Review: Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary (Prerelease)
In 1989, Davidoff of Geneva was created in order to allow the Swiss company to enter the U.S. market, a move that was made alongside the company’s decision to leave Cuba after issues over how its cigars were being made. While the math still doesn’t exactly add up—as 2014 would seem like the actual 25th anniversary—Davidoff is celebrating with a cigar for its silver anniversary, the Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary.
One should be clear, this is not celebrating 25 years of Davidoff (White Label) in North America. That anniversary by my math would land some time in 2015, March to be a bit more precise. Rather, this is the 25th anniversary of selling cigars in America—something that gets even more confusing.
Davidoff’s explanation centers on 2013 being the 25th year in which it has sold cigars, because the company opened up its first New York City retail operation in 1987. Oddly, this isn’t the cigar to honor the 25th anniversary of the retail stores in the U.S. themselves, there’s actually a completely separate cigar planned of that, one the company hasn’t shed a ton of light on.
The Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary will be released in October with a price tag of $22.00 per cigar and $220.00 per box of 10 cigars. There will be 3,000 boxes of the Dominican puro released to the U.S. market. The cigar made its debut at the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention where it was shown off in the Davidoff booth, as well as handed out to the attendees of the Davidoff Golden Awards dinner.
Here’s a picture of the box from the trade show:
The top of the box looks like this:
(via Davidoff of Geneva)
And the particulars.
Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Cigars Davidoff
Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Yamasa)
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 5 Inches
Ring Gauge: 56
Vitola: Robusto Gordo
MSRP: $22.00 (Boxes of 10, $220.00)
Release Date: October 2013
Number of Cigars to be Released: 3,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)*
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
*3,000 boxes are limited to the U.S., we haven’t seen any numbers regarding whether the cigar will be released worldwide.
Even with this big of a cigar, Davidoff White Labels would fail a blind taste test. Why? Because the cigars are rolled that well. Aroma-wise the slightly red and seamless wrapper has a sweet and moist hay aroma with a fading chocolate pepper. Cold draw is similar to the aroma, although the milk chocolate is now the dominating note over moist woods and the hay along with a touch of peaches. As a site, we’ve gotten away from describing draws as “perfect” for the most part as it didn’t seem entirely accurate, but this is as close as I’ve come all year to perfection; I just can’t see the tightness being in a better place or smoother physically.
The cigar starts the first third with a great mouthwatering nuttiness before a thick cocoa and grainy note coats the palate. While there’s a touch of spice up front, a black pepper hits the middle of the tongue with a more dominant force. In addition, there’s a beautiful cereal note through the nose. Eventually, the Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary shows a core of a soft cedar, pecan and espresso. On the finish, there’s some charred woods, grassiness and some tea leaves while the nose shows a combination of grittiness with lemon zest, a POM-like flavor—not really full-on pomegranate—and oak. While the flavor is big, complex and robust, the construction could be a bit better as there’s an occasional touch-up needed.
As the second third begins, the big Davidoff loses its ash. The profile is getting sweeter and shows more cedar and a bit of creaminess on the finish that was present before. It is slightly more nuanced with both a saltiness and sweet nuttiness showing their faces. Midway through, the cedar disappears coinciding with a dramatic increase in smoothness. While the finish gets more complex with an added butter note and a bit less grass, a toastiness is added to the retrohale’s make-up.
Here’s a funny story. I managed to get through the first two thirds of the first of my two samples without noticing the draw, that’s how good it is: crisp, smooth and consistent from start to finish. Upfront, there’s an added floral note with the core, which has now become a bit earthier. Peanut shells enter the retrohale, while the finish remains relatively similar: lemon zest, roasted cedar, a sweet pomegranate and tea leaves. The cigar manages to end as complex and clean as it started: layers of flavor with zero harshness. As far as construction, outside of touching up one of the two cigars during the first third, I am not sure where I would even start complaining.
- I have to admit, I do find the math a bit strange. The company will explain the 25 years as exactly that, 25 different calendars of selling cigars in the U.S., even if they are not complete calendar years and the definition of a popular anniversary. While it’s not as troubling as Gurkha’s 125th anniversary last year, I do think this could have been made a little less confusing.
- This is hardly the first 25th anniversary product we’ve seen from Davidoff. In 2005, the retail store Davidoff of London celebrated its silver anniversary with a special cigar. Last year, the AVO brand celebrated its 25th anniversary with a limited edition of its own. As mentioned above, the Davidoff of Geneva retail locations are expected to receive a special cigar of their own this year. At the 2011 IPCPR trade show and convention, Davidoff launched the Davidoff 100 Years Geneva Robusto, honoring the 100th anniversary of the Zino Davidoff’s parents arrival to Switzerland.
- I haven’t seen any details about the other 25th anniversary cigar, although I would imagine it will only be sold at the Davidoff stores.
- Coincidentally, the AVO 22—which this cigar is allegedly modeled after—had two versions of itself: one for the U.S. market and one for the European market. I haven’t smoked an AVO 22 in 18 months or so, both are great cigars on their own merits.
- For those wondering, this isn’t a carbon copy of the AVO 22 and I’m honestly not sure I’d really put the two in the same category.
- On that same note, I disagree with the notion of a common Davidoff taste. The company just makes too many cigars: Aniversario, Classic, Grand Cru, Maduro, Mille, Millennium Blend, Nicaragua, Puro d’Oro and Special—and that’s just its “regular lines.” Cigars like the Davidoff of Geneva 25th, the Colorado Claro, Puro d’Oro line and others couldn’t be mistaken with a Davidoff 2000 outside of the way they look. By-in-large, I find Davidoff cigars to be no greater than medium in strength, rolled well and priced higher than average—other than that, I’m not sure I can point to any overarching similarities and I do think that the ambiguous “Davidoff taste” as some sort of singular flavor description is misleading.
- Davidoff is making the point that 10-count boxes are good for sales in its pitch to retailers. At $22.00 per cigar it will be a moot point for many.
- There’s a really distinct leather and hickory aroma. It adds to the layers of complexity the Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary.
- This is at least the second Dominican puro I can name off the top of my head Davidoff has released since the launch of Puro d’Oro. Last year the company released the limited Davidoff Golden Band Awards, a 6 x 50 Toro with the same blend description. While I haven’t seen anymore specifics on either cigar, they don’t taste at all similar and I would doubt they are the same blend.
- There’s another Davidoff release that should debut shortly that I’m really looking forward to, the Colorado Claro No. 3.
- I presume that Davidoff’s intensity meter and Camacho’s intensity meter are not calibrated together. This product ranks three and a half out of five circles on the Davidoff meter. For those wondering, I found the nicotine levels to be medium, body to be full and flavor to be medium-full on average. There are specific flavors that are big, but there’s also a lot of nuances.
- Davidoff’s obsession with big ring gauges might be strategic sales-wise, but it’s getting to be a bit much. This is one of three cigars that will be 56 ring gauge and above with the 58 ring gauge Puro d’Oro Gordito already released and the 6 x 60 LE 2014 Year of the Horse coming.
- I spent some time thinking about the last time a cigar, let alone two cigars, drew this well. I can’t tell you. It’s as close to perfect as I can remember.
- Cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by site sponsor Davidoff at IPCPR 2013.
- The cigar can take some abuse in regard to smoking frequency, but it still burns very slowly. Just under an hour and 30 minutes was the final smoking time on average. Given I smoke at an incredibly slow pace, I’d say increase your puff frequency a bit, but if you are finishing this an under an hour I don’t think it’s going to help the smoking experience.
- While the cigar will not be out until next month, site sponsors Cigar King (1.800.669.7167), Famous Smoke Shop (1.800.564.2486) & Mike’s (800.962.4427) are Davidoff appointed merchants.
The Bottom Line: I have mentioned in the past that there are Davidoff cigars I really like—perhaps more than the rest of this site—I just hadn’t reviewed any of them. This is Davidoff at its finest: a flawless draw, layers upon layers of complex flavors and a price tag that we so oftentimes associate with the Davidoff name. While I don’t get the anniversary, I more importantly get the cigar. There have been Davidoffs reviewed on this site that I have found good, but never—up until this point—great. At $22.00 per cigar it’s going to be frustrating, but I’ll splurge on a few for when my palate needs this sort of cigar, because even for Davidoff, this kind of finesse is not a common occurrence.
Final Score: 93