops short of turning unpleasant.
The knock on this smoke is that the construction is only average. The burn can be unruly, particularly if you’re hitting it often. I have to remind myself to nurse these. This one required a touch-up at the halfway mark. The draw, however, is consistently good.
CONCLUSION: This overlooked brand is spicy, strong and complex. The Cuban Corona is my favorite size of the line, packing a ton of flavor into a smallish format. The only thing not to love is the so-so build, but the $69.95/box price tag more than makes up for that shortcoming. Given the way this 18-month old cabinet is performing, it’s safe to say the Bolivar Cofradia is an excellent candidate for long-term aging.