Davidoff draws from a new source for one of its latest releases, the Escurio.
After leaving Cuba in 1989—when company patriarch Zino Davidoff publicly burned more than 100,000 Cuban cigars that he deemed unfit to sell—the Switzerland-based brand Davidoff was associated only with cigars from the Dominican Republic. Then in 2013 it introduced its first Nicaraguan puros. (The Davidoff Nicaragua Diadema, launched in 2014, was a Robb Report Best of the Best selection last year.) Now the cigar maker has stretched its geographical reach once again, this time into Brazil.
Davidoff’s first cigar made from Brazilian tobacco is the Escurio. The moniker derives from the Portuguese word escuro, which means “dark,” and from the name of the country’s most vibrant city. According to the company’s marketing literature, Rio de Janeiro offers evenings that, like the cigar, are adventurous—though maybe not in the same sense of the word.
“Brazil is not famous for handmade cigars,” says Hendrik “Henke” Kelner, Davidoff’s master cigar blender. “It is more famous for the dry cheroot of Dutch-type cigars, which are typically rough tasting. So an all-Brazilian cigar would be too harsh.”
The Escurio’s rich, chocolate-brown wrapper is not made of Brazilian tobacco, which tends to have a rough texture as well as a rough taste. Instead it is a smooth, oily, and finely veined Havana-seed leaf grown in Ecuador. The strong and spicy binder is grown from Brazilian Cubra seed. The filler comprises dark Brazilian Mata Fina and Cubra tobaccos, a mild Piloto, and hybrid Olor from the Dominican Republic. The Escurio burns slowly and produces a smooth, creamy, spicy-sweet flavor with hints of white pepper and curry. It is pleasingly different from cigars made solely with Brazilian tobaccos.
Kelner notes that the cigar’s Brazilian tobacco is grown in Bahia, a state on the Atlantic coast that he says produces the country’s best tobacco. “So this is what we use,” he says, “and of that, we use only the best 20 percent.”
All of the tobaccos, Brazilian and otherwise, are brought to Davidoff’s factory in the Dominican Republic, where Kelner oversees the fermentation and hand-rolling processes. After they are rolled, the cigars are aged a minimum of three months.
The Escurio is available in three sizes: a 3¼ × 50 petit robusto ($8.50), a 4½ × 54 robusto tubo ($15.90), and a 5½ × 58 gran toro ($17.90). The company also offers a line of accompanying accessories that include a jet-flame lighter, a zinc-alloy punch cutter, and a buffalo-leather cigar case.