Cigar Review – New Davidoff 702 Series 2000 Corona

DavidoffOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Coronas
Size : 129 mm (5 1/16″) x 17.06 mm
Ring Gauge : 42
Origin : Dominican Republic
Price : ~€ 14.90 / $ 17.70 each

Draw : Rating: ★★★★☆☆
Burn : Rating: ★★★★★☆
Flavour : Rating: ★★★★☆☆
Aroma : Rating: ★★★★★☆
strength : Rating: ★★★★☆☆

A new cigar from Davidoff, the 702 Series Signature 2000 Corona is a fascinating, richer-flavoured transformation of Davidoff’s best-selling cigar, giving some unique experiences of roasted coffee, nuts & cocoa with its unique trio-Cuban-seed 702 Ecuadorian wrapper. Not without flaws – a touch of leatheriness at beginning & end – but a very rewarding Cuban-style smoking experience with flavouring all its own, an exciting, if pricey, alternative from Davidoff.

Amidst Davidoff’s revamping of its cigar lines, a bold new range in their core offerings, is via re-making a number of their existing cigars with Davidoff’s proprietary 702 wrapper from a hybrid of three Cuban seeds grown in Ecuador. It’s said that the wrapper can be 40% of a cigar’s flavour, so these are really new cigars.

The 702 wrapper has been used to good acclaim in some previous Davidoff cigars, most notably in their 2009 Selección 702 series. The current 702 line is not a re-issue of the 2009 blend, but rather a re-vamp of 7 existing cigars, 5 from the medium-strong Aniversario Line, and 2 milder sticks from what Davidoff now calls the Signature line, the 2000 Corona (formerly the Mille 2000), Davidoff’s best-selling cigar globally, and the Signature No 2 (formerly the Classic No 2). With their dark tobacco wrappers accented by Davidoff’s gold-and-white bands, the 702 Series substitutes nicely for Davidoff’s now-cancelled Maduro line.

The 702 Series 2000 here, is a bold foray into making Davidoff’s much-loved mild subtle Corona, into a stick with a sharper flavour profile as well as the currently-fashionable dark-cigar appearance. Shades of the 2000 can vary a bit, this was one of the darker ones from the box.

Indeed what strikes you immediately about the 702 Corona, is its dark-to-chocolate-black wrapper, quite the opposite of the lovely yellow-golden wrappers one sometimes finds, e.g., on a Davidoff Grand Cru. For someone like myself partial to dark-shade Bahia Brazil cigar wrappers, it was irresistible to pick up this dramatic dark cigar. The wrapper here is not ‘perfect’, a bit of vein, and a bit more 3-D texture than usual in a Davidoff, plus a little colour at the foot at the factory cut. But it’s good-looking nonetheless.

A bit oily to the touch, with just-right texture, the 702 Series 2000 has an inviting aroma. It is catalogued as 1/16th of an inch longer than the 2000, same length as the Cuban Mareva, tho in Davidoff’s 43 ring gauge. The stick here was completely precise in length, not a bit short as Cubans tend to be.

The oiliness is apparent upon putting the cigar to the lips and throughout much of the smoke, not unpleasant but a bit different. Pre-draw is mostly appealing, with coffee, cocoa & a bit of spice that I didn’t sense so strongly after lighting, along with a bit of leather. Directly after lighting, the first few minutes were a bit of a let-down, as the dominant sense was one of leather which I don’t care for, rather like a Cuban Rafael González. But in a few minutes that faded, and the glories of this cigar began.

Most of the end of the 1st third, and the middle part of the cigar, were given to a wonderful sense of roasted coffee, roasted nuts, and some cocoa. At moments the ‘roasted’ sense was on the verge of being harsh but never quite got there. The middle third was particularly terrific as the cigar settled down, with the roasted – toasted sense continuing, there being some wonderful super bursts of flavour, plus a few of those moments that led me to smile involuntarily, with the thought, ‘This is pure Cuban!’ – The 702 wrapper clearly is something very special that Davidoff has developed.

At times I did have a sense of the ‘hybrid’ nature of the cigar, the feeling of an exotic wrapper grafted onto the Dominican tobaccos inside the stick. I wondered what the 702 Series 2000 might taste like after a year or so of humidor time, after the tobaccos had a little more time to mellow & blend.

In the final third of the cigar, the ‘roasted’ aspect of the flavours faded, leaving more of a basic nuts, coffee & cocoa flavour, but unfortunately alternating along with some return of the leatheriness I had tasted in the first few minutes.

Draw was not the usually super-easy Davidoff draw, but certainly made no problems. Cigar burn was nice and leisurely, if slightly uneven. Ash held well, about 2.5cm – an inch or so, before dropping off, the largely white ash a striking contrast to this dark cigar. Davidoff rates this cigar as having the same mildness as the Signature 2000 on which it is based, but I think the wrapper transforms this into something stronger, more in the medium-strength range.

At the Davidoff shop, the 702 Series 2000 is over 20% higher in price than its sister Signature 2000, and indeed it’s not a cheap stick. For me, tho, it’s a bit thrilling as it offers some of those Brazil-wrapper-type rich flavours, with a truly Cuban quality of smoke experience, a combination distinctive enough I don’t wish to argue the price. The displeasing leather notes at the beginning and tail end, are my bit of complaint here, but I credit Davidoff a good deal for creating a special smoking experience with this great-looking cigar.