Davidoff No. 1 (Cuban)

Davidoff No. 1 (Cuban)

DavidoffOrigin : Cuba
Format : Laguito No. 1 (Long Panatela, also known as Lancero); 38 x 192 (7-½")
Box date : December 1985 (NIUL)
Hand-Made
Price : To the extent they can be found, a Davidoff No. 1 will run around $100 per cigar. Note: Be cautious, there are numerous counterfeit Davidoff No. 1s claimed to be on the market. I’ve heard to be weary of the Davidoff band being “too white” to have had 30+ years of age.

Background

The Davidoff No.1 was part of the original line of Davidoff cigars introduced in 1969. Beginning in the mid 1980s, quality control became a concern to Davidoff. In 1987, Zino Davidoff condemned Cuban craftsmanship on French television. The rift between Zino and Cubatabaco escalated to the point where, in 1989, Zino publicly burned 130,000 of the Cuban-made Davidoff cigars that he had deemed of low quality and unfit to sell. Officially, the Cuban Davidoff line was discontinued in 1991.

Hecho en Cuba

This box was acquired new by my father, an infrequent cigar smoker, in the late 1980s. He died about ten years later and, in remembrance, I have taken to smoking one of these (or one of a small handful of other cigars that were his) on the anniversary of his passing. I think it has been three years since I last smoked one of these. This year I was out of town on that date, so I am smoking this a bit late. Obviously, this cigar has great significance for me, but I have no problem disassociating an objective review from a subjective occasion.

Appearance : ★★★★½
A darker shade of Claro, flat sheen, a few visible but not prominent veins. One dull green water spot is the only apparent flaw. Years of movement have flattened the pigtail to an unremarkable little knob, but the wrapper remains well intact. Upon cutting and dry puffing, a few flakes of the very thin wrapper peel off in my mouth. All the cigars in this box have shrunk in girth and the bands loosely slide off. Extremely white, dense ash.

Davidoff No. 1 from Cuba

Construction : ★★★★★ (4.75)
Surprisingly firm pre-light draw, but perfect once lit. Excellent volume of smoke. Burn was razor sharp due to the thin wrapper. Required no touch-up. At first it smoked very quickly, but about halfway in the draw became a little resistant. Smoking time was a little under an hour and a half which is fairly quick considering my attempt to savor it. Perhaps the loss of oils simply made it burn quicker.

Davidoff No. 1 (Cuban)

Flavor : ★★★☆☆
Mild and past its peak, the cigar is simply (and pleasantly) old. Sweet, light tobacco. I’ve smoked numerous vintage cigars from the 1960s, 70s and 80s and most have unique characteristics even after they’ve peaks, but this is one of the cleanest tastes I’ve encountered. I have to really focus to define the flavors: mild hint of cedar, milk (far too light to be described as cream), perhaps a touch of grass, must, maybe vanilla… It all comes together to be a remarkably smooth cigar. It requires a significantly deep pull to get any depth of flavor; casual puffs reveal only mildness. The finish is too short – almost nonexistent. A few inches in, I detect green tea and a bit of leather. Some of the sweetness is gone. I poured a tiny glass of Macallan 18 to see if pairing would produce any new insights. It does not; this cigar can’t handle being paired with anything stronger than water. At the halfway point, the flavors are unchanged. There are no bad flavors here, but nothing that makes you want a box of these either.

Davidoff No. 1 from Cuba

Overall Rating : ★★★½☆
Consensus opinion is that these have passed their peak and I would have to agree, though not as vehemently. I’ve read reviews that range from good to horrible. One reviewer described the flavors he noted as “sour leather” and “burnt cardboard”; whereas Charlie from Halfwheel stated, “one of the most offensive flavor profiles I have ever found in a cigar”. While I would be more than disappointed if I paid market price for the Davidoff No. 1, by no means is this a bad experience. Truly, this is one of the smoothest cigars I’ve ever had. It takes a diversity of experiences to allow one to appreciate the art of this indulgence, and I am better for having smoked this Davidoff. If you’ve been saving a Davidoff No. 1 for a special occasion, lower your expectations. This cigar would be best enjoyed in a cigar puff puff pass where the experience could be shared with good friends.

One last comment – I’ve had other Davidoff vitolas which I do not recall perceiving as past their peak, so don’t presume all Davidoffs will have the same taste results.

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4 Comments on “Davidoff No. 1 (Cuban)”

  1. Purchased 4 at a reputable auction and tried one when they arrived 4 or so years ago. Frankly, there was nothing special about it and for $90 each I expected the ‘wow’ factor. Age did this cigar little and, as I recall, experienced a basic earthy tone which remained throughout the cigar. Ive not smoked another mainly because they are collector cigars. If given the opportunity I would not have purchased these,

  2. Toanz (via r/cigars) says:

    I was very surprised when I found out a couple months ago that Davidoff’s used to be Cuban sticks. I had thought that, since they’re still making them for consumption stateside, that perhaps it was a General Cigar-esque situation where lines are made for Cubans and everybody else and then different ones are made for America. I didn’t realize that Cuban Davidoffs have been discontinued that long.

    Great review! Even if it was a bit underwhelming, I bet it was cool to smoke a cigar that old just because it was so old.

  3. Actually Toanz- I felt a little guilty becuase once smoked its gone forever.

  4. samschica says:

    …purchased these a long time ago in a duty free…lit one up last summer, figuring they did no good sitting in the box…similar experience re burn, ash and construction except I perceived the aroma as floral…look, I’m not what I used to be thirty years ago, but just like Dav#1, we”re special and won’t be replaced any time soon !!!

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