History of Davidoff: Part 1
For more than half a century, the name Davidoff has become synonymous with luxury, class, and quality. They have positioned themselves as one of the premier luxury goods companies in the world, with their products ranging from tobacco to clothing and cologne. The famed Davidoff White label has long been seen as the quintessential premium cigar, due to the companies long-standing commitment to elegance and craftsmanship. Davidoff’s success and fortune are the end result of a long and rich history, which began at the turn of the century. It was born in modern-day Ukraine, which at that point was part of the now-defunct Russian Empire. From this small rural area, this company grew and established itself as a major force in the luxury market.
Founder Zino Davidoff was born in 1906 to a family of tobacco merchants in the city of Kiev. Although his family was of Russian Jewish ancestry, their occupation made them knowledgeable in the ever-growing cigar and cigarette industry. The family moved to Geneva when he was only 5 years old, a city that would go on to influence the young man and become the base for his operations in the future. Zino, wishing to further his families’ fortunes and his own knowledge of the tobacco industry, traveled around South America to learn of its illustrious tobacco market. He spent some time in Argentina and Brazil before finally settling on Cuba, where he became well acquainted with the countries major export, cigar tobacco.
His family had already established a well-known tobacco shop in Switzerland during this time. After leaving Cuba, Zino returned to Geneva but was now an idealistic young professional who began to envision methods to take this small shop and to expand it, carving his family’s name into the annuls of tobacco history. By the early 1930s, Zino had gained control of the shop and began to instill some of the concepts and practices he had gained on his travels, setting the stage for the Davidoff Brand to become a worldwide phenomenon.
History of Davidoff: Part 2
When we last left Zino Davidoff, he had consumed vast amounts of tobacco knowledge in Latin America and was now applying it to his family’s shop in Switzerland. Following the devastation of World War II, Switzerland had remained nearly untouched. It now became the destination for the wealthy tobacco consumers of Europe. The Davidoff store thrived with its new high-end client base, and soon became recognized as a player in the industry.
It was during this time that Zino began selling the luxurious Hoyo de Monterrey Chateaux. This was an exclusive Cuban cigar, named after the ever famous series of Bordeaux wines. Zino’s marketing of this cigar is what made Davidoff a household name for the luxury tobacco consumer. He then began to put his knowledge of tobacco into use. He wrote several books on the subject, which included the now, well-known “Connoisseur’s Book of the Cigar”. In the manual, Zino outlines proper cigar etiquette, which he then marketed to his wealthy customer base.
Zino is often credited with an invention that completely redefined the cigar industry, particularly the retail aspect. He built the first desktop humidor, a device used for storing cigars in the proper temperature and humidity. Cigar consumers were now able to purchase cigars in a more significant amount and store them at home without fear of the cigar drying out. To this day, with the exception of the cutter and lighter, the desktop humidor is the most important cigar accessory and is a mainstay in every tobacconist in the world.
To show what a magnificent innovator Zino was, you must look at this list of accomplishments. These were all done years before the creating of the first Davidoff cigar, much less the Davidoff White label. The line of cigars to which Davidoff has now become famous is, in reality, a footnote in the companies’ history. Zino Davidoff is, in many aspects, responsible for how the cigar retail industry has operated for more than half a century.
History of Davidoff: Part 3
What many modern smokers fail to realize is that long before the creation of the famed Davidoff White Label, Zino had established himself as a driving force in the retail industry, particularly with cigars. With his success at marketing the much sought after Hoyo de Monterrey Chateaux, The Davidoff Shop of Geneva had become the Shangri La for wealthy European cigar smokers. During the late 1960s, the government-owned Cuban cigar company, Cubatabaco, realized the great reputation that had become attached to the Davidoff name. They wanted that name attached to a line of Cuban cigars.
In 1967, production began on an exclusive line of Cuban cigars, particularly for Davidoff stores. They were rolled in the El Laguito factory, where Fidel Castro had established Cohiba, his own personal brand. This is where the first Ever Davidoff cigars rolled off the line, which included the still popular No. 1 and No. 2. The Hoyo de Monterrey Chateaux was now rebranded and sold exclusively under the Davidoff Marque.
The Cuban Davidoff line was a huge success and deemed by some today as some of the finest cigars ever created. They were responsible for one of the best mild cigars ever created in Cuba and became world-renowned for their light taste, amazing flavor profile, and quality. Production of the line increased dramatically in order to keep up with the demand, which is when Zino Davidoff began to voice some of his concerns.
Zino will always be a man who valued quality above all other things. He felt cigars were more than just a consumable commodity. He felt the impact a cigar had on a smoker was profound. He is quoted as saying, “The cigars numbs sorrow and fills the solitary hours with a million gracious images”. It was in this mindset that Zino began to complain about the recent quality of his cigars.
With production at an all-time high during the 1980s, it was difficult to maintain the same quality control that it once had. It was with a heavy heart to many Davidoff smokers, that in 1989, Zino dissolved his relation with Cubatobaco and burned, in public, thousands of cigars that he felt were of sub-par quality. However, it was from the ashes of these great cigars, that the modern-day Davidoff was born.
History of Davidoff: Part 4
In the eyes of Zino Davidoff, his first attempt into cigar manufacturing had been a failure. The quality he demanded on the product that bared his name was apparently too high for the Cuban factory to produce. With the embargo already in effect for almost 30 years at this point, Zino looked to another major cigar nation that had risen from the ashes of the revolution.
In the late 1980s, Davidoff began producing several of their cigars in the Dominican Republic, including their now world-famous Davidoff White label. From this point on, the history of Davidoff would be forever intertwined with this island, as the company is now seen as the premier Dominican cigar.
Even with already established brands such as Arturo Fuente and Altadis, many now believe that the success of the Dominican cigar industry was due to the production of Davidoff. The company today is a leader in tobacco innovation and has crafted some of the finest smoking accessories you can find. They have drastically expanded their product line which now includes such favorites as the Mille series, the Anniversario, and the Millennium.
Now in the 21st century, Davidoff has again begun to reinvent itself and create new products for the ever-changing palate of the consumer. With the creating of the Davidoff Black label, the company has now established a series of fuller-bodied cigars, more in line with what modern-day smokers enjoy. Their first foray into the stronger cigars resulted in the Davidoff Nicaragua. This cigar was one of the biggest hits of the year and has garnered riveting reviews. That was followed up with this year’s Davidoff Escurio, the companies first attempt at using Brazilian tobacco. Again, their new innovation has garnered worldwide acclaim.
The history of Davidoff seems separate from those of other manufacturers. While Cohiba, Montecristo, and Partagas all began in Cuba and followed similar paths, this worldwide sensation began its tale in, of all places, the mountains f Switzerland, where it continues to create the highest quality products for its customers.
Davidoff Buying Guide
When you think of Davidoff, there is one word that will continue to pop into your mind is luxury. For over a century, the Davidoff brand has been seen as one of the finest manufacturers of premium cigars. From the age and quality of the tobacco to the precision and care during the rolling process, to the near-perfect construction and consistency, there is a reason that Davidoff is seen as the pinnacle.
With such luxury and quality comes a slightly bigger price tag, and as a new smoker, this might seem intimidating. It’s tough to convince a new cigar smoker that the price is 100% worth it, especially when you can really only purchase them in boxes. So, we decided to add Davidoff to our ever-expanding buying guide section.
Here we will go through some of the top Davidoff cigars. Our mission here is to inform you of several of the lines and to show you which ones you should try first. We usually omit any limited editions, our goal here is to focus on the core lines, the cigars that act as the foundation of Davidoff.
Davidoff Gran Cru
You cant start talking about Davidoff without first talking about the fabled White Label Series. These were the first Dominican Davidoff’s made and they help set up the legendary reputation. While there are quite a few cigars in the White Label series, it is the Gran Cru that really stands out. This cigar set the standard for all Davidoff’s to follow it. It is the quintessential example of the smooth, mellow, and flavor cigar of the high-end variety.
Hand-rolled with only the finest aged tobacco, the Gran Cru Is crafted with aged Dominican tobaccos for the filler and binder. The cigar is then cloaked in a light brown, Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. Rich coffee notes mix with a dash of vanilla, cedar, and a touch of floral hints. The construction is perfect from start to finish. If you are looking to try out your first Davidoff, this is the one.
Davidoff Millennium Blend Series
This is the cigar that really got me to fall in love with the brand. While today, Davidoff has several medium to full-bodied offerings, the Millennium was their first crack at it. It was a hit and, in my mind, remains one of their most balanced and flavorful offerings. While by today’s standards, the Millennium is a solid medium body, at the time of its release it was one of the stronger Dominican cigars out there.
The rich body of the cigar is due to its use of aged Olor, Piloto, and San Vincente tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, The wrapper is a specially grown dark leaf from Ecuador. It is bursting with hints of dark coffee, pepper, leather, and a smooth slightly creamy finish. This is the Davidoff for those of you who want to experience true flavor and balance.
Davidoff Colorado Claro
This cigar is a great example of Davidoff thinking outside the box. It is also a strange entry in the brand’s portfolio as it seems to fit into three categories: White Label, Black Label, and Limited Release. It has the flavor of a Black Label, the class of a White Label, and the release of something more limited. Whatever brand you want to place it in it is an outstanding cigar with some unique great flavor.
Handcrafted in the DR, the Colorado Claro takes its name from the unique color of its wrapper. This leaf is a special, Sun Grown Connecticut Ecuador wrapper. This wrapper paired with a stunning combination of aged Dominican tobaccos gives it a rich profile. Notes of nuts, earth, floral notes, a dash of pepper, and a touch of tobacco sweetness makes this an incredible cigar that needs more notoriety.
A few years ago, Davidoff began to branch out into more intense, fuller-bodied offerings. They decided to put all of these releases under the same flag, and they became known as the Davidoff Black Label. They started off with the Davidoff Nicaragua to showcase the brilliant tobaccos of that country. The Davidoff Escurio was meant to represent a night in Rio while also using Brazilian tobaccos. Then there is my personal favorite, the Davidoff Yamasa.
This complex, full-bodied gem is named for the region of the Dominican where its signature tobaccos are grown. Yamasa is known for its rich soil, which has a reddish clay hue to it. The result is a very complex smoke with notes of earth, leather, cinnamon, pepper, and some darker espresso notes. This is a great example of the Black Label Series and the future of the Davidoff brand.
Davidoff Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill is the most iconic cigar smoker in history. He was so influential in the industry that there is even a major size named after him, the Churchill. To pay homage to the great war-time leader, Davidoff decided to re-blend and re-launch the Winston Churchill brand. The result is not only one of their finest offerings,
The Winston Churchill is hand-rolled with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. The wrapper is a slightly oily and flawless Ecuadorian Habano. The result of this blend is an exquisite, master class in cigar blending. It is rich and complex, intense yet restrained, flavorful yet subtle. Notes of wood, peanuts, and a dash of sweet spice create what is one of my favorite cigars in the industry.
Davidoff Winston Churchill The Late Hour
In this amazing follow-up to the Winston Churchill, you have the strongest cigar in the Davidoff lineup. Yet for all its strength, it is someone able to maintain that signature Davidoff balance and smoothness. This cigar is not for the faint of heart, but for a true aficionado who can appreciate the flavors, tobaccos, and overall experience.
The cigar is rolled with a wide variety of aged tobaccos. It uses Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, followed by a rich Mexican binder. The finishing touch is a jet black Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. The tobaccos are also aged for an additional year in scotch barrels which enhances its flavor to new heights. Notes of dark chocolate, spice, raisins, and oak combined for a smokey, full-bodied but outstanding experience.