In 2012, Davidoff announced the launch of the Davidoff Art Initiative, a project designed to celebrate the contemporary artistic community of the Dominican Republic, as well as the greater Caribbean region. The Davidoff Initiative aims to assist great artists in the region by showcasing their work to the rest of the world, helping artists gain entry to artist residency programs, as well as financial support. The project hopes to make a lasting impression on the culture of contemporary Dominican art. While this might be seen as an ambitious effort, Davidoff has continuously displayed the value it places in artistic merit, and aesthetics as a whole, more or less since the inception of the brand. The company has always aimed to appeal to the type of individual who seeks to take moments in life to pause and appreciate the finer things. In that sense, the concept of the Davidoff Art Initiative doesn’t seem all that out of character.
One of the ways in which the Davidoff Art Initiative seeks to highlight individual artists is through the launch of limited edition cigars, dubbed “Davidoff Limited Art Edition”, followed by the year. The Davidoff Limited Art Editions will feature a new artist each year, showcasing their work on the packaging as well as the banding. This year is the first release, and features the work of Dominican artist Quisqueya Henríquez. The Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 boxes features two different color schemes, with a combined total of 60,000 cigars produced, which breaks down theoretically to 3,000 10 count boxes of each color variation.
Cigar: Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014
Size: 5 15/16 x 54
Filler: Piloto Viso, San Vicente Mejorado Seco, Piloto Mejorado Seco, San Vicente, Mejorado Viso, Vicente Mejorado Viso
Price: $35.00 per cigar, $350.00 box of 10
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
The Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 is one of the most supremely crafted perfectos I have ever seen, and argue may be on of the most beautiful ever made. The wrapper is essentially the exact color of milk chocolate. Silky smooth top to bottom, with the exception of a single vein that runs from top to bottom on this particular cigar being used. Oily to the touch, but not to such an extent that it leaves residue on your fingertips. There is some tooth present, but it appears near microscopic.
Aromatically, powdered chocolate is picked up easily, followed quickly by a slap in the face of sharp fruit, most similar to blueberry. Softer notes are mostly grass, soil, and barnyard notes. There does seem to be something in the way of faint cedar, but not enough that it’s something that would be mentioned immediately.
Some very interesting aspects to start off with. First and foremost, the body is surprisingly potent. The flavors present are bold and dominant, but also silky smooth, and perfectly balanced. One expects the latter half off of those characteristics from Davidoff, but the immediacy in which this cigar grabs the attention of the smoker is certainly a bit different. Off the bat, the Davidoff Limited Art Edition has some strong notes of wet fresh-cut grass, with might be described as a bit of soft lemon tied in with it. Along with that there is quite a bit of tangy cedar and leather, mixed in with floral notes of hay, oak, and a pinch of cinnamon. Overall, the profile is fairly creamy, and the body has a tangibly oily feel to it. A bit further in and something a bit more akin to a damp nutmeg has emerged, and is most easily detected through the nose. Which brings up an important point; this cigar really comes to life in the retrohale.
The blend is on the Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 is stunningly complex, as is the balance. Into the second third we see countless changes and accentuation, but most notably is the growth in complexity in regards to the sweet notes. Up front, there’s creamy notes of lemongrass and honey, and towards the finish vibrant notes of tea leaves, sugar, and more honey emerge. Very light soil notes stick through to the finish, as well as damp oak and leather. Strength is at a solid medium, and has been since the start. While not consistent, worth noting is a spattering of mild black pepper that has popped up every now and again. As the Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 continues to evolve, more tangy cedar begins to reemerge, albeit with a slight bit more acidity than earlier on. The retrohale actually carries a bit more intensity than initially expected, and has pretty potent presence of cinnamon and pepper.
Keeping to its pace of continues evolution, the Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 shifts its emphasis away from displays of vibrant sweetness over to its earthy barnyard characteristics. Interestingly enough, the final third is the first time any trace of the distinctive Davidoff musk has been picked up, emerging first through a retrohale before translating into being detectable orally. A wide variety of wood notes, comprised mainly by sharper cedar notes blended with cinnamon, as well damp oak notes, make up most of the mid-range flavors. Rounding out the bottom is mainly some fairly straightforward wet soil, as well as increasingly floral barnyard notes. The musky characteristics are really starting to come to fruition, and combined with the overall creaminess of the profile, is able to saturate itself deeply into your taste buds, making for a creamy and earthy finish.
Burn and Construction:
This is going to be fairly straight-forward. If I had to describe this category in a word, it would be “perfect”. Construction is top-notch, and the roll is near perfect on every cigar. This translates to a draw that is as close to ideal as one can reasonably expect. Most interestingly, this is the only cigar in recent memory that I have smoked from start to finish that required zero touch-ups. The burn became wee-bit wobbly a few times, but self-corrected quickly.
The Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 is probably one of the most unusual and dynamic releases from the company in recent years, alongside last years Davidoff Nicaragua. At the risk of using such flowery language; the profile of this cigar is flat-out daring. There are layers upon layers of complexity to digest, and just when you reach a point of understanding, the Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 moves on to perform another round of extremely well-executed shifts and evolution’s in its profile, all while keeping its composure and maintaining its balance. Arguably most interesting about this cigar, at least in my opinion, is the fact that this cigar doesn’t reinvent the wheel. No one particular flavor can be described as being entirely exclusive to this cigar. Where the Davidoff Limited Art Edition 2014 stands out most is the way in which it has taken a vast host of complex characteristics, refined them, and presented them in way that has flat-out never been done before. It elicits a reaction similar to witnessing the inversion of a familiar sight, inciting the smoker with awe, and leaving a deep appreciation for the breadth of creativity and the level of talent required to pull off such a thing.
All in all, this a fantastic cigar, and is more than “just another Davidoff” (though it would be hard to complain if it were). It makes great strides to differentiate itself from the rest of their line-up, and arguably anything else on the market. While I recognize and appreciate the pairing of two different artistic mediums that the Davidoff Art Initiative has sought to create, I would like to see this blend come to market without all of the artwork. While absolutely gorgeous, there is no avoiding the fact that the Art Edition boxes and packaging do play a large part in driving up the cost.
4.75 out of 5