Founded in 1984 by Bernard H. Grobet and named after his nightclub in Switzerland, The Griffin’s brand was first exported for sale in the United States in 1989 before being purchased by Davidoff in 2004. To celebrate its 20th year in business, The Griffin’s sold the first of what would become a year release.
The first cigar in the line was The Griffin’s XX Special Release, a 5 1/4 x 52 robusto and a different cigar has been sold every year since with each incorporating a Roman numeral in the name that coincides with the year of the anniversary. This changed in the 2013 incarnation when two different blends were released sans Roman numerals in the name of the cigars.
The Griffin’s website has some additional information on the 2008 version of the Special Edition:
This special edition from The Griffin’s in the elegant Piramides format simply oozes charm. The tobacco blend for these medium-strength cigars consists of a combination of strong Piloto and San Vicente tobaccos, refined with a proportion of mild Olor tobaccos and a sun-ripened wrapper to round off the taste. The balanced and spicy aroma will fascinate every aficionado from the first draw.
It was sold in boxes of 10, with each cigar coming in a glass tube.
The Griffin’s Special Release series now has 11 different cigars.
- The Griffin’s XX Special Edition (5 1/4 x 52) — 2004 –– 3,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXI Special Edition (5 1/2 x 50) — 2005 –– 6,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (65,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXII Special Edition (5 5/8 x 52) — 2006 –– N/A
- The Griffin’s XXIII Special Edition (5 1/3 x 52) — 2007 –– 7,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (75,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXIV Special Edition (5 3/8 x 52) — 2008 –– 8,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (80,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXV Special Edition (5 1/2 x 52) — 2009 –– 2,500 Jars of 25 Cigars (62,500 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXVI Special Edition (6 x 46) — 2010 –– 5,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (55,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXVII Special Edition (5 1/2 x 52) — 2011 –– 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s XXVIII Special Edition (5 1/2 x 46) — 2012 –– 3,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition (5 1/4 x 54) — 2013 –– 3,450 Boxes of 17 Cigars (58,650 Total Cigars)
- The Griffin’s 2013 Joker Special Edition (5 1/4 x 54) — 2013 –– 3,450 Boxes of 4 Cigars (13,800 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: The Griffin’s Special Edition XXIV
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: O.K. Cigars
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Mexican Sumatra
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Size: 5 3/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Piramides
- MSRP: $11.00 (Boxes of 10, $110.00)
- Date Released: 2008
- Number of Cigars Released: 8,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (80,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Opening up The Griffin’s Special Edition XXIV tube, I am greeted with a surprisingly light flavors of hay, nuts and cedar. An almost glowing golden brown wrapper that is totally smooth to the touch and totally devoid of any oil covers the piramides, and the smell emanating from the foot is as light and nondescript as when I opened the tube. There is quite a bit of give when the cigar is squeezed, and the cap comes to a very sharp point.
The first third of the The Griffin’s Special Edition XXIV starts out quite mild with light flavors of hay, creamy leather, coffee, nuts and slight white pepper. There is a bitterness that is present on the finish for the first 10 puffs or so, but it does dissipate quickly after that, replaced by an overall creaminess. I am also tasting some slight generic sweetness on the retrohale that combines nicely with the white pepper. Smoke production is well above average and the overall strength begins and ends the first third in pretty much the same spot, a very light medium. Construction-wise, the draw has an excellent resistance, while the burn starts out a bit wavy before evening up nicely, and although the ash is not flaky at all, it only holds on for half an inch before falling for the first time.
The dominant hay note has been joined by a strong earthy mushroom flavor in the second third of the The Griffin’s Special Edition XXIV, with other notes of earth, leather, cedar and nuts flitting in and out a various points. The white pepper and sweetness are both still lingering around, but neither are strong enough to overcome the mustiness. The burn has really evened up, and is razor sharp for the entire second third, while the draw continues to impress. The overall strength has barely budged, and ends the second third still firmly in the mild category.
There is not much change in the final third of the The Griffin’s Special Edition XXIV, with the mushroom-mustiness still easily the dominant flavor, interspersed with notes of creamy cedar, leather, nuts and slight dark chocolate. The sweetness from the first third has decreased a bit, but the white pepper has actually increased noticeably, and both continue that way until the end of the cigar. Smoke production remains steadily above average, and the strength still has not moved much and ends up firmly in the mild zone. Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw remain excellent until I put down the nub with a little less than an inch left.
- I tend to taste a strong mushroom/musty note in a lot of Kelner’s blends—a flavor I don’t necessarily enjoy—and The Griffin’s Special Edition XXIV was no exception. Interestingly, the note was relegated to the last two thirds of the cigar, with almost none to be found in the first third.
- Mexican Sumatra is actually a pretty common tobacco for the region.
- Although the official literature that was referenced when this cigar was released in 2008 says this is a medium cigar, I found that it never got close to what I could consider medium strength.
- I was quite surprised at the lack of smell to the wrapper considering the cigar was sealed in a glass tube.
- Along with the above, I am not sold on the idea of long term aging in glass tubes, even if they are sealed. All of the cigars I have smoked that were sealed in tubes (Fuente Fuente OpusX ForbiddenX Cigar in the Bottle and Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve) have been less than stellar, although I am the first to admit that the number of examples I have smoked is fairly low.
- This is a cigar that gets bitter quick if you puff too fast. Keep it slow.
- The ash is not flaky at all, but fell after only half an inch anyway, one of the quickest I have had do that in quite some time.
- Interestingly, if you look at the official page for the The Griffin’s “Special Edition XXIV” release, the name above the description actually has it named as the The Griffin’s “Special Edition XXV” which was the next years release.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Davidoff is a site sponsor of halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples smoked averaged one hour and 20 minutes.
While I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Griffin's Casino release last year, The Griffin's Special Edition XXIV could not be more different in both profile and strength. While the cigar performed almost flawlessly construction-wise, the flavor profile in the final two thirds included a combination of almost overwhelming musky mushroom and hay flavors that totally drowned out any other notes at certain points during the smoke. Having said that, the first third was engaging, and while I could see why someone would smoke it as the first cigar of the their day, but after the first third, it was just not all that enjoyable to me.