The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition

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In 1984, Bernard H. Grobet started The Griffin’s line of cigars, which was named after his nightclub in Switzerland. The brand became quite popular, and as a result was exported for sale in the United States in 1989. Davidoff Cigars distributed the brand for a while before eventually purchasing it in 2004.

That same year, The Griffin’s released a special blend to commemorate their 20th Anniversary as a brand. Called The Griffin’s XX Special Release, it was a 5 1/4 x 52 Robusto that had only 3,000 boxes of 10 released and of those, only 1,000 boxes which were sold in the U.S. Every year since, The Griffin’s has released another cigar, each incorporating a Roman numeral in the name coinciding with the year of the anniversary.

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For the 2013 release, The Griffin’s changed quite a few things. First, the Roman numeral was dropped for the first time, in favor of a one word name. Second, two different blends are included in the same box. Third, the release is tied to a specific theme, in this case a blackjackesque theme that everything in the box adheres to. Lastly, this is the first time that a 21 count box has been used in the series.

We posted the press release with all of the info on the newest The Griffin’s cigars back in June:

June 17, 2013 (Basel, Switzerland) — The new Griffin’s 2013 “Casino” Special Edition will attract enthusiastic gamblers and aficionados alike, united in their desire to be surprised by exceptional tobacco blends. With this innovative new product, both are lucky enough to win before they even start playing.

The new Griffin’s aromatic 2013 “Casino” Special Edition allies 17 “Casino” with four “Joker” cigars in the Robusto Extra Format, with a second ring of the same name. Thus the inspiration of blackjack, a game known as “17 + 4″ in German-speaking countries, is unmistakeable: the smoker goes “all in” as the taste of the “Casino” cigar develops with immediacy and variety. The filler consists of tobacco from the Dominican Republic and the Jalapa Especial Seco from Nicaragua, providing nuances of white pepper and dark chocolate. It titillates the taste buds, with earthy, woody notes giving way to a lasting sweetness from the slightly reddish shimmer of the Ecuadorian wrapper. The final draw is lingering, smooth and creamy, rounding off the adventure perfectly. The four “Joker” cigars are rich in contrast, surprising the palate with an exciting blend of tobacco.

The packaging is specially designed so that the back of the black lacquer cigar box, when opened flat, can be used as a mini blackjack casino table. To ensure that the thrill of the game can run its course unimpeded, Griffin’s has included blackjack cards, chips and dice inside the lid.

The new Griffin’s 2013 “Casino” Special Edition is available worldwide from July 2013 in limited numbers (3,450 boxes) from selected specialist tobacco retailers.

 

With the two different blends in 2013, The Griffin’s Special Release series now has 11 different cigars in it. They are:

  • 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 –– 7,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (75,000 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)

The boxes for the this year’s special edition are painted on both sides so that when it is laid flat, it can be used with the included cards, chips and dice as a sort of blackjack table. The box looks like this:

The Griffin s 2013 Special Edition Box

(Via Oettinger Davidoff AG)

In addition, each box of  The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition includes two different blends: 17 of the Casino blend and four of the Joker blend. The two together look like this:

The Griffin s 2013 Casino Special Edition  Joker

  • 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 21 Cigars (13,800 Total Cigars)

The Griffin s 2013 Casino Special Edition 1

 

  • Cigar Reviewed: The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Clara Rojiza
  • Binder: Dominican Olor Piloto
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: $12.00 (Boxes of 21, $252.00)
  • Date Released: July 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released:  3,450 Boxes of 17 Cigars (58,650 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition is covered in a light cinnamon brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch, and with not obvious veins. There is no oil present and it is just a bit spongy when squeezed, although well within normal limits. Aroma from the wrapper is sweet chocolate, earth, nutmeg and slight pepper.

The first third of the The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition starts off cedar, creamy peanuts, cinnamon and milk chocolate. A great distinct maple sweetness comes and goes throughout the first third, only getting stronger as the cigar progresses. The white pepper on the retrohale is fairly strong at first, but recedes a bit as the first third winds down. Both the burn and draw are excellent, with the burn being razor sharp. The smoke production is well above average, and the overall strength ends the first third halfway between mild and medium.

The Griffin s 2013 Casino Special Edition 2

There is an interesting bread-like popcorn note that slips into the second third, strongest near the halfway point. Other notes stay consistent, with creamy nuts and cedar leading the way. The maple sweetness from the first third is still quite noticeable, but it shifts to more of a background note by the end of the second third and the white pepper on the retrohale continues to positively impact the profile. Overall construction remains wonderful, and the smoke production shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.

The Griffin s 2013 Casino Special Edition 3

The final third of The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition shifts profiles again, with a great floral flavor replacing the popcorn note from the second third. Milk chocolate, cedar, nuts, cinnamon and leather notes all flit in and out until the end of the cigar, while the white pepper on the retrohale actually seems to increase as well. The maple sweetness that has been so prevalent grows faint as the last third progresses, and the smoke production seems to ebb as well. Construction-wise, nothing changes, and that is a very good thing. The overall strength barely moves from the first third, and ends the cigar below the medium mark.

The Griffin s 2013 Casino Special Edition 4

Final Notes:

  • Yes, the official name of the brand is The Griffin’s. Which makes it sort of awkward when you say something like: I am smoking a The Griffin’s new cigar. That being said, brand manager Dylan Austin told halfwheel that “Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition” was an acceptable description.
  • Almost all of The Griffin’s Special Editions have been moderately different sizes, although the vast majority have not strayed from the Robusto vitola range, with the notable exception being the The Griffin’s XXVI Special Edition in 2010, which was 6 x 46.
  • Not enough can be said about the construction on these cigars. On each and every sample, both the draw and burn were as ideal as you can hope for, and the smoke production is well above average, but not overwhelming. Just excellent all around.
  • Having said that, the amount of glue used on the bands of this cigar were way over the top, and each of the two samples I smoked tore a large piece of the wrapper off when I traded to take off the band.
     
  • The idea of putting two different blends in the same box has been gaining popularity with cigar manufactures in the last year or so, with some recent examples being both years of the My Father Commemorative 911 Blend 343 Firefighter Limited Edition, Merlion Sea Lion and the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011 & 2012, Illusione Singularé 2011/2012.
  • While I think the marketing for this release is a bit on the hokey side, the idea of each box being able to open and become an actual playing table is pretty cool, and the fact that each box includes the cards, chips and dice needed to play is a really nice touch as well.
  • Of course, the ever present cynic in me wonders how much the price of each cigar is impacted by the inclusion of all of the above.
  • I smoked one of the Joker blends from this release to compare to the Casino, and honestly, the Casino is the better smoke to me, although both are quite good.
  • The average smoking time for both samples smoked was one hour and 20 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • If you would like purchase any of The Griffin’s 2013 Casino Special Edition, site sponsors Atlantic CigarBest Cigar Prices, Famous Smoke Shop and Mike’s Cigars all have them in stock. Don’t forget to tell them halfwheel sent you.
90 Overall Score

I have not smoked that many The Griffin's releases over the years, and as such did not go into this cigar with any preconceived notions. I have to say,  it easily surpassed my expectations. Nicely balanced, excellently constructed, and with a profile that is surprisingly complex, The Griffin's 2013 Casino Special Edition is a wonderful example of a milder blend that is full of flavor. A great cigar in the morning or as your first cigar of the day.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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