Many companies claim to have a philosophy to live and work by. They spout it like gospel in commercials and splash it across countless advertisements. And in the end, their philosophies are meaningless - a simple marketing tool. But I’ve come to the conclusion that high-end cigar brand Davidoff is different. Davidoff Cigars claims to subscribe to the philosophy of “The Good Life”: that living well is an art. They market their products, especially their cigars, to those “looking to take time to experience all the nuances of pleasure” that life offers. Sure, I know that it’s just a marketing tool... but they have a good point. After all, it sounds a bit like the experience of smoking a good cigar, doesn’t it?
The History of Davidoff Cigars
Today, Davidoff essentially represents “the affluent man” (and “The Good Life”) with their colognes, cognacs, luggage, and a bunch of other items. But the company’s first and most important product is the all-famous cigar. The Davidoff family has produced luxury-quality cigars for more than 100 years, and many (including me) consider some of their cigars to be near-perfect; there aren’t many brands to rival the quality, aroma, and character of a Davidoff cigar.
Though the well-known name behind Davidoff cigars is that of Zino Davidoff, the Davidoff family earned a name for mixing fine Oriental tobaccos well before Zino was born in Russia in 1906. When Zino Davidoff was too young even to mix tobacco, much less smoke it, the Davidoff family fled to Geneva. There, they opened up their first tobacco shop, where communist leader Vladimir Lenin was a regular customer. The business thrived… but it was nothing compared to what Zino Davidoff would do decades later.
Zino’s dedication to the family business was unusually intense - no running off to be a stage performer for this kid. At the age of 19, Zino traveled to South America, where he devoted himself to studying the cultivation of tobacco. When he came home, Zino Davidoff brought his knowledge to the family business, inventing new storage methods and trying new blends. He hit upon true success with his Château and Grand Crus lines of cigars in 1947, and the name of Davidoff became a symbol of pleasure and affluence - especially in France, where they were (and still are) particularly snooty about symbols of affluence.
From then on, Davidoff cigars had plenty of ups and downs. A relationship with a Cuban company revolutionized Davidoff in the 1970’s but ended in 1991, when Davidoff moved their operations to the Dominican Republic. Quality problems arose and were quickly solved. And while Davidoff produced both extraordinary and ordinary cigars throughout their trials, their dedication to quality helped to bring the Dominican Republic into the recognized forefront of tobacco production. Now even the most avid Cuban-smokers must admit that great tobacco doesn’t have to come from Cuba.
Davidoff Cigars & Cigarillos
The Cuban Davidoff cigars of the 1970’s and 1980’s were truly a thing of beauty, and they will always be missed by those who tried them. Unfortunately, they are also impossible to recreate. So after moving operations to the Dominican Republic, Davidoff made the wise choice to revolutionize the Dominican cigar instead - to make it the Cuban’s equal, not its twin. And many smokers (though not all - you die-hard Cuban fans know who you are) believe they succeeded.
Today, Davidoff sells a nice range of Dominican tobacco products. And while some are amazing and others only above-average, all of their tobacco products are made under the strictest of standards. They use centuries-old techniques and (according to the fancy packaging) the choicest of individual tobacco leaves, which are aged during four years. It seems like all this work pays off… it’s a wonderfully rich and smooth tobacco.
Davidoff’s most famous and desirable item is, of course, the almighty Davidoff cigar. And they really are gorgeous cigars - almost as sexy to behold as they are to smoke, with their fine wrappers and white logo-embossed bands. But of course a great cigar isn’t about looks; it’s about body and aroma.
For those who like an intensely flavored, full-bodied cigar, the Grand Cru line (using Zino’s original shapes from 1947) is one of the best choices, and is still one of Davidoff’s most popular cigars. Another rich tobacco blend, the Millenium Blend, is full and mature - the cigar of choice for serious Dominican-smokers. If you’re looking for a milder cigar, Davidoff’s Classic Series cigars (including the Ambassadrice) are really quite delicate and mild; while the Thousand Series cigars (or “Mille”) are almost as mild but better balanced. Davidoff also sells a good selection of cigarillos, such as the ultra-mild Mini Cigarillos Silver and the premium cigar-quality Exquisito Cigarillo.
Many dedicated smokers of Dominican cigars are in love with Davidoff’s Dominicans. After all, this company is one of the premier cigar brands in the world for a reason, and some of the most discriminating smokers in the world find a Davidoff unbeatable in quality and character. And while I have my own personal favorites among other manufacturers, I’m going through a sort of love affair with the Davidoff Grand Cru cigar. It’s a distinguished cigar for… well, for someone who likes to think of himself as a distinguished smoker.