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Staff Reviews

Davidoff Aniversario Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Today I’m smoking a Davidoff Aniversario No. 3, a creamy and mild 6-by-50 Toro that’s packaged in an elegant white tube. Davidoff has long been considered the “Rolls-Royce” of cigar brands. Only select “Davidoff-appointed” merchants can carry the brand’s exclusive White Label cigars, and with that exclusivity comes a price. Davidoff cigars are among the most expensive you’ll encounter in retail stores, but the brand prides itself in its consistency and reputation.


Davidoff brand founder Zino Davidoff got his start working in his father’s tobacco shop in Kiev, Ukraine, when it was a part of Russia, in the early 1900s. At 19, Zino ventured to South America, Latin America, and Cuba, learning all he could about the growing, harvesting, and aging of premium tobacco and the manufacture of handmade cigars. Zino’s cigar shop was a tobacco haven for many dignitaries, including Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

For decades, Zino Davidoff held a monopoly over most of the Cuban cigars imported to Europe, and he cleverly named new lines, in the 1940s, after famous French wine, i.e., the Grand Cru and Chateau series, which increased sales and impressed the Cuban manufacturers. By the end of the 1960s, the Cuban government planned to honor Zino by creating a cigar brand under the Davidoff name. The first Davidoff-banded cigars appeared in 1970.

Though Zino sold his company to the Swiss-based Oettinger family, he continued to serve as an ambassador for Davidoff cigars until his passing at 88 in 1994. By the early 1990s, Davidoff production had been moved to the Dominican Republic due to issues with the quality and consistency of Cuban cigars. Davidoff cigars have been handmade in the Dominican Republic for over thirty years, and the Aniversario No. 3 enjoys elite status as one of the brand’s bestsellers.

Davidoff Aniversario No. 3 cigars are available in 10-count boxes without tubes or 20-count boxes of Tubos. The Tubos version costs an extra 70 cents per cigar but splurging on upgraded packaging isn’t a big stretch for most Davidoff smokers who are already parting with more than $28 for one cigar. Value’s not exactly a priority for Davidoff fans. 

When I unsheathe a fresh No. 3 from its shiny white tube, a golden-blond Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is meticulously fitted over a premium interior of well-aged Dominican long-fillers. The cigar’s oval white band is finished in gold lettering that reads “Davidoff” at a diagonal angle. When I hold it below my nose, I detect a delightful aroma of cedar and hay. The cigar exhibits consistent construction from head to foot when I perform a perfunctory pinch test, and there are no noticeable veins or blemishes, which I expect from any cigar in the vicinity of thirty bucks.

After a clean cut to the cap, hints of hay and vanilla bean continue into the cold draw. Air flows through every puff perfectly without the slightest trace of obstruction. Davidoff Aniversario is elegant before it’s lit, and when I hit the foot with a few flashes of my soft-flame lighter, creamy streams of nuts, cedar, and café con leche roll over the palate with an easygoing aftertaste. The ash is mostly firm but flakes off in a few places. Davidoff Aniversario is a cigar I feel more comfortable smoking indoors. It’s too expensive and the profile is too delicate to smoke outside where you have to contend with the wind and weather.

As the second half of the No. 3 unfolds, unusual and notes of mushroom and fennel develop with smoky, nutty, and somewhat musty nuances. When the band comes off and I zero in on the nub, a mellow sequence of almond, vanilla, fresh alfalfa, and coffee bean convenes over an even foundation of cedar with a touch of spice in the background. The finish is nutty, creamy, and easy to savor but doesn’t linger much when the cigar is done.

Davidoff scores 90 points for flavor and construction, but the price is a tough pill to swallow when compared to other top-shelf Dominican classics like Ashton Cabinet and Arturo Fuente Hemingway for significantly less, so I’m knocking the final tally back to 87. Even Padron 1964 Anniversary is more than ten dollars cheaper in a comparably sized Toro called the Imperial. Nonetheless, if you want a cigar with the relaxed taste and high-end reputation of Davidoff Aniversario, I guess there’s nothing wrong with craving caviar on occasion – as long as you’re not whining when the bill comes. 


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