2007/01 – Cigar Hunting in Geneva with Tom Bolivar

28 Jan

 By Tom “Bolivar”

The weekend is coming up and with my family still in Argentina it is either stay at home and do some laundry, iron my shirts and tidy up a bit or I could go and see if I’ll find that special box of cigars I’m always on the lookout for.

The evaluation process

At first I thought I could go to Andorra. Drive there on Friday do some shopping on Saturday and drive back on Sunday. Theoretically the time schedule would have worked out but to drive as much as 12 hours without knowing what to find there…

I could fly to London and return on the same day. Get me a box of Ramon Allones Belicosos and have a pint of draft or Guinness (or both) eat some Fish and Chips and stroll along the historic sights. But wouldn’t it be easier and much cheaper to just order the Belicosos via the Internet?

My rationality jumped in and put a stop to all that daydreaming. But, hey, what was the other option again? Laundry, ironing, cleaning? I don’t think so!

Why not take a train to Geneva and check the shops for some discontinued, small Bolivars? Yeah, great idea! Get to spend a day with a very nice train ride and soak up some Swiss French Flair while cigar shopping! This is it.

Geneva, here I come!

Public transportation

Just two days ago Switzerland got covered in snow. Everything is white and the temperature is cold but bearable. So I got myself some cigar magazines (the ride will take as much as seven hours forth and back) and bought the ticket early in the morning. And via Zurich the train heads off down south west to Geneva. During the train ride the sky opens up and the sun comes out, right where the railway tracks follow the bank of the Lake of Geneva. The landscape is looking better than a postcard!


Arrived in Geneva – I’ll walk down towards the river and after five walking minutes I’m at the first stop.

Tabac Rhein, Rue du Mont-Blanc 1

The woman is exceptionally nice and speaks as much as six languages (I only spoke to words of French and it was enough for her to know that I’m from the Swiss German part… 😉 ). They have tons of special boxes: Lots of ELs, e.g. the old and the new Montecristo Robusto, several boxes of the Partagas Salomon from 2005 (even selling them by the stick), the Trinidad Farmhouse, some commemorative Humidors and what puzzled me the most a genuine looking (and smelling) box of Montecristo Churchills, custom made. Unfortunately no Bolivar Panetelas, Demi Tasse, Chicos or Regentes… So I cross the river heading straight for the next one.

Davidoff, Rue de Rive 2

It takes me ages to look at all the boxes in the huge walk-in Humidor, stretching the patience of the poor guy that has to attend me. They have tons of Saint Luis Rey Double Coronas, about five boxes of the Montecristo Double Coronas from 2001 and some other EL stuff. A bunch of El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse with as much as twelve years on them. And again another big surprise: I see about 10 boxes of the German Edicion Regionales, the Bolivar Colosales in the 50 cabs. The price is higher than in Germany though. (I assume that the boxes found their way onto a Swiss shelf because the biggest Swiss distributor and the only German distributor are owned by the same Swiss gentleman.) Since there is no sign of the Bolis I am looking for, I comfort myself with three single sticks of the SLR Double Corona from October 2005 and a Davidoff Robusto “100” (thank you Zino J ). And off to the next place it is!

Raffi, Place Longemalle 2

I enter the store for the first time. I’m surprised how small it is. The walk-in Humidor is the smallest I’ll visit today. The selection is really nice and I see some Ramon Allones 8-9-8, Cohibas and Cuabas in the jar and the Intertabak Humidor (for the Swiss distributor). Nice, but no Bolivars. Asking for collective items I get confronted with a cigar especially made for Raffi. It comes as a Churchill or a Salomones and it is wearing a silver band saying Raffi and a anniversary date. Although I am not a Figurado guy I get myself a Salomones. They just look awesome. And lucky me, it is not far to the next cigar shop!

Gestocigar, Rue du Marche 12-14, fifth floor

Very friendly service again (I can not complain today!) and a huge Humidor with the correct humidity and temperature. There are at least 10 to 15 boxes of each vitola nicely stacked. And even though the prices are very tempting they do not have the discontinued cigars I am looking for. The quest goes on.

Meanwhile my stomach tells me to take a break and shortly after I stand in front of a place called Sushi Train. I think to myself, “I came here by train I might as well eat off of one!” And guess what: seriously good stuff!

And know what on top? Around the corner is…

Spring, La Casa del Habanos, Rue du Rhône 82

A very nice selection, ordered by size, not by marca. I see some special Humidors like the Partagas 160 for example. Two or three boxes of Partagas Serie D No. 4 Reservas, Cohiba Reserva del Millenio (do I have to say jar?) and so on. But guess what. No discontinued Bolivars. I seize the opportunity and I buy one single Montecristo Petit Edmundo (this reminds me to not only bring my cutter in the future, but take the puncher with me too!). The sun is still shining outside, so the walk to the next place is a pure pleasure along the lakeside straight to the Noga Hilton.

Gerard, Noga Hilton, rue Plantamour 34

The hotel is still being renovated but Gerard is easy to locate anyway. I like the new store since I find it very clearly arranged and bright. I immediately ask for Panetelas and Demi Tasse, but no luck. The young vendor steps into the Humidor (or better said behind the glass wall) to get some Demi Tasse from El Rey del Mundo. Maybe I would like these? Then he stops for a second and says “Wait a minute, here is a little box from Bolivar”. I stop looking at all the beautiful accessory like the jars, cutters and stuff and what do you know! A box of Bolivar Chicos from 2001! Man, what a day! I almost forget to look at all the rest Gerard has on display. If the cigar comes in a cabinet of 50 it is there for sale. Maybe I’ll try his personal line the next time…

Even though I still could visit double the amount of shops I am getting so tired that I decide to call it a day and I head back to the railway station. On my way back I hit Globus rapidly (one of the more “exclusive” warehouses in Switzerland) and I am surprised by the width of accessory that they have. Amongst some fine leather cases lined with cedar I admire a beautiful jar with a vista like design and another jar which is a bit more rustic and coming in every colour you can imagine. Nice.

What is left to say

Happy with the prey I enjoy the ride back home watching the sun set over the French part of Switzerland and peacefully nodding off for a while. Visit Geneva again? But for sure I will!


Tom Bolivar

PS: The Digicam is in Argentina too. So there are no pictures this time. Thinking of it this gives me the best excuse to return soon. 😉

Copyright 01-2007 by Tom “Bolivar”
Copyright Nino


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