Cigar Review: Winston Churchill Late Hour by Davidoff

  • LateHour_straightVitola: Churchill
  • 7” x 48 ring gauge
  • MSRP $19.10
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

I truly did not believe the “barrel-aged” cigar trend would last. There were a couple early entries that were quite nice and a couple that were horrid, but I figured that as with most other trends in the industry, it would die out soon enough. I stand corrected. The barrel-aging of cigar tobacco has gone on long enough as to spread to one of the most traditional brands in the world: Davidoff.

Several years back Davidoff re-introduced the Winston Churchill line. The original blend was enjoyed by many people, but sales had dropped off and the company thought that more than just a mere re-branding was in order. They re-blended the cigar entirely, taking a mild Davidoff-esque cigar off the market and replacing it with a medium-plus bodied blend of four countries’ tobaccos, with just a hint of Davidoff flavor, but a wealth of the company’s renowned refinement and style. Now they have added a new blend to celebrate another aspect of the great statesman:

Sir Winston Churchill was not a man to follow convention. When most people were thinking of their beds, he was thinking how best to run a country or to command an allied advance. His powers of creativity did not dim when the street lamps did. For Sir Winston was a man who found the night a source of inspiration and industry. The dark was where he found his spark. And now Davidoff is celebrating this legendary facet of his character with a special cigar. 

The Winston Churchill The Late Hour is to be enjoyed when the end of the evening is just the start of something more, when thoughts and discussions weave interesting paths into the night. The cigar itself is worthy of being the subject of such conversations. It too has its own unique story. It is blended with tobacco aged in finest Scotch single malt whisky casks. This suffuses the cigar with a unique complexity, depth and the most heady of flavors, creating its own atmosphere, stimulating your palate and the conversation at the same time. 

The Winston Churchill Late Hour is comprised Nicaraguan Esteli and Condega Visus fillers (the Condega being aged in used single-malt Scotch barrels for 6 months), along with additional fillers from the Dominican Republic: San Vicente Mejorado Visus, Piloto Cubano Seco and Olor Visus. The binder is a Mexican Negro San Andrés, and the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano Marron Oscuro.

I was given a Toro by the brand rep in this area and that was my first exposure to this new blend. When they actually shipped to the store, I purchased a couple in the Churchill vitola, the second of which is this review stick.

LateHour_boxPrelight

The Late Hour box and band seem to take on the same aspects of the Discovery Series, in that the “white label” has been replaced by a black label with gold foil. It achieves much the same affect, as well…instantly recognizable and imminently classy, while signaling something entirely new and different.

The wrapper was a milk chocolate brown color with visible veins, but not much in the way of veins that made much impression beyond the surface. The visible build quality is what you would expect from Davidoff…the absolute best in the world. Bringing the cigar to my nose, I got notes of cedar, earth and something sweet on the wrapper, while the foot had more of a dank earthiness and a mix of cedar and oak. Could I detect the Scotch in the mix here? Not really, but the oakiness did signal that something was very different.

The cold draw was excellent and had flavors of wood and hay…and a touch of that Scotch in whose barrels the leaf was aged. I’m not a Scotch drinker, in general, but I like the slight whiskey note imparted from the very first here.

Flavor

Lighting up the Winston Churchill The Late Hour was practically effortless and soon I was puffing away. It began with notes of grass and light char on the palate, with a light earthiness and pepper spice coming in behind that. The malted whisky note really showed up to great effect on the retrohale, along with a touch more pepper. By the time I got around an inch into the first third, the Scotch notes of malted barley were coming through fairly clearly on the palate…almost a rich syrupy quality, slightly sweet, slightly sour, completely delicious. These notes got stronger as the first third started to burn into the second and the smoke was oily and thick, on the bottom end of the full spectrum.

The second third featured more whisky and less pepper, along with the introduction of a citrus note that blended well with the grassy and earthy undertones. The cigar continued to be rich and full and satisfying.

As I headed toward the finish line, there was more wood, both cedar and oak, while the Scotch notes toned down a bit. There was still ample citrus flavor with attendant notes of sweet and sour.

LateHour_art

image courtesy Davidoff

Construction

As is to be expected from Davidoff, the construction is world-class.

Value

The price is not out of line with other Davidoff offerings, and since it gave such a great experience, I would say it’s worth it…though it will never be an everyday cigar for me.

LateHour_bandConclusions

The Late Hour version the Davidoff Winston Churchill is definitely a worthy follow up to the original, offering up a complex blend of earth, wood, citrus, and the Scotch barrels that some of the leaf was aged in. While I’m not generally a fan of Scotch or of flavored cigars, the flavoring on this stick was subtle and complementary, not overwhelming or blatant. This is a great cigar that I hope to enjoy for years to come…and it’s 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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