A number of months ago, my friend and BOTL Mike Holmes gifted me a new cigar I have not heard of. The small boutique brand, Fuerte y Libre was founded by two friends, Greg Free and Randy Karl, back in 2013, and according to the company’s website, the story is told:
“In 2013, with cigar lit and drink in hand, we hatched the idea of starting a brand of cigars that would exemplify the Strength and Freedom that define America. We spent the next five years covering the bases of building a business, while also smoking a lot of cigars, to define what palate our blends would speak to. This journey of taste led us to Tamboril known to many as the ‘World Capital of Cigars’.“
The name Fuerte y Libre translates to Strength and Freedom and that is the mantra the company lives by.
In 2019, the company’s first blend – Bodacious – arrived in the US at the company’s first retailer, Tobaccology in Manassas, VA. The name Bodacious was chosen as it is is the name of a championship bull that lived from 1988—May 16, 2000. The Bodacious bull was named the 2019 Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Brand of Honor bull. Bodacious was a bucking bull who was known throughout the rodeo sport of bull riding as “the world’s most dangerous bull.” He was also known as “the greatest bull ever to buck.”
Fuerte y Libre has since released two other blends, the Bushwacker and the Midnight Bender, but today we will focus on the company’s first release, Bodacious.
The Fuerte y Libre Bodacious comes in two wrappers, a maduro and a habano. The blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorean Habano or Maduro
- Binder – Dominican Piloto Cubano
- Filler – Dominican Piloto Cubano
The company notes:
“At the start we were trying to recreate the transition from classic Cuban cigars to Cuban seed Dominicans and these are an expression of that journey.”
The Fuerte y Libre Bodacious is expressed in three vitolas each packaged in 20-count boxes.
- Robusto (5×52)
- Toro (6 x 52)
- Torpedo (6 x 50)
For this review, I sampled one of the Fuerte y Libre Bodacious habano robustos.
The Fuerte y Libre Bodacious is a medium brown cigar with a nice touch of marbling through the leaf. There are some noticeable veins and the cigar has a decent sheen. The presentation is finished with a simple cap.
A single band adorns the Bodacious. It uses a black, gold, and red band that boldly displays the silhouette of the Bodacious bull in the center. The company name “FUERTE Y LIBRE CIGARS” wraps around it and the name “BODACIOUS” is printed in gold one a black background on the bottom.
Running the Bodacious under the nose, I picked up a mild spice note along the barrel and earthy notes off the foot.
I sliced the cap straight with my double blade cutter and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that were satisfactory on the draw and offered notes of earth and pepper.
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow, which took to the heat of the flame well. I drew in the first puffs of peppery smoke to start the journey of this bull. Follow along as I burn the Bodacious to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Peppery blast off the first puffs
- Light grey ash forms on a medium char line
- Decent smoke volume
- Coffee and spice notes greet the palate as the pepper recedes
- Pleasant Cubanesque floral aroma wafts off the foot
- Cream notes join the profile
- Ash falls in a small chunk revealing an off centered cone
- Off burn developed that required a touch-up
- Slight bitter note enters midway followed by cedar notes
- Burns a tad hot to the touch, deep in second third
- Spice increases especially on the retro-hale and lingers on the palate
- Continued wavy burn
- Cream reenters in final down to the nub
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 Minutes
Overall, the Fuerte y Libre Bodacious Robusto was a decent cigar that had a core of pepper and spice with pleasant nuances of cream, coffee, and cedar through the burn. Construction wise, it had a wavy burn, and off centered burn cone and did require a touch up deep in the second third. I rate this an 89.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn, (-1) Touch up required; (-1) Slight Bitterness; (-1) Off Centered Burn Cone; (-1) Off Burn