In the year 2004, Davidoff made a breakthrough in terms of cigar blending and craftsmanship, introducing what the company claims to be the world’s first cigar blend to contain seven different tobaccos. The difficulty is made more significant when taking into account the cigar’s size, which features a relatively slim 48 ring gauge. In this format, the added benefits of tobacco variety—and therefore complexity—are countered by difficulties in leaf placement during construction; making it a challenging task to achieve a desirable and consistent draw.
After the cigar’s initial release, the limited edition Real Especiales <<7>> later received cult status from collectors and enthusiasts, earning some of the highest ratings ever recorded for Davidoff.
In recent years, Davidoff has openly embraced re-releases of some of the brand’s most prized blends from the past. This was most evident in 2018—marking the company’s 50th anniversary—where cigars such as the Davidoff Diademas Finas and Selección 702 Limited Edition 2009 were brought back in limited quantities. The Robusto Real Especiales 7 marks the latest such release, bringing the vintage cigar back in its original size/blend for 2019.
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Robusto Real Especiales 7 Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Dominican (Olor Seco)
- Filler: Dominican
- Seco: Piloto | Olor Seco
- Viso: San Vicente | Piloto
- Ligero: San Vicente
- Factory: Cigars Davidoff (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Limited Edition (4,000 boxes for US | 92,800 cigars worldwide)
- Vitola: 5½” x 48 (Robusto)
- Price: $28.50 (MSRP)
Davidoff Robusto Real Especiales 7 is crafted from six different Dominican tobaccos and finalized in a Habano-seed Ecuadorian wrapper. The blend is said to embody the signature flavor profiles from each of Davidoff’s four most recognizable blends: Signature, Grand Cru, Aniversario and Millennium.
Differing from the white lacquered displays often associated with Davidoff’s most luxurious cigars, the Robusto Real Especiales 7 arrives in 10-count wooden boxes (as well as four-count sampler packs that are sold exclusively at Global Travel Retail locations). The boxes have a classic feel and are highlighted by a gold-foil stamp that designates the cigars as “Vintage Blend.”
The cigars feature the familiar Davidoff “White Label” band and are joined by a new sub-band that reads “ESPECIALES 7;” this is an updated look from the original sub-band of the 2004 release. The cigar itself shows a wrapper that is much darker than your standard Davidoff—darker even than most non-Davidoff Habano wrappers on the market. The leaf is toothy and has a light-grit sandpaper feel to it. There are a few lumps and bumps protruding from beneath the wrapper, with thin veins and tight seams helping to reaffirm the cigar’s status as luxury. The bunch is roughly medium-firm, which feels solid, but is admittedly softer than expected.
The Habano wrapper emits aromas of barnyard hay, tang, and a little Belgian-ale-like funk. The foot shows sweet tobacco upfront, backed by terrarium (though thankfully absent of ammonia) and fresh mountain air. The pre-light draw is fairly open (again, surprising), with notes of cedar, milk, leather, and corn nuts.
Davidoff Robusto Real Especiales 7 lights up with a somewhat dry profile that seems to be dominated by its Olor tobaccos (positioned in the binder and filler). It is a very roasty combination, with flavors of charred nuts, raw peppercorn, and salted nut shells laying heavy on the palate. This is joined by a numbing, menthol-like sensation from the raw tobacco against the tongue (noticeable through the finish and beyond). But this profile is quickly juxtaposed by sweet and floral tones that are much more on par with what enthusiasts have come to expect from Davidoff’s “White Label” offerings: white chocolate, sourdough, perfume, and creamy champagne are all available.
Starting out with a bang of a sort, Especiales 7 pulls back at around the half-inch mark, gradually settling into a more consistant profile and eventually leading to deeper complexities. The draw is virtually perfect (slight resistance), bringing medium to medium-plus amounts of smoke into the mouth on each puff. This smoke is noticeably thicker in texture than the silk-like feel of conventional Davidoffs, hitting the palate on the salt, sweet, acidic, and bitter receptors (in roughly that order). The cigar shows a wavy burn throughout the first half (nothing to be concerned about in the slightest) and an overall profile that is medium-plus in flavor and medium-light in strength and body.
Between the dark opening and the halfway mark is the cigar’s best moments. The smoke is extremely long-lasting, provoking long chewing to wring out every bit of flavor each puff contains. Toffee candy and cream cheese flavors are upfront, with more of the white chocolate note and and an added uniqueness of fondant cake icing helping to provide an “it factor” throughout the finish.
But the robusto makes a return to its dark beginnings shortly thereafter. Along with an increase in strength and body (now squarely medium), there are new flavors of dark chocolate, anise, milk, and nuts. In this territory, the smoker may need to show a bit of restraint, as the cigar can become overheated (and therefore charry in profile) if not careful. With a bit of finesse in smoking intervals, there are more nuances to be discovered still; spicy walnuts, heavily toasted bread, bitter cocoa, and something more peculiar—guava fruit comes to mind—help to bring the Especiales 7 to a satisfying finale.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
It may not be my favorite Davidoff of all time, but the Robusto Real Especiales 7 is certainly worth multiple revisits. I don’t know if I’d call it a luxury or celebratory smoke; more along the lines of something I’d smoke alone, strictly paying attention to the cigar’s many evolving complexities.
- Robusto Real Especiales 7 may have been the first seven-tobacco blend, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Other notable cigars that boast high-tobacco blends are Alec Bradley Fine & Rare (10 tobaccos), Surrogates 7th Sam (seven tobaccos), many AVO blends (the Improvisation Series LE19 being the most recent, with seven tobaccos), and RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana (aka CRAFT, with eight tobaccos), among others.
- As advertised, I could taste familiar elements from each of Davidoff’s main blends. However, the Aniversario and Millennium blends seemed to have more of an impact than the Signature and Grand Cru.
- Flavor: Medium-full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Charred nuts
- White Chocolate
- Sweet cream cheese
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Champagne | Wheatwine ale | Whiskey sour | Cheesecake
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack to box
- Exciting flavor changes
- Long-lasting finish
- Unique "it factor" flavors of fondant, white chocolate, and guava
- Somewhat quick burning
- Dark flavors can veer into harsh territory if puffing is not carefully paced
- Outward appearance not quite as pristine as expected from Davidoff