This time last year, I took a little trip, with some cigar pals, to the Dominican Republic. The week was packed with learning and meeting some of the best the island nation had to offer. During that week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Davidoff Cigar Lounge in Santiago. It was there that we met the legend himself, Henke Kelner – the master of the premium cigar era.
That’s my good friend Jimmy Files, owner of Jimmy’s Cigar Lounge in Melbourne, FL sitting with his idol Henke Kelner.
Twenty years ago, Mr. Kelner and Davidoff Cigars set out on a bold adventure. They purchased some low-lying swamp land in the Dominican Republic in an area known as Yamasá. Their mission was to work the soil for decades, turning it into a fertile growing region for an exclusive leaf. The fruits of that labor are now evidenced in the release of the Davidoff Yamasa cigar.
The Davidoff site explains the passion:
..When everyone said it couldn’t be done Henke persisted. He held an unwavering belief in the natural bounties and potential for the land.
And he was right. On an endless pursuit to bring cigar aficionados new tastes, experiences and pleasures, Henke Kelner and his team of experts relentlessly nurtured and cultivated the Yamasá soil – a soil that was relunctant to change. Discovering that the soil contained too much sand and loam, they added nitrate and calcium by hand to each and every single tobacco plant. In Henke’s own words, they “continued, continued and continued” until they got it right. Thanks to his determination, a journey into the new Davidoff Yamasá series is truly one to an undiscovered planet.
The Davidoff Yamasa does not come cheap. The Toro has a retail cost, before any imposed state taxes, in the low $20.00 range. The cigar itself, is a work of beauty, wrapped in the exclusive Dominican Yamasa leaf that is smooth to the touch and medium tan in color. Veins? No, you won’t find them on this wrapper.
The full blend of the Yamasá is described as:
- Wrapper: Yamasá
- Binder: San Vicente from Yamasá
- Nicaraguan (Condega and Estelí )
- Dominican (Piloto and Mejorado)
The Davidoff Yamasa is being offered in 4 vitolas:
- Toro (5×52) MSRP: $22.70
- Piramides (6×52) MSRP: $23.00
- Robusto (5×50) MSRP $19.70
- Petit Churchill (4×48) MSRP $12.90
They come packaged in 12 – count boxes (except the Petit Churchill which comes packaged in 14- count boxes). The company has also packaged them in 4-count matte folding packs.
For this review I purchased a Davoidoff Yamasa Toro from “House of Cigar” in Sharonville,Ohio.
Cigar Review Notes
- Smooth veinless wrapper
- Sweet tea aroma off the foot
- Fermented and spicy tobacco leaf aroma as I run the barrel along the nasals
- Pepper seems like it wants to break out, as I give it a few cold draw puffs
- The intial light offers a dry fruit component along with a moderately toned down pepper on the nasal
- Sweet floral aroma immediately fills the lounge
- The smoke texture is creamy and palate filling
- A solid white ash develops relaxing on a medium char line
- Flavor builds as “all spice” enters followed with a touch of citrus
- The head is offering some sweetness on the tongue
- A waft of cocoa hits the air around me – I thought for a moment I walked into a swiss chocolate shop!
- The ash fell after the first third and demonstrated the quality construction with a perfectly centered burn.
- Strength starts to pick up a notch
- Dry leather appears start of the second third
- Smoke is ultra smooth midway through the second third with a solid floral aroma now
- I am imagining about how well the Yamasa would pair with a dry gin martini.
- Sweetness builds with a semi sweet cocoa and a finish of butter on the palate
- The barrel has a favorable spring to it at this point nearing the end of second third
- Spice and citrus enter with a delicate sweetness that tangos in and out of the profile, especially on the wrapper
- The aroma shifted to more of an earth
- Strength finished at a medium to full
- Total Smoking time was around 1 hour
Overall, the Davidoff Yamasa was a fine, elegant, smoke. It is befitting of the man who dreamed for 20 years about this cigar. The flavors shifted and moved throughout the experience. As I noted earlier, this certainly would pair well with a Dry Gin Martini.