Davidoff Nicaragua – Robusto

The Davidoff Nicaragua was one of the most anticipated releases in 2013.  This is a story we have followed for quite a while. The significance of this particular release is that it marks the first Nicaraguan puro that has been released by Davidoff. While there was a soft launch prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, this was really the showcase release by Davidoff at the Trade Show. Under Davidoff CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, the company seems very open to trying new things – and the Davidoff Nicaragua is such a cigar. Recently, I had an opportunity to smoke the Davidoff Nicaragua.  I have found this to be an excellent cigar, and one that will be a strong addition to their portfolio for years to come.

The new creative thinking of Davidoff is very much reflected in the theme of this cigar “Explore, Adventure, and Discover”.  Some company literature distributed by Davidoff on this cigar sums up this theme very nicely.

Explore: Inspired by Zino Davidoff’s pioneering spirit, we have made it our mission to delight the aficionado by bringing him the widest variety of taste experiences and cigar pleasures we can. Our experts, led by master blender Henke Kelner, constantly explore every opportunity to create new and diverse ways of ensuring time spent with each Davidoff cigar is time beautifully filled. On this occasion, our tobacco masters were looking for a new type of blend that would stimulate both, the bitter and sweet taste buds.

AdventureThis challenge led Henke and his team on a search for tobaccos that would enable us to create a unique cigar. They embarked on an adventure that took them through the world’s renowned tobacco regions. They were looking and searching only for the highest quality filler tobaccos and wrappers, right for creating this unique experience. And, like everything else we do at Davidoff, this took time, dedication and perseverance.

DiscoverThis relentless pursuit of perfection paid off when Henke discovered that a blend of the finest leaves, selected from plants grown in the volcanic soil of Esteli, Condega, Jalapa and Ometepe regions of Nicaragua, created just the right balance of bitter sweet notes to tantalize the palate. Davidoff’s unique expertise would turn these leaves into the new Davidoff Nicaragua. 

Without further ado, let’s break down the Davidoff Nicaragua and see what this particular cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

As mentioned, this blend is an all-Nicaraguan puro, however this is made down at Davidoff’s factory in the Dominican Republic.

Wrapper: Habano Seed Nicaragua Rosado – Aged for 10 years
Binder: Habano Jalapa
Filler: Esteli Viso, Condegas Ligero, Ometepe Viso and Esteli Ligero

Vitolas Available

The Davidoff Nicaragua has been produced in four sizes.  Three of the sizes are core line, and the fourth, a belicoso is extremely limited.

Short Corona: 3 3/4 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50 (Tube packaging)
Toro: 5 1/2 x 54
Belicoso: (Limited)

Specific dimensions of the Belicoso have not been published, but it appears to be the 5 1/4 x 50 range. We reported the news of the Belicoso just prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show.  The Belicoso is only being sold in a limited 50 count mountain/pyramid shaped humidor.  Only 250 of the humidors have been produced and we’ve been told only 12,500 of the Belicosos were made.

The rare Davidoff Nicaragua Belicoso

The Short Corona will be packaged in boxes of 14 while the other sizes will be packaged in boxes of 12.  The Robusto offering will be in tubes.

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the Robusto vitola.  The Habano Rosado wrapper has a dark caramel look – and as expected with a rosado a redish tint to it.  The wrapper has more of a silky complexion.  There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.

The banding is new for Davidoff.  This is a black and silver colored version of the Davidoff White Label design.  The background is black and the font text is silver.  The Davidoff scripted logo is on the front.  To the left of the logo is the text “ROBUSTO”.  Each of the vitolas have text with the vitola name in this location except for the Belicoso which just has “GENEVA”.  To the right is the text “GENEVE” (on all of the vitolas).

There is a secondary band just below the primary black and silver Davidoff Nicaragua band. It is orange-rust colored with black font and black trim.  On the band it says “NICARAGUA” in black font. To the left and right is an image of three mountains (that actually look more like pyramids). These represent mountains of Nicaragua, but they can also represent the theme of “EXPLORE, ADVENTURE, DISCOVER”.

The tube for the Robusto is mostly black in color.  There is a representation of the black and silver Davidoff Nicaragua band, but it says “GENEVA” on the left side instead of “ROBUSTO”.  Below that band is a representation of the three mountains (in rust orange color).  Below that it says “NICARAGUA ROBUSTO” in silver font.  Toward the bottom of the tube it says “100% Puro Hecho a Mano” – also in silver font.

Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto Tube

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap.  I then moved on to the pre-light draw experience.  There was definitely some classic Davidoff hay notes on the pre-light.  I also got some pepper, cedar and natural tobacco sweetness on the dry draw.  The natural tobacco sweetness was very different – and something I could not put my finger on.  Overall, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw.  At this point, I was ready to light up my Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto and see what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Davidoff Nicaragua did remind me a lot of many Henke Kelner Davidoff cigars as I got notes of grass and pepper.  The pepper did seem different and I would not classify it as a black pepper.    Shortly after the start, some of the unique natural tobacco sweetness (from the pre-light), wood and nut notes entered the equation.  The flavor notes all converged nicely.  The result was a woodsy, nutty spice.  The natural tobacco almost had a caramelized quality as it delivered a sweetness.  While these flavors were all in the forefront, there still were some notes of grass in the background.  There is some pepper on the retro-hale.

For the most part, while there weren’t a lot of transitions along the way, there were plenty of flavor nuances from the notes above.  I found the notes of this woodsy, nutty spice to vary in intensity for most of the smoking experience.  Toward the second half, I found the pepper did increase somewhat and it became the primary flavor.  The other flavors still were a part of the picture right until end.  There was some spice at the end of this cigar, but I would not categorize it as harsh. The resulting nub was cool and slightly soft.

Burn and Draw

The Davidoff Nicaragua has outstanding construction and this is reflected on both the construction attributes of the burn and draw.  The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish.  The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color.  It was on the firm side, but there were a couple of points where some minor flaking.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Davidoff Nicaragua Robusto

The draw was excellent as well.  It was not too tight, yet it was not too loose.  Overall it delivered a low maintenance smoking experience.

Strength and Body

Overall I found the Davidoff Nicaragua to have a little more kick than most Davidoff cigars.  I assessed the Davidoff Nicaragua to be a medium to full strength cigar.  As for the flavors, these had some nice depth to them.  I also assessed this cigar to be medium to full in terms of body.  There is a good balance between the strength and body of this cigar.

I’m very curious to see the effect of aging on this cigar.  My gut tells me this cigar might mellow just a little bit, but this is strictly a guesstimate.

Final Thoughts

This final thought may be cliché, but this cigar smokes very much like a “Davidoff Nicaragua”. It has a lot of the Davidoff qualities in terms of things like spice and grass notes. It also has a very Nicaraguan feel to it in terms of some of the bolder spices, nut, and natural tobacco flavors. This still is a very nice cigar. I mentioned above that I think aging might mellow this cigar. My gut also tells me that aging may unlock more in terms of some additional complexity and flavor notes. This isn’t the case of a young cigar, but rather a case where the potential is there to get better. Overall, this is probably a cigar that will be more appeciated by an experienced cigar enthusiast. This is the type of cigar for a Davidoff White Label fan who wants something with a little more zing. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 91

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from a Davidoff Shop at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in  Las Vegas, Nevada.