A while back, Davidoff announced that it would be helping its appointed merchants celebrate milestone anniversaries—basically those ending in 5 or 0—with exclusive cigars. One of the stores to take the company up on that offer this year is Up In Smoke in Dallas, Texas.
The retailer is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and as such had a cigar made by Davidoff for the occasion. Released on March 15, the Davidoff Up In Smoke 25th Anniversary Exclusive is a 6 x 52 belicoso that uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed rojiza wrapper with a Dominican binder and Dominican filler blend. Only 300 boxes of 10 cigars were produced, with a price of $25 per cigar or $250 per box.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Up in Smoke 25th Anniversary Exclusive
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Rojiza
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $25 (Boxes of 10, $250)
- Release Date: March 15, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 10 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
With a lot of attention being put on products other than Davidoff’s White Label cigars, I had almost forgotten just what that line looks like in terms of its distinctive butterscotch wrapper and white and gold bands. It is a thing of beauty, and harkens me back to my earliest days of cigar smoking, when I saw them protected behind glass in some of the cigar shops I used to frequent. Veins are small and unobtrusive, and while the leaf’s lighter shade shows the seam lines, they are flat and don’t distract from the presentation. It’s a fairly firm cigar, uniform in hardness from top to bottom, and the belicoso is formed quite expertly, with the tobacco gathered and rolled to a sharp point that almost resembles a Hershey Kiss. From the foot I get a dry combination of white pepper and cereal grain, with faint amount of cream and lumberyard wood. The cold draw is near perfect and almost oily smooth, reminding me of Cheerios at first before adding a bit of banana and cream in the background.
There’s a surprising amount of heartiness from the Davidoff Up In Smoke 25th Anniversary in the first puffs; the cereal grains from the pre-light aroma and cold draw had me thinking this cigar will begin on a light note, but they are much less prevalent once the cigar is lit. In their place, the wood takes more of a lead role, with a bit of black pepper providing the vibrance. Chicken stock stands out in the aroma, with a very restrained amount of pepper present. That pepper becomes progressively stronger through the first third, stopping short of overpowering but certainly taking the reins in the nose by the time first clump of ash breaks off at just over an inch in length. Once that’s gone, the flavor and aroma continue to stay rich with white pepper, though at times the banana that I picked up on the cold draw makes a fleeting appearance in the aroma.
The smoke softens a bit at the start of the second third as a bit of plain marshmallow enters the equation and does as much for the flavor as it does the texture. There’s just a bit of sweetness from this new addition, while the banana has a bit more of an opportunity to shine as the pepper gets dialed back a bit as well, though it is still plenty abundant in this Davidoff. The cigar puts the brakes on any thought of developing a profile that could be described as genuinely sweet by the midpoint, bringing the black pepper back and picking up just a bit of harshness that might be too much for certain palates or noses. While the smoke doesn’t necessarily increase in quantity heading into the final third, the potency takes a noticeable step forward, becoming much more aggressive and stinging the eyes particularly well. The draw of the cigar remains fantastic, with plenty of smoke and no burn issues thus far.
I hate to say that I’m getting that “classic Davidoff flavor” from the Up In Smoke 25th, but it’s certainly what it comes across as with only a few inches to go. Thankfully there hasn’t been any of the muskiness or mushroom that many people associate with the White Label, replaced instead by dry wood and at times a bit of sand, though that description will probably come across more negatively than I intend it. It’s actually a very enjoyable flavor and pairs well with the somewhat diminished amount of white pepper. I would love for the banana and marshmallow sweetness to return in a bit more quantity than they do, as I think the cigar could benefit from a good hit of complexity, as I haven’t found a moment where everything comes together to hit that resounding high note yet. The final two inches bring on a bit more black pepper and make the flavor a bit heavier overall, but that doesn’t stop it from getting smoked down to under an inch.
- While we don’t factor price into the review or final score, I did find it challenging to justify the $25 per cigar price tag. Value and worth are always personal decisions, but when putting this in the overall landscape of cigars, it doesn’t always to the best job of justifying its asking price.
- Brooks Whittington reviewed the Davidoff Regency Cigar Emporium Exclusive 2016 here. While we can’t confirm that it is the exact same cigar as the Up In Smoke 25th Anniversary Exclusive, the blend notes are identical. This is because retailers participating in Davidoff’s Anniversary Exclusive program get the same five cigars to pick from, so there could certainly be multiple retailers picking the same blend.
- If it is the same blend, I could certainly see why it was picked, as it is a well-balanced profile that never becomes boring.
- I got a bit ahead of myself taking the band off the third cigar and did a bit of damage to the wrapper. It’s a thin leaf and didn’t respond well to the damage, but it didn’t seem to affect the flavor.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Davidoff advertises on halfwheel.
- The only place to get the Davidoff Up In Smoke 25th Anniversary is from Up In Smoke in Dallas, Texas. Be sure to tell them you heard about it on halfwheel.
There really isn’t a lot to complain about in the Davidoff Up In Smoke 25th Anniversary Exclusive; the technical performance is near perfect from start to finish in each sample, the balance is almost never askew, and the flavors are bright and punchy without being overpowered by pepper or any one particular note. If anything, the complexity was a bit lacking and kept the cigar from making the jump into that next tier of regard, but for the occasional splurge and celebration of a fine retailer, this cigar certainly fits the bill.