It’s hard to believe that it’s been 22 years since all the hoopla, pandemonium and concern about the turning of the millennium. As the year 2000 approached, there was not just excitement for the new year, but recognition of the momentous turning of all four digits of the year, as well as concern for a collection of technological problems, collectively referred to as Y2K, that had people thinking everything from losing access to your money in the bank to planes falling out of the sky as their computer systems would become unable to handle a year that didn’t start with a one.
As the cigar industry is known to do when it comes to big events and anniversaries, Davidoff released some special cigars, collectively known as the Davidoff Millennium Collection, which the company called “a unique pleasure for cigar connoisseurs and collectors” as well as “the pinnacle of cigar culture for the outstanding event of our times.”
In a booklet accompanying the cigars, Davidoff noted that the cigars have wrappers that are darker than normal for the company, an indication that the wrappers have a particularly high degree of maturity, due to them undergoing an “exceptionally long fermentation” as well as careful selection. As for the tobaccos underneath the wrapper, the company said that “no other filler and binder tobaccos have been stored and fermented under the best possible climatic conditions for so long.”
The booklet that was included with each set does not contain any specifics about the blend, or the three sizes that are included, though we measured the three sizes:
- Davidoff Millennium I, an 8 11/20 x 50 Perfecto Double Corona
- Davidoff Millennium II, a 7 1/5 x 48 Perfecto Churchill
- Davidoff Millennium III, a 6 x 42 Perfecto Corona
The company wrote that the choice to use a perfecto shape for all three vitolas was described as “our homage to the preciousness of the tobaccos used in this collection.” Each set contained a total of 20 cigars, eight each of the Perfecto Churchill and Perfecto Corona, and four of the Perfecto Double Corona.
In 2001, following the release of the Davidoff Millennium Collection, the company introduced the original four formats of the Millennium Blend Series, which utilized a blend that was based on the Millennium Collection. The Millenium Blend Series uses an Ecuadorian hybrid wrapper, Dominican seco binder, and a filler of Dominican seco and ligero.
Note: Since halfwheel launched in 2012, we have started off each new year with a week of reviews that are different from the other parts of the year. Rather than reviewing new cigars, we try to find cigars people might consider a holy grail cigar. These reviews are scored the same as our regular reviews, though oftentimes we are only able to procure one of the cigars, so many of these reviews are based on smoking one cigar instead of our normal three cigars per review. You can read more Holy Grail Week reviews by clicking here. — Charlie Minato.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Millenium II
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: Undisclosed
- Binder: Undisclosed
- Filler: Undisclosed
- Length: 7 1/5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Perfecto Churchill
- MSRP: $24.75 (Box of 20, $495)
- Release Date: 2000
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 8 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There aren’t a lot of tells about the age of the cigars, though remembering just how bright and white the bands are on a new Davidoff cigar does suggest that these less shiny, slightly yellowed bands have been around for a while. All three of the cigars look good; the wrappers are a nutty brown color that is fairly even, though there is enough difference in shade around the heads of the cigars to be noticeable. There are a handful of veins scattered around the wrapper, and the seams are visible on the whole, but nothing that stands out as being visually problematic. Without knowing how oily the wrappers might have been when they were released, it’s hard to compare how these look, but they are a matte finish and feel dry to my fingers. The cigars themselves are quite firm, maybe even hard depending on one’s boundary between the two terms. The bands are also looser than I would have expected, as while they’re not completely loose, they do slide fairly freely up and down the cigar. These cigars arrived to me without cellophane—I’m not sure they ever had any—so I’m not surprised that the aroma off the wrapper is a mild scent of dry tobacco leaves and not much else. The tiny opening at the foot doesn’t offer much more, though the aroma does lead my mind to the smell of peanut skin, that paper-like substance between the shell and the nut. If anything, the aroma from the foot is a bit more fragrant, vibrant and complex, though limited in just how much of an aroma if offers. A conservative first clip of the cap produces a slightly firm airflow, though one that I’m fine with for the moment as I’m optimistic that it will be better once the burn line passes through the narrowed foot. The flavor is just a bit more vibrant than the aroma, slightly toasty and slightly nutty, but with no appreciable sweetness or pepper. There can also be a bit of tingle on my lips from the tobacco.
The first puffs of the Davidoff Millenium II immediately take me back to an earlier era of Davidoff cigars, one that was much more driven by Dominican tobaccos, particularly olor. It’s might not be a completely stark contrast from what I think of as the current Davidoff profile, which has evolved since the introduction of the Discovery Series in 2013, but it is certainly a throwback. The first of the three cigars hits my palate with a bit of a funky twang right out of the gate, with a bit of white pepper lingering in the background. The other two cigars are a bit creamier, which helps mellow that funkiness, and in the case of one cigar, seems to eliminate it completely. As I try to find a word to describe the first puffs, the common ones—mild, delicate, etc.—seem to come up a bit short. I’m also trying my best to avoid calling this the taste of an aged cigar, though I have a feeling that will need to be mentioned at some point. As for retrohales, they are creamy and mellow at first, followed by a white pepper tingle that isn’t particularly potent but quickly spreads throughout my nostrils. On the whole, the first inch of the cigar is pretty enjoyable if a bit mouth-drying, and were it not for the fact that I know what this cigar is, I’m not sure I could immediately recognize the age on the tobacco. As mentioned in the pre-light notes, the draw has indeed opened up a bit now that the burn line is around the narrow foot, and it gets even better once that first clump of ash falls off. A bit after the first clump of ash drops off, the flavor begins to wake up with a fragrant, mild cedar and flavors of peanuts and peanut-related products, never getting as rich as good peanut butter but seemingly trying. There’s a bit of creaminess here as well, though even it has a slightly dry finish, which leaves a subtle tingle throughout most of my mouth. Where the biggest change seems to be is that whatever amount of funky twang from the first inch that each cigar had appears to be long gone, a real case of addition by subtraction, a change that leaves a dry, toasty and nutty profile that is still fairly mild in intensity. Flavor is mild to mild-plus in the first third, while body feels a bit thin but getting better, and strength is quite mild. After a slightly firm start, the draw is much better, while smoke production and the burn line are both great. The cigar does seem to favor a slightly quicker puffing rate, as it is occasionally prone to needing a relight if I step away from the cigar for a moment or two.
While the first third of the Davidoff Millenium II was enjoyable, the second third is where the flavor seems to finally be ready to come alive, led by a tick more intensity from the nuttiness, specifically an almond flavor and more of the black pepper. Retrohales are also becoming more vibrant with a pinch more white pepper and a bit less creaminess. The cigar is by no means making big steps in its flavor progression, rather a more measured progression seems to be unfolding. It’s not long before the cedar becomes a bit richer and moves into a different varietal of wood, though one I’m not quite sure how to best describe. A bit more black pepper appears on my palate, and those two changes lead to the cigar tasting just a bit smokier. There are some very occasional puffs where it feels like the funkiness from the first puffs is returning, though it rarely lasts more than a few moments before fading away. Retrohales in the back half of the second third bring about a clean, increasingly present pepper that hits the nostrils with a fair bit of sharpness and a more lingering finish. The cigar continues to struggle occasionally with its combustion, and it seems that the amount of time between puffs needs to be reduced a bit in order to keep it burning. That said, when it is burning, it feels like it’s progressing just a bit faster than it did in the first third. Otherwise, the burn line and smoke production are still very good. Flavor is now medium-minus to maybe just medium, body is medium-minus, and strength is mild.
The final third starts by continuing to develop the black pepper both on the taste buds and in my nose, becoming a bit more potent and long-lasting, There’s not much of the creaminess left, and thankfully it’s been some time since there was any of the olor funk from the first third. The next notable shift takes a while to come about, happening right around where the band would have been had I left it on. The body of the smoke increases a bit and becomes much softer, reminding me of the soft center of a loaf of wheat bread, a change that also makes for a fairly stark contrast to the pepper delivering a somewhat sharper finish. It’s not long before I realize that the Davidoff Millenium II is continuing to burn quickly, and seems to have left the combustion issues in the second third. The cigar comes to a close with its most vibrant flavor, with a bit of creaminess returning to the profile and combining with the wheat bread to form a fairly full body as well, while dry wood and black pepper serve as accents and drive the lingering finish. Flavor finishes at medium-plus, body is medium-full and strength is medium-minus. Construction remains very good, especially with no significant combustion issues in this portion.
- Editor’s Note: There is reason to believe the actual size was 7 1/4 x 48, but I measured the cigars to be 7.19 inches. — Charlie Minato.
- The partial collection that we purchased is number 371 of 2500.
- On the first cigar I smoked, the first clump of ash dropped off and hit my desk with a pretty decent thud, staying largely intact except for a few small bits that broke off.
- The ash on all three cigars ended up being quite impressive, both in terms of durability and density.
- There’s a certain sinking feeling that set in not long into the first cigar, as I was afraid this had turned into a cigar with a lot of funky olor
- We received some of all three vitolas when we purchased this, specifically four of the Perfecto Double Corona, seven of the Perfecto Churchill, and six of the Perfecto Corona, and I was given my choice of which vitola to smoke for this review. Wanting to smoke as many of these as possible, and give myself as much time with this rare cigar as possible, I opted for the Perfecto Churchill, given that it afforded me one more cigar as I would have only smoked two of the Perfecto Double Corona.
- I don’t know if it added anything meaningful to my quality of life, but there is something kind of humbling to think about how many people have lived and never saw the turning of a new millennium, and that it barring a massive jump in life expectancy, it will be another 850-900 years or so before people will even start thinking of being around to see the next millennium.
- I didn’t feel any nicotine strength from the Davidoff Millenium Collection Perfecto Churchill.
- Davidoff advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel. We paid $900 for 17 cigars about a year ago. Per Cigar Aficionado, the sampler’s price at the time it was released appears to be $495.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 30 minutes on average.
Smoking a cigar two decades after its launch is both a special experience and one that leaves me wanting an opportunity to go back in time to experience the cigar not just when new but at a few points along the way. The first few puffs of the first cigar had me worried that the experience would be dominated by the funkiness of Dominican olor that is a throwback to the previous generation of Davidoffs, which wouldn't be a surprise given when these were released. Thankfully that proved to be a fairly isolated experience, with plenty of other good flavors in the rest of that first cigar as well as the other two cigars. If anything, time may have taken some vibrance from the cigars, but it hasn't hampered the journey from start to finish, and while the flavors might not be as vibrant as they once were, they are still plenty defined and lively. While I would have liked to smoke these when they were new, smoking them just over two decades after their release was still a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience, and one I'm fortunate to have had.