Davidoff Special ‘R’ (NC)

Major League Robustos(Size: 4 7/8″ x 50 — Time: 1hr 15mins)

Yesterday the weather was brilliant in Plymouth, so, with the sun shining on our backs, I made the short trip to the waterfront with a smoking buddy to enjoy a fine cigar.

Hours were spent gazing longingly at yachts in the marina… what I wouldn’t give to be enjoying many fine stogies over the summer on a wonderful yacht deck. A Contessa 26 is what I’ve got my eye on – good value, excellent sea keeping and not bad on the eye either. So, after wearing ourselves out watching the yachties busy, preparing for the coming sailing season, we hit the terrace for a cigar and a beer. I had selected a Davidoff Special ‘R’ (robusto), a Dominican with a hefty price tag but a hit and miss reputation. My friend was smoking a du Dauphin (1998) – I shall make sure that he adds his thoughts on the cigar to the appropriate review!

Anyway, onto the review:

Appearance /15

This is a rough looking cigar – the light Connecticut shade wrapper is quite veiny and a little knobbly in places. The cap was no better, appearing as though it had been applied by Stevie Wonder after a night on the tiles… Meanwhile at the foot of the cigar, there was a slight hollow in the tobacco. Overall, not a great first impression to be making. The saving grace was that, veins/knobbles aside, the wrapper was unblemished. 11

Smoking Characteristics /25

Before lighting the Special ‘R’ I briefly considered the aroma of the cigar; I got a slightly vegetal aroma, complimented by some very feint, unroasted cocoa bean aromas. The initial light was a little uneven and the early burn followed suit, despite some efforts to correct it. On the plus side, however, the draw was extremely good throughout the whole cigar. Good plumes of smoke were provided throughout (with the exception of a few lacklustre early draws). Finally, after about a third of the cigar had passed, the burn evened itself up and showed a crisp burn line. For about an hour the ash was solid and light, however, towards the end of the cigar, it started to weaken and fall off a little too easily in small sections. Overall, the construction of the Special ‘R’ was reasonable, but the all important draw was ideal. 23

Flavours /25

On lighting the flavours were slow to come through – some leafiness with little character was all that came through in the early stages. Despite this early lack of flavour, the cigar was beautifully smooth – something I have found to be a hallmark of Henke Kelner’s Davidoff cigars. Slowly the flavours developed, with hints of milk chocolate and cappuccino starting to come through, again keeping to the smooth character of the brand. Around the half-way mark the cigar reverted back to some subdued vegetal/woody flavours before again giving way to cappuccino with a third of the stick remaining. This time around the milk chocolate had disappeared, meanwhile the frothy, milkiness of a cappuccino had developed alongside the light coffee flavours. Gradually though, as the burn line approached the nub, the coffee subsided and the flavours petered out, leaving just a watery, milky nothingness of a finale… The flavours were pleasant, but not especially varied, and certainly not impressive. 20

Overall Impression /35

The Special ‘R’ is marketed as one of Davidoff’s stronger cigars – however, whilst it is solidly medium bodied, the flavours are mild and understated. The problem is that the flavours never really got going and they didn’t give you a good enough ride for a robusto. The cigar was smooth throughout, and the construction was (on the whole) of a high standard. Nonetheless, this is not a world beating cigar. 30

Grand total… 84/100

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