Bodega Premium Blends is one of the newest cigar maker’s to hop on to Gary Griffith’s House of Emilio. Prior to them joining HoE I had no recollection of seeing this brand. It goes to show you how much an unknown brand can benefit by having their cigars distributed by a company like HoE. From what I gathered via the Bodega website, of the two blends they currently have (Aperitivo and Digestivo), the Aperitivo is suggested to be smoked before a meal whilst the Digestivo is meant for after dinner. Let’s see if the Digestivo can live up to the reputation of being that hearty after dinner smoke.
During my initial inspection I immediately got the impression this was a very well constructed cigar. The pack was firm, there were no soft spots and on top of that the Digestivo was shrouded in one of the toothiest wrappers I have ever seen. The wrapper was dark chocolate in color, oily and had a noticeable amount of veins. The foot emitted soft hints of sweet bread, earth and mulling spices with a subdued white pepper tingle. Mineral and faint barnyard off the foot. Once I cut the Digestivo, I was greeted with a flawless draw, accompanied by tones of pumpernickel, slight petrol and a general tea note.
At the beginning of the first third I was greeted with red pepper. Although it wasn’t abrasive or strong, it was clearly evident on the retro-hale. A tingly sensation developed on the tongue during the first third as well. Sometimes a mineral flavor or sensation on the tongue can be a huge negative; at Cigar Memoir, we have defined this flavor/sensation on the tongue as “9-volt”, it can become very unpleasant when there is an abundance of it. Luckily, the mineral sensation wasn’t too strong at this point. On both the palate and sinus, a wet earth flavor would become unmistakably noticeable during the mid-point of the first third. A distinct tea note was apparent which was the first time I picked up tea from a maduro wrapped cigar. Undertones of pumpernickel bread and cocoa would rise and fall during this third. Smoke characteristic was silky, yet arid, slightly parching my palate. Earth, cocoa and tea during a medium-length (5 sec) finish. Mild-medium body. Mild strength.
Although the smoke became more voluminous continuing into the second third, it still remained somewhat arid and slightly drying to the palate. Red pepper remained the same along with the pumpernickel. The unique tea flavor was present, taking a more herbal characteristic in the second third. Luckily, the mineral tingle I previously mentioned disappeared. Wet earth maintained its pace as the only clear predominant note that wasn’t an undertone. Cocoa deepened in flavor, becoming a more rich dark chocolate. Other undertones making an appearance during the second third were cinnamon and a faint espresso. Earth, herbal tea, dark chocolate on another medium-length finish. Medium body. Mild-medium strength.
The red pepper backed-off even more, becoming a fleeting undertone during the retro. At this point three subtle tones made up the bulk of the profile: pumpernickel, wet earth and herbal tea. Underneath this trifecta of flavors was dark chocolate, faint hazelnut and two new additions: petrol and oak. Although these flavors are deep and dark, their delivery is subtle and at times hard to notice due to their lack of intensity. The smoke characteristic remained the same throughout the entire cigar, silky, arid and slightly parching. Wet earth, dark chocolate, herbal tea and oak on a medium-length finish. Mild-medium body. Mild strength.
At times I have been too stern in labeling cigars with this classification. I just can’t smoke a maduro with flavors of tea and not label it Wild Card. Although the tea was an undertone throughout, nearly all the other flavors were even. The tea simply added an accent that completely changed my perception of this cigar and made it stand out. For this fact alone, the Digestivo gets a Wild Card classification.
Bodega markets the Digestivo as an “after dinner cigar”, which makes no sense to me because in my mind it is an “anti-maduro”. Let me explain. When you think of an “after dinner maduro” what comes to mind? Something full-bodied and perhaps full-strength. Names like La Flor Dominicana come to mind. However, Bodega’s Digestivo is mild-medium bodied at most and aside from my inability to gauge a cigars strength, I’m under the impression that this cigar isn’t too strong either. I liked this cigar more for its uniqueness than anything else. When was the last time you smoked a maduro and attained tea flavors from it? Probably never. This is not your “after dinner maduro”, but at the same time, this isn’t an everyday maduro either. I wasn’t blown away by the unique characteristics, but I was entertained by them enough to like it.