In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, Davidoff has been taking a multi-faceted approach to seemingly becoming the world’s most influential and recognizable cigar company.
There have been the brand makeovers of AVO, Camacho and Winston Churchill, and then there has been the retail component. The company has been steadily opening stores in cigar smoking hotbeds around the country, including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Lower Manhattan in New York City, Tampa and a planned Houston store. The Vegas location is a partnership with the father and son team of Frank and Matthew Arcella, who own several other Davidoff stores and kiosks throughout the city.
Like the rest of the stores, the new Las Vegas store got its own cigar to celebrate the opening.
The new Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Bar officially had its grand opening on Nov. 14, welcoming cigar smokers into its 2,500-square-foot space that overlooks the Las Vegas Strip and includes a walk-in humidor, several seating areas and a full bar. The new location sits centrally on a 22,000-square-foot plaza on the corner of the Fashion Show mall, and will soon be joined by the flagship location of Sugar Factory, a candy retailer.
If by now you’re thinking that halfwheel has already reviewed this cigar, it’s for good reason as last year the company released the Davidoff Las Vegas 15 Years, a cigar made to celebrate the anniversary of the company’s retail presence in Las Vegas. While a similar release in terms of availability, that was a 5 1/4 x 54 robusto extra with a different secondary band and a slightly darker wrapper.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Las Vegas Exclusive
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed Rojiza
- Binder: Dominican Piloto
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $25 (Boxes of 10, $250)
- Release Date: n/a
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Without the secondary band and an extensive knowledge of the Davidoff White Label portfolio, I doubt many people would know exactly what this cigar is. The wrapper is the familiar shade of light tan with few veins and a clean roll for which the company is known. I’m a fan of the short, stout and pointed head of this cigar, though on one sample it appears to be leaning just a bit. It’s a fairly generous cap in terms of tobacco as well, as the slight color difference shows exactly where that portion of the cigar begins. It’s also a fairly firm cigar, uniformly without much give. From the foot I get a fairly light aroma that is more suggestion and starting point to jog the mind’s memories that outright declaration of what it is; my mind goes down roads of corn flakes, a bit of dried mushroom, light wood and a touch of cream. The cold draw is pretty much what I look for in a cigar: easy but with a bit of resistance, with air moving through the cylinder with a bit of viscosity. It’s milder and less suggestive than the pre-light aroma, again showing a creamy undertone with a bit of wood on top.
While there wasn’t much of a suggestion from the cold draw or aroma that the Davidoff Las Vegas would be packed with pepper out of the gate, that’s exactly what the cigar offers once lit, flooding the palate and nose with a mix of black and white pepper on top of a core woodiness that is pushed to the background. While still prominent, the pepper recedes on the palate just a bit while staying very prevalent in the nose via retrohales, clearing the way for a bit of very dry and slightly sandy earth to emerge on the tongue. Through the first inch the burn line has been above average if not quite perfect, while smoke production is a touch thin and the ash holds on well in a dense mass that doesn’t show many lines. A very slight note of creaminess begins to come in, almost like coffee shop half-and-half in the small plastic cups, which also provides just a touch of sweetness as well.
The pepper returns with the first clump of ash gone and gets back to work on the nose with each retrohale. Far from overpowering, the effect lingers in the nostrils for several seconds before finally releasing its grip. There’s a bit more nicotine in this middle portion of the Davidoff Las Vegas, though isn’t near the point of delivering a serious gut punch. There’s a pivot in the flavor at the midpoint as chalk comes into the equation, which both lightens and dries the smoke out a bit, as well as the mouth. There is another subtle pivot as the burn line begins getting close enough to the second band that it should probably be removed, as the chalk dissipates and the flavor gets a bit heavier, drawing on more soil and leather for a bit of gravitas while there’s an uptick in black pepper on the palate as the final third gets underway.
While the burn line has been pretty even to this point, it begins to get off wavy enough to warrant a quick relight, which also helps with some combustion struggles that have appeared as well. The Davidoff Las Vegas’ flavor begins to alternate between some of the previous profiles it has shown to this point, moving back to the slightly sweeter and creamier profile for a bit now that both bands have come off. It then gets a bit heavier, returning the earth to the profile while leather and a new taste of warm mixed nuts joins in for yet another slight change. Combustion continues to slow to a near crawl but the cigar never goes out, while smoke production decreases a bit and the draw firms up in the final inch-plus. Between a touch more heat in the flavor and a more snug draw, the cigar seems to get just a bit bitter and unpleasant on the palate, and with more than two hours already spent with it, seems ready to be put down.
- Even with the heat core seeming right underneath the lower band, it was a challenge to remove as the glue didn’t want to loosen up. It was attached perfectly, so much so I thought I might burn through it.
- Sadly, the Davidoff Las Vegas website is pretty outdated and not of much use for this cigar. The Davidoff Las Vegas Facebook page is no better, having not been updated since Nov. 2012.
- Robin Leach, of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous fame, wrote an article about the new Davidoff bar for the Las Vegas Sun that is worth reading.
- I’m a big fan of the boxes for this series as they capture each city’s skyline in an elegant combination of black, white and gold. The Las Vegas version placed fourth on halfwheel’s 2015 Packaging Top 10 list.
- Final smoking time was just under two hours on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Davidoff of Geneva USA, which advertises on halfwheel..
- The Davidoff Las Vegas is available exclusively at Davidoff cigar shops in Las Vegas, Nev.
While the Davidoff Las Vegas isn’t the most complex or nuanced cigar I’ve ever smoked, it has more than enough going on to make it a very enjoyable cigar that keeps the senses engaged from start to finish. There’s plenty of clean, refined pepper for those seeking it, while a few subtle shifts introduce wood, earth and creamy sweetness, keeping it from being a completely linear flavor journey. While the price isn’t the most friendly thing, the flavors make up for it and make the Davidoff Las Vegas worth trying next time you’re in Sin City.