As it has done for the previous two years, Davidoff’s annual limited edition made its first appearance in late November. Despite the pair of releases before it, confusion seems to exist surrounding all of Davidoff’s annual limited edition series. Sure, the cigar has two names—both “Limited Edition 20xx” and a “Year of the x” based off of the Chinese zodiac calendar. And further confusion seems to exists because while Davidoff released accessories for Year of the Dragon, there was no actual cigar. But far and away the most confusing aspect is that the the Limited Edition for a given year is actually released late in the year before, making this year’s release the Davidoff Limited Edition 2015 Year of the Sheep.
- Davidoff Limited Edition 2013 Year of the Snake (7 x 48) — Nov. 2012 — 4,500 Boxes of 8 Cigars (36,000 Total Cigars)
- Davidoff Limited Edition 2014 Year of the Horse (6 x 60) — Nov. 2013 — 5,000 Boxes of 9 Cigars (45,000 Total Cigars)
- Davidoff Limited Edition 2015 Year of the Sheep (6 1/2 x 54) —Nov. 2014 — 3,000 Boxes of 8 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
As far as the cigar goes, it’s a 6 1/2 x 54 belicoso, done with an extended torpedo tip. It is packaged in boxes of eight, priced at $35 per cigar and limited to 3,000 boxes globally. Blend-wise, Year of the Sheep features an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, Dominican Yamasa binder and five filler tobaccos: hybrid corojo/olor visos, Dominican San Vicente visos, piloto visos, San Vicente mejorado visos and piloto visos.
As it has done with the Year of the Snake and Horse before it, the packaging for Year of the Sheep prominently features the colors red and gold, two popular colors in Chinese culture.
The Year of the Sheep was released at the Davidoff of Geneva flagship store on the weekend of Nov. 7 and began shipping to appointed merchants elsewhere on Nov. 20.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Limited Edition 2015 Year of the Sheep
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Dominican Yamasa
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Hybrid Corojo/Olor Visos, San Vicente Visos, Piloto Visos, San Vicente Mejorado Visos & Piloto Visos)
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $35 (Boxes of 8, $280)
- Release Date: Nov. 7, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 3,000 Boxes of 8 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
One of the three samples I smoked had a noticeable, yet small, water spot on the reddish wrapper. Other than that, construction is what you would expect from Davidoff—evenly rolled cigars that seem filled to the appropriate amount. Aroma out of the cellophane is a mixture of hay, nuts and creamy leather at medium levels. From the foot, a mustiness—is arguably the trademark Davidoff flavor—emerges along with macadamia nuts, gingerbread and a touch of a smoother bourbon note. The cold draw on two samples tasted like a loaf of white bread and not much else. The third sample showed a lot more sweetness, particularly from fruit, and a touch of acidity.
A mild fruitiness is the first thing to hit the palate, but the Year of the Sheep quickly moves into a big, but quick, woodiness, grains, wheat and a touch of saltiness. The draws on all three samples are a touch open, which is somewhat surprising, but probably welcome news to those who struggle with the belicoso vitola. As the cigar gets going the macadamia nuts and bread that I found before lighting make their way onto the palate. There’s a fair bit of cinnamon, as well as some black pepper, nuttiness and roasted corn. The one sample that didn’t taste much like bread on the cold draw retained a lot of acidity with it pairing alongside a leather note. One thing that’s a bit surprising, albeit happening more and more with Davidoffs these days, is that the Year of the Sheep measures medium-full in strength.
All three cigars pick up the acidity in the second third with tannins emerging halfway through the Year of the Sheep. The bread note becomes a bit more sourdough-like, while the macadamia nut has moved to the finish. Without retrohaling, it actually is a relatively simple mixture of creaminess and musty flavors, but it’s nearly impossible to stop retrohaling once you start with the Limited Edition 2015 as the mouth is too pedestrian compared to the nose. While the flavor and body are both full, the retrohales aren’t too punishing, although the strength picks up an aggressive edge in the second third. Two samples I smoked had an uneven burn in the first third, something that’s resolved by the middle point of the cigar.
The tannins are quickly becoming overwhelming as I burn down the Year of the Sheep. Fortunately the bread, now back to a more generic French loaf, is still there to balance things out along with an orange peel. Black pepper remains on the finish, although it’s being a bit overwhelmed by the initial acidity. As I burn down the final inch, the citrus notes on all three cigars get stronger and stronger overtaking things right before I set the belicoso down.
- I absolutely love the way the extended belicoso-tip looks, however, I find it terribly uncomfortable to actually smoke. I much prefer the traditional, or even shorter cap like the AVO 88, but that’s just a personal preference. The shape causes my lip to touch the band, which is annoying. I removed the band on two of the samples, but had to deal with it for the sake of photography on the third.
- Once again, Davidoff produced a line of accessories for the Year of the Sheep release. You can see the line here.
- Over the last two or three years, Davidoff has been the one to beat regarding packaging. Sure it’s pricy, but the Year of the Sheep boxes are incredible, the best in the series as far as I’m concerned.
- Next year (2015) will be the eighth in a 12-year cycle and is usually recognized by year of the goat, although both sheep and ram are oftentimes accepted. It formally begins on Feb. 19, somewhat of a later day as far as the calendar goes. The last time a year began later than Feb. 19, it was the year of the Ox in 1985, which began on Feb. 20.
- Strength levels of Davidoff cigars seem to be picking up, and it’s not just the new product. While I certainly understanding the old lines getting stronger as the average cigar in general has gotten much stronger in the last few years, the jump in the limited products has been noticeable in 2014 and it will likely continue in 2015 with things like the new Winston Churchill, which is certainly no less than medium-full.
- There’s a pretty step decline in production numbers compared to last year: 24,000 cigars for Year of the Sheep down from 45,000 for Year of the Horse.
- That being said, Davidoff has released a plethora of limited edition cigars this year: the Art Edition, four appointed merchant retailer anniversary releases, an anniversary cigar for the flagship in Las Vegas and Oro Blanco.
- Davidoff is an advertiser at halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. recently became a Davidoff Appointed Merchant, but does not list the Year of the Sheep in stock.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again sometime this week, but we don’t factor price into scores. This is not my favorite $35 cigar, not my favorite $25+ Davidoff—quite simply, it’s not my favorite a lot of things. While I enjoy perfectos and belicosos, this particular format, one where my lips are constantly touching the band and the cigar keeps sliding, is not my favorite and I think that contributes to my thoughts. That all being said, it’s a very good cigar flavor-wise and the progression throughout the Year of the Sheep is great. While I found everything from the cigar to the packaging to be impressive, I can’t ever see myself buying another. It’s a very good cigar in a sea of many other very good cigars from Davidoff for $10-15 less.