There are a number of very effective ways that various cigar companies use to make their creations more not only more attractive, but also more recognizable to consumers: OpusX has its famous logo on its band, Viaje releases feature some extremely imaginative backstories and Davidoff has some of the best packaging in the industry year after year.
However, one of the more distinctive efforts has to go to Cavalier Genève and its distinctive diamond gold leaf logo that is placed directly on the wrappers of the company’s cigars, an idea thought up by Eylin, the wife of brand owner Sébastien Decoppet. The designs are made up of 24-karat edible gold that the company says is designed to melt onto the ash and leave a distinct look on the cigar when the burn line passes through it.
Introduced in 2017, the third line from Cavalier Genève named Black Series II, not only includes the aforementioned gold leaf logo, but was also the first release from the company to be box-pressed. The new brand debuted with five different vitolas at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show and incorporates a Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering both a binder and filler tobaccos sourced from Nicaragua.
Fast forward to December 2019, when Cavalier Genève began shipping its newest “small batch” release, specifically a 7 x 38 lancero vitola in the Black Series II line priced at $8.50 each and packaged in boxes of 20. However, while the blend for the new size is the same as the other cigars in the Black Series II line, the lancero is actually round instead of box-pressed. In addition, the lancero is the only vitola in the line so far to not have a thin black secondary band that reads Rhein 1905, which pays tribute to Tabak Rhein, a Geneva, Switzerland-based retailer Cavalier Genève acquired in 2017.
There have been six vitolas released in the Black Series II line so far:
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Robusto (5 x 50) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Robusto Gordo (5 x 54) — $8.75 (Boxes of 20, $175)
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Toro (6 x 54) — $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Toro Gordo (6 x 60) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Torpedo (6 x 54) — $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Lancero (7 x 38) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Cavalier Genève Black Series II Salomones (7 x 50/58) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- Cigar Reviewed: Cavalier Genève Black Series II Lancero
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: San Judas Tadeo
- Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170)
- Release Date: Dec. 3, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Outside of a cigar with unique shape, like the OpusX BBF, or a cigar covered entirely by gold, I would say the Cavalier Black Series II Lancero is one of the most distinctive-looking cigars on the market right now, with a dark brown wrapper and a half-inch diamond made of edible gold leaf where a normal band would be. The wrapper is smooth—but also noticeably dry—to the touch and the cigar is extremely spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of pungent sweet earth, dark chocolate and old coffee grounds along with cedar, barnyard, manure and generic sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of bitter dark chocolate, orange citrus, leather, earth, aromatic cedar, peanut shells and raisins as well as a touch of black pepper.
The Black Series II Lancero features a combination of two dominant flavors as it starts out, specially slightly bitter dark chocolate and cedar, both of which do pretty good job of staying ahead of lesser notes that include gritty earth, leather, cinnamon, freshly roasted coffee, toast and slight floral. While there is some noticeable black pepper on the retrohale and a touch of spice on my lips, both pale in comparison to the raisin sweetness on the retrohale that is pulled over from the cold draw. The draw is excellent after a simple straight cut but the burn needs attention really one, while the smoke production is about average off of the foot. Strength-wise, the lancero hits a point closer to mild than medium by the end of the first third.
Although the amount of black pepper and raisin sweetness on the retrohale of the Cavalier Lancero does not change dramatically in the second third, a stronger cinnamon note overtakes the cedar flavor that was dominant, combining very nicely with the still strong dark chocolate note. There are other notes that flit in and out as well, including leather, barnyard, floral, generic nuts, cedar and bread, all of which are distinct at certain points, and the spice that was noticeable on my lips is long gone by the halfway point. Construction-wise, the burn has evened up nicely and draw continues to impress, while the overall smoke production has increased just a little bit. The strength has increased a small amount as well, but still fails to reach the medium mark as the second third comes to an end.
Coming into the final third, the profile of the Cavalier Black Series II changes very little from the preceding third, meaning that the same dark chocolate and cinnamon combination are easily dominant on the palate. That combo is once again followed closely by other notes of cedar, hay, cloves, generic citrus, leather and salted peanuts, while both the raisin sweetness and black pepper on the retrohale come very close to retaining their levels that were seen in the second third. In terms of construction, both the burn and draw continue to give me no issues at all, while the overall strength barely hits a point just below the medium mark right before I put down the nub with less than an inch remaining.
- While the company has stated that this release is round, there is definitely evidence of a slight box-press when looking at the end of the foot, at least with my three cigars.
- The gold leaf on the cigar is both a blessing and a curse: while it is extremely distinctive, it also is so thin that it comes off easily. Even with cellophane on, two of my samples had parts of the diamond rubbed off by the time I took the cello off.
- Speaking of gold leaf used on a cigar, I actually reviewed another cigar completely covered by the metal back in 2013.
- Other than two samples that had minor touchups in the first third, the burn was flawless across all three samples, and the ash fell off in large, heavy chunks.
- This cigar gets bitter very quickly if you puff too fast or hard, so take that into account if you are smoking one.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time for all three samples averaged a surprisingly quick one hour and 16 minutes.
After smoking three samples, the Cavalier Black Series II Lancero seems to have quite a few things going for it, including a flavorful, well-balanced profile full of dark chocolate, cinnamon and floral notes as well as overall very good construction. While we don’t factor prices into our scores, I would be remiss to not mention the fact that this release—as well as the other vitolas in the line—are extremely well-priced, especially when considering the fact that each one includes actual 24-carat gold on it. In the end, the newest Black Series II release from Cavalier is easily worth tracking down to try for yourself, if you can find a retailer that is selling them.