Prior to the ProCigar 2016, Davidoff kicked off its initial Tour Gastromique – a culinary and cigar event held at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. At that event, Davidoff – The Chefs Edition cigar was unveiled. As the name indicates, the cigar bridges into the area of culinary arts. For the Davidoff Chefs Edition, six leading European culinary chefs were brought in to collaborate on the project. In late May, the Chefs Edition began to make its way to U.S. retailers. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the new Davidoff Chefs Edition. Overall, I have found 2016 to be a spectacular year for Davidoff – and with the Chefs Edition it further strengthens the year the company is having. Without a doubt, this is one of the top releases in 2016.
While production numbers have not been disclosed, the Davidoff Chefs Edition is like the other lifestyle releases we mentioned – namely it is a limited edition cigar. It comes in one size – a 6 x 54 Toro. It also is one of the more ultra-premium cigars released by Davidoff – cracking the $30.00 price point.
As the Davidoff Chefs Edition was being developed, to complement a fine meal or enjoyed with an after-dinner spirit such as a Cognac, Amarone, or Sauternes.
The six chefs who collaborated with Davidoff included:
- Peter Knogl, Cheval Blanc of Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel/Switzerland.
- Renato Wüst, Bad Ragaz Grand Resort in Switzerland
- Ali Güngörmüs, Le Canard HH Pageou, Münich in Germany
- Léa Linster, Restaurant Léa Linster in Luxembourg
- Michel Trama, Relais & Chateau, Puymirol in France
- Maria Marte, Club Allard, Madrid in Spain.
Over the past few years, Davidoff has released several lifestyle themed cigars. We have seen three releases around Golf (Davidoff Masters Edition 2013 Club House Toro, Davidoff Golf Limited Masters Edition 2015, and Davidoff Scorecard 2016) and two around art (Davidoff Art Edition 2014, Davidoff Art Edition 2016). With the Davidoff Chefs Edition, the culinary arts is now added to the list.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Davidoff Chefs Edition and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend features an all-Dominican filler surrounded by an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and a Habano 2000 wrapper.
Wrapper: Habano 2000
Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler:San Vicente Mejorado Seco, San Vicente Mejorado Visus, Piloto Visus, and San Vicente Visus
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM)
The Davidoff Chefs Edition is available in one size – a 6 x 54 Toro. The cigars are packaged in 10 count boxes.
The Habano 2000 wrapper has a medium / medium to dark brown color to it. The wrapper itself has a light coating of oil to it. Any visible wrapper seams are on the thin side. While the visible veins are also on the thin side, I found this cigar did have quite a few of them on the surface.
There are two bands on the Davidoff Chefs Edition. 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 of the Davidoff Chefs Edition rests just below the primary band. It is whit in color with a gold pinstripe near the top and near the bottom. The center of the band has a gold chef’s hat. To the left of the hat is the text “THE CHEFS” in black font while the right is the text “EDITION” – also in black font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I typically do, I opted for a straight cut to remove the cap of the Davidoff Chefs Edition. Once the cap was successfully removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a mix of chocolate, cedar, and floral notes. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be excellent. At this point I was ready to light up the Davidoff Chefs Edition and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Davidoff Chefs Edition picked up where the pre-light draw left off as I detected more notes of chocolate, cedar, and floral notes. There was a dull (i.e. not sharp) pepper spice on the retro-hale. As the Chefs Edition moved through the early stages, I found the cedar notes became primary with some nut flavors joining the chocolate as secondary notes.
As the Chefs Edition moved through the latter part first third, the cedar remained primary. The chocolate and nut floated in between the forefront and background. The floral note now morphed into more of a chili pepper note – which also was in the background. At the same time, the chili pepper note now started to mix into the retro-hale.
During the second third, the chili pepper started to slowly increase on both the tongue and retro-hale. By the halfway point the chili pepper was now on par with the cedar notes. While there was plenty of spice on this cigar, it never assaulted the palate. Meanwhile the chocolate and nut notes continued to be in the background. From time to time, there was a slight black pepper note that lingered on the tongue.
By the last third, the cedar and chill pepper notes still were primary. By now the chocolate and nut flavors were quite distant. While the close of the Davidoff Chefs Edition was spicy, it never got harsh. The closing nub was a real finger-burner delivering a firm, cool nub.
Burn and Draw
In terms of burn, the Davidoff Chefs Edition maintained a straight burn path from start to finish. On each of the samples I smoked, there was a slight curvature of the burn line early on, but this went away as the cigar progressed. This also didn’t warrant an excessive amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was quite firm with a salt and pepper color. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the Davidoff Chefs Edition was excellent as well. It was not too tight, nor too loose. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
If I had to generalize where this cigar fits into the spectrum of strength and body, I would assess the Davidoff Chefs Edition as being slightly bolder than most Davidoff branded cigars. I assessed this cigar as having medium strength from start to finish. The strength increased along the way, and by the last third, I assessed the Chefs Edition as being medium to full in strength. Meanwhile the body of the Chefs Edition started out medium to full. There was a slight increase along the way, but by the end of the cigar I still would assess this cigar as being in the medium to full-bodied range of the spectrum.
In terms of strength versus body, I gave the body of the Davidoff Chefs Edition the edge throughout the smoking experience.
The Davidoff Chefs Edition is a home run for Davidoff. Flavor-wise, this cigar was simply outstanding. I found the flavors to be quite unique and in a way, this made for somewhat of an un-Davidoff like Davidoff. At the same time, the fact that this cigar was different is another example on how Davidoff is executing on its innovation strategy. This is going to be a spicier Davidoff than many may be used to – however the way the spice is demonstrated in this blend is not going overpower you, nor leave a bad after-taste. In terms on how well this pairs with a great meal or after dinner cocktail, while that’s not the way I assessed this cigar, I can certainly see it as a fit.
Looking at the Davidoff Scorecard 2016, Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed, and now Davidoff Chefs Edition – all of these cigars could be looking at a spot on the 2016 Cigar Coop Countdown. In particular the Davidoff Chefs Edition really stood out. It’s a cigar I’d recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast looking for something spicy, but not overwhelming. As for myself, this is not only a cigar I would smoke again. but one I would fight Chuck Norris for.
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last Third)
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 4.5-Fight Chuck Norris for Them