It was at the 2013 IPCPR trade show that Davidoff unveiled the Davidoff Nicaragua, turning more than a few heads and taking center stage for event attendees. The brand had focused its efforts almost entirely on Dominican tobaccos since departing from Cuba in the early ’90s. So when the brand unveiled a Nicaraguan puro, designed with an all-new black color scheme, cigar fans took notice.

Using the tagline “Explore – Adventure – Discover,” Davidoff again branched out its blending efforts in 2015, releasing the Brazilian-inspired Escurio—which again showcased Davidoff’s dark, new look and feel. Other than a few new vitola additions, Davidoff’s Nicaragua line remained unchanged, building a solid fanbase over the years. But late in 2015, news came of a new offering under the Nicaragua lineup.

The details slowly emerged over the coming months—the cigars were to become, not only the first box-pressed offerings from Davidoff, but an entirely new blend under the Nicaragua lineup. Of course, box-pressing alone can have significant changes on a cigar’s performance, altering the draw and further melding the tobaccos together.

This unique shape – square – is typical of Nicaraguan cigars. It provokes a larger than normal fresh air draw. The presence of additional fresh air lowers the temperature of the smoke, thus intensifying the aromas and flavors.

With this new blend, Davidoff has incorporated similar tobaccos from the original Davidoff Nicaragua, with the most noticeable alterations being used on the wrapper (Habano Oscuro) and fillers (Estelí ligero)—opting for a more fiery sensation. This is balanced by sweeter qualities of Jalapa (binder) and Condega (filler) leaves, giving the “bitter-sweet” profile they were searching for. You’ll notice similar filler leaves used for the original Nicaragua, but the primings, etc. have been altered for the amped up profile.

– Photo credits: Davidoff

Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Habano Jalapa
  • Filler: Ometepe | Condega | Estelí
  • Factory: Cigars Davidoff (Dominican Republic)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 5″ × 48 Robusto (box-pressed)
  • Price: $14.50 (SRP)

If you’ve smoked a Davidoff Nicaragua before, you’ll be familiar with the sleek and sexy appearance (if you haven’t, do yourself a favor, they’re delicious)—contrasting against Davidoff’s notoriously elegant, white look. The wrapper is a bit darker and takes on a rust-brown hue, which is captured nicely in the matching highlights of the cigar’s sub-band.

It’s a fantastic look/feel, which should be of little surprise. The wrapper has extremely faint veins, well-placed seams, and virtually no noticeable blemishes. I’m a big fan of this robusto size, pulling back on the ring gauge to focus a bit more on the wrapper. The shape is perfectly squared, as opposed to the more rectangular look you’ll often see. It’s about a medium pack, with a soft press and springy construction. And on the foot, the Estelí ligero is clearly noticeable with a much darker shade than the rest of the fillers (although I didn’t find this look on all my samples).

The aroma is very subdued, with light and tangy musky notes and faint notes of pepper and cinnamon on the foot. The pre-light draw reveals peanut shells, nutmeg spice, and smokey pipe tobacco.

Smoking Experience

The smoke on this box-pressed beauty will hit you instantaneously. It’s full and heavy and seems to attack the palate from all sides. Raw black pepper sits on the tongue, while sharper spices burn in the retrohale long after each puff—capping each puff off with a hint of sweetness on the finish. The draw feels perfect, producing a healthy dose of smoke output on every puff. And while the flavors are big and hard to ignore, the body and strength are more restrained, sitting around medium.



Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed cigar review

Soon the flavors balance out a bit, toning down the zesty retrohale and offering more dimension from flavors of dark chocolate, burnt nuts, and a little tanginess. The mouthfeel is on the dry side, not being mouthwatering or oily, with sharp, fiery qualities. Black pepper no doubt leads the way, feeling very raw, like chewing on whole pepper corns. Here’s you bitter element described by Davidoff, hitting the sides and back of the palate. Of course, Davidoff is never one to hit only one sensation, and there are welcomed sweeter notes of cedar, florals, and dark caramel. Although, it’s clear that the intense spices are the dominating force.

The strength begins to ramp up to around medium/full and the body follows shortly behind—although it’s very much flavor-forward throughout. I did find that a quick touchup or relight was required around every 1½” – 2″, as the smoke output and flavors would begin to go downhill—they’d be brought straight back to life with each touchup though. The profile is refined but much more edgy than anything I’ve experienced from Davidoff. And although the profile hasn’t changed dramatically, there are occasional unique elements—campfire aroma, coffee liquor, salty edges. Thankfully, none of these qualities ever delve into the hash territory—just slowly and steadily evolving around the bitter/sweet theme throughout.

Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed cigar smoking

Would I smoke this cigar again?

Affirmative. While I’ve already become acquainted with both the Robusto and Toro vitolas on more than one occasion, I certainly won’t be done with this blend any time soon. Yes, they are on the expensive side, but if you have the means to do so, the 4-pack offerings are a no-brainer. Between the two sizes, it’s a tough call for me. The Robusto had a more ideal smoke time for me (about 1.5 hours), with a more intense start—although the Toro might have been a bit more well-rounded, with less touchups.

When rating the blends thus far in this “Black Series”, Escurio lands on top, with Nicaragua Box Pressed next and the original Nicaragua shortly behind—all, however, are worthy of a spot in your humidor.

I paired the Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed with a Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Rye. The mindset was that a big, heavy-hitting Nicaraguan spice bomb would destroy most drink choices, so I found the equivalent! It worked perfectly—a body that was almost as big and spicy, but with a sweeter backbone—adding more sweetness, vanilla, and caramel to the cigar’s character. It may be tough to find this exact pairing, but I’d bet most rye whiskeys will perform similarly, especially if you can find something barrel proof.

Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed Robusto cigar review and rating

Davidoff Nicaragua Box Pressed
Davidoff has done it again and honestly, I've been having more fun with their "dark series" than their traditional offerings (don't get me wrong, those are great too). I found it impressive that the experience delivered exactly as described. It's fun/adventurous, instantly capturing what you'd expect from a Nicaraguan (much more so than the original Davidoff Nicaragua, in my opinion), and yes, bitter-sweet. I love that they are able to take a pre-existing, relatively new brand and make it fresh and fun again. Most often you'll see brands do this by simply box-pressing the cigar or making a limited edition size of some sort; but Davidoff has done a great job showing why the cigar is different, detailing the blending alterations, while still deserving a place within their growing "Nicaragua" lineup.
Appearance100%
Burn/Construction82%
Draw100%
Flavor95%
Complexity89%
Price/Value88%
Pros
  • Big, palate-smacking flavor
  • Consistent, with no harsh qualities
  • Refined, yet fiery and edgy
Cons
  • Multiple touchups
  • Not for beginners
  • Last half not as full and engaging as first half
92%Refined Spice
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
55%
  • Jack

    Thanks for the great review! First cigars I ever smoked were the Davidoff #3’s. I was shocked expecting the price to be far greater than $14.50 a stick. I’ll look into them again.

    • Hey Jack, thanks for checking out the review and commenting. It does seem like Davidoff’s been making it a point to offer at least one size per blend of the new Dark Series at a more affordable price point. It may be impractical for a lot of smokers to spring for the box, but you should definitely treat yourself to a couple of these (both sizes) and see what you think!