La Bohéme (Poeta) by Boutique Blends Cigars

La Bohéme was one of four new cigars launched by Boutique Blends Cigars at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. La Bohéme is not just a new cigar, but it is the first cigar of a new brand being launched in the Boutique Blends portfolio with the same name. This becomes the first new brand by the company since Oliveros Cigars rebranded itself as Boutique Blends and brought the Swag and Aging Room Cigars’ brands under that umbrella. Like the Swag and Aging Room lines, La Bohéme is produced at Jochi Blanco’s Tabacalera La Palma in the Dominican Republic. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke La Bohéme. So far, 2014 is proving to be a very strong with Boutique Blends – and La Bohéme is a cigar that clearly helps reinforce this position.

La Bohéme is the name of an opera composed by Giacomo Puccini and a song composed by Charles Aznavour, both favorites of Boutique Blends President Rafael Nodal.  In fact Nodal has said this cigar brings together his three passions – his love for music, love for Cuban culture, and love for cigars.  For his cigar, Nodal integrated the musical theme with a Cubanesque look of a cigar and its banding

Packaging of La Bohéme – Pittore Vitola
Cigar Coop IPCPR 2014 Photo
(Note different size than cigar being assessed)

As for the La Bohéme brand, Nodal and his partner Hank Bischoff confirmed on the 9/4/14 edition of Stogie Geeks that there would are follow-up releases that will fall under this brand.

Blend Profile

The La Bohéme uses an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.  This is one of two cigars by Boutique Blends released this year that use this wrapper .  The other cigar, the Aging Room Bin No. 1 was actually the first cigar since Boutique Blends launched to use this wrapper. Now a few short weeks later, La Bohéme becomes the second.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican

Vitolas Available

La Bohéme will be launched in four sizes. Each of the four vitola names are based on characters from the opera.

Mimi: 3 1/2 x 46
Pittore: 5 1/8 x 52
Poeta: 5 3/4 x 54
Musico: 6 1/4 x 60

Nodal also told Stogie Geeks that production would be a “controlled production” – meaning there would be a limited production each year.

Apperance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the La Bohéme Poeta – which is basically a Toro Grande size. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the La Bohéme Poeta has a medium brown – almost caramel-like color. The surface of the wrapper has a moderate amount of oil on it. There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are well hidden.

According to Nodal, La Bohéme’s band is a throwback to Cuba’s “Golden Age”.  The design of the band is based on an actual vintage Cuban band from the 19th century.  The band itself almost has the look of an oil painting. The band features an ivory background with gold trim.  The middle of the band features a female portrait over a green backdrop.  The portrait is surrounded by gold adornments and medallions.  Above the portrait is the text “La Boheme” in gold cursive font.  On the lower left is the text “REPUBLICA” in small black font.  On the lower right is the text “DOMINICANA” in small black font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my La Bohéme Poeta, I went with a straight cut.  Once I clipped the cap off the cigar, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw provided a nice mix of natural tobacco flavors along with some notes of red pepper.  While I considered this to be a simple pre-light draw in terms of flavor profile, I did consider it to be a satisfying one.  At this point, I was ready to light up the La Bohéme and see what the overall smoking experience had in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the La Bohéme Poeta provided more of the natural tobacco and red pepper notes I got from the pre-light draw. The flavors soon expanded as some notes of earth and sugar cane mixed in with the natural tobacco flavors. The red pepper notes moved into the background. At the same time, while I got some red pepper on the tongue, I also detected a black pepper on the retro-hale. While there was a two dimensional spice, the pepper was not overpowering.

Around the five percent mark was slight citric quality that surfaced with the La Bohéme.  It was enough to create my definition of a “twang” on the tongue.  Typically I get a twang when flavors of natural tobacco, pepper, and citrus converge.  The twang didn’t replace the other flavors, but added a layer on top of those flavors.

By the middle of the first third, the natural tobacco flavors now were joined by some notes of vanilla bean – which replaced the earth and sugar cane notes from earlier on.  The natural tobacco flavors as well as the twang remained.  This flavor profile would hold into the second third.

The last third saw the pepper become the primary flavor.  The vanilla, natural tobacco, and twang notes were now in a secondary role.  This is the way the flavor profile came to a close.  The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

La Bohéme burned like a champion.  I found this burn to remain sharp from start to finish.  The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color.  It remained firm for the majority of the smoking experience and the ash came off the cigar in nice clean chunks.  The burn rate and burn temperature of La Bohéme was ideal.

 

La-Bohéme-by-Boutique-Blends-Cigars-Burn
Burn of La Bohéme Poeta

The draw was excellent as well.  I’ve mentioned many times how I think a touch of resistance helps a draw because it prevents you for over-drawing a cigar.  The La Bohéme Poeta fits into this category and was a real joy to smoke.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, La Bohéme started out in the medium range.  There was a gradual increase in strength and toward the latter part of the second third, I felt the strength moved into the medium to full category.  The body kept pace with the strength.  The cigar started out medium-bodied before progressing to medium to full just before the end of the second third.  This cigar is a great example of balancing strength versus body.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this cigar is another winner by Boutique Blends Cigars. While I do think the term “Cubanesque” is cliché, there are qualities of the La Bohéme that certainly are reminiscent of a Cuban cigar – most notably the “twang”. At the same time, this cigar is very much its own story. When I assessed the Aging Room Bin No. 1, this year’s other Ecuadorian Habano wrapper release from Boutique Blends, I commented how the flavors were unique for a cigar with that wrapper combined with Dominican tobaccos. With the La Bohéme, Boutique Blends and Jochi Blanco do it again – delivering a very unique profile for that blend profile.  This is a cigar I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s definitely one I would smoke again – and it’s worthy of a box split.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last third)
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last third)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 92

References

News: La Bohéme by Boutique Blends Cigars (Cigar Preview)
Price: $12,25
Source: Samples provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Episode: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a