Observant cigar smokers may have noticed a somewhat new line of cigars showing up in their local humidors in recent years, and while not an inherently flashy line, it does have a very flashy component: a 24-karat gold leaf accent.

The Swiss company entered the U.S. market in 2016, making its formal debut at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show with its White Series and Black Series. It has since added the Black Series II.

Earlier this month, the company released its Limited Edition 2018, a 4 3/4 x 58 box-pressed robusto gordo that is based on the Black Series II, which debuted at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. The binder and filler both come from Nicaragua, while the wrapper is a Mexican San Andrés negro leaf. On top of that wrapper but obscured by the primary band is the gold accent, shaped like a diamond, or a square rotated 45 degrees, depending on your disposition.

The company is releasing 500 numbered boxes of 10 cigars, though, given their multinational presence, only 200 of them are being sent to the U.S. by way of their domestic distributor, Cigar Art. Pricing is set at $11 per cigar, or $110 per box, before taxes.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: San Judas Tadeo
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Negro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 4 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 58
  • Vitola: Robusto Gordo
  • MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
  • Release Date: March 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Since I first saw the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018, I’ve been bugged by the design and placement of the secondary band, but I’ll harp on that in the final notes. The cigar itself is presented in a thick, pressed robusto vitola that gives it the familiar candy bar shape. There’s a flare at the foot on the first sample, giving it a very slight bell shape, while a prominent bump sticks out below the secondary band, likely a vein that wasn’t pressed or removed prior to rolling. It’s fairly firm with a bit of give, neither rock hard nor as pillowy as I’ve felt on other box-pressed cigars. The wrapper leaf is a matted, slightly darker than medium brown that is smooth on the fingers, shows the seam lines, and can appear on the rustic side. The foot of the cigar offers a cinnamon-sprinkled cake donut note, slightly sweetened by some sugar crystals. The cold draw is on the firm side, and while initially nondescript, begins to show an interesting organic wood note that I can’t quite place but is fairly enjoyable, especially when matched with a generic baked goods note.

The first puffs of the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018 are almost exactly what the pre-light experience would have suggested: a warm, cake donut base with some woodiness on top, though there are more pepper flavors and less cinnamon notes than I would have predicted. There’s also a very subtle dry baked chocolate that is teasing some sweetness. It’s a fairly soft smoke feel in the mouth, with the flavor treading almost equally as delicately, yet there’s no shortage of substance in either category. Pepper is tame as well, present only in smallest of quantities to give a bit of tongue tingle on the finish. The ash builds up quite well to well over an inch, though some visible cracks make me knock it off. The draw, smoke production, and burn are all quite good so far.

There isn’t a lot in the way of changes to be found as the second third gets underway, but I’m not complaining. The Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018 has found a very pleasing medium body and medium-minus strength that it continues to showcase with consistency and balance, rooted in the baking chocolate, the slightest bit of earthiness, and a pinch of pepper. As the second third unfolds, the smoke begins to get a touch stronger with some more pepper through the nose, though it’ll likely only be noticeable if you retrohale. By the midway point of the first sample I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have left the ash attached as the burn line got noticeably more jagged after I knocked the first clump off, though it only seems to affect the visual component. When I take the bands off near the end of the second third, I find Cavalier’s signature gold leaf diamond waiting for me, which I had sort of forgotten was on the cigar given its bands. The section comes to a close with some rich chocolate brownie that is absolutely incredible both on the palate and in the nose, neither too sweet or indulgent, but almost perfectly crafted.

I’m sort of surprised every time the final third of the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018 comes around, as I’m both enjoying the cigar quite a bit but not finding anything that’s particularly grabbing my attention. The flavors are consistent, varying only slightly in the amount of pepper that gets integrated, and even that range is quite small. When the burn line reaches the gold diamond, it doesn’t seem to burn as much as it just melts, further adhering itself to the ash as the burn line plods along underneath it. A bit more dry chocolate brownie closes out the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018, and is one of the purer and more enjoyable notes I’ve tasted, with a bit of espresso on the finish to form an outstanding pairing. The aroma is equally if not more appealing, smelling like freshly baked brownies straight from the over, and I find myself smoking the cigar as far down as I can to get every last waft of smoke out of it.

Final Notes

  • The secondary bands on this cigar are some of the worst I can recall seeing. Not only do they look like bad counterfeits of Cuban bands, they were applied off-center, and the date on the back was covered on occasion. I find this interesting as they look nothing like the way the bands were applied on the box photo in the article announcing the cigar.
  • I’m also not crazy about the black on blue combination of the primary band. The logo, which I like, as well as the word marks get lost with the combination.
  • Not to pile on, but the band of the third cigar took off a good section of the gold, rendering less than attractive.
  • I can’t say I’ve ever worked with gold leaf, and it’s one thing you don’t see in the majority of cigar factories, so I’d be intrigued to see its addition to the cigar as part of the manufacturing process.
  • There is little in the way of nicotine strength from the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018 until the very end, and I only felt it when I smoked the cigar later in the day as opposed to first thing in the morning.
  • Cavalier Genève announced the acquisition of Tabak Rhein in Geneva, Switzerland as its flagship store.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Cavalier of Genève.
  • Final smoking time was two hours on average.
90 Overall Score

Take away my issues with the bands and the novelty of the gold leaf, and you're left with what pretty much every cigar smoker wants: a very good cigar. There aren't a lot of changes in the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2018, and the cigar won't reach out and grab your senses with overwhelming pepper or any other particular flavor or aroma, but it establishes itself quickly and stays in its lane, making for a very pleasing two hours of smoking time. I'd certainly recommend this cigar to nearly anybody who wants a smooth smoke to enjoy as the accompaniment to a conversation or just some quite relaxation.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.