Cigar Review: Davidoff Exclusive Series Tampa

Background

Several years ago I was talking to our Davidoff rep, Garrett Calhoun, and he told me about the plans to build a new headquarters for Davidoff of Geneva USA. They would locate the new building in Pinellas Park, Florida, just across the bay from Tampa, and it would be welcoming to visitors with a tour of the facility and cigar lounge on-site. At least, that’s the story I remember…plans changed and instead they opened up the Davidoff of Geneva 1911 flagship store in Tampa, a sister store to Corona Cigar Company in Orlando—both stores are under the same ownership.

The Tampa Davidoff store got its own exclusive cigar blend in 2015, a mild and creamy belicoso—and you can still get those—but in 2017 it was joined by a new member of the Exclusive Series. The way I understand it is this: each flagship store and any Appointed Merchant celebrating a significant anniversary is invited to select a blend for their own Exclusive Series cigar…but the selection is somewhat limited. All the Exclusive Series are 6 x 50 Toros and all use the same Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, Mexican San Andres Negro binder, and Ecuador Habano wrapper. I read somewhere (though I could not find it to link to, so you may consider this apocryphal) that there are actually only 6 different tweaks to the filler ratios in this cigar series, so really only 6 different exclusives to choose from…and some stores may be choosing the same blends. It would seem to me that all are fairly similar in overall flavor profile.

I purchased a box of 10 Davidoff Tampa Exclusive Series…some to give out and use to pay back for trades I had made and some to keep for myself. I am basing this review on the second one I smoked.

DavTampa_bandPrelight

The bands are not “special”…it’s a Davidoff white label band with a secondary band under it that says “TAMPA.” Still, it adheres to the company ethic of simple, elegant luxury and I’ll never argue with the look. The box of each Exclusive Series has a simple drawing of the skyline of the city where the cigar is destined to hail from. Personally, I think this is really cool and would be fun to collect…though buying a box of each would get tremendously expensive.

The wrapper leaf was an even milk chocolate brown in color with a slight bit of raspy toothiness when you look really closely. It reminded me very much of the newer Millennium Blend wrappers—while that blend has always used Ecuadorian Habano, it seems like the newer batches are noticeably darker than the older ones. The wrapper had a mix of earth and wood notes, while the foot was richer in earthiness, with only touches of wood, sweet hay and coffee in the mix.

The cold draw was great and had flavor notes of molasses and grass, earth and mushroomy Davidoff funk.

DavTampa_bandbackFlavor

The Tampa 2017 Exclusive Series fired up with a delicious mix of cedar and earth, lighted salted nuts and sweet hay, a touch of white pepper and a hint of the traditional Davidoff funk. The retrohale enhanced the nuttiness and increased the pepper just a bit, but this cigar just has a wonderfully complex profile and great balance right off the bat. Toward the end of the first third, the saltiness increased and I picked up on a bit of a cinnamon note. Body started off at a straight medium, but increased to a medium-to-full range by the time I started burning into the second third.

The second third continued with the nutty and salty flavors up front, with the earth and cedar being subdued quite a bit. Pepper tapered off, but the mushroom and bread notes of Dominican leaf were quite prevalent.

The last third of the Davidoff Exclusive Series Tampa saw earthy and bready notes intermingling to great effect with the mushroom notes fading a bit and cedar playing a minor background role.

DavTampa_boxConstruction

It’s a Davidoff…construction was pretty much perfect, just needing a couple minor touch-ups.

Value

The price tag is high and there’s no getting around that. However, it is about $10 less than a Davidoff Chef’s Edition and provides an experience that pretty much equals that cigar, if not exceeds it…so I think it’s worth the money.

Conclusions

The Davidoff Exclusive Series Tampa is truly one of the finest blends I’ve ever had from Davidoff. One friend said it was better than the Chef’s Edition. I’m not ready to say that quite yet, but I am willing to experiment more with both to determine a winner. This cigar had a fantastic complexity, with a medium-to-full body and creamy, thick smoke. It is among the best that Davidoff has produced at any price. If you are a Davidoff fan, you have to get your hands on these…or at least one of the Exclusive Series, since they are all very similar. As it is, this is the second cigar from Corona Cigar Company that has scored a “Perfect 10” for me this year and is in the running for my Cigar of the Year.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 10/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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