Last year, Davidoff of Geneva USA announced a new program that would commemorate major anniversaries for appointed merchants of its flagship Davidoff brand.
Along with that came an announcement that the company would also be celebrating a major anniversary of one its own Davidoff of Geneva — Since 1911 stores, the locations in Las Vegas.
There’s actually multiple stores in Las Vegas, but unlike in New York, where each store seems to have its own identity, Davidoff Las Vegas is generally grouped into a singular operation, probably because the stores are owned by the same people. Davidoff’s Las Vegas stores are actually a partnership between the company and the Arcella family.
Davidoff and the Arcellas currently operate three walk-in stores in Las Vegas—the Grand Canal Shoppes (Venetian/Palazzo), MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay—as well as smaller boutiques in the Venetian, Palazzo, Mandalay Bay and Paris. Earlier this year, it was announced a Davidoff cigar bar would head to Fashion Show Mall later this year.
As for the cigar, it’s the same 5 1/4 x 54 size the company used for the other retailer anniversary cigars last year.
The boxes feature a silhouette of some of Vegas’ more noted architecture, a design that Davidoff has extended to all of the exclusive cigars its making for its own flagship stores.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Las Vegas 15 Years
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- Est. MSRP: $38
- Date Released: 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Davidoff Las Vegas 15 Years looks like your typical Davidoff: clean roll lines, great wrapper color, nicely-applied cap, but there’s a problem. It smells awful. The wrapper is this musty mushroom and wet towel smell and it only gets worse on the foot: chlorine, wet towel and more mushroom. Still, none of that could prepare me for the cold draw. The wet towel returns with some flavors that I imagine resemble what burning rubber tastes like. Quite honestly, anymore than about three cold draws and I am wondering if this will be the first cigar to make me vomit because of flavor.
Needless to say, I wasn’t really looking forward to lighting up the cigar itself, but things got a lot better. The flavor is muted, but at least none of the cold draw is present. I pick up a very mild creamy cedar flavor and that’s about it. While the creaminess and cedar both stick around, they pick up to a more medium and are joined by paprika, nutmeg and some bitter nuts on the tongue while there’s a peculiar mixture of asparagus, lime and some sweetness in the nose. It’s not all phenomenal news as the draw is tight on each sample I smoke and the burn is off on two of them.
Things get more vegetal and toast in the second third, which isn’t helping the Las Vegas 15 Years’ case. Fortunately, there’s sourdough bread, water chestnut, some muted cedar and a touch of mushroom. Draw remains tight, but the burn doesn’t need any help. Midway through the temperature of the smoke picks up quite a bit, which I imagine is due to the draw.
The final third sees the sourdough note retreat to a sweeter, more generic bread. There is still some vegetal flavors along with oak, some nuttiness, generic herbs and a black pepper. The smoke itself continues to warm, but doesn’t get to the point where it burns me. I do stop a bit earlier than where I might otherwise, but that was due to the draw.
- As for the cold draw, I don’t know what to make of it. Most the time when the cold draw and the flavor when lit don’t line up it’s because the cold draw was far richer and more complex than the cigar; that was most certainly not the case here.
- All of the new Davidoff flagships—Atlanta, Houston, Las Vegas, Lower Manhattan, Tampa and Bahrain—should receive exclusives of their own.
- Strength was medium-plus, a bit more than flavor.
- Most of Davidoff’s newer releases in the last two years have not been like this profile. They’ve been stronger and a bit more aggressive. While this is similar to a more “classic Davidoff” I think that term is ambiguous enough that I wouldn’t describe the Las Vegas 15 Years as that.
- I really like the box design.
- The draw was a big let down and recutting didn’t seem to help.
- Prior to this review going up, I called the toll-free number for the Davidoff stores to ask about production numbers and current pricing, and after identifying myself, I was told that they didn’t have any information they could give me and hung up. What I can tell you is that we paid $195 for five cigars, though that included shipping.
- Davidoff advertises on halfwheel.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes.
- The Las Vegas store does ship the cigars and you can order by calling them at 877.278.7665. The only other way to purchase them is to physically walk into one of the Davidoff locations.
This summary sort of needs to be broken down in two. The pre-light experience was atrocious with the cold draw being problematic enough that if I wasn’t smoking this for review, I would just bypass the activity altogether. For better or worse, we’ve never factored in cold draw into a score, so the Davidoff doesn’t get punished. Unfortunately for the Davidoff Las Vegas 15 Years, those weren’t the only problems. While this isn’t the mushroom parade profile that irks many smokers including my colleague Brooks Whittington, it is a mild to medium herbal, nutty and creamy profile that is somewhat reminiscent to the mustier, milder Davidoffs. More concerning, all three samples had a problematic draw, something relatively unheard of for Davidoff. Outside of that tight draw, the cigar smoking itself was okay, but certainly not for the standard of which Davidoff likes to hold itself. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, but a purchase isn’t something I’d recommend. And don’t take a cold draw.