Earlier this week, I reviewed the Davidoff Oro Blanco, the brand new halo product for the Swiss company. It was somewhat coincidental timing given that months before Oro Blanco was announced I had already decided that I would be reviewing the Davidoff Diademas 100, a sort of precursor to company’s new halo product, during our annual “holy grail week.”
The Diademas 100 was released in 2006 as part of the 100th anniversary celebrates for the company’s founder Zino Davidoff. The Diademas 100 was one of three cigars the company made for the celebration, and almost certainly the one people know the least about.
While the Davidoff Oro Blanco is Eladio Diaz’s cigar, the Davidoff Diademas 100 seems much more like Henke Kelner’s cigar. The massive 9 1/8 x 55 Diademas was limited to just 250 cabinets of 50 and carried a price tag of $2,300 per box when it was released in March 2006.
- Zino Davidoff 100th Anniversary Robusto (5 x 50) — $15 (Boxes of 10, $150) — n/a
- Zino Davidoff 100th Anniversary Diademas Finas (6 3/4 x 50) — $22 (Boxes of 10, $220) — n/a
- Zino Davidoff 100th Anniversary Diademas 100 (9 1/8 x 55) — $46 (Cabinets of 50, $2,300) — 250 Cabinets of 50 Cigars (12,500 Total Cigars)
It’s a proprietary blend of tobaccos that Kelner didn’t talk much about, although Richard Carleton Hacker for Robb Report got a decent explanation:
Although the company will not divulge the ingredients for the Diademas cigars, Kelner told me at the Geneva party that both cigars use the same tobaccos and that each filler is Dominican and comprises five different tobaccos blended in equal proportions. The binder of the Diademas 100 is made from 1992 and 1993 vintage Dominican, two of the best harvests on record. “It’s not only because of the special quality of this tobacco that we used it,” said Kelner, “but also because it has a sentimental value, because maybe Zino actually touched some of the leaf with his hands. But the real difference between the Diademas Finas and the Diademas 100 is the age of the tobacco crop we used. The Diademas Finas tobaccos are aged from three to four years, but with the Diademas 100, the tobacco has from seven to 13 years of aging.”
While Oro Blanco is offered at non-Davidoff flagships, the Diademas 100 was said to only be sold at the U.S.-based Davidoff stores in Las Vegas and New York.
- Cigar Reviewed: Zino Davidoff 100th Anniversary Diademas 100
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 9 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 55
- Vitola: Grand Perfecto
- MSRP: $46 (Boxes of 50, $2,300)
- Date Released: March 15, 2006
- Number of Cigars Released: 250 Boxes of 50 Cigars (12,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
It’s an imposing cigar at 9 1/4 inches and it’s easy to overlook the thickness given that it looks quite thin proportionally. The rolling itself is beautiful with an incredible-looking wrapper, particularly given the massive size of the cigar. I don’t pick up a ton of aroma from the cigars, which had been out of the cabinets for a few weeks when I first picked them up. Things are surprising on the cold draw with some big tannins, red pepper and a pronounced floral sweetness. There’s also a touch of the Davidoff mustiness, but it’s much more of a secondary note.
I love lighting perfectos, largely due to how effortless it can be when they are rolled correctly and the three Diademas 100s all seemed to be. It starts with a rich walnut, hickory and a touch of sourness. The draw is wonderful, right in the middle—a bit loose for the start of a perfecto—but I’m not complaining. Eventually the flavor of the Diademas 100 transforms into a smooth and full combination of bread, chestnuts, walnuts and floral notes. There’s a lemon sweetness underneath along with some candied floral notes. It’s medium-full in flavor and quite smooth, although I’m led to believe that there might be just a bit too much of age on it, at least given the first third.
An hour in and lemon has now joined the mesquite up front. Just behind it, both in positioning on the palate and intensity, bread and nuttiness mix with some underlying saltiness. Still, the profile remains semi-sweet thanks to a floral note that becomes more prominent the quicker I push the Diademas 100. A mild black pepper is starting to show itself here and there, barely consistent enough both individually and collectively for it to be considered a secondary note. Strength is still quite mild with a medium body and medium-plus flavors. Construction-wise, none of the Diademas 100s I smoked showed any constructions issues for the first two-thirds, so much so that outside of a slow burn, I sort of forgot about it for most of the cigar.
Unfortunately, not only does the burn rate slow down in the home stretches of the final third, but the burn requires a touch-up in all three samples. Flavor-wise, a popcorn note has overtaken some of the mesquite woodiness, although it oddly doesn’t increase the saltiness. Some more generic fruitiness develops in the last inch, but otherwise there’s not a ton of changes from the midpoint of the cigar.
- At halfwheel, we try to spread out the reviews of a specific brand amongst our four reviewers. Given this is the third Davidoff white label I’ve reviewed this week, you probably won’t see my name next to a Davidoff (proper) review for a few months.
- I’m a fan of not putting bands on some high-end products like this. Not only is it classic, but it also invokes a bit of “if your wrapper is that good, don’t distract from it.”
- In 2011, Davidoff released the 100 Years Geneva, which honored Zino’s parents arrival to Switzerland.
- I am honestly not sure I understand the naming scheme of the original three cigars. The most popular cigar is the shorter Diademas Finas, which I’ve never audibly heard called the, “Zino Davidoff 100th Anniversary Diademas Finas.”
- Outside of the final inch and a half, construction was phenomenal. In general, I’ve found that cigars over nine inches generally seem to smoke pretty well in that regard. I have to imagine that comes from the fact that inexperienced bunchers and rollers simply aren’t tasked with making them.
- In that same article, Carleton Hacker notes that a full half leaf was used for each wrapper.
- I finished this review in late November, I saw Kelner in mid-December and asked him if he had smoked any recently. His face lit up and he told me that he still has “a few” left and smokes them from time to time.
- Strength is fairly mild throughout, never reaching medium. That being said, it’s still three hours of smoking so there might be some effect.
- As for pricing, these don’t come up very often on the secondary market, but expect to pay $60-75 per cigar.
- Davidoff advertises on halfwheel.
- I smoke slow, but this cigar also burned ridiculously slow. Final smoking time was a lengthy three hours and 15 minutes on average.
I didn’t smoke a Davidoff Diademas 100 two years ago, but I imagine if I did there would have been a bit more flavor left. Tobacco is a weird thing, but there are plenty of indications that the flavors might have matured beyond their peak. There were hints of the signature Davidoff mustiness, but for the most part, this was a mild-strength Davidoff that managed to avoid that signature flavor that has drawn both love and hate. While it’s the unicorn of the 100th anniversary cigars, I think its little brother-the Diademas Finas—is smoking significantly better at the moment. Still, lovers of the larger perfectos vitolas can rejoice, the Diademas 100 is a fantastic cigar and if I could find another one and three and a half hours, I’d do it over again in a heartbeat.