The Davidoff Art Edition 2016 is the second installment in a cigar line that is tied to the Davidoff Art Initiative. The Davidoff 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) and provide art grants (which were awarded to two Dominican institutions). The Davidoff Art Initiative also provided an opportunity for an artist to contribute artwork used of the packaging and banding of the first Davidoff Art Edition cigar, the Davidoff Art Edition 2014. Now two years later comes the second installment of the series, the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 – and another opportunity for an artist to contribute artwork. For the Davidoff Art Edition 2016, Davidoff selected Olivia McGilchrist, a Jamaican-French artist and videographer and as we will see, the result is one of the most ambitious and unique packaging offerings ever seen in the cigar industry. As for the cigar itself, it is positioned as one of the more premium Davidoff offerings. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Davidoff Art Edition 2016. Overall, this is another excellent release by Davidoff in 2016.
McGilchrist is an artist and videographer who leverages digital multi-media techniques in her work. The art comes int he form of digital stills taken from a video called “From Many Sides”. The digital art is inspired by the landscapes, culture, stories, and people from the Caribbean region. There are 7,000 boxes being made for the Art Edition 2016 and the incorporation of the art work was an ambitious one. For the Art Edition 2016, each box features a unique / different digital image still extracted from a video by McGilchrist called “From Many Sides” – that basically means each of the 7,000 boxes is different from the others.
Over the past few years, Davidoff has released several lifestyle themed cigars. There are the two Art Initiate themed cigars with the Davidoff Art Edition 2014 and Davidoff Art Edition 2016 In addition, we have seen three releases around Golf (Davidoff Masters Edition 2013 Club House Toro, Davidoff Golf Limited Masters Edition 2015, and Davidoff Scorecard 2016). This year the Davidoff – The Chefs Edition added a theme of the culinary arts. With all of these cigars, the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 carries the highest price point (while not the most expensive Davidoff overall) at $39.00 per cigar.
Without further ado, let’s take a break down the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 and see what this cigar brings to the table
The blend to the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 is different than the Art Edition 2014. While the 2014 release was a Dominican puro, the Art Edition 2016 consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Dominican binder and filler.
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: Piloto from Dominican Republic
Filler: Piloto Visus, San Vicente Mejorado Seco, Yamasa Seco and 2 San Vicente Mejorado Visus tobaccos from different zones
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM)
The Davidoff Art Edition 2016 is a 5 15/16 x 54 perfecto – the same size as the 2014 Art Edition. It will be available in ten count boxes with a total production of 7,000 boxes.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has a medium brown color to it. There is some oil on the surface. I found a slightly bumpy surface on this cigar. The footer of the perfecto is open and has a a nossle-like shape while the head is finished rounded cap.
There are two bands on the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 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 is uniform across all of the 7.000 boxes. This band sits just below the primary Davidoff White Label band. In this case, the art work is features almost a blue-marble like design with gold pinstripes toward the top and bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Before lighting up the Davidoff Art Edition 2016, I went with a straight cut. As I have being doing most of my perfectos, I used my Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole to get an ideal cut for this perfecto. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw delivered a mix of classic wood, a subtle fruit note, and a slight cedar bite. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Davidoff Art Edition 2016 started off with some short spurt of white pepper. As the cigar burned through the nozzle of the perfecto notes of classic wood, cedar sweet-spice, and fruit joined the pepper notes. By the time the burn reached the base of the cigar, a caramel component complemented the fruit notes. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced notes of white pepper.
Once into the base of the cigar, the classic wood notes were primary. The caramel / fruit combination floated in and out of the forefront. I also picked up pepper and cedar notes in the background. As the cigar moved through the first third, the cigar changed up some more. The wood notes transitioned to a natural tobacco note and the fruit notes began to dissipate.
During the second third of the Davidoff Art Edition 2016, the natural tobacco notes remained in the forefront. There still was some caramel notes, but I also detected some cocoa in the background. Meanwhile, the pepper and the cedar notes remained further in the background.
By the last third, the natural tobacco was still grounded in the forefront. The cedar and pepper spices ramped up, but didn’t overtake the natural tobacco. The cocoa and caramel notes were now on the subtle-side and quite distant. This is the way the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
For a cigar with a $39.00 price point, I have high expectations on how it will perform when it comes to burn and draw. The Davidoff Art Edition 2016 does not disappoint. I found the burn path to remain straight from start to finish. The burn line had a slight amount of jaggedness, but this didn’t warrant any additional touch-ups. I found the ash of the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 to be firm with a silver gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
As for the draw, I found it to be low maintenance. Drawing from the narrow ring did not prove to be a challenge. The draw had the right amount of resistance and made this a very enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, when comparing this to the Art Edition 2014, I found the Art Edition 2016 to be slightly dialed back. I assessed this as being a classic medium strength and medium-bodied smoke. I found the strength and body pretty much stayed constant from start to finish. The strength and body balanced each other very nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The one thing that is intriguing about the Davidoff Art Edition 2016 is that it does provide an opportunity for a cigar enthusiast to have a one of kind box of this particular blend. That being said, it will not be cheap and a box will run close to $400.00 when taxes are considered. While there is a collectable aspect to a box purchase, that does not factor into how the cigar is assessed or scored here.
The Davidoff Art Edition 2016 is a very good cigar. It certainly fires on all cylinders delivering excellent flavor, excellent construction, and a nice amount of complexity. However, when considering the overall experience, it’s hard not to compare this to the epic smoking experience of the Davidoff Art Edition 2014. While the Art Edition 2016 is very enjoyable, it’s not quite at the level of the 2014 Art Edition – which was the Cigar Coop #3 Cigar of the Year for 2014.
This is a cigar I could recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, spending $39.00 is a personal decision. But there still was enough here that would make me want to have a box split of this cigar.
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split