From the Print Edition:
Winston Churchill, Autumn 93
(continued from page 3)
The duo first decided on the No. 1, No. 2, and Ambassadrice, exactly the same sizes as Cohiba's Lancero, Coronas Especial, and Panetela. Handled exactly the same way as Cohiba but with a different final blend, the three cigars were produced at El Laguito until 1991. The various other sizes, however, were made at different factories around Havana, primarily La Corona and Partagas, despite Davidoff s claim that they were produced at his own factory, El Laguito. Lara says that the cigars produced at his factory, where total production peaked at about 1 million Davidoffs, were always the best quality and that he never allowed any demise. The total annual production of Davidoff, according to Cubatabaco, reached about 3 million cigars annually.
No one directly connected with the dispute will disclose the final details of their agreement, although until that pact was reached, they were well on their way to having various European courts decide who owned the brand. The Cubans have always contended that the success of Davidoff cigars is due to the quality of their tobacco and workmanship while the Swiss believe otherwise. "They always said that our success was due to them and not vice versa," says Schneider, adding, "they were always jealous."
It's been almost two years since the last Davidoffs were rolled on the workbenches of the El Laguito factory, and neither the Cubans nor the Swiss appear any closer to reconciling their differences--which is a shame for cigar lovers. At least one connoisseur, however, won't be bothered about the situation. The Hong Kong resident who bought 7,000 cigars last year from Davidoff of London visited the shop earlier this year and ordered an additional 2,500 Ambassadrice-sized Cuban Davidoffs. "He came into the shop and asked me what I was smoking," says Sahakian, taking a puff on a Cuban panetela and then looking at it in his right hand. "When I told him Ambassadrice, he said to give him five boxes now and he put another 100 on reserve." More for him but less for anyone else who might still have designs on acquiring a stash of Cuban Davidoffs.
Cuban Davidoff Test Results
1000: A punchy little cigar with a lot of flavor, the 1000 shows medium-bodied, rich tobacco and coffee character, yet remains subtle and elegant. -91
Ambassadrice: This is always a lovely panetela to smoke with medium-bodied, rich coffee and milk-chocolate aromas and flavors, and a long fresh aftertaste. Their only drawback is that they sometimes are a little rough to draw. -88
2000: Mellow and rich, the 2000 is a full-bodied cigar with lots of spicy nutty character and opulent flavors in the aftertaste. -91
3000: An easy, rich cigar with the fine draw and lovely construction. With each draw it delivers more and more flavor. -89
Château Margaux: Burns wonderfully. This cigar is packed with rich tobacco flavor yet remains refined. It's medium-bodied with a cedarlike tobacco character and a wonderful draw.-92
Château Mouton-Rothschild: A big voluptuous cigar with round and rich leather tobacco character and a wonderful draw. -94
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