La Boheme Poeta by Boutique Blends Cigar Review

La Boheme Poetta Cigar Review

I imagine you’d find yourself hard-pressed to think of a more overnight success than Boutique Blends. Since their inception roughly four years ago, the Miami based company has skyrocketed to being one of the hottest names in the boutique scene. Their two core lines, Aging Room and SWAG, have both received near endless praise from publications and enthusiasts alike. Nearly all of the core Aging Room lines – M356, F55 Quattro, and the Aging Room Maduro, have scored a 90 or higher from Cigar Aficionado. Moreover, the F55 Quattro took home the number two spot on Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 for 2013.

At the IPCPR trade show earlier this year Boutique Blends announced several new additions to their portfolio. Additions under the Aging Room banner consist of the Bin No. 1, as well as the successor to last years M21 ffortisimo, the M20 ffortisimo. The SWAG brand also saw a new addition in the form of the SWAG Black. Among the new releases from Boutique Blends is the one in which we will be discussing today: La Boheme.

Fans of romantic-era classical will immediately recognize the name La Boheme as the same name of Giacomo Puccini’s prolific opera from 1895. As it happens, La Boheme happens to be one of Boutique Blends’ president, Rafael Nodal’s favorite pieces.

The cigar itself uses an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Dominican binder and Dominican fillers. La Boheme is being made at Tabacalera Palma under the eye of Jochi Blanco, and is considered a regular production release, albeit in smaller quantities than the rest of Boutique Blend’s portfolio.

La Boheme is available in 5 sizes: 3 1/2 x 46 Mimi, 5 1/8 x 52 Pittore, 5 3/4 x 54 Poeta, 6 1/4 x 60 Musico. All sizes come in twenty-four count boxes, with exception of the Mimi which comes in boxes of forty-eight.

La Boheme Poetta Cigar Review

Specifications:

  •  Cigar : La Boheme
  • Company : Boutique Blends
  • Factory : Tabacalera Palma
  • Size : 5 3/4 x 54 Poeta
  • Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder : Dominican
  • Filler : Dominican
  • MSRP : $11.95
  • Production : Regular Production
  •  Number of Cigars Smoked for Review : Too Many to Count

La Boheme Poetta Cigar Review

Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:

The La Boheme is lined from top to bottom with a thick layer of tooth. The wrapper leaf has a rustic appearance overall. It’s a fairly unexciting shade of brown at first glance, but a bit more attention shows an exceptional bit of depth. Giving it the pinch test, you’ll find a firm feel with just the right amount of give.

The first few whiffs are sharper than expected with a predominantly floral barnyard smell. The only real way of describing the scent is funky. Real funky. Fortunately, I’ve found that a funky smell usually translates to great flavor. Why this is I can not explain. Towards the back of the nose a particularly sharp note hits, though it is unidentifiable as of yet.

First Third:

First impressions are immediately pleasing. The La Boheme fires up effortlessly, and it hits the palate well-poised. While some cigars will be a bit unruly  for the first few puffs, the La Boheme starts off in top form. The profile is reasonably creamy with a dry mouthfeel. Several wood notes are prominent early on, primarily cedar and oak. Floral earth sits right in the core of the profile alongside hearty mixture of nuts. While still fairly undefined, a general meat flavor begins to develop as an undertone as the cigar progresses. Also worth noting, there is a definitive twang going on. As a whole, the La Boheme sits at steady medium plus. One of the more defining characteristics in this stage is the way in the which the smoke rolls over the palate impeccably smooth before transitioning to a subtle but sharp spice in the finish. Through the nose, the smoke is thick with just a pinch of black pepper.

La Boheme Poetta Cigar Review

Second Third:

Several changes jump out in the second third of the La Boheme. Black pepper becomes much more pronounced on the front end, and a creamy peanut butter flavor on the back end. The pepper leaves a subtle, but pleasurable tingle on the tip of the tongue. A citrus note has developed in the core of the profile, which serves as an equalizer to other competing flavors. A soft undertone of minerals runs across the palate from the inhale to the finish. The body continues to come across as fairly dry but creamy. That ‘twang’ mentioned in the first third has become exceedingly pronounced, and might even be described as a bit musky. The profile has grown more rich, and lingers significantly longer for a stronger finish overall. The best descriptor of the La Boheme’s flavor profile would be dense. Through the nose, the smoke passes through smooth but quite potent. A splash of musky cedar and pepper are easily discernible.

La Boheme Poetta Cigar Review

Final Third:

The foundation of the La Boheme’s flavor profile has taken on a thick, meaty flavor. A much smokier flavor at its core, particularly through the finish. Minerals have also risen from an undertone to a core note. The musky twang from earlier on has diminished significantly. While it’s still a factor, it’s role as a dominant note has been replaced a dry beef flavor. Consistent to earlier on is the body of the La Boheme: creamy and dry. The finish in the final third lasts for an exceedingly long time, though I wouldn’t voice this as a complaint by any means. At this stage the profile is exceedingly bold, with a strong leather texture, particularly through the nose.

 

Burn and Construction:

I’ve smoked a countless number of La Boheme in all the available sizes and have had virtually zero construction issues. They are rolled consistently and have the same relative feel and draw across the board. La Boheme sits right in the sweet spot between neither under-filled nor packed too tight.

There isn’t anything terribly remarkable in regards to the combustion process. I found that you the La Boheme will burn more or less without fuss so long as you keep an adequate smoking pace. It does have a tendency to want to go out of the quicker side of the spectrum, but I imagine that this will ultimately be a non-factor for most as isn’t an issue so long as you’re smoking the cigar how you should be.

La Boheme Poetta Cigar Review

Overall:

Last fall, we hosted an in-store event with Aging Room that was attended by Rafael Alejandro, the son of Boutique Blends owner, Rafael Nodal. Rafael Alejandro and myself had a brief discussion on the M21 ffortisimo, in which he noted that almost all of the companies offerings where in the sub-ten dollar price-point, and that the company had initially had apprehension about how an offering north of that mark would do for them. It’s safe to assume that results were positive, given that both La Boheme and the Aging Room Bin No. 1 both clock in at over $10.00 MSRP. Personally? Smoke any one of their cigars that is north of the $10.00 mark and you’ll quickly find that the palates behind blending these products are more than capable of creating products worthy of the price-point. Simply put, they are truly in a higher category of balance, sophistication, and quality.

Overall, I really, really like the La Boheme. Far more than I was expecting, and I was expecting quite a lot. If compelled to describe the La Boheme in a word, tasty would be the first to come to mind. From puff to puff, you are delightfully hit with a wall of flavor that is both enjoyable at face value, and incredibly sophisticated should you choose to sit and digest its true character. Most importantly – La Boheme is different. It doesn’t taste like simply a higher priced M356 or F55 Quattro. For me, this makes the important point that Boutique Blends still have creative juice in the tank, and furthermore serves as a demonstration in versatility.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, the men behind Boutique Blends have been on a fantastic run to. Based on my experience with the La Boheme and their other new blends, I’d wager to say that Boutique Blends shows no sign of losing momentum.

 

Score:

Burn : 8/10

Construction : 8/10

Flavor : 9/10

Complexity : 9/10

Balance : 9/10

Overall Enthusiasm : 9/10 

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Illusione *G* Gigantes Cigar Review

Illusione *G* Gigantes Cigar Review

Today we’ll be reviewing the Illusione *G* Gigantes, one of the newest releases from the boutique manufacture. There are some interesting points Continue reading

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Featured Cigars – October 2014

Hello everyone,

There are 100s of new cigars released every year, with new ones hitting the shelves in what feels like every other every week. It’s tough to keep up with all the new releases even when it’s your full time job, let alone keep track of blends and whose making what. As a consumer it can be downright overwhelming.

As such, we’ve decided to do a monthly list of six featured cigars, in an attempt to help you at least partially sift through the madness. These are simply six cigars that have stood out to us in recent time. While there may be some variance, we’ll be aiming to have two new cigars featured, one cigar that offers exceptional flavor for a great price, two tried and true cigars, and one cigar that we feel has flown under the radar.

 

Price Structure:

$ = >7.50

$$ = 7.50-13.50

$$$ = 13.50+

 

New to the Humidor:

La Flor Dominicana 1994

  • Cigar: La Flor Dominicana 1994
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
  • Binder: Dominican (La Canela)
  • Filler: Dominican (La Canela)
  • Strength: Full-
  • Price Point: $$

What we like about it:

 This year Litto Gomez and his wife Ines celebrate 20 years in the cigar business with the release of the 1994. This cigar is a bit milder than the traditional LFD portfolio, but the 1994 certainly has no shortage of flavor. The 1994 has all the characteristics of a great steak – big, meaty flavor, smooth pepper, leather and a touch of earthy sweetness. Best of all, the 5x5o rubusto “Conga” clocks in at only $7.50 MSRP. Box worthy, for sure.

Boutique-Blends-La-Boheme

  • Cigar: La Boheme (Boutique Blends, makers of Aging Room and SWAG)
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler: Dominican
  • Strength: Full-
  • Price Point: $$

What we like about it:

Take everything you’ve come to know and love about Aging Room’s cigars and add an entirely new level of sophistication to it. A perfect combination of sweet and spicy. The profile is dry and creamy, with contrasting caramel, oak, cedar, and pepper flavors. Fresh off the truck, right out of the box the La Boheme is absurdly balanced. It has just the right amount of black and white pepper sizzle. Easily one of the best representations of what Dominican tobacco is all about.

Great Flavor at a Great Price:

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  • Cigar: Cubanacan Habano
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Ecuadorian
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Strength: Medium+
  • Price Point: $

What we like about it:

The Cubanacan Habano is an absolute flavor bomb. It has a few core notes that it does extremely well, and it delivers consistently from start to finish. It has a very hearty, meaty profile made up of sweet earthy flavors as well as pepper, hay, and cedar. While their profiles are different, fans of cigars like the Curivari BuenaVentura, Illusione Rothschild, and the Tatuaje Tattoo should look into adding the Cubanacan Habano to their rotation. At $6.50 for a rothschild robusto you’ll be hard pressed to beat it.

 

The Tried and True:

Cigars on a budget

  • Cigar: CroMagnon (by RoMa Craft Tobac)
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Cameroon
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Strength: Medium+

What we like about it:

RoMa Craft Tobac is one the most interesting boutiques to pop up in recent years. The CroMagnon is one their first blends, and arguably their most famous. It has a rich, complex profile that highlights a savory contrast of meaty, earthy Nicaraguan flavors against the creamy rich chocolate flavors from the CroMagnon’s Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Throw in some exotic nuances from its Cameroon binder and you have a recipe for a great cigar.

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  • Cigar: Illusione Epernay
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 Rosado
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo
  • Strength: Medium

What we like about it:

 For every rule there is an exception, and then there is Illusione. There are good cigars, and there are great cigars; then there are the rare cigars that are truly exceptional. Illusione has had more truly exceptional blends since their 2005 inception than most companies will have in their lifetime.

The Epernay is one Illusione’s most successful blends. It’s a medium bodied cigar, light in strength, but incredibly full in flavor. The Epernay is an exercise in balance and complexity. The profile is thick and creamy, with light sweet earthy notes and smooth white and black pepper undertones. In addition, you’ll be treated to light-roasted coffee notes, soft floral spice, and feint hints of leather.

Under the Radar:

Regius Dominican

  • Cigar: Regius Dominican
  • Wrapper: Dominican Habano
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler: Dominican
  • Strength: Medium

What we like about it:

One thing I’ve always appreciated most about all of Regius’ cigars is their uniqueness. The biggest criticism you can give a cigar is to say that it tastes like “just another cigar”. Regius does not suffer from this issue. Cuban-esque in the sense that the flavors are bold and dominant while also incredible smooth. The profile is predominantly creamy with a caramel sweetness, nuts, and a slight bit of spice through the finish. This is a great cigar no matter what framework you view it through, but it gains the most respect from just how distinct it is.

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Senorial by Jose Blanco Toro Bravo Cigar Review

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When one thinks of the name Jose Blanco they may be inclined to think of several things, from his tenure with La Aurora, to his more recent stint with Joya de Nicaragua. Jose Blanco has been in the industry for nearly forty years. He’s the man Continue reading

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H. Upmann The Banker Annuity Cigar Review

H. Upmann The Banker Annuity Cigar Review

The Banker from H. Upmann is latest release from the fabled brand. H. Upmann was originally started by two brothers – Carl and Herman Upmann; two wealthy bankers in the early 1800s. The story goes that Continue reading

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My Father La Antiguedad Toro Cigar Review

My Father La Antiguedad Toro Cigar Review

Does this cigar even need an introduction? As the brainchild of My Father Cigar’s Cuban mastermind, Don Pepin Garcia, I hardly think so. Nevertheless, we’ll cover the bases. For the sake of formality, if nothing else. The La Antiguedad is the latest and greatest creation from Don Pepin, and that fact alone is enough to pique the collective interest of many.

La Antiguedad, which translates to “The Antiquity”, is actually an old Cuban brand. The Garcia family sought to revive the name in celebration of both their Cuban heritage, as well as the Cuban cigar tradition as a whole.

All tobacco in the La Antiguedad is grown by My Father Cigars, with the exception of the wrapper leaf. The leaves are sourced from three different growing regions: San Rafael, Las Quebradas, and San Jose. While not done purely for the sake of doing so, soil and climate variation in each region should yield the benefit of increased complexity and a more diverse profile overall, at least in theory.

My Father has opted to release the La Antiguedad blend in five sizes, all of which are box-pressed. Available sizes are: 5 1/4 x 52 robusto, 5 5/8 x 55 toro, 6 3/8 x 47 corona granda,  7 x 56 super toro, and 6 x 60 toro gordo. Continue reading

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La Palina Goldie Laguito Especial Cigar Review

La Palina Goldie Laguito Especial Cigar Review

The newest edition of the La Palina Goldie series has arrived, and in a lancero, no less. Officially known as the La Palina Goldie Laguito Especial, this cigar bears the namesake of La Palina founder Sam Paley’s wife, Goldie Drell Paley. As you might imagine, a cigar bearing such an intimate name to the Paley family can be nothing less than exceptional in all regards.

The project was first created by Sam Paley’s grandson, Bill Paley, in honor of his grandmother, as well as to pay tribute to the contributions of the fairer sex within the cigar industry. All of the La Palina Goldie releases are rolled in Miami at El Titan de Bronze’s boutique factory, directly under the supervision of Sandra Cobas, who owns the factory. There is only one individual in this world who rolls the cigars themselves however – Maria Seirra.

One of the first women in Cuba to ever be taught the art of cigar rolling, Maria Seirra was trained by none other than Eduardo Rivera Irizarri, the personal roller of Fidel Castro. Starting in 1967, Maria spent 32 years working in the Villa El Laguito factory, continuously perfecting her skills, and even receiving training from the creator of Cohiba, Avelino Lara.

Maria Sierra personally rolls every single La Palina Goldie produced, as well as individually numbers every single box. For the Laguito Especial, only 2,500 boxes were produced.

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Nestor Miranda Collection Maduro Corona Gorda Cigar Review

Nestor Miranda Collection Maduro Cigar Review

Back in late May, Cigar King had both the pleasure and the privilege of hosting the launch of the Nestor Miranda Collection, the cigar designed by Miami Cigar Co. Vice President, Jason Wood, which commemorates the 25th Anniversary of Miami Cigar Co. and the work of Nestor Miranda.

The Nestor Miranda Collection is the replacement of the Nestor Miranda Special Selection, and features three blends; a Connecticut, a Habano, and a Maduro. While the Connecticut retains the same blend as its predecessor, both the Habano and the Maduro are both more or less entirely new. Comprised of a Nicaraguan Habano and a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro respectively, both cigars utilize Nicaraguan tobacco in the binder, and a mix of Brazilian, Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco in their filler. All three are manufactured at My Father Cigars S.A.. For today’s review we’ll be firing up the Maduro.

Continue reading

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Lost, but Not Forgotten: Two Cigars You Should Rediscover

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It happens to the best of us. Hundreds of new cigars come out each year, and between trying to keep up with all the new stuff and revisiting your favorites it’s easy for a few cigars you love to fall through the cracks. In this series, I’ll be chronicling some of the cigars I’ve recently revisited that deserve to get a bit of attention. As per the nature of these particular articles, how consistently posts detailing overlooked cigars will be written is anyone’s guess. I can’t write a piece on hidden gems if nothing strikes the inspiration for it, now can I? Anyway, let’s start with an easy one. Continue reading

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Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 Cigar Review

Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 Cigar Review Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 Cigar Review

In 2012, Davidoff announced the launch of the Davidoff Art Initiative, a project designed to celebrate the contemporary artistic community of the Dominican Republic, as well as the greater Caribbean region. The Davidoff Initiative aims to assist great artists in the region by showcasing their work to the rest of the world, helping artists gain entry to artist residency programs, as well as financial support. The project hopes to make a lasting impression on the culture of contemporary Dominican art. While this might be seen as an ambitious effort, Davidoff has continuously displayed the value it places in artistic merit, and aesthetics as a whole, more or less since the inception of the brand. The company has always aimed to appeal to the type of individual who seeks to take moments in life to pause and appreciate the finer things. In that sense, the concept of the Davidoff Art Initiative doesn’t seem all that out of character.

One of the ways in which the Davidoff Art Initiative seeks to highlight individual artists is through the launch of limited edition cigars, dubbed “Davidoff Limited Art Edition”, followed by the year. The Davidoff Limited Art Editions will feature a new artist each year, showcasing their work on the packaging as well as the banding. This year is the first release, and features the work of Dominican artist Quisqueya Henríquez. The Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 boxes features two different color schemes, with a combined total of 60,000 cigars produced, which breaks down theoretically to 3,000 10 count boxes of each color variation. Continue reading

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