Davidoff Year of the Sheep – Limited Edition 2015

The Davidoff Year of the Sheep Limited Edition 2015 marks the third installment in Davidoff’s annual limited edition series that pays homage to the Chinese New Year.  It was two years ago when the series kicked off with the Davidoff Year of the Snake.  This was followed up last year by the Davidoff Year of the Horse.  These two cigars were among the highest rated Davidoffs ever on Cigar Coop as they placed as the #2 and #17 cigars for 2013.  Each installment of this series introduces a new blend in a different cigars that is limited production.  For the Davidoff Year of the Sheep, the frontmark selected was a belicoso.  The cigar was soft-launched a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas and is about to make its way to Davidoff Appointed Merchants.  I have recently had an opportunity to smoke the Davidoff Year of the Sheep and once again have been amazed.  This Chinese Zodiac series is becoming on the all-time annual limited edition series ever released and the Year of the Sheep keeps to the level of excellence this series has established.

The inside cover of each box features a short writeup called “The Aesthete Sociable Sheep”:

As people rejoice in the dawn of a New Year, no one will look on with more contentment than the Sheep. To the Sheep, happiness is other people’s happiness. Generous of spirit, the Sheep loves to see their own love of life reflected in the faces of those around them as well as the objects and things which surround them. For the Sheep is an artist, an aficionado of beauty. Belonging to the element of Wood, the Sheep is a craftsman, fashioning a world of harmony and aesthetic pleasure. For Davidoff, the appreciation of craftsmanship which brings joy to others is what we seek to achieve with each New Year”.

The Davidoff Zodiac releases fall into the ultra-premium range.  The Year of the Snake was priced at $30.00, the Year of the Horse was priced at $31.00 and the Year of the Sheep will carry a $35.00 price point.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Davidoff Year of the Sheep and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile
While the cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, it is the Dominican Yamasá region binder (a tobacco that has become somewhat of a signature tobacco in many Davidoff blends) that most intrigues me.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Yamasá (Dominican)
Filler: Dominican (Hybrid Corojo/Olor Visus, San Vicente Visus, Piloto Visus, San Vicente Mejorado Visus)

Vitolas Available

As mentioned above, the Davidoff Year of the Sheep will be released in one size – a 6 1/4 x 54 Belicoso. This becomes the first non-parejo to be released in the series. The cigars are packaged in eight count boxes and a total of 3,000 boxes have been produced.

Appearance

The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the Davidoff Year of the Sheep’s has medium to dark brown color. There is some colorado red mixed into the color scheme.  The wrapper has a decent amount of oil on it.  There are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins.  The belicoso tip is sharply tapered from the base of the cigar.

There are two bands on the Davidoff Year of the Sheep Limited Edition 2015. 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 is the text “LIMITED EDITION”.

The second band is primarily red in color. There is a gold pinstripe toward the top of the band and a gold one toward the bottom. On the center of the band is an image of two sheep horns. To the left of the sheep it says “YEAR OF” to the right it says “THE SHEEP” – both in gold font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up the Davidoff Year of the Sheep, I went with a straight cut.  I cut about half of the tip off of the belicoso.  Once the tip was removed I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw provided notes of natural tobacco and light pepper spice.  There also was an interesting mint note that I detected.  Overall I considered this to be an excellent pre-light draw.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Davidoff Year of the Sheep delivered a decent shot of black pepper.  The black pepper  receded to the background and gave way to notes of natural tobacco and cedar.  I also detected some trademark Davidoff grassy notes in the background.  I found in the very early stages the natural tobacco and cedar was not overly sweet, but still flavorful.  Meanwhile the retro-hale delivered notes of pepper and cedar spice.

As the Davidoff Year of the Sheep moved throughout the first half, the sweetness from the natural tobacco and cedar emerged.  This was a very unique sweetness having almost a nougat-like flavor.  Meanwhile the secondary notes still produced notes of black pepper and grass.

By the second half, I found the nougat-like sweetness to dial back somewhat.  The cedar notes soon became more prominent.  As the Year of the Sheep moved through the last third, I found the black pepper notes joined the cedar and nougat flavors.  The grass notes were also present.  This is the way the Year of the Sheep remained until the end.  The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The Davidoff Year of the Sheep is a well-constructed cigar that scores very nicely when it comes to burn and draw.  I found the burn line of this cigar to remain straight from start to finish – requiring only occasional touch-ups along the way.  The resulting ash is on the firm side and has a nice charcoal gray color with some darker speckling in it.  The ash was not prone to any significant flaking.  The burn temperature was ideal.  I found this cigar to burn slow, but the slow burning had no adverse effects on any other attribute of the smoking experience other than smoking time.

Burn of the Davidoff Year of the Sheep

The draw performed as well as could be expected from a belicoso.  In general I usually feel parejos draw better.  I didn’t find this a loose draw, but it wasn’t a tight draw either. Given this is a sharp tapering to this belicoso, I don’t recommend cutting off less than half of the belicoso tip as this can result in a softer tip.

Strength and Body

In terms of strength and body, I have found the Davidoff Zodiac releases to offer stronger and more fuller smoking experiences when compared to most of the other offerings in the Davidoff portfolio. From a strength perspective, the Davidoff Year of the Sheep is going to fall in the medium to full range. As for body, not only are the flavors full-bodied, but they are as robust as I have gotten on any Davidoff cigar. They will weigh quite heavy on the pallet. Overall this is a cigar that emphasizes body over strength..

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned with the Davidoff Zodiac series, this is becoming one of the greatest annual limited edition sets in the history of the cigar business.  Each of these cigars has delivered a fantastic cigar experience, and each has delivered some very unique flavors.  The nougat sweetness is something I really enjoyed off this cigar.  There is one notable difference with the Year of the Sheep – this one is going to have the closest feel to a classic Davidoff – delivering those notes of pepper and grass.  This should appeal to those Davidoff fans wanting something fuller and stronger.

In this assessment $35.00 price point is not factored into the numeric score, but it is mentioned for informational purposes and is used for our Stogie Geeks rating. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast.  While it is not going to be a nicotine bomb, the flavors do weigh heavy on the pallet and this is something for a novice enthusiast to keep in mind.  As for myself, while I would have loved this blend in a parejo, the belicoso works fine for me here. Year of the Sheep still ranks behind Year of the Snake in my book, but this is an excellent cigar.  This is a box worthy cigar in my book.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

References

News: Davidoff 2015 Year of the Sheep
Price: $35.00
Source: Gifted
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 119
Stogie Feed: Davidoff Year of the Sheep – Limited Edition 2015