Named for Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan military leader and politician who was also the key figure involved in the freeing of Latin American from Spanish rule, the cigar brand is a pre-revoulution marca established in 1902 by Jose Fernandez Rocha. Later purchased by the Cifuentes family in 1954 along with the La Gloria Cubana, Bolivar is considered a multi-local brand by Habanos S.A. with only a minor market share.
The Gold Medal was a pre-1960 cigar that was axed from production in 1992, and then re-issued from 2007 to 2011 as a La Casa Del Habano exclusive. Listed by Habanos as a cervantes, the Gold Medal is sized at 6.5 inches (165mm) by 42 ring gauge, a classic lonsdale configuration. Offered in boxes of 10, this vitola comes wrapped in shiny gold foil paper for about half of it's length with the traditional Bolivar band and accented with a secondary LCDH ring. This particular specimen had been a gift way back on March 22nd, 2008, and had been resting comfortably in one of this smoker's humidors. It was selected as a birthday treat, something "special" to punctuate the occasion.
Once unwrapped, the cigar had a nice light sheen to the wrapper, which was milk chocolate in color and highlighted with fine veining. Once cut a deliberate draw was found, with the primary tastes of tea, graham cracker, and earth. A spicy, peppery tingle was noted on the lips and tongue during the prelight draw. Once lit and throughout the smoking session, the cigar profile was rather consistent, with flavors of oak wood, white pepper, and smooth tobacco with hints of tannins. Construction was flawless, though towards the final third the deliberate draw got a bit tighter. This seemed to hinder combustion, and a bit of torch manipulating was required to keep the entire foot alight. Overall, the Gold Medal is a bit of a change of pace from the typical Bolivar flavor profile, but a very fine and memorable smoke.
Paired with the light bodied, but very tasty, Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask Single Malt Scotch. A very fine combination!
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