The Unrevealed Secret of Preference
THERE MUST BE SOME KIND OF CAPTIVATION IN THE FACT THAT MANY EXPERT SMOKERS HANDPICK BOLIVAR
Much of what I have read about the Bolívar vitolas makes special emphasis on the strong character of the taste of that brand founded by Jose Fernandez Rocha in the early 20th century, between 1901 and 1902, registered in Havana in 1921 with property credited to his company, J.F. Rocha y Cia., and bought in 1954, when the demise of Cifuentes y Cia had already occurred, which transferred its production to the Partagás factory.
It is said that strength was the main reason for the brand's success since its creation, particularly in Great Britain, where it was distributed by British tobacco merchants Walters & Co., and all across Europe at a time when cigars with a strong taste and a lot of body were the favorite of expert smokers, gaining great popularity in the world market after it was acquired by the Cifuentes family.
And it is not at all that this trait does not tell the brand apart, which, as it has been well pointed out, is present coincidentally in the personality of Simón Bolívar, one of the most prominent figures in Latin American history, from whom it was named after; but the fact of the matter is this the only thing that Rocha appreciated in the Father of the Venezuelan Homeland to name his creation.
In the absence of references, there is no alternative but to let the imagination fly, without worrying too much about the image of Bolivar the cigar maker could have in his mind, a man who had been born in Galicia and had emigrated to Cuba at the tender age of fourteen, at a moment of revelation that led him to found a brand preferred by those who have put the licking for good things in life on their lists.
In short, whether or not it has been appreciated by Rocha, who perhaps only wanted to pay tribute to Simón Bolívar without even thinking about coincidences between the brand and the hero, there
is at least another important feature of the Liberator's personality that is directly linked to the very nature of the brand: passion.
No one can deny that Bolívar was not only a visionary, but above all a passionate man -what other explanation would have he had to devote his life to the realization of a project that entailed such enormous drawbacks and challenges as the liberation of much of South America and the creation of Gran Colombia.
And passion is precisely a characteristic shared by many Bolivar smokers, who will attend for the first time, in this 22nd edition of the Habano Festival, the launch of its Reserve: Bolívar Belicosos Finos Cosecha 2016.
I am not referring to the amorous passion that defines the ardent predilection for another person, nor only to the passion for quality, for excellence, which leads them to wallowing in some of the brand's vitolas, whether Inmensas, Coronas Gogantes or Coronas Extras, all hand-rolled with long filler, with selected leaves from the Vuelta Abajo tobacco plantations in Pinar del Río, you know, the land that produces the best tobacco in the world. It must have been this passion for cult cigars that led French writer, journalist and literary critic Eugène Marsan, author of Le Cigare
(1929) and La découverte de l'Amérique et du Cigare (1931), to fervently recommend from the Bolivar brand, according to Aurelio Pastor in El mundo de los Puros, the Barons and the Little Dukes as "irreprochable" cigars.
When I use the term "passion", I am thinking above all of this vehement effort to achieve a purpose, an objective, which sometimes takes on someone, even stealing their sleep and not giving them just a single minute of peace until the job is done.
And I have no doubt in my mind that a seasoned smoker, a real connoisseur of the art of smoking, will always make up their minds for the brands and vitolas that match their personality, that eventually underscore it and express coherence in their behavior. What I want to underline here is that there must be some kind of captivation in the fact that many expert smokers handpick Bolivar.
What's more, Martín Fernández Viveiro, in an article published in La Voz de Galicia in January 2017 —Los Fernández Rocha, tabaqueros de Reinante entre los más ricos en Cuba— grants the founder of the brand an enterprising character, a definition that also portrays him as a passionate man, since it would be difficult to undertake difficult or random actions with resolution if you don't feel passion for what you're doing.
I am not saying that other Habano brands do not inspire this uncontrollable force or desire, nor can I assure you that Bolivar smokers are far more passionate than people who puff on other brands. What I do say is that both the strength of character and the passion that characterized the person who inspired the creation of this brand are part of the deepest basics behind this brand.