I’d be willing to guess that a good number of the readers of this site have only recently become even remotely familiar with the name Eladio Díaz, which is saying something given that in 2023, the man released a cigar celebrating his 70th birthday and that the vast majority of those years spent working in tobacco and cigars.

Those that know of Díaz most likely know him from his long tenure at Davidoff, where he was the production chief of Davidoff’s Dominican operation, responsible for overseeing the company’s cigarmaking. In 2014, Díaz’s name appeared on the secondary band of the Davidoff Oro Blanco, a cigar that used tobacco from the 2002 vintage and which became known for its $500 price tag, as well as for being named halfwheel’s 2014 Cigar of the Year.

Diaz’s name would become more known in the following years, as Davidoff release the Master Selection Series, a collection of cigars based on Díaz’s personal blends that were created for his birthday and gifted to family and friends but never officially released.

Then, in 2021, Díaz departed Davidoff, a separation that came after 35 years at Tabadom Holding, Inc., Davidoff’s Dominican subsidiary that the company bought from Hendrik “Henke” Kelner. But he wouldn’t be out of the cigar industry for long, as later that year, Díaz would announce that he and his family would be opening their own factory in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, naming it Tabacalera Díaz Cabrera, While Díaz’s name had already appeared on cigars, this new facility was opening with the stated intent of producing cigars for clients, not producing its own lines of cigars.

The factory would do just that, making cigars for Felix Lugo, Freud Cigar Co., Hooten Young, J. London Cigars, Luxury Cigar Club, Muga Inc., Somm, among others.

Eventually,f the factory would begin producing cigars with Díaz’s name on them, starting with this cigar, the Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario. It was announced in August 2023 and would make its debut the following month at InterTabac 2023, originally intended to be an exclusive for non-U.S. markets, with production limited to 1,400 boxes of 14 cigars, or 19,600 cigars.

The cigar is a 7 x 52 Churchill vitola with a blend that features an Ecuadorian wrapper, a Mexican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic. In total, seven different tobaccos were used for the blend.

However, release plans changed in late November 2023, when it was announced that 300 of those 1,400 boxes would be coming to the U.S. by way of Arango Cigar Co., which would be distributing the cigars stateside. It was a decision made by the Díaz family along with the Kopp family, which operates Kopp Tobaccos GmbH & Co., formerly known as Kohlhase & Kopp, the distributor of the cigar in Europe. The two families said they recognized the importance of the U.S. as a cigar market, which led to a change of heart.

The name of the cigar also has symbolism beyond recognizing Díaz’s 70th birthday, which he celebrated on May 28, 2023. It’s also a play on the number seven, as his mother brought a seven-year-old Díaz to a small tobacco factory, which means that 2023 marks 63 years in working with tobacco, with 7 x 9 = 63. Díaz suffered a stroke on Nov. 14, 2016; 14 is a multiple of seven and it had been seven years since the stroke when the cigar was released.

In March 2024, Eladio Díaz Cigars announced its first regular production line, called Before & After, which was shown off at the 2024 PCA Convention & Trade Show and began shipping to retailers in mid-April.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera Díaz Cabrera
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Churchill Extra
  • MSRP: $19.95 (Box of 14, $279.30)
  • Release Date: September 2023
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,400 Boxes of 14 Cigars (19,600 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Even though the leaf doesn’t have much of a sheen to it, as soon as my fingers touch the Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario once it has come out of the cellophane, I can feel some oiliness on the wrapper. That said, I wonder if the shininess of the gold-trimmed bands is skewing my view since those reflect light quite well. The wrapper has a good number of puckered veins, which add to the tactile sensation, though I don’t see any tooth on the leaf. The seam lines aren’t particularly visible, but with just a bit of focus, it’s not hard to see them. In terms of color, it’s a darker than medium shade of brown but not what I would call dark brown, and the color makes it very easy to see the nuances of the leaf. The three cigars are all incredibly firm, something I notice without even squeezing the cigar, but a gentle squeeze quickly confirms my assessment. The foot has an aroma of sweet, damp leaves, and on one cigar, it becomes something I’d expect to find in a specialty candle store, though without the artificiality. There’s also a bit of honey graham cracker, with more honey than graham cracker. There’s also an occasional bit of spice in the aroma, but it reminds me of a room temperature Dr. Pepper rather than the kind of spice that delivers heat. Given the size of the cigars, I’m not surprised to find that the draw has a bit of drag on it; it’s not firm, obstructed or anything like that, just that it takes a touch more effort to move the air through the sizable cylinder. There’s some sweetness here as well, reminding me of a donut I’ve had somewhere along the way, though I can’t recall the specifics. Yet it’s not quite as sweet as what I get from the aroma, somewhat due to there being more graham cracker than honey. I don’t get a lot of pepper or spice, but my lips get a bit of tingle from the tobacco.

The Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario starts with a combination of flavors that reminds me of an Old Fashioned, some black pepper, a bit of bourbon barrel, and a slightly waxy finish. There’s a bit of variance between the intensity of the individual components, particularly the Old Fashioned and barrel notes, but all three cigars start with plenty of flavor. Retrohales at the start of the cigar have a touch of pepper followed by a slightly lighter, more airy wood aroma that provides a pleasant tingling of the nostrils. One cigar starts off with a profile that I would describe as both dry and mouth-drying, while the other two only lean that way but find ways to avoid it based on their individual profiles. About an inch in, the flavor lightens up just a touch, becoming a bit more airy and dialing down the intensity just a tick. It’s a change that makes me wonder if some earthiness had been in the profile earlier but just obscured by the other flavors. There’s a bit of peppery bite on the finish as the first clump of ash comes off and the retrohales have a slightly sharper impact on my nostrils. There’s also a touch of creaminess coming into both the flavor and aroma. This new flavor holds for the rest of the first third, with a slight uptick in the creaminess as this section finishes. Flavor starts medium-full and dials back to medium-plus, body stays around medium and strength is medium-minus. Construction is very good: there’s plenty of smoke, the burn line is even and the draw is smooth.

The second third of the Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario gets underway with a surge of wood and black pepper, a change that gives the profile more intensity and character after the creaminess had smoothed things out. The pepper really lingers around after each puff, settling towards the back of my mouth and eventually leading me to take a couple of sips of water to wash out the sensation. At some point between the start of the second third and the midway point, combustion suddenly becomes an issue, and I find myself needing to relight the cigar. I don’t know if it exacerbates the previous flavor issue or if that harshness was going to continue anyway, but it intensifies in two of the three cigars. In the third cigar, however, it’s nowhere to be found, and the profile is outstanding, showing an impressive harmony between the individual elements, circling back to that Old Fashioned cocktail flavor from the first third but making it a touch sweeter, a touch creamier, less boozy, and a touch more peppery. The midway point sees the profile veer towards earthiness, and looking back at my notes, I realize that the profile has made some quick and interesting steps around the flavor wheel, none that are odd but seemingly come without any bridge profiles. A bit of smoky orange peel makes its way into the retrohale, giving that expression of the profile a new spin and one that is quite enjoyable for my senses. Those retrohales then pick up black pepper on the finish, adding a good bit of nasal tingle. Dry, older wood notes finish off this section, reminding me a bit of the barrel flavor from the first puffs, while the creaminess shifts to remind me of the foam on a cappuccino. Then, a bit of earthiness emerges toward the end of this section, setting up the final third with a new profile. Flavor is medium-plus for most of this section, body is medium and strength is medium-minus. The combustion runs into some issues in this section, but the smoke production and draw are still quite good.

An earthier flavor and a more textured smoke get the final third of the Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario going, bring the intensity of the flavor and finish up a couple of ticks. The earth isn’t particularly heavy or rich, but it is still enjoyable and tends to dominate the other flavors outside of the pepper. The barrel wood makes occasional appearances, while the creaminess makes appearances that steadily decrease in intensity. There’s lots of physical sensation and tingle going both on my tongue and at the top of my throat, and eventually, it moves to the front of my mouth, and in particular the inside part of my lower lip, a sensation that I don’t recall experiencing very often. A touch of saltine crackers comes along to start the final puffs, and while it’s a new flavor, the profile doesn’t return to the levels of complexity that it showed earlier. Thankfully, there are no further combustion issues, and other than some flakier ash, the cigar burns well and still puts off plenty of smoke while maintaining an even burn line. Flavor intensity finishes up around medium-full with the occasional step into full territory when heat becomes a factor in the final inch, body is medium-plus and strength is still medium-minus.

Final Notes

  • I don’t know if it was simply me, but the foot ribbon felt thicker than others I have come across.
  • The veins on the cigar reminded me of Cuban wrapper tobacco in the way they tend to pucker up, though these veins also felt thicker than what I generally see from Cuba.
  • Eladio Díaz was featured in halfwheel’s Portraits Series in May 2015.

  • As we all know, cigar makers take liberties when it comes to the vitola names for their cigars, and this is no exception, as the traditional Cuban Churchill measures 7 x 47, whereas this cigar is listed as a 52-ring gauge.
  • None of the three cigars hit me with much nicotine strength, though one did make some increases in the final third that had me thinking some wooziness might be on the way.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • To put it simply, this is a lot of cigar and it has the combination of size and fairly slow-combusting tobacco. Throw in a slightly firm draw on the third cigar, and I immediately had to clear out the next four hours. Final smoking time was three hours and 15 minutes on average.
88 Overall Score

It should come as no surprise that I prefer it when the three cigars smoked for a review give me a fairly clear and consistent picture of a blend. Such was not the case with the Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario, though that's not inherently a knock on the cigar, as all three were good and earned respectable to impressive scores. Yet how they got to those scores were slightly different, and there was enough variation between the three cigars that I'm not exactly sure what I would expect to get were I to light up another one. One profile was notably heavier, richer and more textured than the others, and another was near brilliant with its complexity and balance. While the variations weren't extreme, they were noticeable. One of the things that the cigars did consistently offer was combustion issues in the second third, which brought awkward interruptions to an otherwise solid technical performance. While I have no doubt that Eladio Díaz can blend great cigars, I am left to wonder a bit about the company's ability to deliver consistent experiences in the case of the Eladio Díaz 70 Aniversario. While I'd still pay for and likely enjoy the lowest scoring of the three I smoked, I'd much rather get the experience that the best one had to offer.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.