Davidoff Cigars are to the cigar world as Bentley is to the car industry. There’s simply no better recognized brand in the entire world. Of course, many believe these to be the cigar of the bourgeoisie; they’re nothing short of an amazing cigar meant for anyone to enjoy any moment of the day. They’re known for their absolutely flawless quality control, having the best of any cigar manufacturer in existence, and incredible overall consistency.
The story of Davidoff Cigars is much different than any other cigar manufacturer today. Generally speaking, a cigar company was either born in Cuba and moved after the Revolution, or simply started up somewhere in the U.S. or Latin America. Not Davidoff Cigars though. No, the story all starts with one man: Zino Davidoff. The eldest of four children, Zino was born to a Jewish family in present day Ukraine while it was still under the control of Soviet Russia. His parents were tobacco merchants in Kiev, with many loyal customers searching out their products. However, due to political turmoil and heavily anti-Semitic sentiments that reached almost genocidal levels, his family emigrated to Geneva, Switzerland in 1911 for a better life, opening a new tobacconist shop in 1912. After his schooling was finished, he traveled to South America to tour around the tobacco fields and learn more about the cigar trade in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba where he eventually ended up working for two years.
Upon returning to Switzerland in 1930, he took over his parent’s shop and grew the modest storefront into a booming business as a result of his newfound knowledge of cigars and tobacco in general. Along with continuing the business’s tradition of blending custom made cigarettes, Zino started importing premium hand-rolled Cuban cigars, and to store them in the proper environment, he invented the first ever climate-controlled humidor in the basement of his shop.
Perhaps the biggest moment for Zino was when he received a call from SEITA, the French tobacco monopoly during WWII. Basically, the Nazi’s were goose stepping all over France and the French didn’t want the Nazis to confiscate the two million habanos they had stored in a customs warehouse. Zino jumped on the opportunity to buy them all up and his shop was the only store in the world with a consistent supply of premium Cubans. The money he made by selling these cigars funded what is now the most premier cigar manufacturer in the world, Davidoff Cigars. Originally it started with only Cuban blends such as the Chateau lines, but Zino’s ties with Cubatabaco ended when quality started to falter under the state owned monopoly’s hands. Zino personally set ablaze over one hundred thousand of his own cigars saying they were not fit to be smoked due to the low standards.
He eventually opened his Dominican operation in 1990, right before the American cigar boom, and Davidoff Cigars soon became the king of the cigar world. With the transition to the Dominican factory, Zino created the flagship Davidoff Aniversario line, popular among every cigar circle and a testament to the quality and flavor Davidoff is known for. Throughout the years, and to keep up with the ever changing palates of consumers, in 2001 the Davidoff Millennium came into existence - a strong yet still wonderfully flavorful smoke for the ages. In recent years, the company made waves of husky-kid-nailing-a-cannonball proportions with their brand new Davidoff Nicaragua being premiered in late 2013 and the acquisition of Camacho Cigars from Christian Eiroa.
When you buy and light up a Davidoff Cigar, you’re not simply buying a stogie to smoke. You’re buying a rich history that started in turmoil, suffered through two World Wars, the Cuban Revolution, yet still maintained the standard of excellence Zino’s father held in that small tobacco shop in Kiev. Today, Davidoff is still going strong and will continue to create premium cigars that will be appreciated by even the most discerning smoker.