Davidoff Art Edition 2014 (Forms of Freedom #2 Art)

Back in the late May Davidoff Cigars unveiled its Davidoff Art Edition 2014 cigar.  The cigar is a part of Davidoff’s Art Initiative that was announced in December 2013 at the Art Basel festival in Miami Beach, Florida. As a part of this initiative, Davidoff would establish an art residency to help emerging artists (including one in the Dominican Republic); provide art grants (which were awarded to two Dominican institutions); and produce the first Davidoff Art Edition cigar. This cigar project would also provide the opportunity for artists to create artwork for the packaging and banding of cigars. In addition a portion of the sales for this cigar helps fund the Davidoff Art Initiative. Dominican artist Quisqueya Henríquez was chosen to produce the artwork for the first release, the Davidoff Art Edition 2014. In the past two years, Davidoff has really stepped up its game in the area of limited edition cigars. Once again, the company hits a home run as the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 is one of the best releases for 2014.

Promoting artists through cigar releases is not new for Davidoff.  The Zino brand’s “Make” series (Zino – the Make of New YorkZino – The Make of Los Angeles, and Zino – The Make of Texas) have already done this. As a part of that Zino line, the cigars were released with different packaging options. While the blend was the same in each option, the artwork on the boxes and bands has been different. The same concept has been borrowed for the Davidoff Art Edition. Henríquez has created two artworks “Forms of Freedom #1” and “Forms of Freedom #2” – each used on the packaging and banding of the Davidoff Art Edition 2014.

Forms of Freedom #1 (Left), Forms of Freedom #2 (Right)
Davidoff Art Edition 2014 Boxes

Davidoff Art Edition 2014
Forms of Freedom #1 Art (Top), Forms of Freedom #2 Art (Bottom)

Davidoff also released a series of fifty Collector’s Editions packages. This is a very limited run that will include a special edition box of cigars as well as a unique original artist print by Henríquez. The artwork can be selected by a customer at a time of purchase.

In terms of the cigar, let’s take a closer look at the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The Davidoff Art Edition 2014 is a Dominican puro:

Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Piloto Viso, San Vicente Mejorado Seco, Piloto Mejorado Seco, San Vicente, Mejorado Viso, Vicente Mejorado Viso

Vitolas Available

The Davidoff Art Edition was released in one size – 5 15/16 x 54 perfecto. The cigars will be packaged in boxes of 10 and a total of 3,000 boxes of each artwork have been produced.

Appearance

The Dominican wrapper of the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 has a medium brown color with some colorado red mixed it.  There is a slight coating of oil on the wrapper.  The cigar has some visible veins, and there are a few thin wrapper seams.  The footer of the perfecto is open has a a nossle-like shape.  The cigar is has a rounded cap.

There are two bands on the Davidoff Davidoff Art Edition cigar. The first band is similar to the classic Davidoff White label. It features the name “Davidoff” in classic cursive gold-colored font on an oval field of white. There are small gold circles going around the perimeter of the oval. The word “GENEVE” (in gold font) flanks to the right of the oval field. To the left of the oval it features the text “LIMITED EDITION” – in gold font.

The secondary band matches the Forms of Freedom artwork release.  In this case, the art work is for Forms of Freedom #2.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up the Davidoff Art Edition 2014, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  I found a lot of flavor nuances on the dry draw.  This included notes of nut, sweet natural tobacco, fruit, hay, and a light tingly spice.  Overall, this was an excellent pre-light draw.  At this point I was ready to fire up the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 and move on to the smoking experience.  As I lit up this cigar, I made sure to toast the entire “nossle area” of the footer.  This is a standard practice I use as I find it enhances the burn experience moving forward.

Flavor Profile

The complexity I had on the pre-light draw continued right into the smoking phase.  Out of the gate I detected some notes of cedar and fruit in the forefront.  In the background, I detected some classic Davidoff pepper notes as well as a slight hay note.  The retro-hale had a cedar sweet-spice to it.

As the Davidoff Art Edition moved through the first third, the cedar and fruit sweetness alternated in intensity.  The hay notes in the background were replaced by more of a nut flavor.  The pepper remained in the background and were also present on the after-draw.  I also found the pepper made its way on the retro-hale.

The second third saw a major change in the flavor profile.  A coffee note surfaced with the cedar and sweetness up front. By the midway point the coffee note became a primary flavor and the cedar and fruit notes joined the pepper and nut as secondary notes. There also was a creaminess in the background that I was able to detect.  I was also still able to pick up a slight hay note from time to time.  Meanwhile the black pepper was present on the retro-hale and after-draw.

During the final third, the coffee remained primary. The pepper now made its way into the forefront. There was less creaminess and less of the fruit sweetness. I could still pick up some cedar and hay. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

Construction wise, the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 is one of the better perfectos I have ever seen. This reflected on the burn an draw – both of which score very highly. The burn line remained relatively straight. There was a slight curvature to the burn line, but overall this was not a burn that only required some occasional touch-ups. The resulting ash was charcoal gray and remained firm throughout the smoking experience. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Davidoff Art Edition 2014

The rounded cap really worked well with the Art Edition 2014.  This made this cigar smoke as good as any parejo.  It also had a touch of resistance – which I think is perfect for a draw.  This made for an excellent smoking experience from start to finish.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, I found the Davidoff Art Edition to stay in the comfort-zone of what I have come to expect from most Davidoff cigars. This cigar delivered medium strength from start to finish. As for the body, the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 was medium-bodied for the first two-thirds. During the last third, I found the body progressed to medium to full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I found the two attributes balanced either nicely, but in the last third, I felt the body had the edge.

Final Thoughts

I love the whole concept of the Davidoff Art Initiative, and the fact that Davidoff delivers a home run of a cigar really shows they are serious about this.  There has been some speculation that Art Basel in Basel may lose Davidoff as a sponsor because of a proposed Swiss law that would not allow tobacco companies to sponsor such events, but at press time there are no signs of any changes to Davidoff’s overall program.

When you look at this cigar simply from a cigar related standpoint – this cigar has great flavor, great construction, and lots of complexity. In fact, this is one of the best perfectos I have had in sometime – and easily is the best perfecto I’ve had this year.  While this cigar has a very high price point of $35.00, this cigar certainly smokes like a cigar should for this price range.  It’s the kind of cigar I’d recommend to novice or experienced cigar enthusiasts.  As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s one I’d fight Chuck Norris for.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last third)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them
Score: 95

References

News: Davidoff Limited Art Edition Unveiled (Cigar Preview)
Price: $35.00
Source: Purchased
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 101
Stogie Feed: Davidoff Limited Art Edition