nextCIGAR Review: Davidoff 702 Series Special R
DAVIDOFF 702 SERIES SPECIAL «R»
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian 702
Binder: Dominican Piloto Seco
Filler: Dominican Piloto Seco | Dominican San Vicente Visus | Dominican Olor Seco
Factory: Cidav Corp, Inc. (Cigars Davidoff – Dominican Republic)
Production: Regular Production
Vitola: 4⅞″ × 50 Robusto
Release Date: Feb., 2017
About a decade ago, the restless and uncompromising Henke Kelner — Davidoff’s long-time master blender and brand ambassador, began to experiment with hybrid seeds. He crossed a pair of Cuban Habano seeds to create a wrapper that was designated the “125”. This new hybrid seed was then crossed with another Cuban Habano seed to produce a different wrapper named “702”. In June of 2009, Davidoff introduced the Limited Edition 2009 Selección 702 to the market.
Early 2017, Davidoff formally introduced a new line of cigars — the 702 Series. The 702 Series is unique in that it utilizes the composition of seven of the company’s most popular “White Label” vitolas, but with the original wrapper replaced by the Ecuadorian hybrid used in the Limited Edition 2009 Selección 702.
The Davidoff 702 Series Special «R» is one of seven new cigars to utilize the company’s proprietary Ecuadorian hybrid wrapper. The tobacco composition of the 702 Series Special «R» differs from the standard Davidoff Aniversario Special «R» in two ways. First, the latter’s Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper has been replaced by the bolder Ecuadorian 702 wrapper. Secondarily, instead of the Piloto Ligero used in the filler blend of the Aniversario, the 702 Series contains Piloto Seco —a bit milder but with increased complexity.
The Davidoff 702 Series Special «R» is a resplendent looking, small cigar; its overall length slightly shorter than a vitola that is normally classified as a robusto (4 7/8” instead of 5”). Its Ecuadorian 702 wrapper is fairly smooth — with only one visible seam, one elongated vein, very light tooth, and a nicely applied cap. The color of the cigar is an even mixture of chocolate and Peruvian brown with a very slight tinge of reddish-orange. A light oiliness on the wrapper produces a fine spun sheen in the afternoon sunshine, like a tobacco plant right before the evaporation of dew.
After the cap of the robusto is opened with a double guillotine cut — to ensure the maximum amount of taste from the wrapper, binder, and filler — the cold draw is virtually perfect, with just a slight, and desirable, amount of resistance. As a bit of peppery spice formulates on the upper lip, smooth flavours of assorted nuts, cedar, dried fruits, and natural tobacco immediately touch the palate.
After toasting and lighting the cigar with a soft, double-flame lighter, the first few draws produce a variety of aromas and flavors, which melds into palate-coating deliciousness. Soon thereafter, a tingle on the tip of the tongue develops — which is indicative of the Piloto tobacco used in the binder and the filler. As the robusto settles into the burn, Davidoff’s characteristic mustiness begins to flirt in and out of the profile. These initial notes blend toward a mouthwatering flavour profile that proceeds in a linear fashion from the front of the tongue to the rear of the palate. Flavours and aromas of cedar, espresso, and pecans mingle together in a heavenly balance. The retrohale is piquant and smooth — hardwoods and white pepper — and is an essential component in the enjoyment of this cigar. An excellent open draw produces a rather prodigious amount of smoke output.
As the Davidoff 702 Series Special «R» enters into its second third, the strength settles into the medium range, while the body of the cigar becomes smooth and round. The aromas and flavours present in the first third of the cigar continue to build, while notes of assorted berry, cream, earth, and leather appear in the mix, adding to the overall complexity of the cigar. The smoking experience during this third is very enjoyable and lush — even though a building dryness requires a substantial sip of San Pellegrino (One of the best sparkling water I reckon).
Room aroma is reminiscent of an oak and charcoal fire, smoldering on a cast iron grate at the bottom of a stone fireplace. The burn line is very sharp, holding almost two inches of dark-concrete ash, highlighted with streaks of obsidian between the densely compressed stacks. On the flavourful retrohale, the hardwoods and white pepper notes, present in the first third, are replaced by a mixture of red and black pepper with trace amounts of anise, cumin, and a mixture of minerals.
As it burns through its final third, the Special «R» continues to provide an outstanding smoking experience — complex, flavourful, polished, and sophisticated. With each puff, the espresso notes begin to display a slight increase in bitterness — while the flavour of a charred porterhouse steak, sprinkled with sea salt, appears as the robusto continues to incinerate. Aromas and flavours continue to be an elaborate combination of practically every category on the cigar tasting wheel — nuts, dried fruits, herbs, spices, and earth — while an increase in minerality produces a desirable amount of saliva on the palate. The burn line remains unwavering, with the ash naturally falling off in a final two-inch clump. It is a fine cigar.
WOULD I SMOKE THIS CIGAR AGAIN?
The answer to that question is, “Frequently.” While the pricing of the Davidoff 702 Series Special «R» is at the upper end, the cigar — like it’s little brother, the Davidoff Yamasá Petit Churchill — is well worth the price of admission. Both cigars have become part of my regular rotation of super-premium cigars, since they deliver very different flavour profiles.
The Davidoff 702 Series Special «R» is one of seven cigars in the company’s 702 Series. Utilizing a proprietary Ecuadorian wrapper first found on the highly-rated Davidoff Limited Edition 2009 Selección 702 — along with the binder and filler tobaccos from the standard Davidoff Aniversario Special «R» — this 702 Series robusto delivers primary tasting notes of berry, cedar, cream, earth, espresso, leather, pecans, and pepper. Unusually complex, flavourful, and smooth, the cigar produces a smoking experience that triggers all of the five senses of taste — sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and the highly-elusive umami.