nextCIGAR interview with Sam Reuter to talk about Davidoff and personal cigar experiences
Davidoff's Global Brand Ambassador and Head of Product Innovation,
1. Davidoff Year of the Tiger Limited Edition 2022 will be released in late November this year, can you tell us more about its creation process?
The inspiration came from the animal itself and from the person born in the Year of the Tiger. If we focus on the animal, you see that the piramides format we chose is reminiscent of a tiger's claw. Also, our skilled cigar rollers in the Dominican Republic applied a natural treatment on the wrapper leaves, where they placed dark tobacco leaf veins on a bright Connecticut wrapper leaf for several days to bring the tiger's fur markings alive on the cigar. This is also the first limited edition using a Connecticut wrapper. So you see it is important to us to always come up with new ideas.
If we focus on the person, we have translated the same character traits into the cigar: determined, approachable and energetic.
2. What's special about the blend?
It's a quite unique one. Our Master Blenders used three proprietary Davidoff hybrid tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, creating a taste experience, that, like the tiger, is without equal. The main aromas are cream, roasted nuts and honey. The latter concludes the delightful journey of this limited edition cigar.
3. What new innovations can we expect from Davidoff Cigars in the coming year?
Well, I can't t reveal too much, but there will be plenty of releases in 2022. New limited editions, line extensions but also a new category: high class and very rare spirits.
4. Where do you get inspiration for product development?
Before we start with the blend development, we strongly focus on the concept of each initiative. What do we want to achieve? What is the target audience? It is crucial that each cigar fully reflects the concept.
Once the concept is approved, we then focus on product development. Here, we reflect on blend, format and work continuously on innovations to meet our customers' needs and preferences. This happens within our Master Blender competence centre, a group of tobacco experts from our factories in the Dominican Republic and in Honduras. Every new cigar launch is a team effort and with outstanding ratings, reviews or feedbacks our motivation and passion grow further.
5. What do you feel are the biggest differences between Asian palates to Western palates on cigar preference?
I was lucky to meet some interesting cigar aficionados on my travels through Asia. What I found most striking is the extensive background knowledge the Asian aficionado has. They are very much interested in any kind of detail of the cigar, the crafting and the story behind the wrapper, which I find extremely fascinating.
In terms of taste, I would say it depends on individual preferences of the consumer. I found that in Beijing, aficionados loved spicier cigars, like their preference for food, whereas in Shanghai, a certain creaminess in the cigar was much appreciated.
The difference to Western palates is that here, there is a wider range of cigars available and therefore the Western cigar lovers are more used to enjoying different cigars with various flavours and origins. In addition, I would say their focus is more on taste than on background information.
6. Has your taste in cigars evolved over time?
Yes, like with any other taste, my taste in cigars has evolved over the years. It is important to me to maintain and develop my palate by trying new tobacco varieties, new blends and always be informed about new cigar launches. Also, a close relationship with our customers and consumers, knowing their preferences and learning from them, is crucial to me.
Personally, I would say that my taste has evolved towards cigars with a medium character and a wide aroma spectrum, such as our Davidoff Winston Churchill range.
7. What are your favourite Davidoff cigars you have enjoyed over the years?
Interesting question. I focus on the moment in which I enjoy a cigar. Off the top of my head certainly our Winston Churchill range, as I am also a whisky aficionado and that whole Davidoff Winston Churchill series just pairs perfectly with it.
Apart from that, I really enjoy the Davidoff Dominicana Toro with its intense flavours and also the Royal Release Robusto, where the sophistication of the amazes me every time.
8. How would you describe your perfect environment to enjoy a cigar?
My perfect environment depends on many factors: my disposable time, alone or with friends, time of the day and the mood I am in. In my office at Maison Davidoff, the setting is more professional. I test cigars here. When I am at home, it is a more personal experience, as it is just me and the cigar. When I am in cigar lounges, it is often with friends.
But generally speaking, the perfect environment to enjoy a cigar in is one that will allow for the cigar to fill time beautifully.