Earlier this year, Davidoff announced the third release of its Davidoff Chefs Edition series. The Davidoff Chefs Edition is a project that was launched in 2016. It’s a project that brings together the world of cigar making with the culinary arts. For this project Davidoff brings together a group of leading chefs to collaborate with its blending team to produce a cigar. The first blend, the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2016 earned #4 Cigar of the Year honors in 2016, and was re-released the following year. The 2018 edition of the Davidoff Chefs Edition brings a new panel of chefs into the collaboration process, and features an all-new blend. Today we take a closer look a the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018.
There are five chefs who participated on the project. These chefs have a combined 12 Michelin stars, one of the most coveted honors for a chef.
- Thomas Keller, The French Laundry in Yountville, USA,
- Alvin Leung from Bo Innovation in Hong Kong,
- Klaus Erfort from his eponymous Gästehaus in Saarbrücken, Germany,
- Heiko Nieder from The Restaurant in Zurich, and
- Shaun Rankin from Ormer Mayfair in London.
Like the two previous releases in the series, the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 is a limited edition cigar with a total of 50,000 cigars produced worldwide. The cigars are banded with the special commemorative Davidoff 50th anniversary banding introduced to commemorate the 50th year of the Davidoff White Label brand. The cigar is an ultra-premium offering priced at $30.00 per cigar.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
As mentioned the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 features a different blend than the 2016/2017 editions. One highlight is the use of a Dominican grown wrapper (the previous iterations used an Ecuadorian-grown wrapper). The underlying blend is also completely different featuring a Mexican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
Binder: San Andres Negro
Filer: Dominican (Piloto Visus, Visus, Yamasá Visus, San Vicente Mejorado Ligero) and Nicaraguan (Estelí Visus)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Cigars Davidoff
One thing that is constant with the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 is the size. Like its predecessors, the Chefs Edition 2018 is a 6 x 54 Toro. The cigars are presented in ten-count boxes. As mentioned production was limited to 50,000 cigars (5,000 boxes).
The Dominican wrapper of the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 had a classic roasted coffee bean color to it. Upon closer examination, there was some mottling on the surface. This was a wrapper that did not have much oil on the surface. There were some thin visible veins and minimally visible wrapper seams on the surface.
There are two bands on the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018. As mentioned the primary band uses the commemorative 50th anniversary white band Davidoff is using or 2018. It’s a variation of the Davidoff white label band featuring a white background and gold font. The center of the band contains the 50th anniversary logo where the “0” in the “50” looks almost like a letter “A” (for anniversary) and the scripted “Davidoff” logo below it. A ring of white circles surrounds the logos. The left side of the band contains the text “LIMITED EDITION” and the right side of the band contains the text “GENEVE”.
The secondary band of the Davidoff Chefs Edition rests just below the primary band. It is whit in color with a gold pinstripe near the top and near the bottom. The center of the band has a gold chef’s hat. To the left of the hat is the text “THE CHEFS” in black font while the right is the text “EDITION” – also in black font.
After using a straight cut to remove the cap of the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018, it was time to move on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced a mix of coffee, cedar, and earth notes. While it wasn’t the most revolutionary pre-light draw, it was one that I found to be excellent. At this point, it was time to light up the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 and await what the smoking experience would deliver.
The Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 started out with the coffee, earth, and cedar notes found on the pre-light draw as well as some white pepper. Early on the coffee notes moved into the forefront. There was a definite creamy texture to the coffee notes. Meanwhile, the earth, cedar, and pepper settled into the background. During the first third, there were times the earth and cedar surfaced in the forefront. As for the retro-hale, I detected a mix of cedar and mixed pepper notes.
As the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 moved into the second third, there was an increase in the overall body of the flavors. This lead to the coffee notes becoming richer. Concurrently the pepper notes in the background started to increase in intensity. The pepper remained in the background with the cedar and earth, and there was some fruit sweetness that emerged in the background. On the retro-hale, the pepper notes took on a more prominent role.
Later in the second third, the earth notes joined the coffee in the forefront. The creaminess that was present earlier omniscience’s had now dissipated. By the last third, the pepper notes were knocking on the door of becoming a primary note, but didn’t quite cross the threshold. Meanwhile, there still were notes of cedar and fruit in the background. This is the way the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
From a burn perspective, the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 performed nicely. The cigar did a very good job at maintaining a straight burn path as well as a straight burn line. The resulting ash was skewered toward the firmer side. This was a gray ash with some darker speckling in there. The burn rate and burn temperature were both in the ideal range.
The draw to the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 also performed quite well. This was a draw that had a nice balance of openness and resistance. It was also a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from and produced a nice amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
The 2016 blend of the Davidoff Chefs Edition was one of the bolder Davidoff cigars I have had. In the case of the 2018 edition, this cigar is right up in there as well. In fact, I would give the 2018 edition a slight edge in overall boldness to the 2016.
The Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 started out as a medium strength cigar. The strength level gradually increased and b the second half, the Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 was in medium to full territory. Meanwhile, the body also started out medium, but would spike up to medium to full by the second third. From that point, the body increased at a gradual rate. Toward the end of this cigar, it was approaching full-bodied territory.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained the edge from start to finish.
When the Davidoff Chefs Edition was first released in 2016, there were a couple of things I really liked about the blend. I liked that it was a bolder cigar that cut the mold of what for what Davidoff was known for. At the same time, it was a cigar that excelled in flavor. The Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 doesn’t miss a beat. Once again Davidoff delivers a bolder cigar and a profile different than what Davidoff is known for. Flavor-wise, it’s a very different cigar, but its equally enjoyable.
The Davidoff Chefs Edition 2018 is a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast, but I wouldn’t discourage a novice for trying. At $30.00 per cigar, the Chefs Edition 2018 is not an inexpensive cigar, but it’s one that performs at an ultra-premium level. It’s one for which I’d break the bank to treat myself to a box.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Cedar, Pepper, Fruit
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Third), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Value: Box Worthy
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Brand Reference: Davidoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted