Back at the 2014 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, Boutique Blends debuted a new release called La Bohéme. Modeled after the opera of the same name by Giacomo Puccini, the sizes were named after characters in the opera. In 2015 we saw an expansion to the line with the La Bohéme Encantador, which featured a new blend and new sizes. While there was no new La Bohème release at IPCPR 2016, at the beginning of this year we did get the announcement of the latest.
In February the La Bohème Momentos arrived at Thompson Cigar Co., who is the exclusive retailer for this release. It comes in the same three sizes as the Encantador, which use the names of famous opera houses where the opera has been performed.
- La Bohème Momentos Turin (5 1/2 x 46) — $6 (Boxes of 10, $59.95)
- La Bohème Momentos Fenice (6 x 52) — $6.50 (Boxes of 10, $64.95)
- La Bohème Momentos La Scala (7 x 50) — $7 (Boxes of 10, $69.95)
- Cigar Reviewed: La Bohème Momentos Fenice
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Dominican Habano
- Filler: Dominican Habano
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $6.50 (Boxes of 10, $64.95)
- Release Date: February 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The wrapper of the La Bohème Momentos Fenice is quite stunning, not only visually but it has a wonderfully soft and slightly oily feel to it as well. When squeezed there is some give, in fact perhaps more than I’d like to see, though I don’t want to risk cracking the fragile wrapper. The aroma coming off the wrapper is quite light, mostly grains up front, though a hint of leather, earth and a touch of sweetness follow closely behind. The cold draw is similar with a sweet creamy taste along with more grains, some vanilla and a touch of spices.
Starting into the first third there is quite a stark difference in the cold draw and the lit profile with spice out front, though there is a whole lot of bitterness behind it drowning out any other subtle flavors. It seems to start calming down after a half an inch, though it is still quite present and only allowing the singular spice note to arrive on my palate. Through the bitterness a bit of almond shows up to join the spice, which is a thankful addition. The ash on the three samples ranges from dense to flaky, though they do seem to trend more towards holding together to around the inch mark. As far as the burn goes, it too varies from sample to sample, with one almost perfect and the other two needing quite a bit of help early on.
Moving into the second third the almonds have turned into more of a general nutty flavor, complementing the spice up front but completely overwhelmed by the harsh, bitterness that has persisted throughout the La Bohème Momentos. The ash on the three samples continues as they did before, ranging from dense to flakey and all holding on to an acceptable length. The burn on one sample is spot on, while two other samples have started to go out almost every inch along the way, requiring relights which hasn’t helped the harsh profile at all. Even the sample that has stayed lit is still harsh enough that the two notes of spice and nuttiness are all that I’m picking up.
The final third for two samples is basically nonexistent, as to this point I had to relight it so often that the last third was unsmokable. Focusing on the one sample that stayed lit, the spice and nuttiness is just about all that’s there as far as enjoyable flavors go, while the harsh, sour and bitter notes are so in my face that I struggle to get to the end of the cigar.
- Despite Thompson’s site listing the Fenice as a torpedo, it showed up looking pretty parejo-like.
- I know that sometimes some bitterness can be built into a blend, which can work if it’s countered by some sweetness or it’s mild enough. This wasn’t that type of bitterness.
- Ironically one of the samples that had the worst burn problems that mostly stayed lit had the least harshness, though the flavors were still quite minimal.
- Starting into the second third of the two samples that had the most trouble staying lit, I noticed that once warmed up, the cigar could be almost completely compressed between my fingers.
- When these cigars arrived at the office, it was noted that the box smelled strongly of paint and/or glue that they were immediately removed from the box and put in a separate bag with a Boveda. In addition, the caps of three out of the 10 cigars had significant splits in them.
- Editor’s Note: We probably see boxes with paint smells once per month. Most of the time removing the cigars from the boxes seems to remove any of this sort of problem. A recent example of this phenomena is the Quesada Dojo de Luxe, which had a similar smell upon arrival, though one that didn’t seem to affect the flavor profile. — Charlie Minato.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Thompson Cigar Co.
- Final smoking time for the one sample I was able to finish was just under two hours.
- You can purchase the La Bohème Momentos Fenice from Thompson Cigar Co.
These are the reviews I hate writing. I would much prefer every cigar I review to do well, have wonderful flavors and be some of the greatest releases that year; not necessarily because I want what I’m smoking to be enjoyable, but mostly because I know that a lot of people put hard work, time and passion into that cigar. Unfortunately this cigar was a mess with it either barely being able to stay lit or even when doing so, producing a profile that had very little redeeming flavor. While the price point is nice, the La Bohème Momentos Fenice is simply something I cannot recommend trying for yourself.