Late in 2021, Davidoff released the 11th installment of its Chinese Zodiac series, the Davidoff Year of the Dog Tiger. This annual ultra-premium series is one that is highly anticipated by Davidoff cigar enthusiasts. While the start of the Chinese New Year falls in between January 21st and February 20th, Davidoff typically puts out the Zodiac release around Thanksgiving in the prior calendar year. Each installment features a different blend, in a different size, with exquisite packaging reflecting the Zodiac theme. Perhaps one of the most eye-catching releases of the series has been the Davidoff Year of the Tiger.
While we normally go into appearance as one of the components of the assessment, it’s impossible to ignore this in the preamble. The fur of the stripes of the tiger is represented on the cigar band and remarkably that is done by a natural process.
The Davidoff Chinese Zodiac series launched in 2012 with a small “Year of the Dragon” release for the Asian market. In 2013, the series became a more global offering with the release of the Year of the Snake.
2012: Davidoff Year of the Dragon (Limited Asia Release)
2013: Davidoff Year of the Snake
2014: Davidoff Year of the Horse
2015: Davidoff Year of the Sheep
2016: Davidoff Year of the Monkey
2017: Davidoff Year of the Rooster
2018: Davidoff Year of the Dog
2019: Davidoff Year of the Pig
2020: Davidoff Year of the Rat
2021: Davidoff Year of the Ox
2022: Davidoff Year of the Tiger
Assuming Davidoff continues to complete the cycle through the Chinese Zodiac, the next release, 2023’s Year of the Rabbit, would bring the cycle to a close. It’s not clear what Davidoff’s plans are following the Rabbit release.
While Davidoff is the first company to launch a Chinese New Year Series, several other companies have released their interpretations of the Chinese New Year. For the Year of the Tiger, there have been releases by not only Davidoff, but Maya Selva Cigars, Plasencia, General, Drew Estate, and VegaFina.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Davidoff Year of the Tiger and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The blend features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a Dominican Hybrid 257 Seco binder, and a combination of Dominican tobaccos (Piloto, San Vincente, Hybrid 254, and Hybrid 259) for the filler.
Wrapper: Connecticut Ecuador
Binder: Dominican Hybrid 257 Seco
Filler: Dominican (Piloto Ligero, San Vincente Mejorado Visus/Seco, Hybird 254 Visus, and Hybrid 259 Seco)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Cigars Davidoff
The Davidoff Year of the Tiger is offered in one size – a 52 x 5 Piramide. It’s the first time a figurado is being used on a Davidoff Chinese New Year since 2015’s Davidoff Year of the Sheep. The cigars are packaged in ten-count boxes with a total production of 17,350 boxes worldwide.
The wrapper to the Davidoff Year of the Tiger is stunning. It has a light brown color with a darker brown color representing tiger fur. It has a very natural look to it, and it’s easy to see why Davidoff has a growing reputation for innovation. There are a few visible veins and the wrapper seams are well hidden. The Piramide shape has a long, gentle taper effect converging at the had of the cigar.
There are two bands on the Davidoff Year of the Ox. The first band uses the design of the Davidoff White label band. It features the name “Davidoff” in classic cursive gold font on an oval field of white. There are small gold circles going around the perimeter of the oval. The word “GENEVE” (in gold font) flanks to the right of the oval field. To the left of the oval is the text “LIMITED EDITION.”
The second band is primarily red with gold font and gold adornments. On the center of the band is the text “YEAR OF THE TIGER” with “TIGER” in a larger font.
A straight cut was used to cut the tip of the Davidoff Year of the Tiger. I opted to go about 2/3 down the taper with the cut to try to maximize the area for the draw. The cold draw delivered notes of cream, wood, and a slight cedar note. this wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw. Since the pre-light draw is not scored, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to toast up the Davidoff Year of the Tiger and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the Davidoff Year of the Tiger delivered notes of cream, wood, natural tobacco, and mushroom. The natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront early on with the cream, wood, and mushroom notes settling in the background. There was a slight bitter component to the natural tobacco. Some black pepper emerged in the background and there was a mild black pepper note on the retro-hale.
Later in the first third of the Davidoff Year of the Tiger, the cream and wood joined the natural tobacco in the forefront. As the cigar moved into the second third, the cream notes diminished, leaving the wood and natural tobacco in the forefront. This led to an increase in bitterness. Just past the midway point, the black pepper notes increased in intensity.
By the last third, the wood notes transitioned to cedar notes. The natural tobacco settled into the background with the mushroom and black pepper notes. The black pepper became the most prominent background note. The cream notes present early on had dissipated. The bitter component now bordered on delivering some harshness. This is the way the Davidoff Year of the Tiger came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Davidoff Year of the Tiger produced an excellent burn. It had no trouble maintaining a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose or flaky either. Both the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.