Vitola: Aniversario No. 3 (Toro)
- 6” x 50 ring gauge
- MSRP $26.90
- Purchased at Burns Tobacconist
Davidoff of Geneva has certainly been busy over the last few years. When I first became aware of the brand…probably about 2006 or so…they had the original “White Label” and the Millennium Blend. Not too long later the Puro d’Oro came out and I don’t remember hearing much else for a while. Then the “Discovery” pillar of their product lines was founded with the Nicaragua in 2013, followed by the Escurio in 2015, Nicaragua Box-Press in early 2016 and Yamasá in late 2016. The “Limited Edition” pillar is always active, seeing the annual Chinese Zodiac and Golf releases, as well as the Chefs Edition and Art Edition in the past year. The Winston Churchill was reblended a couple years back, as well, and it got its own LE last year. So it was time for Davidoff to turn attention back to the Core pillar of their lines.
First they rebranded those Core offerings, cutting down the number of sub-lines to Signature, Grand Cru, and Aniversario (from Classic, Mille, Grand Cru, Special, and Aniversario previously). Then they announced a brand-new line that would be using the name of a limited release from several years back: 702.
Davidoff master blenders have taken the challenge to reimagine and reinvent select formats in the Signature and Aniversario series, giving them an exciting twist with the legendary 702 Ecuadorian wrapper, born from the hybrid of three Cuban seeds.
It is said that the filler and binder for the 702 line is the same as used for the other “White Label” releases, which means all Dominican leaf. The real news here is the proprietary “702” Ecuadorian Habano hybrid wrapper leaf.
I was given a Special R size by our local Davidoff representative. I loved it but decided to purchase an Aniversario No. 3 vitola for review purposes.
Packing and banding is what you would expect from Davidoff…in short, elegant, classy and just about perfect. The regular White Label is joined here by a secondary band that has more white and gold denoting the size and “702 Series.” The boxes are fairly simple wood cabinet-style boxes that look fine on display, with their simple elegance, but also aren’t so nice that you don’t want to discard them in favor of the trays that most Davidoff appointed merchants now have (for instance, the “Year of the Rooster” box…it’s so nice, you want to leave it sitting out on display).
The wrapper leaf was a milk chocolate brown in color with a little lighter striation around the veins that were visible. The leaf was semi-oily in the light and gave up some oils to my fingertips when touched. Giving the wrapper a sniff, I picked up on a fairly strong earthiness, along with touches of cedar and hay and natural tobacco. The foot had a more even mix of earth and wood and hay aromas, along with just a hint of evidence of the funk that is practically a Davidoff fingerprint.
I clipped the head with my trusty and well-worn Xikar Xi cutter and got the expected perfect draw…not too loose, not too tight. The cold flavors had hay and cedar over slight musty mushroom notes, and just a touch of spice.
Lighting up the 702 brought tons of grassy, sweet hay notes and a touch of cedar and red pepper. The mushroomy Olor tobacco notes were a slight background note at the very beginning. Retrohaling the smoke brought out more of the musty notes, along with a stronger cedar presence and a sharper pepper. As I progressed through the first third, there was some citrus and a decent amount of sweetness in the mix. Mostly, though, the cigar just put me in a mellow frame of mind with its refined and smooth smoke.
In the second third I got more earth and a fairly big increase in the mushroom note. Cedar flavor receded a bit, as did the pepper. The citrus zing and sweetness continued as a supporting note.
The last third had more of that citrus zing, mixed with pepper, overlaying the mustiness and wood notes. Under it all was a solid earthy core profile.
As with anything Davidoff, construction was perfect…great draw, very even burn line and solid ash that didn’t fall off until it was half an inch or more…and then I had to tap firmly.
Value is difficult to judge with a cigar costing nearly $30. Basically, it’s this: if you feel comfortable paying that much for a regular Davidoff or Millennium Blend, you will find this to be worth the money. I do.
If you like Davidoff’s regular White Label line, but wish for something with more body and character, look no further: the 702 Series has plenty of the traditional Davidoff flavor profile with a medium-to-full body and a good amount of pepper from the Ecuadorian wrapper. The interplay of the Dominican fillers with the hybrid Habano wrapper also creates an alluring sweetness that balances well with the wood and earth notes throughout. It may not be my favorite Davidoff, but it is my favorite one from the regular White Label lineup.