VITOLA: Toro Especial
SIZE: 6-5/8" X 48
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic
FACTORY: Cigars Davidoff (Dom. Rep.)
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian 702 Habano Hybrid
BINDER: Dominican San VIcente Seco
FILLER: Dominican San Vicente Seco, Piloto Sec & Olor Seco
Generous gift from Naren
o Toro Especial - 6-5/8" x 48
RELEASE TYPE: Limited Edition
ORIGINALLY RELEASED: June 2009
SECONDARY RELEASE: May 2018
2,000 boxes of 10
20,000 total cigars
CIGAR BACKGROUND INFO
This Davidoff Seleccion 702 is a re-release of the infamous and highly-acclaimed 2009 release.
Davidoff is re-releasing several of their most successful limited edition blends from the past decade or so in honor of their 50th anniversary in 2018.
"702" references the internal name Davidoff used to reference the new hybrid wrapper they debuted on the Seleccion 702.
The wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano that was carefully created by Davidoff's agronomists. Hailing from the Finca San Juan farm in Cotopaxi province, it was a Habano seed utilizing three parts - including two parts Cuban seed hybrid, "125."
The nutrient rich soil—containing ash from the famous active volcano of the same name—and the persistent blanket of cloud characteristic of the region, offer the perfect growing conditions that result in the incredibly rich and intense wrapper leaves with a wonderful, silky texture grown from the seeds.
For this release, Davidoff is using the exact same binder and filler as the original 2009 release however the wrapper may be the aged, original 702 Habano wrappers. Davidoff simply states it as an "aged 702 wrapper for an even smoother and more intense experience."
As an aside, the aged 702 wrapper is also used on various other blends, including AVO's Classic Covers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, among others.
A NOTE ON THIS REVIEW …
The Davidoff Seleccion 702 was a tale of two stories - one horrendous, one damn near perfect. The first 702 LE 2009 left such a bad taste in my mind - especially from a stogie rolled in a Davidoff facility - that I really felt compelled to go grab another cigar to try. I swung by my B&M to grab another and I'm really amazed - it's not often two cigars perform so drastically different. I smoked two cigars for this review and, wow, the difference is marked. Please be sure to note that I have evaluated this cigar on two different ratings and adjusted the scores to provide a better representation of the experience. I've also noted below where the cigars differed throughout the review.
The Seleccion 702 uses a nice, dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The wrapper has a beautiful, milk chocolate brown hue with just a bit of oil to it. There are few, semi-raised veins criss-crossing the cigar and the seams are mainly invisible, however, there are a couple areas that are slightly raised. There's a surprising sponginess to the Davidoff. When squeezed, there is not much resistence and it freely compresses a small amount. The cigar does feel uniform however, with no overly soft or hard areas. The second cigar I smoked for the review was quite different. It had a nice firmness to it with just the right amount of give - really it was exactly what you'd expect from a perfectly crafted Davidoff cigar.
The cap is among the best I've seen. The triple cap's transition into the body is so smooth and seamless, it's easy to miss. The shoulders are symmetrical and uniformly drop nicely into the cigar. Visually, the foot doesn't offer much except to provide an eye-check for the blend's even distribution and uniform construction.
Aesthetically speaking, Davidoff's Seleccion 702 is a masterpiece. Everything from the coloration to the construction beckon you to fire it up!
The 702 smells fantastic. There's some cocoa, cedar dried fruit, and hay going on - a really pleasant smelling cigar.
The cold draw is surprisingly open. The resistance is nearly non-existent - which could be concerning down the road. Flavors off the cold draw are hard to pinpoint but it kind of reminding me of chocolate soft serve ice cream, but lighter.
Second Cigar Update:
The draw on the second cigar is borderline perfect. There's a slight openness to it but nothing like the first. It has a nice resistance but leans just barely to the open side.
LIGHT & DRAW
Cut: Colibri SV (v-cut)
Fire: ST Dupont Defi Extreme
I initially was going to straight-cut the cap, but I've really been on a v-cut kick lately. It produces such a good draw without the potential for annihilating the cap the way a straight-cut can sometimes. I grabbed my single-flame Dupont, toasted the foot and lit the 702 up! It lit up perfectly - nice and even with minimal effort needed. A bit of peppery harshness is the first flavor to greet you. The pepper certainly lingers for a bit but is paired up with a couple other immediate flavors - maybe some light leather and some type of rich, creamy wood.
The burn is far from perfect at this point. It's got a good wave to it but I'm sure with Davidoff's historically awesome construction, the burn will even out on its own. The ash has some nice layering occuring and the same coloration as burnt newspaper - fading between light grey to nearly black - all with a faint, brownish sepia tone.
Second Cigar Update:
Worth noting, the second cigar was markedly less peppery than the first - producing a fantastic slightly pepper-laced creamy leather with wood notes. The pepper found is more on the lingering palate not so much on the forefront. For whatever reason, the second cigar presents a much more complex and interesting start to the experience. I wish I could say the burn improved the second time around but it really has not. For a $30 Davidoff, or really just any Davidoff, this is a bit surprising. The burn on the second is again quite wavy and really doesn't offer much hope of improving on its own.
There is a pretty decent breeze here today as I smoke out on my back porch - making it hard to really get a gauge for the smoke output, color and scent. As far as I can discern, it is plentiful and white. While resting between puffs, the smoke output is very minimal.
> White pepper, cinnamon, mocha
The first third brings an excellent, immediate richness and array of miscellaneous flavors. The pepper has lightened but still present - bringing to mind more of a white pepper than a harsher black varietal. Additionally, cinnamon blends into the palate with brief appearance by mocha-coffee tones. The retrohale reinforces a stronger pepper profile but helps to highlight the coffee bean notes as well.
The draw remains very open and at this point, it's one of the few faults I'm noticing. I wish the resistance was stronger but better open than too tight, I suppose. I finally reached for my torch to touch up the burn line, which was developing a significant widow's peak. It may have corrected itself with some attentive resting but I didn't want it to get any worse. The ash is flaky and tends to drop sporadically. Maybe as the burn corrects, the ash will become more uniform and stable. There is a surprising strength as the first third transitions to the middle - medium strength with a nice bold, creamy body.
Second Cigar Update:
While the overall "theme" of the flavors above remains true, the real difference is the pepper. While the pepper was prominently featured previously, on this cigar it's more subtle. The pepper lingers and helps emphasize the mocha-coffee and cinnamon flavors. There is also more leather and cedar coming through. Overall, the initial third of the second cigar is much more complex and balanced. Perfect draw - zero complaints. The burn has actually really improved on its own. It's far from perfect but it has self-corrected remarkably. I am assuming the second cigar is just better rolled and thus producing a better experience generally. The ash on this stick is much more solid and holding extremely well. The layering is a work of art.
> Cream, coffee, charred oak
Into the second third and the 702 is weighing heavily on the palate - leaving a rich, creamy mouthfeel. As the first third ends and the second starts, the pepper begins to be supplanted by creamy coffee notes. There is a light sweetness to be found as well - like a faint, dark chocolate - and a bit of charred oak.
Sadly, no change it the draw - still wide open. The burn, with some help, has rectified itself to be much more steady and straight. Towards the back half of the middle third, the cigar struggled to stay lit and, unfortunately, required a re-light. As noted in the first third, the ash continues to be pretty flaky with no departure in the coloration noted in the initial light up.
Second Cigar Update: Flavors are pretty much on-point with the first. The burn has improved along with the draw but the cigar went out again at about the mid-point.
> Wood, coffee, chocolate
The final third departs from the pepper almost entirely - the only trace left is found in the retrohale. Wood flavors dominate the palate with drop-ins from some coffee and more savory notes. Cream with a touch of sweet chocolate tone helps to marry the flavors together.
The draw has actually gotten better - offering slightly more resistance than previously. It is still open but within a more acceptable range. Where the draw has improved, the burn line has reverted its poor performance in the first half. A quick touch-up helps but for a cigar of this caliber it should be unnecessary.
Second Cigar Update: Much like the other notes, the second cigar is performing better overall - flavor complexity and balance, draw and burn.
While the performance varied wildly between each cigar, the overarching flavors persisted. The subtleties varied but the 702 was a deeply complex and rich experience. The flavors balanced superbly with notes of pepper, soft sweetness and cream, along with some leather and wood.
The burn is a tale of two cigars - the first was miserable and completely unwarranted from a high-end cigar; the second was much more on par with what you'd expect from a $30 cigar. That said, even the second cigar required some attention to stay lit and control the burn line a bit. Honestly, I expect much more out of a cigar in this range - especially one rolled in a Davidoff factory.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
👍 Fantastic balance & complexity
👎 Wildly varying experience
👎 Does not merit price point
Construction & Appearance ....... 0.80 / 0.80
Pre-Light Characteristics ............. 0.50 / 0.50
Lighting Process ............................. 0.47 / 0.50
Smoking Experience ..................... 6.76 / 7.70
Personal Enjoyment ....................... 0.46 / 0.50
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
Part of shelling out $30 for a cigar means you know exactly what you're getting. Davidoff has a stellar history of living up to the price point and this made the Seleccion 702 a bit of a shock - especially given that it was specifically recrafted to commemorate the company's 50th anniversary. Few people can afford to regularly smoke a cigar commanding this kind of coin - making it almost certainly a celebratory stogie. Even if the first cigar I smoked was a rouge dud, those really shouldn't exist in this range. The flavors on the first were good; the flavors on the second were fantastic. The real downfall of the first was the burn and the loose draw - basically poor craftsmanship.
MORE PICTURES FROM THE REVIEW:
HOW WE COMPARE:
I love reading other reviewers' thoughts on the cigars I'm smoking and reviewing. Here's how my review stacks up compared to some other, probably better reviews:
|Site||Vitola Reviewed||Rating||Normalized Rating||Link|
|halfwheel||Toro Especial Seleccion 702||92||9.2||https://halfwheel.com/review-davidoff-limited-edition-2009-seleccion-702/42025|
|Stogie Review||Toro Especial Seleccion 702||Not Rated||-||http://www.stogiereview.com/2009/08/29/davidoff-seleccion-702-le-09/|
|Toasted Foot||Toro Especial Seleccion 702||7.95||8.0||http://www.toastedfoot.com/2009/08/davidoff-seleccion-702-limited-edition-2009/|
|Cigar Authority||Toro Especial Seleccion 702||95||9.5||https://thecigarauthority.com/davidoff-seleccion-702-limited-edition/|
|Cigar Smoker's Journal||Toro Especial Seleccion 702||92||9.2||http://www.acigarsmoker.com/2009/10/28/cigar-review-davidoff-seleccion-702/|
Across the board Davidoff’s Seleccion 702 has gotten glowing reviews. Were my experiences not so drastically different, I’m sure my rating would have been a bit higher and match up with some of the very high ratings noted above.