Zino Platinum Z-Class Series by Davidoff

Most cigar enthusiasts know the name Zino – it is a brand of cigars under Davidoff named after the man who founded the company – Zino Davidoff.  What often gets forgotten is that the Zino Platinum line was established nearly eight years ago to go after the new, younger market that had resulted from the cigar boom of the 1990s.   While the Platinum line has been around,  there hasn’t been much activity in its core line since its launch in 2003.   However, Davidoff master-blender Henke Kelner has continued to be busy and the quality releases such as the Avo Limited Edition 2010, the Avo 85th Anniversary Limited Edition 2011, and Puro d’Oro are all examples of his great work.   Now that great work transitions to the Zino Platinum line.

With the Zino Platinum line, packaging has always been a key.  Platinum colored tins, cans, and tubes are what the existing Scepter and Crown lines under Zino Platinum have been packaged under.   For the Z-Class series, a similar model is employed for packaging as the “boxes” are sold in tins of 20.  The cigars are also priced more competitively than the rest of the Zino Platinum line – namely in the $10.00 to $14.00 SRP range.

The ultimate question would be – with Kelner on a hot streak with great releases, would this carry over to the Zino Platinum line with the Z-Class?  Time to break down this cigar and see:

Blend Profile

The Zino Platinum series has been noted for its Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper cigars.  For the Z-Class wrapper, Kelner goes to his Dominican roots.   From the appearance of the wrapper, there is no doubt, this cigar will be a stronger, more robust entry in into the Platinum series.

Similar to the Avo 85th Anniversary Limited Edition 2011, it leverages a Peruvian binder.  For Kelner, Peruvian tobacco is not a new thing – the Zino Platinum Scepter series used it in its filler.

Wrapper: Dominican
Binder:  Peruvian: Pelo de Oro Visus
Filler: Nicaraguan/Honduran: Jalapa Especial Ligero, Esteli Ligero, Cuban Seed Ligero, San Vicente Ligero

Vitolas Available

The Zino Platinum Z-Class currently is available in four vitolas.  The numbers come from the dimensions of the cigar and the letter from the shape of the vitola.

654 T (Toro):  5 7/8″ x 54
550 R (Robusto): 4 7/8″ x 50
546 P (Piramide): 5 1/4 x 46
643 C (Corona): 5 5/8″ x 43

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Normally when I select a vitola, I opt for the largest size cigar.  This time, I decided to go a different route and selected the thinner ring gauges to sample.   Specifically for this experience, I selected the corona-sized 643C.  The pre-light draw gave me some light pepper, honey sweetness, and nut (although I would separate the honey and the nut as two separate flavor notes as opposed to classic “honeynut”).

Flavor Profile

Once I fired this cigar up, the Z-Class started with a moderate dose of pepper.  The pepper spice played a key role in this cigar experience varying in terms of intensity.   Within the first 5 percent of the smoke, the moderate pepper notes that started do subside.   The Z-Class then treated me to notes of earth and grass with just a touch of honey in the background.

Around the one third point, the earth and grass notes were still in the forefront.  The pepper spice remained present and at times was complemented by some cedar spice.  The lingering sweetness that was also in the background had transitioned from honey to caramel.

By the midway point of the Z-Class cigar experience, the sweetness in the background was now just about gone.  Meanwhile the pepper notes once again kicked up a notch and moved to the forefront.  By this time the earth notes were in the background, but were now complemented by some nut flavors as opposed to the grass notes that were present early on.

The final third took a very interesting spin and there were a several transitions here as well.  The nut flavors moved into the forefront at the beginning of the first third, but around the 75% percent the pepper kicked it up once again.   This provided a nice kick on the finish.   The nub was flavorful and had no harsh tones.  It provided a nice cool and firm nub.

Burn and Draw

While there was more competitive pricing on the Z-Class as opposed to the rest of the Platinum line, there is no sacrifice in quality.   The construction of the Z-Class is second to none and has all of the qualities of a great Henke Kelner cigar.  The burn was excellent – burning at a near perfect rate and temperature.   The draw was outstanding as well.

Razor-sharp burn of the Zino Platinum Z-Class

Strength and Body

This cigar had a little more pop than one might think – particuarly at the end.  It definitely is the strongest of the core Zino Platinum series cigars that I have had.  I had this cigar as a medium to full in terms of the strength for the majority of this smoke  – with it moving to full strength toward the end.  With a good deal of ligero in this cigar, this was no surprise to me.

From the a body standpoint, this is definitely a full-bodied smoke.  The flavors are robust and have depth.   You won’t forget the flavors that this cigar produces.

Final Thoughts

By the time I was 2/3 into this cigar experience, the words “2011 Cigar of the Year” entered into my mind.  While it’s way to early to make a determination, I think its safe to say we will see this on my end of the year countdown for 2011.   This was an incredibly enjoyable cigar.  The complexity and flavor of this cigar was second to none.   This is a cigar I’d recommend to a serious cigar enthusiast, but would also give this cigar to a novice who might want to graduate to something with more strength and body.   This is one definitely worth checking out.


Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium to Full (Full a end)
Body: Full
Assessment: Memorable

Disclaimer:  The cigars for this experience described in this assessment were purchased at Barclay Rex, Lexington Avenue in New York, NY