I guess I haven’t been paying attention lately, because when the Zino Embassy Selection touched down at a local cigar shop I was surprised. Standing in front of an open burgundy box of 10 large perfectos, my thought process went a little like this: “A new Zino? Why I didn’t hear about… Whoah, wait. That price tag has to be a misprint.” The price tag wasn’t a misprint, and I decided to pick up a few, one to smoke immediately, and some more to do a review.
Based on the distribution of the official press release around the cigar blogs, I could be forgiven for not knowing about the Zino Embassy Selection before it’s arrival. The press releases appear to have been timed to come out shortly before the cigars arrived. Since we missed it when it dropped, here’s an excerpt from the official press release:
The House of Davidoff is proud to announce the launch of its first-ever Zino Embassy Selection. The Limited Edition Perfecto treats cigar enthusiasts to an exceptional taste experience and is being offered exclusively to only 55 qualified retailers across the U.S. …
This gorgeous 6 x 53 perfecto with its enticing Ecuador Special Sun Grown wrapper has been produced in extremely limited quantities and will have very exclusive distribution. Presented in a beautifully finished, burgundy 10-count box with an eloquent golden “Zino Embassy Selection Limited Edition Perfecto” mark on both sides of the lid. A striking new black and gold Zino band with matching “Embassy Selection” second band has also been designed. An offering of this caliber demands packaging as distinctive as its contents.
What isn’t stated in the press release is just how limited the cigar is. A total of 775 boxes of 10 have been distributed to the 55 qualified retailers. By my math, that means that means about 14 boxes per retailer (if distributed evenly) and a grand total 7750 cigars. Which means these won’t be around for long, so I’d better hurry up and get to the review before they’re sold out!
Size: 6 x 53
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Honduras (?)
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Price: MSRP $9.80
I’ve always been a fan of the perfecto vitola, it’s attractive shape, and when done right, is a great demonstration of torcedor skill. In the case of the Embassy Selection, it appears to be done right. The cigar boasts of a beautiful rounded shape, with a finely-veined milk chocolate wrapper that’s free of imperfections.
To the touch, the cigar is just slightly lumpy in places, and with one exception, consistently firm from head to foot. One of the review sticks did have a large, noticeably softer spot in the center of the cigar, and did appear to be slightly lopsided. (As luck would have it, this was the one selected at random for participation in the Tower of Burn.)
The wrapper had a slightly sweet compost aroma, and the cold taste offered up a creamy coffee flavor.
I was surprised to experience a less than perfect burn with the Zino Embassy selection. Fortunately almost all the issues were limited to a single, troubled cigar. The stick in question had great draw, but an uneven burn and very flaky ash. Though it began promisingly, the trouble set in right around the previously noted soft area.
The other cigars smoked for this review were nearly flawless. Good draw, good volume of smoke, even burn and attractive long ashes. The only trouble I had was the need to relight each cigar in the final third. Additionally, it was impossible to remove the bands without tearing large chunks out of the wrapper leaf. This is not really a burn problem, and it didn’t result in an unraveling cigar, but it was a consistent issue that bears mention.
The common thread that tied the thirds of the Zino Embassy Selection together was a savory, slightly spicy and sometimes papery cedar. At times this element was the dominant flavor (mostly in the later half), and at other times it was more subtle, but cedar in some form was always there to be found.
It’s hard to put my finger on it, but there is a distinctive Davidoff flavor that’s present right from the beginning of the smoke, hidden there in the creamy and slightly sweet coffee and cedar. These flavors sweetened a bit on the way to the second third as caramel notes began to make an appearance.
The second third offered up a rich array of flavors. The cigar was buttery and caramel early on with more coffee notes, but took a turn toward a rich, creamy nutty flavors later on in the third. As I mentioned before, there was a consistent cedar flavor and some mild spiciness in this third as well.
Once again at the beginning of the final third, there was a butteriness to the cedar flavor, and the coffee that was prominent in earlier parts of the cigar had been replace by a savory, creamy nut flavor.
For a name that often commands $20, $30 or even more per cigar, this ten dollar smoke like a heck of a deal. Even by my normal standards, it’s still within the comfort range. Of course it may still be a little spendy for some people in this tough economy.
Zino Davidoff once said, “Smoke less, but better and longer.” With the Embassy Selection, you really don’t have to cut back to enjoy a fine cigar. I enjoyed the Zino Embassy Selection from the initial puffs right down to a very unseemly nub every time I lit one up for this review. And it’s just magic with a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, I’m left with the distinct feeling that I didn’t do the rich, long lasting flavors justice in the flavor section. (In penance, I’ll smoke another tomorrow and think about what I’ve done.)
As is generally the case, the burn issues were a bit of an annoyance, but not enough to negatively affect my smoking experience. Besides, it became clear that one cigar was flawed in its construction and not a good representation of the line.
As the Embassy Selection is both a very limited release and a great cigar, I’d recommend finding one and trying it out at your earliest convenience. I’ve already had my share of them, and have no qualms about smoking your share too!
Liked It: Loved it
Buy It Again: Until they’re gone
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.