Davidoff Year of the Ox Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Milk chocolate
- Rolling Consistency: Perfectly even
- Spring: Gentle spring
- Aromas: Funky leather, wet grass, manure
The look and feel of the Year of the Ox superbly refined, with minimal veins on the wrapper leafy, culminating in a very oily appearance. There’s quite a firm spring, with just the tiniest hint of resistance.
So in terms of construction, there’s nothing but perfection, from the roll to the shiny dress, leaving us in joyful anticipation of the smoking experience.
Davidoff Year of the Ox Review
I kept my Year of the Ox cigars in the coolidor I have at home, properly humidified with a 69% Boveda pack and meticulously controlled with a Boveda Butler. I was honored to smoke quite a few of these beautiful sticks over a prolonged period of time, therefor I could monitor the continued evolution of the cigar, even pre-launch.
- Draw: Ideal
- Aromas: Bitter grass, nutmeg, oily beef
The wrapper is a rich, dark milk chocolate colour, revealing aromas of funky leather, wet grass besides manure, contrasted by a bit of pencil lead.
After cutting, the cold draw, which is ideal by the way, transforms into freshly cut grass, underlined by a whispering bitterness, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and an overall beefy connotation that perfectly fits the overall theme. Even pre-light, the cigar’s aromas are elegant, rich and most invigorating.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Cardamom, butter toffee, orange peel
The first third of the cigar features a very creamy beginning. There’s an abundance of dried spices, reminding me of cardamom, bay leaf and freshly grated nutmeg. Consequently, there’s a drying astringent sensation as well, mixed with salted caramel, butter toffee and a hint of dried herbs.
A few minutes into the smoke, the spices give way to salted pretzel, proudly sitting next to a luscious orange peel whiff, giving the cigar a lively, fruity connotation.
With the reoccurring cardamom theme, I discover a sweeter side of the Year of the Ox, hay and coarse grain, sprinkled with brown sugar, as well as some of the manure that I detected off of the wrapper and foot before lighting up.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Birchwood, star anise, soy sauce
The second third continues some of the fruity storylines, this time with kumquat being the prime aroma. Equally prominent is the woodiness in an olfactory manner as well as on the palate, resulting in a still quite dry and crisp sensation, further underlined by the umami component that builds up with time.
Dark soy comes to mind, just as much as light miso, and the faintest reminiscence of seagrass. With the nutty aromas still lurking in the back, there’s a beautiful peacock’s fan of sensory delights, orchestrating an intriguing overall evolution.
The strength profile consistently hovers on a medium plus level, ever so slightly spiced up by a peppery finish and retrohale, tingling star anis, whilst the nutmeg and allspice announce the sweeter side yet again.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Salted pretzel, manure, charred wood
Finally, the last third is beguilingly oily, rich and velvety, mouth-coating and lingering. The depth and structure of the cigar are most pleasantly luscious – creamy and full without feeling overly heavy and without the nicotine strength throwing off the balance of the smoke.
As a matter of fact, the rather complex experience swells into an aromatic crescendo, carried by salted pretzel, a reminiscence of manure – as already noticed upfront – and a charred oak characteristic.
The mouthfeel is smooth and the palate is perfectly stimulated in a most holistic way, which is a quality that Davidoff holds dear and proudly communicates repeatedly.
In terms of balance, astringency, dryness, sour components and sweetness: there’s a little bit of everything. The Year of the Ox keeps your palate up to speed and engaged, even over the two hours plus smoking time.
- Ash Backbone: Strong
- Burn Angle: Almost perfectly even
- Temperature: Ethereal and cooling
- Draw: Very good, slightly on the tight side
- Final Smoking Time: 120 Minutes
The overall performance is excellent, and so is the draw, even though probably perfect for those who prefer a bit of a tighter draw on their cigars.
Similarly, the ash backbone is quite stable with a light grey-ish ash, and the temperature of the smoke on the tongue is very cool with just a hint of an ethereal freshness.
Finally, the overall smoking time came to around 2 hours even though you could easily sip and smoke on this for more than two and a half hours.
As you would expect from a Davidoff Limited Edition, the design, the overall appearance and the surrounding marketing materials look gorgeous.
The Year of the Ox features the traditional, classic-Davidoff white label. Underneath is a secondary band in gold and red, with the Year of the Ox proudly featured in the middle, as well as the symbol of the ox.
The cigars come in 10-count boxes, of which 13,500 are available for the global markets. The boxes look stellar, brilliantly sparkling, shining in red and gold, just as the cigar ring. Needless to say, that all comes with a hefty price tag. In this particular case, it’s $40 for the individual stick or $400 for a box of 10.
Rest assured though, they’ll be gone rather soon, so grab one whilst you still have the opportunity. This as an occasional smoke, when you really want to treat yourself, probably for New Year’s Eve or for the Chinese New Year – to leave 2020 behind and to start 2021 in a most festive way.
It’s an occasional cigar that you want to light up with your best pals or all by yourself. If you need a retreat, it offers respite and a little bit of vacation from the current challenges we’re all facing in the world.
Pairing Recommendations With A Davidoff Year of the Ox Cigar
I love the star anise kick that I get with the Year of the Ox. Thus, I had to pair it with an aniseed liqueur. You could go for either Pastis or Ricard. Alternatively, some traditional autochthonous spirits like Raki or Ouzo would be a suitable alternative.
My suggestion is diluting it with a little bit of ice water since this will underline that ethereal freshness and the cooling effect that was already prominently featured in the smoking experience.
The purists will find tremendous pleasure in pairing the Year of the Ox with a well-aged Speyside Single Malt or a floral, elegant XO Cognac.
Instead of ye olde coffee, froth up some chocolate milk – delicious!
As a stark contrast to all that – but a none-the-less excellent pairing – is a glass of beetroot juice, which I found particularly interesting because its earthy sweetness, salty and sometimes briny character, creating the umami framework that goes beautifully well with this cigar.
Food pairing-wise, aniseed cookies are all the rave. For those of you with a sweeter tooth, grab a Snickers bar, which again, will feature a most prominent and suitable chocolate and nut combo, maybe with a sprinkle of sea salt on top, for an extra zing.
For the brave-hearted, I can only recommend trying the Year of the Ox with a bowl of beef broth. Not only does it make for a perfect fit with the theme of the zodiac, but also in terms of aroma and flavour, this is an utter delight for all your senses.
Whilst smoking the very first samples of the Year of the Ox, I detected a slightly metallic note, that was soon tamed down whilst maturing and sitting in my humidor. I saw a tremendous evolution of the cigars only within a few weeks, and the sample that I was smoking for the finalization of the review felt much more at ease and very much on point.
Give them a bit of time, smoke a cigar after purchasing, then probably leave the rest of the box aside and go back every few months or in a year from now. Not only will it prolong the opportunity of smoking this Limited Edition, but it will give you wonderful feedback regarding the ageing process and potential of these cigars.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy the cigar. So grab them whilst they’re hot grabbing whilst they’re still out there. Simply enjoy them on special occasions, maybe for the Chinese New Year.