The old Bolivar and Ramon Allones brands as you know them are gone—the non-Cuban versions anyway. General Cigar Co., has turned these storied lines over to the Foundry Tobacco Company, its subsidiary for experimental cigar projects, where the two brands have been reblended, repackaged and reimagined.
Though rich in history, these heritage brands have lagged on the U.S premium cigar market, overshadowed by General's higher-profile brands like Partagas, Macanudo and Cohiba. Ramon Allones has existed primarily as a catalog brand while Bolivar was geared more towards retail.
Under Foundry, both have been retooled by Michael Giannini, Foundry's founder and primary creative force. Like Giannini's previous projects, there is a theme behind this rebranding. Giannini calls it a "passport to forbidden tobacco," and says that these new blends represent a conceptual glimpse into the future, showcasing how the Ramon Allones and Bolivar brands could possibly look in 10 years.
Though it's not particularly clear which tobaccos are "forbidden," the blends and packaging are certainly a modern take on classic cigars. Gone is the Dominican wrapper that once defined Ramon Allones. The new blend consists of an Ecuadoran Sumatra cover leaf and Nicaraguan internal tobaccos. And Bolivar's Honduran wrapper from San Agustín has been replaced by a leaf from Connecticut.
According to General, Bolivar will come in a dark Connecticut Habano wrapper (not broadleaf), an Ecuadoran Sumatra binder and filler tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Both cigars are rolled with pigtail caps and uncut feet. They will also share the same size parameters and retail prices: 550, 5 inches by 50 ring gauge, retailing for $6.49; 652, 6 by 52 ($6.99); and 660, 6 by 60 ($7.49).
Made in the Dominican Republic at General Cigars Dominicana, the new Foundry Bolivar and Ramon Allones lines should hit retail stores around September.