Bodega Premium Blends (BPB) is a story of four childhood friends who have coupled their passion for cigars with their entrepreneurial nature to produce a cigar brand that cherishes familial gatherings and fellowship. The company produces finely crafted cigars that offer unique flavors and profiles that stem from a quadruplet of family men who understand the value of time and the relevance of the cigar experience.
The BPB Four (Gino Domanico, Ron Plante, Stephane Barjolin, and Rob Mariani) began smoking cigars about 15 years ago when they would gather at backyard BBQs. They cherished the camaraderie born from the essence of the leaf and the neutralizing power a cigar smoking experience offers.
“It sees past political, cultural, ethnic and religious differences,” said Domanico, BPB CEO. “At its very core it unites. It allows people to gather, relate to each other under the guise of very ritualistic and basic principles – appreciating time, living life, and tasting the goodness Mother Nature has to offer.”
The Bodega boys took a leap of faith when they turned communal celebrations into their very own boutique
brand of cigars back in 2011. It was CEO Gino Domanico who was the true catalyst that cemented the birth of BPB. His keen interest in the industry and the key contacts he has made throughout the last decade have proved fruitful. After two years of collaborating with prominent figures, Bodega released its first line at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show – a binary creation called Reunión. Reunión is an innovative concept that pairs two distinctive yet complimentary blends: Aperitivo and Digestivo in one box.
“Bodega Premium Blends’ mission with the Reunión is to embody the state of being that all cigar devotees feel when surrounded by each other – Fellowship,” said Domanico.
The Reunión was born from the personal traditions of the Bodega founders. They often enjoy cigars around mealtimes and cherish time spent with friends and family.
“We take the time to enjoy a pre-meal cigar, then with bellies full and after the children are put to bed, we take it all in with a post meal offering,” said Domanico.
Aperitivo is Spanish for Apertif and typically refers to either a “cocktail or other alcoholic beverage that is specially served before a meal or with a small appetizer to stimulate or arouse the appetite.” In the binary concept of the Reunión, Apertivo is also used in the same sense but it refers to the enjoyment of a cigar before a meal.
“Paired with coffee or a pre-meal spirit, Aperitivo hits its mark, whether that meal is center stage to a simple gathering or one of life’s important occasions”, said Domanico.
The Aperitivo is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Claro wrapper (3rd priming) from Jalapa, a Nicaraguan binder and Jalapa and Condega fillers. It is medium in strength but full of flavor. It offers a flavor profile of black pepper, and earthy barnyard notes that coat the palate with a pleasant herbal finish.
Like the Aperitivo, the Digestivo’s genesis was inspired by the culinary arts. Spanish for digestif, Digestivo usually refers to a “cocktail or other alcoholic beverage that is specifically served after a meal to aid in the digestion following a meal.” Spirits such as port, brandy, cognac and whiskey are examples of traditional digestifs.
“As Bodega Premium Blends would have it, not only does its Digestivo pair extraordinarily well with those drinks, there’s nothing finer in the humidor to finish off a meal,” said Domanico.
The Digestivo is bolder than the Apperitivo and is designed to bring the whole experience to a savory conclusion. The cigar boasts a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper leaf with a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers from Jalapa and Estelí. It is a full-bodied, full-strength cigar that is sweet and satisfying.
“When enjoyed around a gathering this cigar comes to life. A Maduro in the true sense of the word, Digestivo has undergone a longer and more intense fermentation process,” said Domanico. “This marked evolution brings out the natural sugars of the leaf giving the Digestivo its trademark “sweeter” flavor.”
Bodega relies on the best cigar makers in the world to produce a quality product that is unique, well-constructed and top-notch. They are less concerned with launching “me too” products with “kitschy” bands, labels and presentation to belie a subpar product. The Apperitivo and Digestivo took more than two years of blending and tasting before the final product was crystalized. Both are offered in three vitolas: Toro, Double Robusto and Corona Gorda.
“The Reunión is the final iteration of over two years of blending, tasting, attempts and re-attempts. We firmly believe that some of the best crops and blends are being produced in Nicaragua,” said Domanico. “From that point, we just embraced the entire process. We took the time needed to bring to market not just one blend but two along with a concept that we can all be proud of.”
All of the cigars that don the Bodega name are hand rolled with extreme precision and inspected by the Torcedor, but ultimately it is BPB’s Chief Brand Officer, Ron Plante who issues the final approval before the cigars reach the hands of the consumers.
“We’ve selected a construction process comprised of a man and a woman. The male Buchero is responsible for the core of the cigar whereas the Roloer or Torcedor handles the refinement of the capa or wrapper,” said Domanico. “She is ultimately responsible for the final look.”
Bodega Premium Blends is currently refining their next release which is scheduled to launch in late fall of this year.
“Our next line doesn’t stray from Bodega Premium Blends’ philosophy,” said Domanico. “Again, it will be binary in nature – Reflexión: Resposo and Profundo.”
This next line focuses on those life moments where the cigar enthusiast is alone in thought. BPB’s mantra behind the Reflexión is: Commit time. Commit to yourself with… Reflexión.
“At the core of many cigar experiences is quiet thought. We appreciate the importance of internal discourse and meditation,” said Domanico.
The Reposo will be cloaked in a silky Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper from the volcanic soil of Ecuador.
The Reposo invites the smoker to touch base with his or her inner self while appreciating the remarkably smooth flavor profile.
The Profundo, also born from Ecuador, allows the smoker to meditate at length and search his or her soul for the sublime. It is shrouded in a rich Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper and promises to deliver a memorable smoking experience.
The Bodega Four clearly cherish family values and appreciate life’s finer moments. Their genuine zest for life and insatiable appetite for fellowship is fortified in each cigar they produce.
“If you also celebrate life’s moments like BPB’s four founders, then Bodega cigars bridge the gap between the daily grind and those occasions when family, friends and loved ones matter,” said Domanico. “It is why we live by our creed: Investing in your life’s moments.”