Cigar Ratings & Reviews

CA Review Panel: Bolivar Cofradia Cigar Review (Video)

The Bolivar Cofradia Cigars Story

The Bolivar Cofradia selection was created by the late, great master blender for General Cigar, Estélo Padrón, production manager of Villazon’s HATSA (Honduran-American Tobacco S.A.) factories in Honduras. In addition to overseeing every aspect of tobacco production, Estélo was also in charge of the development and production of the Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey brands made outside of Cuba.

Born in Cuba in 1927, Estélo left Cuba in 1969 to settle in Spain. But that same year, his brother, Jose Orlando Padrón, patriarch of Padrón Cigars fame, brought Estélo from Spain to Nicaragua. Estélo worked for Padrón until 1971, and later moved to Honduras to join Villazon and its HATSA factories.

The Two Bolivars: Cuba vs Honduras

Having lived in Cuba, Estélo was quite familiar with the flavor profile of the popular Cuban Bolivar cigars. However, the goal was not to imitate the legendary cigars. Rather, Estélo’s Bolivar would have its own unique character, using a non-Cuban tobacco blend. It is also alleged that Estélo’s inspiration for Bolivar Cofradia came from Simon Bolivar’s bold and daring war strategy. Starting with an Ecuador-grown Sumatra seed wrapper, Estélo used heartier Honduran and Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos and bound them in a sweeter Connecticut broadleaf.

Bolivar Cofradia Cigars are presented in bôite nature boxes of 25 cigars as follows. The Petit Corona comes in a box of 24 cigars, and all sizes are also available in 5-packs, and singles.

Note: All reviews are based upon having smoked two samples.

Bolivar Cofradia Cigar Review – Churchill

Factory: HATSA – Danli, Honduras
Dimensions: 7¼” x 54
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Presentation: Boxes of 25 cigars ($146.99) / 5-packs ($29.99) / single
MSRP: $6.50/cigar (at time of publication)

Jared’s Tasting Notes…

Construction: Brown, smooth, and with a few veins. One of my samples lost its cap from a straight cut.
Draw: Great on several samples so far.
Pre-light flavor: Salty with a molasses sweetness.
Toasting & Light: Sour cream hints with peppers and spice.
Base flavors: Coffee, butter, leafy greens, spices, and nuts.
Retrohale: A little peppery.
Aroma: Nuts.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent across the board. Even color, not flaky, and burned very straight.


Ever looked at a cigar band and thought, That doesn’t look very good? Cofradia’s band made me think exactly that. Everyone says you should never judge a book by its cover. But as comedian Michael Che correctly once pointed out, “That’s why they put covers on books in the first place.” I’ll be fair and reserve my judgment for how it tastes – hopefully, it’s better than that band looks.

The cold draw has an inviting molasses sweetness. This soon makes room for a salty chip-like flavor, but it’s a quarter inch in where Cofradia starts to really open up. There are common cigar flavors like black coffee and light peppers, plus a leafy green sensation I couldn’t quite identify. All this before I’ve even hit the inch mark – and it just kept getting better.

At the inch mark, there’s a buttery texture to the smoke. It’s a little salty and it’s smooth, and you almost wish you had some popcorn to put it on. I also noticed a faint licorice note that tapers off to more of that leafy green flavor. It’s herbal and refreshing at this point. Really nice during the late summer dusk when it’s just starting to get into hoodie territory.

The next significant change is a little after the halfway mark. The coffee flavor becomes more pronounced. Black pepper tingles in the throat and the smoke on the palate gets both nutty and creamier than before. There’s a little tug of war before the pepper seems to just fall off completely, ending the cigar with an encore of the coffee, with nuts, butter, and light spices along for the ride.

If cigars were like racetracks, Bolivar Cofradia would be like the F1 Monaco Grand Prix. Full of twists and turns and barely anything resembling a straightaway. For a cigar under $7, that’s impressive. The band might not stand out from the crowd, but the experience sure does. If you’re new to cigars – or even smoke occasionally, this is probably going to be a good fit for you at its price.

John’s Tasting Notes…

Construction: This is a BIG Churchill; barrel is firm and well-packed, wrapped in a velvety (as opposed to oily) Sumatra with plenty of tooth.
Draw: A good amount of resistance, due to the size.
Pre-light flavor: Smell is peanutty and rich; tastes earthy, like stone, plus wheat and some sweetness on the lips.
Toasting & Light: First puffs are leather, earth and oak, with some sweetness creeping in.
Base flavors: Earth and wood, with a tannic-sweet finish.
Retrohale: Black pepper and oak.
Aroma: Cedary, and a bit toasty-sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Mostly white ash stacks quite neatly; not the most even burn line, but it’s straight enough. Make sure you rotate the cigar as you smoke it to encourage an even burn.


I checked with one of my “Cuban sources” (because I’m no expert) to find out how the two compare. If you’re familiar with the Cuban Bolivar, this apparently shares maybe 60% of the same kind of taste: earth and some spice, primarily. But not as floral or creamy as the Cuban original.

The rips of smoke aren’t huge, as there’s plenty of resistance in a cigar this big…but it burns for what seems like forever – although it’s probably the better part of 2 hours, to be more accurate.

What I’m struck by is how much spice there isn’t in the first half. Instead, it has more of a smoked quality to it. The second half introduces some spice, along with charred wood; the sweetness is more of a burned sugar. But there are a couple points at which this Bolivar Cofradia generates some spicy heat, and it cranks up the intensity to bring it home: earthy, peppery and nearly-full bodied. Match it with a lightly peated Scotch to emphasize the wood and earth, or balance it with a sweeter sipping rum.

In all, I’d say the Bolivar Cofradia is very consistent, with only a few mild changeups. So, if you like a cigar with this kind of profile and the flavors I’ve described, then there’s a ton of value for you in this slow, cool-burning smoke.

Gary‘s Tasting Notes…

Construction and Overall Appearance: Very good. The Churchill is dark, even in color, and has a somewhat toothy wrapper with some slight veinage. Otherwise, the cigar is well packed and shows no sign of soft spots. Being such a large cigar, it may feel a little heavy for some, but I had no problem with it. The cigar had a nice earthy-nutty fragrance when the foot is placed under the nose. Additionally, the scent off the wrapper itself was on the order of barnyard.
Draw: Very good with some slight resistance.
Pre-light flavor: Nutty and woody with a little saltiness.
Toasting and Light: Initial flavors were earthy, along with leather, wood, and smack of pepper.
Base flavors: Leather, cedar, roasted nuts, nutmeg, plus sweet and tangy spices.
Retrohale: Spicy.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn / Ash Quality: Excellent. The cigar burned evenly revealing firm, grey-black ashes that, when tapped, resulted in a conical shape. No relights were required, either.


I found the Bolivar Cofradia Churchill to be a very straightforward and pleasant tasting cigar that is well-suited for cigar smokers at every level of experience. So, if you’re looking for something with lots of strength and presence, this cigar isn’t for you.

The core flavors and overall strength were squarely in my comfort zone. I didn’t find it all that complex in terms of obvious changes, but it was highly consistent. It also retained its strength and mix of flavors down to the last two inches.

The cigar also smokes for close to two hours, which convinced me that golfers would like this Churchill. (Actually, it’s a lot larger than your average Churchill.) For those golfers who like the Excalibur No.1, you should definitely try the Bolivar Cofradia Churchill. Same dimensions, too, and this blend has a little more muscle.

Suffice it to say. . .Bolivar Cofradia is a solid, well-made, medium strength cigar that offers a satisfying mix of core flavors at a fairer-than-fair price.