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Late last year, Cavalier Genève announced that it would have a 2020 version of its annual Limited Edition.

Simply called the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2020, the cigar shares a lot with the first two Cavalier Limited Editions, though there are some differences. It retains the black on blue limited edition Cavalier band, but the secondary band is now white. Cavalier Genève still won’t disclose the blend, though unlike past years there are two different wrappers on this release in the form of a modified barberpole design. Perhaps the biggest change is that the cigar is now a 6 x 54 toro instead of the shorter and thicker vitolas used for the first two releases.

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While not obvious until the bands are removed, the cigar features Cavalier Genève’s signature piece of 24-karat gold that is shaped like a diamond. It’s placed behind the bands—directly over the wrappers of the cigars—and is designed to be smoked through. When that happens, the gold gets embedded inside the ash. This is something that is found on every Cavalier Genève cigar, not just the Limited Editions.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2020
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Tabacos de Oriente
  • Wrapper: Undisclosed
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $12 (Box of 10, $120)
  • Release Date: Nov. 30, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

There’s a lot going on with these bands, more than I can ever recall with Cavalier’s bands before it. I’ve never been a huge fan of the knock-off Edición Limitada bands that Cavalier and others use, and while I’m not sure it looks better in white, at least it’s different. The sides and back of the bands now have added detail elements, including signatures. Then there’s the cigar itself, which has a contrasting wrapper design thanks to a darker wrapper and a lighter wrapper. This isn’t a traditional barberpole where there are two wrappers more or less evenly sharing surface area, rather, the darker wrapper makes up the vast majority of the cigar and there’s a little more than an inch between the lighter accent stripes. The aroma from the wrapper is medium with a fair bit of acidity, some raisins and not much else. The foot is medium-full and smells like rice, candied raisins, coffee, orange peel and white pepper. If you aren’t paying attention you’ll likely miss a fair bit of the detail of the cold draw. There’s a large amount of honey over some floral flavors, orange peel and a weird peanut butter.

Much like the cold draw, it’s pretty easy to lose out on the nuances of the cigar once it is lit. The Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2020 starts with nuts, earthiness, coffee bean, a bourbon-hinted oak and some sweet—albeit not sugary—flavors like ketchup. There’s also a weird sensation that I can’t entirely place. But after a few puffs it’s a lot more apparent. This is producing an umami reaction—and lots of it. For those unfamiliar, umami isn’t a specific flavor, rather it’s a category of flavors like sweet or sour. In fact, the umami and a meatiness combine to remind me of bacon, though I can’t say this cigar reminds me directly of bacon. Behind that there’s stone mustard, earthiness and black pepper. The finish has Macadamia nuts, peanuts, yellow mustard and a bit of creaminess. Retrohaling produces sensations of buttered bread, earthiness, herbal flavors and a touch of black tea. The retrohales finish with raisins, dry bread, creaminess and a touch of irritation, though not much in the way of pepper. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium. Given the box press and the size, it’s not entirely surprising that the draw is a bit more open than I’d like. I never need to touch up the cigar during the first two inches, but there are a few times I have to work to help the smoke production stay consistent. That being said—like pretty much every other cigar with a slightly open draw—when I want to I can easily produce clouds of smoke without the cigar getting too hot.

The second third of the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2020 retains the umami like before, though a bread flavor is now much more able to compete with the umami for the top spot in terms of strongest flavor. Behind that there’s a restrained pepper, some oak and black tea. The finish has rye bread, a more vibrant black butter, a butter-like creaminess and some of the umami. While the main flavor seems like it’s functioning on all cylinders, the finish seems like it has a bit more to offer and I just may not be able to actually pick up the flavors. Retrohaling produces a mixture of oak and cedar over a watered down bourbon and some pepper. The bourbon flavors continue into the finish, which has more umami and also something that reminds of black walnut butters. Like the main flavors, it’s got a very interesting texture, which seems to only amplify the umami sensation. Flavor is close to full, body is medium-full and strength is medium. I have to touch up each cigar to prevent it from going out, and once again, that’s something that may not be needed if the draw was a bit better.

During the final third, there are times when I wonder if the umami flavor is still there. It comes and goes depending on the puff, but even at its most intense point in the final third, it’s not anywhere close to the first half of the cigar. The good news is, the Cavalier still has some excellent flavors. There’s oak, green grapes, a generic woodiness and some nuttiness. It’s not as exotic as the first two thirds, but the combination works very well. It finishes with meatiness, a flavor that reminds me of some corn-heavy whiskey and a touch of mineral flavors. Retrohales start with some ketchup sensations but they are quickly drowned out by a wood flavor. While the initial retrohale has no pepper, the finish of the retrohale has white pepper and more of that mineral flavor. Towards the end of the retrohale it tastes like a night where I’ve had one too many bourbons. Flavor remains medium-full, body remains medium-full and strength drops off a bit, probably ending up closer to medium than it does medium-full. The draw remains a bit open for my taste, but I can deal with it and, fortunately, I can deal with it without the assistance of my lighter.

Final Notes

  • For all of the crazy flavor sensations the reviewers on this site have mentioned, umami rarely comes up. I think a lot of times we are able to find more specific flavors to describe an umami sensation like greasy hamburger or fatty tuna.
  • If you would like to learn more about umami, I would recommend exploring this website.
  • It’s sort of nuts to think about how much is going on with these two bands and the two different wrapper colors—and then there’s the piece of gold on the cigar.
  • I do wish Cavalier would use gold for the logo on the blue band as black just seems like a weird contrast there. I could understand if the idea was to get the bands to seem darker, but the white secondary band takes away from that.
  • Of course, the black on blue has been used on the other limited editions before this.
  • None of the cigars I smoked had the “2020” part of the date centered.
  • For all of my minor quibbles with the bands, I really appreciate the fact that this not a 4ish x 58 cigar. But mainly I appreciate that it’s not a 58 ring gauge cigar.
  • I think some might see that Cavalier hasn’t disclosed the wrappers and that the first release has a dark wrapper and the second release had a lighter wrapper and then conclude, “oh, it probably has the two wrapper as the first two releases.” I definitely don’t think that’s the case when I look at the three cigars side-by-side.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2020.

Update (Feb. 4, 2021) — After this review was published, Cavalier Genève clarified that this cigar is being produced at Tabacos de Oriente, not at the San Judas Tadeo factory that produces most Cavalier Genève cigars.

92 Overall Score

There’s a lot to distract you from the most important thing. The Cavalier Genève Limited Edition 2020 is a weird-looking cigar that has bands that are as equally highly-detailed as they are highly contrasting. That’s not to say anything about the gold leaf hiding beneath them, which normally by itself is enough of a talking point. All that is a massive distraction from just how good this cigar is. It’s not one I’d recommend pairing with any drink, it’s not one I’d recommend smoking around a group of people—this is one of those times to go smoke a cigar in as much isolation as you can afford, truly on brand for the year it’s named after. If you can find that space—mentally and physically—you will be greeted with an umami bomb that is like few other cigars. 

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About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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