The Davidoff Year of the Rooster Limited Edition 2017 marks the fifth global installment (and sixth overall) of Davidoff’s annual limited edition series that pays homage to the Chinese New Year. Over the past few years, this ultra-premium series has established itself as of the most anticipated releases of the year. Each installment features a different blend, in a different size, with exquisite packaging reflecting the Zodiac theme. For the Year of the Rooster, the cigar is a diadema shape – the first diadema vitola in the series. Recently the Davidoff Year of the Rooster Limited Edition 2017 has made its way to Davidoff Appointed Merchants. Today we take a closer look at this cigar.
The series actually kicked off in 2012 with a small “Year of the Dragon” release for the Asian market. In 2013, the series became a more global offering with the release of the Year of the Snake.
2012: Davidoff Year of the Dragon (Limited , small release for Asian market)
2013: Davidoff Year of the Snake
2014: Davidoff Year of the Horse
2015: Davidoff Year of the Sheep
2016: Davidoff Year of the Monkey
2017: Davidoff Year of the Rooster
Assuming the series continues for the rest of the Chinese Zodiac, the following could be the following future releases. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations in the American market on premium cigars, some have questioned whether this series would continue. Davidoff has not indicated one way or another, but given Davidoff is a global brand and that the series started in Asia, my guess would be we will see more of these cigars.
2018 Year of the Dog
2019 Year of the Pig
2020 Year of the Rat
2021 Year of the Ox
2022 Year of the Tiger
2023 Year of the Rabbit
As for the series itself, most of the Chinese Zodiac Series has been among the higher rated Davidoff cigars in the history of the Cigar Coop brand. In 2013, the Year of the Snake and Year of the Horse finished as the #2 and #17 cigars for the year respectively. In 2014, the Year of the Sheep ranked finished as the#13 Cigar of the Year.
Turning our attention to this year’s offering, the Davidoff Year of the Rooster, the cigars feature some creative packaging from Davidoff – something par for the course with this series. The Year of the Rooster is packaged in 10 count red lacquered wood boxes. The box has a fan shaped representing the feathers of the Rooster’s plumage. Each box has five wood components housing a pair of Year of Rooster Cigars.
The Davidoff Year of the Rooster carries a price point of $40.00 MSRP per cigar – making it the most costly entry in the Chinese Zodiac series thus far. This is nearly 25% more than the first global release, 2013’s Davidoff Year of the Snake.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Davidoff Year of the Rooster Limited Edition 2017 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Davidoff Year of the Rooster Limited Edition 2017 features a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper one a variety of Dominican tobaccos.
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: San Vincente Mejorado (Dominican)
Filler: Dominican: Piloto Seco, San Vincente Visus, Piloto Visus, Criollo Seco
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM)
The Davidoff Year of the Rooster is available in one size – a 6 3/4 x 50 Diadema. As mentioned the cigar is packaged in ten count boxes. A total of 8,000 boxes were produced.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has a medium to dark color. Depending on how the light shines on the cigar, it will give off a level of colorado tint. There is some oil on the surface of the wrapper. There are some thin veins, but there also were some prominently visible wrapper seams. The diadema is tapered toward the foot, but the footer itself is open. On the other end of the cigar, there is a slightly longer taper with a slight rounded cap.
There are two bands on the Davidoff Year of the Rooster. 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 with gold trim. The center of the band has a rooster surrounded by Oriental characterso the left and right. To the far left of the band is a chicken-wire like design.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Davidoff Year of the Rooster, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. As I have being doing most of my figurados and perfectos, I used my Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole to get an ideal cut for this diadema. Once the tip was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw delivered notes of natural tobacco sweetness, cedar, and a citrus note that had somewhat of an acidic component. Overall I wasn’t very satisfied with this pre-light draw, but since the pre-light draw is not factored into the score or assessment rating, At this point I was ready to light up the Davidoff Year of the Rooster and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
The Davidoff Year of the Rooster started out with some notes of black pepper, natural tobacco, and citrus. As the cigar burned through the tapered section, I found the citrus had some sweetness, but also had some of the acidic qualities I detected during the pre-light draw. These qualities of the citrus notes would continue throughout the smoking experience. Meanwhile the retro-hale delivered a mix of black pepper and cedar.
As the Davidoff Year of the Rooster entered the main part of the cigar, a classic “Twang” surfaced as the citrus, pepper, and natural tobacco notes all fused together. This twang became a primary note. Meanwhile, in the background notes of cedar and hay had surfaced.
The twang maintained its presence in the second third. During this phase the smoking experience the black pepper became much more prominent on the retro-hale. Later in the second third, the twang began to come apart as the citrus, natural tobacco, and black pepper notes started to stand on their own individually.
Going into the last third of the Davidoff Year of the Rooster, the natural tobacco and black pepper were the primary notes. The citrus remained secondary as the hay and cedar were much more distant. Toward the very end of the cigar, there was definitely a spicy kick. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was slight soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Davidoff Year of the Rooster performed quite well. The cigar maintained a straight burn line and took a straight burn path. The cigar also had no problems burning through the tapered section of the cigar. In terms of the ash, it had salt and pepper color. The ash wasn’t overly firm, but it was far from a loose and flakey ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Davidoff Year of the Rooster was pretty much stellar. It had a touch of resistance to it – something that I very much like on a cigar. At the same time, the Year of the Rooster produced quite a bit of smoke along the way. This cigar did enough to earn the “Exceptional” assessment rating for draw – the highest ranking on Cigar Coop.
Strength and Body
The strength and body of the Davidoff Year of the Rooster balance each other very nicely during the smoking experience. At the start of the Year of the Rooster, this is very much a cigar that is mild to medium in both strength and body. There is a gradual, linear increase with both strength and body along the way. By the second third, the Year of the Rooster is medium strength, medium-bodied. The intensity continues to build and toward the very last stages, this cigar sneaks into medium to full territory for strength and body.
Two years ago, after smoking the Year of the Sheep, I proclaimed that the Chinese Zodiac series by Davidoff was becoming “one of the greatest annual limited edition sets in the history of the cigar business”. A year later came a slight disappointment with the Year of the Monkey, and that trend continues with Year of the Rooster. Therefore, my statement was probably premature.
Something was just missing from the Year of the Rooster. Yes it was a good cigar, but to me it was an ordinary cigar, It wasn’t not an great cigar – and certainly not what I’d expect from a $40.00 cigar. Yes this cigar had a great draw and had some level of complexity. It just fell short when it came to the actual flavors. I found the “twang” present not he flavor profile came at the expense of the rest of what this cigar had to offer. One final note is that this cigar deserves the opportunity to see how it performs with some longer term aging, but I realize at $40.00 a cigar, it’s a tough call for many folks.
Overall, this is a cigar that still merits enough to give one a try – especially if you are a Davidoff fan. At a minimum, I will do that again and see how it performs in the future.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Black Pepper, Citrus
Complexity: Medium to High
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium, Medium to Full (last stages)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium, Medium to Full (last stages)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 2.5-Try One
News: Davidoff Year of the Rooster Limited Edition 2017 Details Announced
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
Brand Reference: Davidoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted