If you have looked at Davidoff and its associated brands over the past year, there has been a definite push of bringing back a lot of its cigars from the past. One can certainly argue a driving factor has been the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Deeming Regulations which require pre-market approval for new releases. At the same time, its been a chance for cigar enthusiasts to get a second crack at getting some of Davidoff’s historic blends .As for what Davidoff has brought back – some have been regular production lines (such as Camacho Coyolor), some have been limited editions (such as the recently re-released Davidoff Seleccion 702), and the rest are a mix of rarities and limited release private blends. Last year, we saw Davidoff unveil the Davidoff Master Series – a series of six personal blends of Master Blender Eladio Diaz to commemorate a series of birthdays. This year, we have seen more private blends released in small batches. Some of these blends from the past have been made available through Davidoff’s Vault program – which has seen these releases distributed in very limited quantities to appointed merchants or available in limited quantities online through Davidoff’s ACCESS program. One of the Vault releases that made its way into the market in 2018 is the Davidoff Gusto. Today we take a closer look at this cigar.
The name Gusto translates to “enjoyment and intensity.” It’s a philosophy that Diaz has used when he developed his blend. Specifically the Davidoff Gusto was conceptualized around the idea off the sense of taste. The word “Gusto” was a ward that stuck with him and ultimately it was the name chosen for this particular.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Davidoff Gusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
While the filler is quintessential Davidoff, the wrapper and binder of Gusto sees Diaz go in a different direction than he has for many of his blends. This cigar uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper – something not seen on many Davidoff cigars. The wrapper/binder combination features leaves from Ecuador – a combination not used on many Davidoff blends.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Ecuador Habano 2000
Filler: Dominican Republic: Piloto Volao, Piloto Damajagua, San Vicente Mejorado, Hybrid 133 Visus Yamasa
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM)
The Davidoff Gusto was released in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. The cigar was sold in ten-count boxes
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Davidoff Gusto had a medium brown color to it with a Colorado red tint. I didn’t find much in the way of oil on it. The wrapper was slightly bumpy with some thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the Davidoff Gusto. 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 “TORO” in gold font.
The secondary band is similar to the design of the one found on the Davidoff Master Selection Series. This is a band that is also white in color. There is a black pinstripe near the top of the band, as well as one toward the bottom of the band. On the center of the band is the text “GUSTO” – also in black font. The right side of the band what appears to be Eladio Diaz’s signature in a blue font.
For the pre-light experience of the Davidoff Gusto, I used a straight cut to remove the cap. I then proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced a combination of cedar, classic wood, natural tobacco, and a slight citrus note. I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the Davidoff Gusto and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
There was a short, moderate shot of black pepper to kick off the smoking experience of the Davidoff Gusto. Once the pepper subsided notes of cedar, natural tobacco and cream surfaced. The cedar notes went primary with the natural tobacco and cedar fading into the background. These background notes were joined by some chocolate, mineral and citrus notes. The retro-hale had a mix of woody citrus notes and some red pepper. Meanwhile, the pepper practically dissipated midway through the first third.
As the Davidoff Gusto moved through the second third, I found the natural tobacco notes started to increase and quickly joined the cedar notes in the forefront. By the second half, the natural tobacco became the sole primary note. Meanwhile, the chocolate notes diminished while the mineral and citrus notes increased in intensity.
Toward the latter part of the second third of the Davidoff Gusto, some of the cedar notes started to increase and by the final third, they re-joined the natural tobacco in the forefront. By this point, there were mixed pepper notes that were on the tongue. Meanwhile, there also were notes of mineral and citrus in the background. This is the way the Davidoff Gusto came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but slightly soft to the touch.
Overall the burn of the Davidoff Gusto performed quite well. The cigar didn’t have a problem maintaining a straight burn line and take a straight burn path. The resulting ash was on the firm side with a light gray color to it. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Davidoff Gusto also performed quite well. This cigar maintained a nice balance of openness and resistance. I also found this cigar to generate a nice amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
For the Davidoff Gusto, I found the strength level of the Davidoff Gusto to be constant from start to finish at the medium level. The Davidoff Gusto started out with medium body. Along the way I found a slight increase in the intensity level of the body to occur and by the last third, the flavors were in medium to full-bodied territory.
For the most part, when it came to strength versus body, I found the body had the edge with the Davidoff Gusto. The gap widened a bit during the last third.
If you ever wondered what a Davidoff cigar with a Sumatra wrapper would taste like, the Davidoff Gusto is the cigar for you. While this isn’t a cigar that undergoes radical flavor transitions, it has plenty of flavor nuances – and that kept the complexity level that had me interested. While I didn’t find this cigar to necessarily have the most intense flavors, it is still going to provide more than a classic Davidoff White Label.
One final point: these cigars are difficult to find. I don’t have any leads where to find them. Normally Cigar Coop likes to review cigars you can more readily find, but with a cigar like this – it’s such a unique project for Davidoff and Diaz we wanted to discuss it. I’d recommend this to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again. If you can find it, I’d pick up multiples to have in the humidor.
Key Flavors: Cedar, Natural Tobacco, Chocolate, Mineral, Citrus, Pepper
Complexity: Medium to High
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Brand Reference: Davidoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop