We all remember the days of the cigar boom. Mediocre cigars with astronomical prices from fly-by-night companies packed the shelves of retailers across the country. Thankfully, those days are gone, and we’re fortunate enough to have countless options of premium cigars to choose from when we walk into our favorite tobacconist. Cigar smokers are now more educated and sophisticated than ever before, challenging manufacturers to be creative with their blending techniques in order to deliver unique products that meet the demands of today’s discerning consumer.
It is not uncommon to see cigars now that look like barber poles or baseball bats or that have ridiculous ring gauges—any design to make them stand out. Unfortunately, a gimmick can never compensate for quality, flavor, and experience. Perhaps the most innovative and exciting product launched since the boom days is Davidoff’s Zino Platinum Crown Series. These are not just premium cigars. They are luxury cigars. One can’t help but be drawn to the oversized platinum, matchbox-style three-packs. With matches included and a striker along the side, the pack is the perfect companion for a night out.
More importantly, the blend of tobaccos is as innovative as the packaging. The filler tobaccos are a combination of ligeros (leaves from the top portion of the plant) from the Dominican Republic and Peru. Aged for five years, this unlikely combination provides strength and body to the smoke. The binder is four-year-old Connecticut shade, which lends a creamy note to the flavor and rounds out the impact of the filler. The cigar is finished with a gorgeous two-year-old wrapper grown in Ecuador from a Connecticut seed. Once the cigars are rolled, they are further aged, allowing the blend to fully marry. The final result is a full-bodied character that is smooth and balanced.
Although the blend is fundamentally the same, each size smokes unique. The Chubby Especial (57¼8 x 61, $102), a large perfecto that tapers on both sides, smokes nice and mellow in the beginning. Because the cigar is thinner at the foot, the ratio of filler, binder, and wrapper is more balanced, allowing the expression of the wrapper and binder to dominate the flavor. As the shape flares open to its 61-ring gauge, the filler increases its influence on the overall flavor.
The Double Grande (71¼4 x 50, $87) is a classic double corona. It smokes perfectly medium bodied, from start to finish. It is ideal for Sunday brunch with the newspaper, or paired with your favorite cognac to finish off a big meal.
The Barrel (6 x 60, $78) is a massive cigar boasting an enormous ring gauge. This particular shape obviously gives the filler center stage. It has a full body with an incredibly cool smoke. Freud-sensitive smokers beware.
Finally, the Stretch (81¼4 x 50, $117) is the trophy cigar. Slightly tapered at the foot, it is rich and complex. With each puff, the cigar builds in intensity and strength, keeping you engaged as you anticipate all its changes. Make sure you don’t have any major plans—it’s a time commitment.
Smoking cigars is, of course, an unnecessary luxury. It is an intimate and individual experience that should never be rushed or forced. It has always been Davidoff’s belief that one should smoke less, but only the best. The Zino Platinum Crown Series undoubtedly embraces this ideal. Though only available at a small number of appointed merchants, take the time to experience these phenomenal luxury smokes. You won’t be disappointed.