Cigar Review: Davidoff Master Selection 2013

  • MasterSelection2013_straightVitola: Toro
  • 6” x 52 ring gauge 
  • $35.99
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

This cigar was billed as a “Davidoff Unicorn” when we were first told about it by our rep. When I figured out what was coming our way, I realized that was no exaggeration. Every year, Master Blender, Eladio Diaz, creates a special cigar to celebrate his birthday. I have only ever heard of these cigars escaping into the public through charity auctions or as gifts to very special people…so not very often, really. But now Davidoff has embarked on a program to release 6 of Diaz’s birthday blends as “The Master Selection” Series. 3 will be available only through Davidoff flagship stores, the other 3 will be available only through Davidoff Appointed Merchants (independent White Label dealers).

The Master Selection 2013 is also known as the “Eladio Diaz 60th Anniversary” blend. To celebrate his 60th birthday, Diaz used his favorite tobaccos, including a variety of leaf from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Ecuador. Specifically the filler uses Esteli and Condega Visus (both Nicaraguan), as well as Dominican Piloto Visus, Piloto Seco, and San Vicente Mejorado Visus. The binder is Nicaraguan and the wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano.

These cigars come in a simple wooden box of 10 sticks and only 1,250 boxes are being released. Further Master Selection releases will be available for Appointed Merchants in August (2010 blend) and September (2007 blend). Because the shop where I work is an Appointed Merchant, I foresee no problem getting those releases. For the Flagship Store releases, I will have to plan a trip to Atlanta at some point later this year to try to pick up all three at one time (three are currently 7 Davidoff Flagship stores: Atlanta, Houston, Las Vegas, Tampa and 3 in New York City). I bought two of these at Burns Tobacconist when they arrived, smoking one that day and saving the other for this review.

MasterSelection_boxPrelight

Davidoff rarely goes extravagant on packaging and this release is no exception to that rule. The box is a plain wooden one that will attract no special attention. The main band is the regular white and gold one with “Limited Edition” on the left arm. The secondary band differs from those that the company has been producing lately for the revamped White Label lines and store exclusives…it’s plain white with black type and trim…and the printed signature of Eladio Diaz.

The cigar’s wrapper leaf was a milk chocolate brown with clearly visible veins, none of which would be considered too large. The feel under my fingers was very oily and the aroma was very earthy, bordering on manure, with hints of cedar and some kind of sweetness. The foot of the cigar had more earth, but also layers of chocolate, grass and dried fruit aromas.

The cold draw is perfect, as I would expect from this company. The flavor cold had notes of wet earth and cedar, touches of pepper and some other spice I couldn’t quite identify.

MasterSelection_EladioFlavor

At the outset, the Davidoff Master Selection 2013 presents itself as a medium-to-full-bodied cigar with a solid display of Nicaraguan earthiness riding high in the flavor profile from puff number one. Considering that the Dominican leaf used in the filler is mostly Piloto, considered to be among the strongest leaf grown in that country, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the cigar is nothing like the classic Davidoff White Label lines…or even the Millennium Blend or the Winston Churchill. Flavor-wise this cigar is unlike anything else I’ve had from Davidoff. As the first third slowly burned, I got Dominican bread notes as a counterpoint to the Nicaraguan earth, with a little pepper spice and cocoa powder as punctuating notes. The retrohale was smooth and rich and nutty.

The second third saw the cigar turn more mellow with bready notes leading the way and earthiness subdued quite a bit. At some point a sweet citrus—almost orange—worked its way into the mix.

The Master Selection 2013 turned definitively full-bodied before I got into the final third, where the flavor profile turned more earthy again, with the citrus sweetness playing a supporting role while cedar, pepper, and bread notes came and went with each puff.

MasterSelection2013_signtureConstruction

As is expected with anything wearing the Davidoff name, the construction was just perfect.

Value

It’s hard to assign points on value for anything this expensive. If you enjoy it, it’s worth it. I did…and I would buy more…so I’m assigning a full point for value.

Conclusions

Eladio Diaz succeeded with his 60th Anniversary blend in creating a Davidoff-level experience that tastes virtually nothing like any Davidoff I’ve ever had. Particularly missing was the “Davidoff funk” that comes from their proprietary Olor hybrid. The first time I smoked the cigar, I really missed it, but this time around, I focused more on what the cigar did bring to the table and was completely satisfied with the experience. While it’s not something I would consider a daily smoke, it is a fantastic cigar and I will try to pick up a couple more for future special occasions.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9.5/10

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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