Connoisseur's Corner: A Classic Cuban Davidoff
A 40-something-year-old Davidoff named after one of the legendary wineries of Bordeaux. A Padrón created especially for the Millennium celebration 15 years ago. An immense Cuban Partagás rolled the year before Cigar Aficionado magazine began publishing. What do these three very different cigars have in common? Each rated a near-perfect 98 points in our latest tasting of vintage cigars. Every cigar was superb, but each had its own identity. The elder statesman of the group, the Davidoff, has mellowed over time, a forgivable circumstance that hasn't harmed its flavor. The Padrón seemed at its prime, 16 years young and brimming with life. The Partagás Lusitania—dark as a bar of Valrhona—still has plenty of character despite being some 24 years old.
This is a Cuban Davidoff made in the early 1970s. The cigar is over 40 years old, and shows an amazing amount of flavor and character. Mellowed a bit with age, so it is creamy on the palate, but with a solid core of cedar and spiciness all the way through to the long finish. A perfect small, full-bodied cigar. —Gordon Mott
A box-pressed beauty that comes from the Padrón’s personal collection, and not banded with the traditional Millennium band, which is individually numbered. It’s an amazing cigar, with an effortless draw and a perfect burn. The smoke has chocolate and vanilla highlights around a core of savory wood, with a finish that goes on and on. A perfectly balanced cigar with immense amounts of flavor and many years of life remaining. —David Savona
With a wrapper as dark as night, this stately double corona promises to deliver power and flavor, and it doesn’t disappoint. It has a rich, chocolaty character, with plenty of molasses as well. Notes of earthy tea and savory wood buttress the considerable sweetness, which turns into milk chocolate as the big cigar is slowly turned to ash. A brilliant smoke that has plenty of youthful vigor remaining despite its age. —David Savona
An elegant lonsdale with a gorgeous, light-brown wrapper and picture-perfect construction. Spending over 20 years in a dress box has given these lonsdales a distinct, box-pressed appearance. It’s quite mellow, with a honeyed wood character and a sweetness faintly reminiscent of Sauternes. The finish is rather dry. —David Savona
After all these years, the wrapper of this Churchill is still oily, supple and silky to the touch. The big cigar is a slow starter, showing a bit of a dustiness at first, but it gradually warms up to impart a touch of earth, hints of cinnamon and some raisin notes. No longer the earthy powerhouse it was as a youngster, the cigar remains sweet and enjoyable with perfect combustion and a creamy texture to the smoke. —Gregory Mottola
Box pressed and petit, with a silky smooth wrapper. The first few puffs are powerful, showing a big tobacco core, full of leather and meaty notes. It takes on hints of almonds and rock salt, with woody vanilla, while showing an earthy aroma, with a sweet brown sugar quality. The cigar gains intensity with every puff, yet remains balanced. —Andrew Nagy