La Bohème Encantador by Boutique Blends | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Habano Dominicano
Filler: Habano Dominicano
Size: 6 x 52 “Torpedo – Fenice”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $11.77 MSRP

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Today we take a look at the La Bohème Encantador by Boutique Blends.
Thanks to Eric Anderson and an anonymous reader for gifting me these cigars.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
From the Cigar Aficionado web site:
“The operatically themed La Bohème line, which came out last year, will soon reprise with a darker second act—La Bohème Encantador. Spanish for “enchanted,” Encantador will be box-pressed, and also enrobed in a darker, higher-priming Ecuadoran wrapper. The filler is all Dominican.

“Though the portrait on the band art will be the same, the color scheme has been slightly adjusted to reflect the new brand. All the original white elements of the first band are now black, and there’s a secondary band that reads “Encantador.”

“When we first released La Bohème last year, someone told me that the portrait of the woman on the label was enchanting,” said Rafael Nodal, owner of Boutique Blends. “That comment stuck with me. And I think turning the white elements of the band black really makes the portrait stand out. It creates a more striking light-on-dark effect.”

“Nodal estimates a total production run of 400,000 cigars, and then, he says, the line will be finished.”

DESCRIPTION:
I was sent both the Fenice (Torpedo) and the La Scala (Robusto Larga). And I can’t remember who sent me the La Scalas. So please email me and remind me. So I can do the right thing. Yeah, I know all I have to do is write it down but then I can’t remember where the list is. Du-oh!

Both of the torpedoes have a lovely mottling going on. Looks like a brindle color with dark spots; almost like freckles. Very oily. A light caramel/brown occurs near the top of the cigar.
The box press is fairly crisp. Seams are very tight. Few veins. Nicely applied triple cap. And the sticks are solid, baby, solid.

SIZES AND PRICES:
TURIN: 5 x 46 $10.50 MSRP
LA SCALA: 5.75 x 54 $12.25 MSRP
FENICE: 6 x 52 Torpedo $11.77 MSRP
Found pricing to be about a buck less online.
Early releases picked up by the Big Guys in pre-release reviews show that the names changed a bit for the sizes. But according to the Aging Room web site, the names above are what they are sticking to.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell a mocha sweetness, some fruitiness, cedar, spice, floral notes, and rich dark cocoa.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell cinnamon, dark cocoa, sweetness, fruitiness, floral notes, strong barnyard, very strong spiciness, and espresso.
The cold draw presents flavors of honey, milk chocolate, cinnamon, spice, fruity sweetness, oak, and cocoa baking powder.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is very light and airy.
First flavors: Fruity sweetness, red pepper, cappuccino, hot chocolate, creaminess, and some rich earthy tobacco notes.
Good start. There is also a hard toffee element. The kind that is covered by chocolate and cracks when you bite down and then it gets all stuck in your teeth making you a crazy man with floss.

The La Bohème Encantador is making a run for the gold early on. Diversified flavors, transitions begin, and a touch of complexity. Too early for detecting balance qualities or length and quality of finish.
The char line is spot on.

4

Other flavors come to the forefront…nutty in character. Raw nuts like almonds, cashews, and hazelnut. As well as a raisin cinnamon bread element.

There is also a complexity of malt components: Special B Malt, Smoked Malt, Rye Malt, and Mild Ale Malt. (See Malt Chart).

With only an inch burned, the La Bohème Encantador has become unusually complex.
The balance is slightly off kilter. The finish is a mile long with only half of the flavors discernible. The other half are in a mosh pit.

The honey works well with the nuttiness, toffee, and malts. Makes for a very tasty complexity.
The cable TV classic rock station is a total let down this morning. It is funereal in nature.

Ever notice how I write? The first third is twice as long as the second third and halfway point. And the second third and halfway point are twice as long as the last third. How odd a duck am I?

Then Blam! The flavor procession turns into the flavors dancing around the Festivus Pole. Big time sweet spot. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Here is the behemoth list of flavors: Sweetness, honey, chocolate, malts, creaminess, cappuccino, spice, toffee, caramel, nuts, raisins, cinnamon, fresh fruit, and the taste of rich black earth.
That was a mind bender.

5

Strength is medium/full body.

I solve the lousy background music issue. I grab a two CD set called “Led Zeppelin Early and Latter Days.” I slid the “Latter Days” CD in to my Blu-ray player and cranked the sound bar. Rockin the Kasbah, baby!
I’m 65 and still have a love affair with Zep. I saw those guys at least 7-8 times in the early 70’s. Right up until Bonham died.
I had a long distance bro-mance with bassist John Paul Jones. That boy can play! I hated him. LOL.

Back to the La Bohème Encantador.
Damn. While I was putzing around with the CD, the char line went bozo no no on me and now needs a major touch up. Rest and cool….rest and cool…

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
I believe I just reviewed the Aging Room Quattro F59. A very good cigar but it seems to have a lot in common with the La Bohème Encantador. It’s the style of blending that is similar. The creaminess, nuttiness, sweetness, coffee and cocoa…They dominate the flavor profile along with some nice maltiness.

Both use Dominican Habano tobacco for the binder and fillers. Both wrappers are Habano but this one is Ecuadorian and the F59 is Dominican.

6third

I find it very odd that two new cigars are released, at the same time, and share somewhat identical blends. It is like one was a warm up for the other. Which is which? I have no idea.

I take a look at my F59 review and it appears too close for comfort. It’s almost as if I’m reviewing the same cigar twice. How come no one noticed this? I’m the one with the fucked up dying brain and I notice it? What a world…what a world….
The flavor list shifts a bit….mocha java now dominates. Following that is nuts, malts, and sweetness. Everything else is in the second half of the list.

Strength remains at medium/full.

The La Bohème Encantador is a good cigar the same way the F59 was. If I had my choice, I’d go with the F59 for no other reason that it’s cheaper.

And what makes the La Bohème Encantador cost a dollar more than the F59? Go figure.

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I have a wise ass that likes to comment who basically thinks he is very funny. He ain’t. And sometimes, just downright insulting. He can make the stupidest comments.
He once told me that he places comments on all the other review sites the same way he comments on mine and they don’t mind. I can’t speak for others but I don’t like a shit for brains muddying the waters of my pristine site. LOL.
I banned him for the longest time and then of course, I forgot who he was until I began to notice how mean he was. I had already allowed his comments. But as they got dumber and dumber, I put a halt to them and they are now where they belong: Spam folder.

HALFWAY POINT:
Smoke time is 50 minutes.
The upper half of the La Bohème Encantador has very sharp box pressed corners. As I remove the double cigar bands, I notice sharp creases in them. I have no idea why I brought that up.

The char line has done a pretty good job of behaving.
Strength is still medium/full.
A pine flavor emerges from the shadows.

8half

Flavors become a tad bit muted. Instead of becoming emboldened as the stick burns down, the flavors move into dark places. I don’t care for that.

The mocha java disappears. Leaving mild notes of milk chocolate and some coffee. Raisins move upfront. Creaminess departs to the end of the line. Sweetness is not as strong. Still very nutty. And the spiciness is all but gone. Even the wonderful malt elements are diminished.
Wha’ happened?

Complexity is gone. The balance is not what it once was. The finish is short.
Is the La Bohème Encantador taking a nap?

I’m going to let it rest for a few minutes and see what happens.

My only explanation is that the F59 had those New Breed blending qualities where a few weeks are enough time to get a handle on the flavors.

9

But the La Bohème Encantador may be an old school blend needing months of humidor time. I just don’t know.
There are very few reviews of this cigar which should have tipped me off: Old School.

The reviews that fawn over the cigar had the cigar supplied to them by Aging Room. The reviews that pretty much felt like I do about this cigar paid for their own cigars. And in fact, say the same thing…the stick may need several months of humidor time.

Almost all of the wonderful flavors I discovered in the first half are gone. I intend to be generous with my rating because I had no clue that the blend needs extensive rest.
The F59 did not need extensive aging.

I believe that manufacturers should do the right thing and place an instruction manual with each box sold. In that manual, it should alert the consumer as to how much humidor time is required to get the most out of the blend and be able to experience the blender’s intent. Why they don’t do this is beyond me. Such a simple thing.

The La Bohème Encantador goes out. I guess I let it rest too long.

The smoke time has moved to a crawl. The upper half of the cigar is packed more heavily than the bottom half. The draw isn’t as good as the start so I grab my cigar awl and go to work.
I was right. There was a plug right where the cigar band was. Now the draw is terrific. Maybe this will help the flavor profile.

And yep. It does. Big time.
Flavors come rushing back. Huzzah!
Here they are: Creaminess, chocolate, coffee, sweetness, malts, spice, nuts, honey, toffee, and raisins.
I’m having trouble grokking that a simple plug was the issue. But since we are dealing with an organic animal here, who knows?
The malt elements begin to climb the ladder. Delicious.
WTF? What just happened?

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
I must give the La Bohème Encantador the benefit of the doubt when I rate it. Rafael Nodal is no slouch and only puts out great blends. This must have been a fluke or the ghost in the machine.

Oh wait…a Sting story. Later.

I’m getting the flavor of tar. I guess I’m huffing too hard.
Now I don’t know if the La Bohème Encantador needs months of humi time or this is what there is to expect.
I gave the F59 and the La Bohème Encantador the same amount of rest. The F59 shone like a new star. The La Bohème Encantador doesn’t.

The La Bohème Encantador stutters and stammers like an old Ford Pinto.
I have to agree with one reviewer who said it would be a good idea to revisit this cigar in a couple months.
The cigar has only recently been released so no reviewer really was able to let it rest appropriately. But then, they probably fell into the same trap as me.

10third

I take a break and eat some breakfast and come back to the cigar. No change. In fact, it is harsh. Time to put it down. Well, this was a waste of time.
My big recommendation is to allow the La Bohème Encantador several months of humidor time. It may become a totally different cigar than what you read about today.

RATING: 87

PRICE POINT:
I check Small Batch Cigar and not much of a savings over the MSRP. Cigar Federation doesn’t carry it. It seems you are pretty much stuck with the MSRP or, at the best, a buck less.
And neither carries the Aging Room F59.
$10.50-$12.50 for the three sizes is a bit too much. Yes. I realize that $10 is the new $7 cigar. All the Boutique Blends cigars seem to hover in this price range.

And now for something completely different:
I’ve published this story already but not for a while.
The Police were just breaking in America. It was 1982; I believe.

I called the management office in L.A. when I found out The Police were playing Santa Barbara, CA. At the university. Oingo Boingo supported them.
Miles Copeland called me back and suggested that we make this a surprise for Stewart Copeland, the drummer. We hadn’t talked since 1975.

I took my girlfriend with me and we parked outside the gym and walked in.
Miles and the band were standing alone in this giant room and we walked up to them.
I no longer had my fro. I had gone new wave with a short haircut.
Miles pointed at me for Stew to see and nothing. Blank stare.
Then…”You douchebag!!!”

I got a big bear hug. And was introduced to Andy and Sting.
I had brought drugs with me. Coke was the “in” thing back in the early 80’s.

We had a great time kibitzing and then headed for their dressing room guarded by a linebacker-looking roadie.
The dressing room was merely the men’s locker room so we sat on benches in front of the lockers.
I brought out the coke in one of those sniffer bottles.

I passed it to Stew and he huffed a’ plenty. Then it was Andy’s turn.
Now the name Sting just didn’t seem real at the time. I couldn’t believe that his friends called him this.
So as I passed the bottle to Sting, but I merely whistled and said, “Here you go.”
Stew was livid. “His name is Sting!”
I apologized but Sting just laughed.

I was the only one allowed in the dressing room besides the band. Why? Because I had coke and they ran out in San Francisco.

There was a gaggle of Hollywood types hanging outside of the dressing room but I was the only one allowed in. I even gave the bodyguard a vial so he was my friend forever.
The Hollywood types whispered, “Who is this guy?”

I hung the whole night. We watched Oingo Boingo from the wings of the stage.
And then I watched The Police perform from the same place.

By the end of the concert, I was beat. We had driven for two hours to get to Santa Barbara and had a long drive home.
We must have spent 6 hours hanging out.

So, when they finished playing, I said my good byes and we split.

But Sting took me aside and asked if he could buy some coke from me? I wasn’t a dealer so I just handed him all I had. Big smile on his face. Lots of thank yous.

And then the inevitable happened. Stew became a rock star. Me? Just a schlump from Long Beach. Sure I had my recording studio and I was playing in a charting band but it was nothing like Stew was experiencing.

So, the douchebag outgrew me. I about vomited when I read that Stew was working on a project with McCartney. But then nothing happened. Stew had a huge ego. So imagine that Stew got cocky and McCartney pulled the lever and the floor went out from under Stew into the alligator pit. Bye bye.

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4 replies

  1. Grokking…LOL…Heinlein fan I presume, a Valentine Michael Smith wannabee?

  2. Hey. I was living between LA and SB at the time so your dates seemed a liitle off–yes dementia will do that of course–so I googled that stuff. Roxanne was a hit here in 1978 and The Police and Oingo played at UCSB in 1980. 👍 Great to see you are able to still do reviews and stories! I really enjoy them.