If there are two things that have become trends in the cigar industry in recent years, it’s brands selling directly to consumers and the release of a collection of cigars that can be described by a host of terms, but most commonly lost or vault releases.
In the case of the Davidoff Mundano, this cigar checks both boxes.
First, some background: in November 2017, a new program from Davidoff of Geneva USA began coming to light. Coined ACCESS, the program promised access to rare cigars as well as the personalization of cigars and cigars boxes, priority access to in-store events, and other benefits.
As for the cigars, the first wave featured a re-release of a number of limited editions: 2013’s Year of the Snake, the first in the Zodiac Series; followed by the Davidoff Robusto 100th Anniversary and the Davidoff Diademas 100th Anniversary.
What was promised in the coming weeks and months was access to even more cigars, specifically vintage products, rare finds, and private collections from the company’s archives, which Richard Krutick, vp of marketing and retail for the company, called “true collectors items for any passionate cigar collector.”
In March, Davidoff released what would be the first of the new Vault cigars, a 6 x 52 toro known as the Davidoff Limited Edition Gusto Toro. Just about a month later, the second cigar would be offered, the Davidoff Mundano.
It’s a toro as well, though measures a slightly more slender 6 x 50. It uses a Dominican hybrid 253 wrapper on top of a Mexican San Andrés negro binder and six tobaccos in the filler: a habano viso from Estelí, Nicaragua and four Dominican leaves: hybrid 124 seco Damajagua, hybrid A viso, viso piloto, piloto mejorado and San Vicente mejorado.
The cigar is said to have been developed over the past five years with the goal of creating a blend that is focused on our connection to nature. Of note, several of the types of tobaccos used in the blend come from proprietary hybrid seeds developed by Davidoff, specifically the wrapper: the Damajagua seco and the A viso.
While the cigar got its primary release online via the ACCESS program, it was also made available to Davidoff of Geneva — since 1911 retail locations as well as a handful of top Davidoff retailers across the country, namely those with Davidoff-branded lounges.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Mundano
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Hybrid 253)
- Binder: Mexico (San Andrés Negro)
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Hybrid 'A' Viso, Hybrid 124 Seco Damajagua, Piloto Mejorado, Piloto Viso, San Vicente Mejorado) & Nicaragua (Estelí Habano Viso)
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $32 (Bundles of 10, $320)
- Release Date: April 20, 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
It still catches me a bit by surprise to see a wrapper as dark as the one on the Mundano bearing the white Davidoff band, even though it has become more common in recent years. The secondary band also bears the signature of Eladio Diaz, something that too has become more common recently, starting with Puro d’Oro and then appearing on the Master Series and these recent ACCESS releases. The cigar itself has a bit of give but is well filled, though one sample is noticeably soft in the lower third, appearing to be underfilled as it has taken on a bit of a squared off shape. The foot has an interesting sweetness that sits on top of some damp soil; and each sample has me trying to place its unique spin on it. The first has me thinking black licorice or a coffee-flavored toffee, the second is more of a black coffee and molten chocolate dessert combination, while the third is still thick but much brighter, almost a bit of tree sap but with fruit cup accents. Compounding the challenge is the building pepper, which makes it harder to get each specific aroma on its own. The cold draw is smooth and easy, leading with a repeat of the soil note before getting into bran or poppyseed muffins and a bit of black pepper.
Seemingly right out of the gate the Davidoff Mundano gets the pepper fired up quickly with supporting notes that dabble in the bran muffin note found on the cold draw. There’s some earthiness and chocolate in there as well, the latter seems to latch onto the pepper in an interesting way the dampens its potential a bit. Where the pepper gets to work without on its own is through the nose, where it is clean and pointedly punchy. The pepper settles to a more collaborative level in the first inch, and by the time the first clump of ash drops, the cigar is in a different place than where it started; the first sample has a more pronounced shedding of most of the heavy earth and muffin, while the second’s transition is a bit more gradual. The shift takes the Mundano to a lighter profile that has a sprinkling of white pepper for the palate and a pinch more for the nose, at least until both begin a steady increase in potency. The technical aspects of the cigar have all been well above average, while the strength and body sit in the medium-plus to medium-full range.
The start of the Davidoff Mundano’s second third bring back a more potent pepper mix, but this time with a base that leans towards a mix of Dr. Pepper and root beer or sarsaparilla, albeit the sweetness is much tamer than that mixture would suggest. There are a few puffs where the cigar picks up flavors of damp bark as well, though this is also a section where the vibrance of the flavors seems to settle down and the cigar becomes much more familiar to the palate, with a good balance of pepper keeping some of the puffs tingling on the palate and through the nostrils. Construction remains quite good as well, with no need for any relights or touch-ups.
There are the beginnings of some additional and new woody flavors that start emerging near the start of the final third, though they do come with a bit more harshness towards the top and back of the throat. Most of the damp bark is gone, which also helps to lighten the profile just a bit, while white pepper does its part to brighten the profile as well. With the bands gone, the cigar shows its first foray into sweetness, almost an amber syrup or something I’d find in an Old Fashioned, though it’s subtle and fleeting, and I’d be remiss to say it’s easy to miss, if it makes an appearance at all. The final puffs bring on a bit more harshness, including a bit of metallic harshness beginning to emerge in the final inch, which is more biting on the taste buds than I would like.
- In the release notes, Davidoff specifies Flor de Caña 25-year-old rum as an ideal pairing for this cigar.
- This year marks the 50th anniversary of Davidoff, and the company has been celebrating with secondary banding on several of its cigars.
- While I would not consider this a strong cigar from start to finish, the final third does pack quite a good nicotine punch, and had me feeling its strength in each sample.
- It bears mentioning that while consumers might feel like the ACCESS program and other similar ideas of selling direct-to-consumer might be a benefit, several retailers have mentioned it as a negative, as they are now competing for dollars with yet another retailer.
- I’m always amazed at the listed smoking times for cigars; in the case of the Davidoff Mundano, it was just 60 minutes.
- Final smoking time was two hours on average.
- Davidoff advertises halfwheel.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
There'a a healthy bit of skepticism that goes into every review, as I fall into the impress me camp as opposed to automatically thinking my next cigar will be a good one, and the trend of found cigars, or vault releases, or whatever have you, has only added to that skepticism. The Davidoff Mundano, regardless of its premium price tag, was met with a good bit of doubt, and while it's not the greatest cigar I've ever tried, there is a lot going for it. The first two thirds are flavorful and at times rich and complex, while the final third offers too much roughness for my liking. The second third, in particular, is the one I find most interesting as the bolder flavors from the first third mellow, and the cigar tries to toe a line between flavorful and lullingly familiar. Even if these weren't quite limited in their release and are sold out online, I'm not sure I'd return to it with any sort of regularity, though like nearly every cigar I try, I can't say I'm left disappointed by the experience.