If there is one thing that Davidoff has stressed at recent trade shows, is that it is committed to its retailers. While the company is incredibly well-known around the world and is opening up retail stores across the country and globe, there is still a certain level of prestige that comes with being a Davidoff Appoint Merchant—i.e. a white label account—and the company has lofty of expectations that those retailers will help grow the brand.
In 2012, Davidoff hosted its first Golden Band Awards, a dinner during the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show where a handful of retailers were honored for how they market and sell Davidoff White Label products, as well as recognizing an individual for his or her service to the cigar industry. A limited edition cigar was also released in conjunction with the awards and only made available to retailers who won a Golden Band.
At the 2014 trade show, the company announced a new program to support and celebrate some of its retailers, in particular, retailers celebrating significant anniversaries in a given year. The Davidoff Anniversary Program gives a store the opportunity to create a Davidoff store exclusive blend with the boxes bearing the store’s name and logo.
The cigars won’t be an existing Davidoff offering, but rather each store will have the opportunity to select its own blend. Each participating store is required to order at least 300 boxes of ten cigars with no maximum, other than it’s a one-time opportunity to purchase the cigars. Four stores signed up for the program this year:
- Davidoff Blend Bar Cigar Inaugural Anniversary (5 1/4 x 54) — $29.50 (Boxes of 10, $295) — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Davidoff Cigarz on the Avenue (5 1/4 x 54) — $34.99 (Boxes of 10, $349.90) — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Davidoff Club Humidor (5 1/4 x 54) — $20 (Boxes of 10, $200) — 300 Boxes of 10 (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Davidoff Tobacconist of Greenwich JGL 40 Years (5 1/4 x 54) — $20 (Boxes of 10, $200) — 400 Boxes of 10 (4,000 Total Cigars)
The Tobacconist of Greenwich JGL 40 Years is named after the store’s original owner, James G. Lacerra, who passed away in 2011. Micahel Cafagno, the current owner of the store, told halfwheel that “it was a very cool process; nine different cigars to choose from, we did a taste test, three of each blend, took notes, narrowed it down to three, (they) sent more of those three and we picked the final one.” He described the flavor of the JGL 40 Years as being similar to that of the Davidoff Art Edition 2014.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff Tobacconist of Greenwich JGL 40 Years
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Robusto Gordo
- MSRP: $20 (Boxes of 10, $200)
- Release Date: September 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 400 Boxes of 10 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
At first glance the Davidoff Tobacconist of Greenwich JGL 40 Years looks pretty much like any other Davidoff with its toffee-colored wrapper and white band presentation, though the secondary band and “exclusive” on the primary band are giveaways that this isn’t a typical Davidoff. The color is almost perfectly uniform, something that shouldn’t be overlooked in appreciating this or any cigar. The veins are small but noticeable, the cap is applied very well and the wrapper is a bit on the thin side, all things I would associate with an off-the-shelf Davidoff The cigar is a bit on the firm side and I’m careful not to squeeze too hard for fear of damaging the wrapper, but it’s pretty easy to tell this is a well-filled cigar. I really enjoy the neutral aroma coming off the foot as it has a cool cereal grain note to it and no pepper, with one cigar showing a Champagne-like effervescence. The cold draw is almost surprisingly firm and shows the same cereal grain note along with subtle cedar.
Among the three samples, the first third of the JGL was incredibly varied, as on one cigar I got a heavy, smoky and funky cotton note; while the second cigar is a bit lighter in terms of body but still has a somewhat funky note to it and the third cigar had touched of simple syrup and sweet wood. Things lighten up before long and the cigar shifts into a true medium-bodied cigar, going light on the pepper but letting the cedar shine through. The ash holds on for nearly two inches before dropping off in a nearly solid clump and while the burn line has been far from perfectly straight, it certainly hasn’t been a struggle. While the three cigars started in different places, they all seem to find the same path by the end of the first third.
Fragrant cedar starts to emerge in the aroma during the transition to the second third, a marked change from where the cigar started and now much more in line with what I think of from Davidoff. There is also a bit more pepper being picked up both in the nose and on the palate, with the flavor finding spots of nice balance. The burn line has corrected itself well without the help of a touch up and by the midpoint is almost perfectly straight. Past the halfway point, the wood briefly takes on a somewhat sour note in the back of the throat, tasting a bit damp and less than ideal. The retrohale remains very pleasing with a soft chalk note and just a touch of spice in a very agreeable smoke.
The final third offers spots where the Davidoff takes steps into full-bodied territory with increased notes of pepper and fuller-profile wood, and it’s really the first spot where I can say that I think it resembles the Davidoff Art Edition. There haven’t been many flavor transitions to this point and the final third doesn’t seem to want to disrupt that trend, but what transition is here is enjoyable and largely for the better. The last inch occasionally strays off track and becomes a bit heavy on a funky wood taste that isn’t particularly appealing and leaves me not wanting to stretch the cigar out any further.
- I wasn’t expecting a cigar of this size to burn as fast as it did, yet the first two sections went by incredibly quickly, and this coming from a person who likes to take his time with a cigar.
- This year’s release is said to be a toro and due out in the first quarter of this year. There will be only one retailer.
- That being said, the Davidoff of Geneva stores will all receive exclusive cigars. The Las Vegas stores received an exclusive last year, the new 6th Avenue store will be receiving one this year.
- Tobacconist of Greenwich was one of the ten stores in the country to get Oro Blanco and it has a Davidoff lounge.
- The two previous items, along with getting an anniversary cigar this year, are three things it has it common with Club Humidor in San Antonio.
- The wrapper on two of the cigars smoked for this review developed cracks; one on the foot and another about halfway through when a small tear emerged. Neither seemed to adversely affect the performance of the cigar.
- I haven’t smoked any of the other cigars in this year’s Anniversary Program, though I have one of the Cigarz on the Avenue in my humidor.
- Davidoff advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was just over one hour and 20 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- If you would like to get some of these, contact Tobacconist of Greenwich at 203.869.5401. Be sure to tell them halfwheel sent you.
After all three cigars, I generally found myself very impressed with the cigar that Davidoff created for Tobacconist of Greenwich in celebration of its 40th anniversary. The first third is still a bit hard to figure out as the experience was so different from cigar to cigar, yet like clockwork they all got on the same track before the end of that section and delivered a very enjoyable remainder of a cigar. It’s not the most complex or flavor-forward cigar I’ve had from Davidoff and the comparison to the Art Edition 2014 seems a bit of a stretch, but it’s still a quality smoke and a fitting cigar to light up in celebration of Tobacconist of Greenwich’s anniversary.