Bock y Ca Edicion de Oro Robusto


Gustav Bock is best known as the first cigar maker to put bands on his Havanas, starting sometime around 1854. At that time most cigars were sold from large bags of loose sticks and couldn’t be identified once separated from the mothership. One story says that Bock invented the cigar band to keep inferior cigars from being sold as his own. Another, more unlikely, tale is that they were designed to prevent staining the fingers of high society ladies (or gents given to the practice of wearing white gloves.) 

But Herr Bock was a master businessman who had a gift for marketing. When he found that he could not break into the American market without brand recognition, even when he was offering his cigars nearly at cost, he developed an ingenious plan. Legend has it that he shipped small lots of cigars to “various undiscoverable places” in the U.S. addressed to George Washington. The undervalued parcels never reached their fictitious destinations and were picked up by customs agents, sold at auction, and thereby entered the American market. The cigars were recognized for their quality, identified by their bands, and eventually gained a loyal following.  

Today we have these bits of cigar lore by which to remember Gustav Bock, but during his lifetime he became a recognized captain of industry. In the latter part of his career, around the turn of the century, Bock’s holdings were consolidated to form Henry Clay, Bock and Co, and later he gained control of the Havana Commercial Company as well. At that time he controlled almost all of the cigar production in Cuba. Later on this company would be acquired by the American Tobacco Company, and eventually all these dealings would end up at the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court as an antitrust issue. Bock was more about big business than cigar bands, but today that is what remains. That, and a brand name.

One of Bock’s better known brands was called “Aguila de Oro” or Golden Eagle, and while the Bock brand name has passed through many hands in the past century, the eagle remains. There appears to be a Dominican made version of this cigar currently available in Europe. Altadis may be marketing one version to the U.S. and a different one to the EU, as it appears to be doing with the VegaFina brand as well.

In any case, the blend on the shelves here in the U.S. is of Nicaraguan origin, with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan Habano binder and filler. The line was created (or re-introduced) by Altadis “to compliment our lines of inexpensive premium brands like Gispert and Vega Fina.”

The general appearance of the Bock robusto does nothing to betray the marketing of this cigar as an “inexpensive” brand. It’s rough and the cap is cut unevenly. It looks like it was thrown together in a rush. The prelight wrapper scent is of fresh hay and a prelight pull tastes bright and grassy. The draw is firm but serviceable.

But this cigar shouldn’t be judged by prelight appearances alone; it performs a whole lot better than it looks. It starts up with a pleasant toasty sweet tobacco flavor. Nothing unusual, just straight up smooth and creamy smoke. It’s mild to medium in body with a nice texture and very little bite. It sets up a solid white ash that compares favorably with any premium Nicaraguan cigar I’ve smoked in the past year.

This robusto builds in flavor toward the mid-point, getting a little woodier and by the last third brings a moderate dose of spice and most surprisingly, cocoa. I can’t think of another cigar in this price range that shows up with cocoa in any amount… but this one has it, at least in the mid to final stages. It’s not as thoroughgoing as the premium Pepin blends, but for a fraction of the price I have to say I’m impressed.

And the price is low. Seriously low. A box of Bock y Ca robustos runs around 30 USD. And yes, it’s a box, not a bundle. At this price you can hardly go wrong, unless you’re expecting a full bodied superpremium, which it isn’t. It’s a quality blue-collar medium bodied smoke, for a solid blue collar price. Try a couple. Your wallet will thank you and your palate won’t complain.

For other reviews of good cheap smokes, check out Walt’s Bargain Cigar Breakdown at the Stogie Review. 



14 thoughts on “Bock y Ca Edicion de Oro Robusto

  1. Fascinating! A German cigar maker. That’s definitely a new one on me. I have always held that marketing is what makes or breaks a product. Sounds like this guy was a marketing genius getting cigars into the U.S. through unsuspecting customs agents. That’s choice stuff.

    Have never seen these in east coast B&M tobacconists but I see JRs and Cigars for Less have them. My son enjoys bargain cigars and this one sounds like his alley. I’ll have him read your comments and mooch off him if he bites.

    Great review big guy! Really enjoyed it.

  2. I have to disagree with you. I thought this smoke was just horrible. I remember the older blend when they used to be wrapped in a paper like box and they were much better. I made sure and smoke a few of these before I passed judgement and just did not like them.

    By the way, when are we going to meet for a cigar?

  3. Howdy Justin – I guess the paper wrapped version must have been the Dominican version. Sorry you didn’t like the new Nicaraguan. It’s not a GREAT cigar by any stretch, but horrible? Nah… but as they say, de gustibus non disputandum est.

  4. Someone once described, to me, a cigar as having a ‘barnyard’ flavor. The Edicion de Oro conjured that image for me, and it’s just not my bag. I linked to your review at the end on mine here.

    Happy New year.

  5. I am the great grandson of Gustav Bock, the well known Cuban cigar manufacturer. He was originally from Hamburg, Germany. My great grandfather died in Havana at the age of 74.

    We know that he use to visit Hamburg often and are interested in knowing, if someone can help us find our long lost relatives.

    Hector Chomat Bock (305) 761-3232 / Miami Florida

    • Gustav Bock Lauten was also my great grand father.
      As far as I know, he had two wives i.e. Isabel Macias and Lydia Keen (my great grand mother).
      Lydia Bock Lauten (my grand mother and doughter of Gustav Bock and Lydia Keen) married in Florence (Italy) my grand father Dr.Carlo Giarré.
      One of doughters living in Paris is, since a long time, trying to reconstruct our genealogical tree and both of us too are very interested to “find our long lost reltives”!
      We have already contacted and met the descendants of Gustav von Bock and Isabel Macias, who are living in Germany, and would be very pleased to contact you as well.
      Carlo Giarré.

  6. I have been buying these at Costco in northern Virginia for the past couple of years. If you let them age a couple of months in your humidor, they are actually pretty good. At $2 a stick, you can’t go wrong. I admit they are rather unpleasant until they have rested for a few weeks. I have a few left in rotation that are two years old and they are divine. A true medium cigar.

  7. wow, interesting string. i had been doing some reading on the origin of cigar bands etc. i thought it interesting that some of the first cigars i had were the Bock Y Ca robusto maduro. i liked the cigars especially for the price at the time. what i was more taken by was the cigar sleeves that wrapped each of the stogies. i couldn’t help thinking that the bock cigar band had and influence on me some hundred plus years later! if Gustave Bock was the first to use cigar bands to distinguish his product as a marketing tool, what a testimony to a masterful business decision.
    p.s. have fun finding all of your family tree roots. a worthy undertaking indeed.i would be interested to know if anyone from the bock family tree are involved in the cigar industry today?

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