Going into 2018, there were two themes that were surrounding Oettinger Davidoff, the overall arching parent company for all of the Davidoff brands. First up, there were a series of several management changes throughout the company including a new CEO in Beat Hauenstein. These changes coincided with two very important milestones going on in Davidoff. The first is the 50th anniversary of the Davidoff White Label brand and the second is the 30th anniversary of AVO. Any time there are executive changes, it ultimately changes the overall operation of the company. No doubt 2018 was a different year for Davidoff than we have seen in previous years.
At IPCPR, it is Davidoff of Geneva USA that operates the booth hosting the Davidoff brands. This year the booth had an all-new design. Davidoff of Geneva has always had one of the nicest booths at the trade show. The new booth had stronger elements of the culture of Davidoff itself – namely a mix of European design (parent company Oettinger Davidoff is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland) and Caribbean flair (Davidoff’s production is the Dominican Republic). In a way, the fact there is a new booth reflected some of the change going on in Davidoff.
The booth did a great job at showcasing the 50th anniversary of Davidoff and the 30th anniversary of AVO. At the same time, brands such as Camacho, Zino, the new Back2Back brand, and Davidoff’s accessory partner S.T. Dupont were displayed.
As we will see, Davidoff of Geneva followed the “What was old is now what’s new theme”. In a way, I think it might have resulted in Davidoff’s 50th anniversary being lower key than I expect3e.
From 2013 to 2017, for the most part, the Davidoff brand focused on its Discovery (Black Label) Series, and the incorporation of the Winston Churchill brand. In 2018, these brands took a back seat. For the most part, Davidoff focused on the 50th anniversary with the return of one of its iconic limited editions.
The Davidoff Diademas Fina was first released back in 2006 to commemorate what would have been the 100th birthday of brand founder Zino Davidoff. At the time, three cigars were released: the Diademas Fina, Robusto, and Diademas 100. For the 50th anniversary release, it is the Diademas Fina size making a return and has been officially dubbed the Davidoff Diademas Fina Limited Edition. The 2018 Davidoff Diademas Fina Limited Edition returns in the same 6 3/4 x 50 figured size. It returned with special gold-colored 50th-anniversary bands. The cigars are packaged in four different 10-count porcelain jars featuring art by French artist Mariane Léger. Each jar has a design representing one of the four regions of the world: The Americas, The Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
While Black Label was lower key, White Label was also low key. There wasn’t a nice White Label release, nor was there a specific line being showcased. Instead, several White Label lines received special 50th-anniversary bands. These could be seen throughout the booth.
There were some ultra-premium accessories on display. Marianne Léger, who designed the porcelain jars, also worked on the artwork of these accessories. The Davidoff 50th Anniversary “Caves du Monde” humidor is available in the four region theme similar to the porcelain jars. This includes the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. The humidors feature hand-woven fabrics as a part of the design.
The regional art themes are incorporated into a set of four Limited Edition Prestige Lighters. It’s a soft flame lighter made by S.T. Dupont. These feature a brushed contemporary finish and each is individually numbered. Pricing is set at $1,050 per unit.
Finally, there is the 50th-anniversary ashtray. It’s the first time Davidoff has released an all-aluminum ashtray. It features50th-anniversaryy banding. Each unit is numbered and the total number produced is limited to 500 units.
While the accessories were quite impressive, I still look at the 50th anniversary cigar as the foundation of Davidoff’s 2018 IPCPR Trade Show. The Davidoff Diademas Fina was actually shipped to most retailers before IPCPR, and initial reports indicated the cigar had sold out of inventory. The cigar is receiving very high praise. The negative is that Davidoff essentially didn’t launch a cigar at the cigar industry’s premier event (IPCPR) for its 50th anniversary. The fact that the centerpiece cigar of the 50th anniversary was launched and shipped prior the trade show made the appearance of this cigar a bit anti-climatic.
AVO did not have anything new at the IPCPR Trade Show. Earlier this year, AVO announced the rollout for its 30th anniversary. It consisted of a new release, the AVO 30 Years Improvisation, the return of two former regular production lines for a limited run (AVO Maduro, and AVO Signature). There are also two limited releases returning for a limited run (AVO 22, AVO LE05). There are also some specially designed boxes planned for the AVO Syncro Nicaragua, AVO Syncro Fogata, and AVO Syncro South America Ritmo.
Scott Kolesaire joined us on Prime Time Episode 49 earlier this year and ran through the program of AVO releases.
The AVO releases were offered up to retailers earlier this year and are rolling out each 30th anniversary release in a staggered fashion. While I was excited about what AVO had done for its 30th anniversary, I did feel it was a little anti-climatic that there wasn’t something new launched for AVO’s 30th anniversary at the cigar industry’s premier event.
While Davidoff and AVO didn’t have new launches, Camacho was another story. While the big release for 2018 was the return of the Camacho Coyolar, there were two additional releases announced a the trade show.
There is a new limited edition installment to the Camacho Brotherhood series called the Camacho Hard Charger. This stogie is unique because it’s a Camacho Cigar that features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Original Corojo grown in Honduras. The cigar itself is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. It will be presented in 20-count boxes. A total of 1,500 boxes have been produced. Each box features a collectible dog-tag available on the lid of each box. Pricing is set at $13.00 per cigar.
Last year Camacho brought back the original blend Camacho Diploma for a limited run in the Robusto size. Now the cigar blend is returning for another limited run, this time in the iconic 11/18 size for a limited run. The blend of the Camacho Diploma is 100% Original Corojo from Honduras and features high priming tobaccos. The 11/18 is a unique format introduced by previous Camacho owner, Christian Eiroa. The size is a cross between a Toro and a Figurado, measuring 6 x 48/54/48. The triangular coffins return as well. While the Diploma Robusto coffins were arranged in a hexagon-shaped box, the 11/18s come in a trapezoid-shaped one.
This is a new brand under Davidoff – well, sort of.
Back2Back is the reincarnation of the Room 101 Big Payback line. The Back2Back brand consists of two blends: Back2Back Nicaragua – a reincarnation of the original Room 101 Big Payback; and Back2Back Connecticut – a reincarnation of the Room 101 Big Payback Connecticut. Back2Back Nicaragua is a 100% Nicaraguan puro while the Back2Back Connecticut consists of an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Mexican binder and an all-Dominican filler. The cigars are both available in three sizes: 50 x 5, 60 x 6, and 70 x 7.
The packaging features artwork from Fernando Romero and Mike Baca, two graffiti artists known as the UR New York team. The duo has worked with Davidoff in the past on the Zino brand, providing both artwork and serving as brand ambassadors.
2018 Product Reports
- Davidoff Diademas Finas 50th Anniversary Release Coming in July
- Davidoff to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Brand in 2018
- AVO Announces 2018 Releases for 30 Year Anniversary
- AVO 30 Years Improvisation Released as 2018 Limited Edition
- AVO Maduro Makes Return for 30th Anniversary
- AVO 22 Makes Return for 30th Anniversary
- AVO Signature Returns for 30th Anniversary
- Camacho Hard Charger Launched at 2018 IPCPR as Third Brotherhood Series Release
- Camacho Diploma Special Selection 11/18 Launched at 2018 IPCPR
- Cigar News: Davidoff Lauches Back2Back Brand at 2018 IPCPR
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted