In the Davidoff booth at IPCPR 2017 we met up with Charles Awad to take a tour of their latest products. He starts us off with the Winston Churchill The Late Hour. The cigar is a reference to the way Winston Churchill spent his late evenings. Charles tells us in the dark hours of the evening Sir Winston often found his inspiration, came up with ideas and made the important decisions that affected his nation as well as the world. And an important part of this process were fine cigars and whiskeys.
The Winston Churchill The Late Hour features Nicaraguan Condega Visus filler tobacco that has been aged for 6 months in scotch single malt whiskey casks, bringing together a few Sir Winston’s favorite things. It’s wrapped in an Ecuadorian Habano Marron Oscuro leaf, has a Mexican San Andres binder. In addition to the barrel-aged leaf, the blend has San Vicente Mejorado Visus, Piloto Seco and Olor Visus from the Dominican Republic and Nicaraguan Estelí Visus. The cigar will retail in the mid-teens to mid-twenties, plus applicable taxes.
To accompany The Late Hour, Davidoff also created some clever whiskey glasses with grooves in the lip that designed to safely hold your cigar. That frees a hand up for checking messages, fist bumps and high fives. (If I’m smoking a cigar and drinking whiskey, that’s what I need the other hand for.) And in the bottom of the glass is a silhouette of Winston Churchill.
Playing off Winston Churchill’s role as a statesman, Davidoff created two new humidors, both with a Union Jack design. One of them in vivid color, the other a little more subtle black and white design with a Winston Churchill silhouette. There is also a new white and gold ashtray, with a large silhouette in the center.
Charles tells us Davidoff is developing a drink pairing guide for The Late Hour as well, and it will include the recipe for a special cocktail they’ve created. One of pairing recommendations is a whiskey of which I am fond, Dalmore Cigar Malt.
Next we take a look at the Master Selection Series, a line of unique blends crafted by Davidoff’s Master Blender, Eladio Diaz. Charles calls him “the most demanding aficionado in the world.” For each of his birthdays, Eladio developed a blend that was never released, that is until now. The 54th, 57th and 60th birthday blends are being released, but very limited numbers. Charles tells us that about 1,200 boxes will be available in the U.S. and the same number for outside the U.S. When they hit shelves, you can expect them to retail in the mid-thirties, plus applicable taxes.
In the final part of the tour, Charles shows us an innovative and stylish new way to carry your cigars safely. It’s a welded, flexible case that is somehow both pliable and air-tight. It contains a soft tray that securely holds cigars of sizes up the 60 ring gauge. It’s something you really have to see to believe. It also has a couple of pockets for accessories, or for some people, cell phones. It kind of looks like a messenger bag without the strap, and in fact I asked if they had considered adding a strap to make this travel humidor even more travel-friendly. Not yet, but perhaps that will be a future extension. Charles also hints that there may be a Winston Churchill-themed design in the future as well. It comes in three different designs, and ranges in price from $249 to $279.
Charles tells us Davidoff is concerned about the FDA developments, but they’ve noticed optimism in the industry and are also feeling optimistic. But they do have a backup plan for the future that may include pulling product out of the U.S. market and focusing on the rest of the world if the regulations become very strict.