Cigar Aficionado

Bolivar Belicoso Fino
Belicoso Fino
52 52
Tasting Note
Perhaps the single most consistently full-bodied smoke that Cuba produces, the Bolivar Belicoso Fino is a perennial favorite for those favoring strong Cuban smokes. It's named after Simon Bolivar, who lead the effort to liberate much of South America from Spain. Consider him the George Washington of America's Southern hemisphere. The brand was created in 1902 and features a bold, prominent portrait of the man on both the bands and the boxes. The Belicoso Fino is the only figurado in the Bolivar line, which is probably why it registers as the strongest smoke across the brand. The fairly heavy ring gauge provides an abundance of smoke while the tapered head concentrates it before it reaches the palate, resulting in an elementally earthy smoke, heavy in minerals, raw cocoa and coffee bean. But the tapered head also adds a piquancy to the already full-bodied cigar. Strong and earthy, Bolivar Belicoso Finos are offered in both wooden slide-lid cabinets and paper-lined dress boxes. Some believe that the cedary environment of cabinets are ideal for long-term aging, while others prefer the neutrality of paper. The cigars we smoked for this test were from traditional dress boxes (with a March 2015 production stamp), so they were packaged as 13 cigars on the top row, 12 cigars on the bottom, causing the tightly packed Belicosos to take on the kind of squarish, box-pressed appearance that cannot be achieved in a cabinet.
Body Full
Size Figurado
Ring Gauge 52
Length 5 1/2"
Filler Cuba
Binder Cuba
Wrapper Cuba
Issue Cigar Aficionado – Jan 01, 2016
Price £17.96
Box DateMarch 2015
Designation Top 25 of 2015 | Rank: 9
More Reviews of this Cigar
Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Feb 01, 2019 | Score: 89

A primarily woody belicoso with hints of cinnamon, chocolate and a salty touch of marine brine. Some woodiness recurs on the finish. The ash is a bit flaky.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jan 01, 2018 | Score: 94

The Cuban Bolivar brand has long been the choice for fans of stronger cigars. And as more Americans get the chance to sample Cuban cigars (due to the relaxed restrictions on their purchase), Bolivar is often a preferred choice on account of its fuller body. While it isn't one of Cuba's largest brands, it certainly has a very long history and a loyal, international following. Sadly, there aren't many sizes in the Bolivar portfolio left to choose from, and only two of them are large cigars. There's the Royal Corona, which has previously won Cigar of the Year, and then the Belicoso Fino, a beautifully tapered smoke crafted with a signature earthy core and plenty of sweet, savory notes ranging from salt and nuts to chocolate and graham cracker. The cigar is indeed strong and earthy, but do not mistake that for crude or rustic—each element of flavor is conveyed to the palate in measured, balanced layers. And, unlike most Cuban cigars, the Bolivar Belicoso Fino comes in both dress boxes and wooden cabinets, which are a bit more difficult to find. For this tasting, we sampled cigars from the slide-lid cedar cabinets, and yes, there was the welcome hint of cedar as well.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Dec 01, 2017 | Score: 92

A fine-looking belicoso that produces a silky, creamy smoke layered with notes of nuts, wood and black pepper. A medium- to full-bodied cigar.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Apr 01, 2017 | Score: 91

An attractive belicoso that balances clear, profound notes of nuts, graham cracker and salt with hints of chocolate and cedar. A sweet and savory smoke.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Dec 01, 2015 | Score: 94

The bold, earthy core of this softly pressed belicoso is complemented by a range of complex spices from nutmeg and cumin to cinnamon and black tea. It's buttressed by a chocolate-like finish.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Apr 01, 2014 | Score: 89

A strikingly oily belicoso with a firm draw. It's strong and rich, delivering a strong, earthy core and prominent woodiness though the finish is a bit dry.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jan 01, 2013 | Score: 93

In the old days of Cuban cigars, if you wanted a really strong smoke you likely reached for a Bolivar, a brand dating back to the early 1900s and named after Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America. While today's Bolivars aren't quite the consistent powerhouses they once were, at their best they are bold, memorable and flavorful smokes. The Bolivar Belicoso Fino size is known as a campana in Cuban cigar factories, a marque that is shorter than a piramide but with the same, plump 52 ring gauge and an artfully tapered head. We are quite fond of recent- production Bolivar Belicoso Finos, finding them loaded with flavors, from hearty leather to semisweet chocolate to cedar. These cigars are full in body, bold and rich, giving the smoker a taste of Cuban tobacco at its most memorable.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Dec 01, 2012 | Score: 93

Though there's a slightly firm draw to this belicoso, plenty of rich, leathery flavors are communicated to the palate, as are semisweet chocolate notes and cedar.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Aug 01, 2011 | Score: 92

This draw on this belicoso is a bit firm, but it burns evenly. It's nutty and woody in character, but progresses to show coffee bean and citrus flavors before the bright, cedary finish. Medium bodied.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Aug 01, 2010 | Score: 91

A well-formed belicoso with a few veins. The smoke has a velvety texture and is full of toast, earth and cedary flavors that cohere to a floral, herbaceous finish.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jan 01, 2009 | Score: 92

This small torpedo was a longtime favorite of a number of our editors—especially Cubancigar specialist James Suckling—but lost some of its punch in the late 1990s with the unbridled production of Cuban cigars. Once the reins were pulled back, the quality and blend were restored to their original rich and powerful stature. Current production is overseen at the Partagas factory, and only the top rollers are allowed to make the cigars. The examples we rated were gorgeous, with a distinct core of coffee flavors that warmed to walnut and leather undertones. All the flavors culminated in a long finish with a predominance of coffee. The punch and richness are definitely back in this manly smoke.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Oct 01, 2008 | Score: 92

Nearly perfect in appearance, this cigar shows a distinct core of coffee flavors that warm to walnut and leather intonations. All the flavors culminate on the long finish with a predominance of coffee throughout.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Aug 01, 2006 | Score: 91

A short figuardo with a gorgeous Colorado wrapper. It’s an earthy smoke, with cedar and leather notes and a touch of cocoa beans on the palate. The finish is peppery. Strong yet balanced.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Apr 01, 2003 | Score: 91

This gorgeous figurado has a fine draw, though the burn is slightly off. Medium to full bodied, it gains strength as it is smoked. Vegetal, grassy flavors lead to a smooth, flavorful finish.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Apr 01, 2002 | Score: 91

This attractive belicoso is a very slow starter. Early on it's rough, but it blossoms into a full-bodied powerhouse with complex flavors such as sweet coffee, leather and chocolate.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jun 01, 2001 | Score: 90

This medium to full-bodied cigar, oily torpedo has a silky wrapper. It burns well, with a gray ash. The smoke has notes of chocolate, cedar and rich coffee beans.

Issue: Cigar Insider: May 01, 2001 | Score: 88

This nicely made cigar has a pale wrapper. It draws well, with a sandy, earthy flavor and hints of coffee and orange peel.

Issue: Cigar Insider: Aug 01, 2000 | Score: 88

An oily cigar with a somewhat rough construction. It has an easy draw, with heavy earthy flavors and a faint sour note. It tastes a bit young.

Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Oct 01, 1999 | Score: 89

While this cigar has some its trademark earth and leather notes, it has a slightly dry finish. Looks great, and it is very well-balanced and aged. But lacks a bit of depth.

Cigar Aficionado's 100-Point Scale
  • Classic: 95-100
  • Outstanding: 90-94
  • Very good to excellent: 80-89
  • Average to good commercial quality: 70-79
  • Don't waste your money: 0-69
100-Point Scale