In 2017, Davidoff Cigars released a special limited edition culebra offering known as the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition. A culebra is a group of three panatelas twisted together to form a snake-like entity. The origins of the culebra can be traced back to Cuba, but there are many conflicting stories about the how the creation of the culebra unit came about. While some culebra entities consist of three twisted cigars of the same blend, when it comes to the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, each unit contains one twisted panatela from each of the three blends from the Davidoff Discovery Pillar (Black) Label. These blends include Davidoff Nicaragua, Davidoff Escurio, and Davidoff Yamasá blends. In previous assessments we have looked at the Nicaragua and Yamasá components of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition. Today we turn our attention to the third component, the Escurio – which will be referred to in this assessment as the Davidoff Escurio Culebra.
The Davidoff Discovery Pillar is one of the main deliverables that came out of an innovation strategy that was put in place by former Davidoff CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard. The strategy was put into high gear in 2013 with the release of the Davidoff Nicaragua. The Davidoff Nicaragua project was a challenge given to Davidoff Master Blender Henke Kelner to produce the first Nicaraguan puro under the Davidoff brand. Two years later came Davidoff Escurio, in which this time the challenge was to build a Davidoff cigar that incorporated Brazilian tobacco into the blend. Eventually, Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed (the first box pressed Davidoff branded line) and Davidoff Yamasá (a blend uses the company’s signature Yamasá tobacco) would follow the Discovery Pillar. It’s fair to say taking three of the four Discovery Pillar blends (minus the Box Pressed) and creating the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition is another extension of the innovation strategy.
It is important to know that this is not Davidoff’s first culebra release. The company had a previous offering with the Davidoff Special C. In that culebra offering, the three panatelas were identical blends based on Davidoff White Label. For the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, each of the panatelas is a different blend.
Without further ado, let’s explore the Davidoff Escurio Culebra and see what this cigar brings to the table.
For the Davidoff Escurio, the Brazilian tobacco is used for the binder and a portion of the filler. The Escurio is finished with the line’s signature dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: Brazilian Cubra
Filler: Dominican (San Vicente, Piloto and Olor/Piloto Seco), Brazilian (Cubra and Mata Fina)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM)
The Davidoff Escurio has been produced in seven sizes. The 6 x 60 comes packaged in 12-count boxes.
As mentioned, this panatela is sold as a part of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, which also contains the Escurio and Yamasá panatelas. Each Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition is packaged in an individual coffin containing the three twisted panatelas – one from each of the Discovery Pillar blends. The coffins are then available in 8-count boxes. In a nutshell, each coffin has one Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra panatela and each box has eight of them.
The three panatelas of the culebra are twisted together in a classic Cuban style. There is a black ribbon tying the three panatelas together on each side of the culebra. Like any culebra, the individual panatela components aren’t the most attractive, but when all three are tied together, it’s a work of art.
One thing that is unique is that each of the panatelas has a footer band to easily identify the blend of the panatela. These bands are similar to the secondary bands found on the Davidoff Escurio, Davidoff Yamasá, and Davidoff Nicaragua lines. In the case of the Davidoff Escurio, it has a silver color with black trim. On the band, it says “ESCURIO” in white font. To the left and right is a green colored Davidoff Escurio moon logo.
The wrapper of the Davidoff Escurio Culebra has a chocolate brown color. Depending on how the light shines on it, it will give off varying degrees of Colorado red. I didn’t find much in the way of oil on the surface. Like the other culebra components on the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, the Escurio component is a scrunched panatela vitola with a bumpy surface. There were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
As with all Culebra offerings, I find when the three panatelas are tied together, they look very nice – however once the panatelas are separate, they simply lose all aesthetic charm.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I commenced the cigar experience of the Davidoff Escurio Culebra by placing a straight cut to remove the cap. After clipping the cap it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw produced notes of cocoa and a tangy sweet spice. I considered this pre-light draw to be satisfactory. At this point, I removed the footer band from the Davidoff Escurio Culebra, lit up the panatela and awaited what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Davidoff Escurio Culebra started out with a mix of red and Asian spices, cocoa, and some tangy sweetness. Early on the cocoa and tangy notes moved into the forefront while the spices settled in the background. Meanwhile, I found an additional layer of red pepper coming through the retro-hale. At times the spice on the retro-hale was on the sharp side.
During the first half, the cocoa and tangy notes alternated in intensity. Toward the midway point, the tangy notes finally pushed the cocoa notes into the background. As the Davidoff Escurio Culebra moved into the second half, there was an increase in the intensity of the pepper notes.
By the final third, the spices joined the tangy notes in the forefront. Normally this wouldn’t be an ideal combination of flavors, but the cocoa notes seemed to keep things balanced. This is the way the Davidoff Escurio Culebra came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature but slight soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
There is one thing that pleasantly surprised me about each of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition components – and that is how well it scored when it came to burn and draw. On each of the components I smoked, I had an excellent experience with both – and the Davidoff Escurio Culebra was no exception. The burn stayed relatively on the path from start to finish. The resulting ash had a gray color. It wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t loose nor flaky either. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Davidoff Escurio Culebra performed quite well. Since culebras are typically underfilled I was a little concerned about having things like a loose draw or a warm burn. Like the other components of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, there were no such problems. This cigar’s draw had the right amount of resistance from start to finish.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, the Davidoff Escurio Culebra falls on the upper end of medium on the spectrum. Meanwhile, the flavors produced are medium to full-bodied. Throughout the smoking experience, I didn’t find much variance in the intensity levels of both the strength and body. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body maintained the edge from start to finish.
As I noted when I assessed the Davidoff Yamasá Culebra, you are not going to get an optimum smoking experience with a blend that is put into a less-filled scrunched panatela. I’ll stand by that statement with the Davidoff Escurio Culebra. While the Escurio Culebra wasn’t a very complex cigar, it still was a cigar that produced good flavor. However, the Culebra simply doesn’t bring out what this blend has to offer much like the other vitolas – namely the Robusto Toro and the 6 x 60.
In terms of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition as a whole, I found the Yamasá Culebra to be the panatela that scored the best. I found the Nicaragua Culebra as the one that fell short, and the Escurio falling somewhere in between. The Escurio Culebra is still one I would recommend, however, to get this cigar you are going to have to buy the whole Culebras Limited Edition coffin containing the three blends and that will run you $55.50. In my opinion, if you are into the adventure and fun of trying a culebra with some of Davidoff’s best blends, this is one worthy of trying.
Key Flavors: Cocoa, Tangy Sweet-Spice, Red Pepper, Asian Spices, Red Pepper
Complexity: Low to Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Davidoff Culebras Features Discovery Pillar Blends
Price: $55.50 (3 Unit Culebra containing 3 different blends)
Brand Reference: Davidoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted.