While I’m hesitant to call any cigar a game changer of industry shaker, it’s hard to overlook the shift that occurred when the Davidoff Nicaragua was released in the summer of 2013. Not only was it a seeming departure from the Dominican-dominant blends of the company that also has its operations headquartered in the country, but it was the launch of the Discovery Series, and the jumping off point for a new look for the company by way of the black bands which the cigars wore.
Since that launch, the Davidoff Nicaragua line has grown as well, most notably by way of the addition of the Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed extension, which isn’t simply the original cigars being placed in a press.
First, two sizes were used for the extension, a Toro (6 x 52, $17.20) and Robusto (5 x 48, $14.50) with no Petit Corona to be found. Additionally, while the names are the same as what is found in the original line, the dimensions are different, as the original line’s round Toro measures 5 1/2 x 54, while the original Robusto checks in at 5 x 50. The original line has since added a 6 x 60, Culebra, Belicoso and Diadema, none of which are part of the Box Pressed line, at least not yet.
It’s a reworked blend as well, with the original’s Nicaraguan rosado wrapper replaced by a Nicaraguan oscuro wrapper, and an updated filler that has an additional leaf of ligero to add more strength, pepper and punch to the profile, which is made up of tobaccos from the Condega, Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe regions of the country.
It was also the first time that Davidoff has released a box-pressed cigar bearing the Davidoff name, which given the company’s long and storied history seems almost impossible to believe, but is in fact the case.
Here’s what I said about the Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Toro when I reviewed it in April 2016:
While I have never called the original Davidoff Nicaragua a perfect cigar, it was certainly darn close, especially in the Toro that gave the blend plenty of room to breathe without the flavors being overly concentrated, and I certainly can’t come up with many suggestions as to make that cigar better than it already is. This new blend of the Davidoff Nicaragua, while good, seems to err a bit too much on strength, particularly in the middle third, where pepper dominates and the cigar delivers a resounding kick to the system. While I’m not opposed to strong cigars by any means, I’m not convinced that was what the Davidoff Nicaragua blend was in need of, or that I’d pick the Box Pressed over the original if presented the option. However, this is still a very good cigar that shows the refined nature of Davidoff’s blenders and components, and gives those seeking a punchier Nicaraguan puro a very viable option the next time time they want a cigar.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Toro
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano Oscuro)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Estelí, Jalapa & Ometepe)
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $17.20 (Boxes of 12, $206.40)
- Release Date: March 21, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
I can’t say much has changed about the Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Toro, at least visually, in the two years it has been in the redux humidor. The color looks like what I’d expect to find on a shelf, and the cello has only changed its tint slightly. As we’ve seen more and more with manufacturers including barcodes on their cigars, the end of the cellophane sleeve is held down by a barcode sticker, which is laid to that it opens easily, right along a perforated line. The cigar’s wrapper feels incredibly soft and velvety in the fingers, while the cigar itself is a bit pillowy thanks to the box press, but is even in firmness from top to bottom. The wrapper has a bit of a cinnamon hue to it with visible seams and a few small veins, and it’s easy to see the sharp corners that have resulted from the press. The foot of the cigar has a wonderfully delicate sweetness to it, seemingly meshing vanilla bean and cinnamon into some creaminess to create an incredibly appealing aroma. The cold draw is easy and echoes it initially before black pepper interjects and starts tingling the tongue followed by wheat bread crust to add to the complexity.
The Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Toro opens with a complex, medium-plus intensity smoke that carries white pepper, a pinch of black pepper, and some cedar, all wrapped in a creaminess that harkens condensed milk to mind. However, what really catches my attention is the smoothness of the draw, which is smooth and near effortless due to its calibrated construction. Despite an evenly toasted foot, the burn line becomes wavy in the first inch, though I’m hesitant to touch it up at this point. Smoke production early on is good at each puff, but I find it to be on the thin side and it quickly dissipates into the surrounding airspace, with little put off when the cigar is not being actively smoked. The first clump of ash drops a little more than an inch and 30 minutes into the cigar, and the cigar begins a mellowing out process that holds onto most of the core flavors while taking down the intensity a few ticks.
While I have memories of the Davidoff Nicaragua blend having some oomph, the Box Pressed Toro seems to indicate that two years of rest has shed most of it. There’s still some vibrant flavors of woods and a mix of black and white pepper, but the creaminess has dominated most of the profile, with other flavors used as accents as opposed to drivers. When the final third comes around, the cigar pivots and gets much more flavorful by way of dry woods and more pepper, both of which wake up after slumbering for much of the cigar, and it’s now medium-full in intensity, while strength hangs around medium-plus. The front half of my tongue sees most of the stimulation from the cigar, with both components imparting their own distinct tingle, while the creaminess from earlier is nearly gone, or at least gone enough to have no mitigating or balancing effect. It doesn’t have the body or weight to be described as robust and there’s little in the way of earthiness to boot, but the final third is by far the most vibrant portion of the cigar. A retrohale with a little over an inch left furthers that argument, as the pepper is bright and crisp through the nose, almost taking on a bit of red chili pepper flakes. The pepper continues to intensify all the way until the cigar is ready to be laid to rest, even getting aggressive in the eyes when a puff of smoke gets blown back in my direction. Overall, the cigar delivers a very enjoyable smoking experience of nearly two hours, though it is certainly different from what I recall when the cigar was new.
In my original review of the Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Toro, I faulted the cigar for two related things: adding what I saw was unnecessary strength to the blend, and trying to rework an already top-tier cigar. While the latter isn't something I can undo, time has helped with the first complaint, mellowing out most of the cigar's bolder spots into the kind of refined profile I expect from Davidoff. There's still some strength found in the final third, which I can't say I was shocked to discover, though the overall impression is done well with this cigar, and makes it much more of a compelling alternative to the original. That said though, I'd still take the round version off the shelf, as it's simply too good as is.