Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake Edition

The Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake Edition is the latest release in the Davidoff Limited Edition series.  The Limited Edition series can be tracedback to 1997 with the launch of the Davidoff “535” (commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the company’s store once located at 535 Madison Avenue). It was in 2002 Davidoff formally launched its “Limited Edition” series.  On almost an annual basis, each release in the series (in most cases) would feature a different blend and a different vitola.   For the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake Edition, it actually was released in late 2012 (just qualifying for a 2013 Cigar Coop cigar year cigar).   The cigar was released to precede the Year of the Snake on the Chinese Calendar (February 10, 2013).   The past few Davidoff Limited Editions have been good smokes, but not ones that I have considered home runs.   The Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake changes all of that.  Without a doubt, this ranks as one of the finest creations by Davidoff in some time.

The Snake is one of the Chinese Zodiac signs.  Those born under that sign are said to exhibit wisdom and intelligence.  The idea was for Davidoff Master Blender Henke Kelner to create a blend for this cigar with these qualities in mind.  The end result was one that ranks in the upper echelon of unique flavor profiles.  If you are a fan of interesting cigars, no doubt this cigar demonstrates the characteristics of the Snake.

Without further adieu, let’s break down the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake Edition.  As a disclaimer this cigar assessment is based on a single smoking experience.

Blend Profile

The Ecuadorian 702 wrapper is a special sun-grown wrapper that was selected and fermented specifically for Davidoff.  It was used on the Davidoff Limited Edition 2009.

Wrapper: Ecuador 702
Binder: San Vicente Seco (Dominican)
Filler: Piloto Seco, San Vicente Ligero, Piloto Viso, Hybrid 192 Seco/Yamasa  (All Dominican)

Vitolas Available

As with most of the Davidoff Limited Editions, the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake Edition is only available in a single vitola – a 7 x 48 Churchill.

The cigar is packaged 8 to a box and the plan is for only 4,500 boxes to be made.


The Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake is highlighted by its reddish clay colorado-colored wrapper. There is a bit of a coffee bean tint to it, but the red color plays a major role in its appearance. There are some darker spots on the wrapper.  The wrapper is slightly oily, but has a more silky appearance. There are some visible veins, and there are minimal wrapper seams that are visible. There is a trademark Davidoff barnyard aroma from the foot of the cigar.

There are two bands on the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake. 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”.  

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.  In the middle of the lower pinstripe is the text “YEAR OF THE SNAKE”.  On the center of the band is a gold snake.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar.  It was then time to begin the pre-light draw.   The dry draw notes provided a nice mix of cedar, coffee, and grass.  Overall, it definitely was one of the better pre-light draws I have gotten from any Davidoff cigar.  It was now on to light this cigar and see what the overall smoking experience would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake started with a strong blast of pepper. As the pepper subsided, notes of grass and coffee emerged – similar to what was found on the pre-light. This was followed by a very unique sweetness and some natural tobacco notes. It took me a few minutes to figure out what this sweetness was, but it seemed to be like a hard (apple) cider flavor. The coffee and cider notes emerged as primary flavors and the natural tobacco, grass and pepper notes were secondary. Throughout the first half of the cigar, the pepper notes would from time to time join the coffee and cider flavors up-front.

At the midway point, the pepper notes stayed with the cider flavor up-front. The pepper and cider flavors were layered nicely and each stood out on its own. The coffee notes diminised and joined the the grass and natural tobacco in the background. As the Davidoff Year of the Snake moved into the last third, the pepper notes took over and the cider notes also moved into the background. By this point, the grass and natural tobacco notes diminished greatly. The end of the smoking experience had some spice to it, but it was not harsh. The resulting nub was on the soft side, but cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

No doubt, the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake is one well-constructed cigar. This is reflected in the burn and draw of this cigar. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish.  The resulting ash was tight with a white color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.

Burn of the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake Edition

The draw had a touch of resistance to it.  This is something I normally prefer in a draw.  This made for a very good cigar to puff on from start to finish.

Strength and Body

The Davidoff Year of the Snake was advertised as “light to medium strength”.  I did not find this to be the case. In fact, I found that this cigar had a more pop that advertised.  I found this cigar to be in the medium to full strength range for most of the smoking experience. Toward the last third, I thought the strength kicked up to full strength.  The strength was not overpowering, but just right for this cigar.

The flavors do a good job at keeping pace with the strength.  I found this to be a medium to full-bodied cigar – and in the last third, it moved to full-bodied range.   As a result, the strength and body balance each other very nicely.

Final Thoughts

This was a truly amazing cigar experience.  Davidoff has made some epic smokes, and the Davidoff 2013 Year of the Snake ranks right up there among the best.  The unique sweetness to this cigar gives it the edge.  The December release of this cigar qualifies this for our 2013 Cigar of the Year countdown, and this cigar has all of the makings of playing a role in that countdown.   This cigar carries an SRP of $29.90.  While we do not factor price into our assessment ratings or scores, it is worth noting this because it does carry a hefty price tag.  This is a cigar that certainly smokes like a cigar should for that price.  This is probably a cigar I would steer toward a more experienced cigar enthusiast.  At the same time, while it is medium to full/full strength, this could be a nice special occasion cigar for even the novice smoker looking to graduate to something stronger.  As for myself, this is certainly a cigar I’d smoke again and even would consider worth getting the box of eight for.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full (Full in last third)
Body: Medium to Full (Full in last third)
Finish: Good
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 95

Source: The cigar for this assessment was gifted by a friend.  Thanks SG.