Cigar Review: Chefs Edition 2018 by Davidoff

  • Chefs_straightVitola: Toro
  • 6” x 52 ring gauge 
  • ~$31
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

In 2016, Davidoff brought together several of the world’s most renowned chefs and challenged them to make a cigar that would enhance a great meal. That original Chefs Edition (released in 2016 and 2017) was a spectacular tour-de-force that truly changed how I felt about Davidoff’s high-end Limited Editions, and truly all cigars that cost $30 or more apiece. It signified to me what a cigar of that price range could be…what it should be.

For the 50th Anniversary of the brand in 2018, they got a new batch of five chefs together to create a new Chefs Edition:

In Davidoff’s search for discovery of exciting new taste experiences, we brought together five of the most innovative chefs from around the world to collaborate with our Master Blenders to make something special.

They already shared many beliefs: The importance of the ingredients. The perfection of the preparation. The courage to explore. The satisfaction in the enjoyment of the outcome.

The result of the pioneering Chefs with our Master Blenders, like their recipes, is a revelation. Perfect for after dinner or to match the most complex dish, the ingredients are balanced in a way only the best chefs could imagine.

The new Chefs uses Piloto Visus (Dominican Republic), Yamasa Visus (DR), San Vicente Mejorado Ligero (DR) and Esteli Visus (Nicaragua) fillers; a Mexican Negro San Andres binder; and a Dominican wrapper leaf. (By way of comparison, the original used several Dominican fillers, a “Connecticut” binder, and a Habano 2000 wrapper.)

I had one of these just after they arrived at Burns, where I work. I got this second one for this review. If you don’t have a Davidoff retailer near you, you can order them on Leaf Enthusiast sponsor, Small Batch Cigar.

Chefs_boxPrelight

This one is a combination of elements…first the 50th Anniversary main band…then a repeat of the secondary band from the first Chefs Edition. The 50th Anniversary band is how you will distinguish it from the original blend. As with everything Davidoff, it is simple elegance…refined and rich without having to apologize or brag.

The wrapper leaf was a medium brown with a touch of red as it reflected the light…almost a cinnamon color, overall. It was nicely oily to the touch, though it didn’t look very oily at first glance. The aroma from the wrapper was leathery and barnyardy, with a touch of woodiness. The foot of the stick was a richer earthiness with touches of cocoa powder and coffee.

The cut draw was excellent, tasting of cedar, licorice, and hay.

Flavor

The Chefs Edition 2018 started off with a blast of dry cedar and red pepper spice. Grassy hay notes followed, mixed with a fair amount of Nicaraguan earthiness. After a few puffs, there was a little citrus sweetness mixed in, as well as a more bitter lemon rind note. Further along in the first third I got cinnamon and more citrus sweetness, while the bitterness faded away. The cedar notes held up fairly steady, but the pepper ebbed a bit as the third burned slowly along.

The second third had the introduction of salty, savory notes as a counterbalance to the sweetness. The wood notes fell to the background and a little more earth crept in. Pepper spice was just a punctuating note every now and then.

In the last third, I got notes of hazelnut and some spice that was hard to define—not pepper and not baking. There was a minor resurgence of cedar and red pepper, as well.

Construction

The draw was immaculate, the burn line was very even and the ash held on for up to an inch at a time.

Value

As with the first Chefs Edition, this is definitely worth the money as an occasional celebratory cigar. 

Chefs_angleConclusions

The Chefs Edition from 2016 was a hard act to follow; if anything, this 2018 version is even better than the original. It displays a complexity and fullness of flavor that I’ve rarely found, highlighting the expertise of the chefs involved as well as that of Davidoff’s blenders. This is truly an incredible cigar that you should seek out and spend the extra money on.

As a side note, this is 3 years in a row that my first review of the year is a cigar that scores a “Perfect 10” and is eligible for Cigar of the Year. In 2017, Drew Estate’s Liga Privada #9 Box Press (a Corona Cigar Company exclusive) was a runner-up for COTY. In 2018, Foundation’s Highclere Castle ended up winning my COTY nod. I guess 3 years is enough to call it “tradition.”

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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