The premium cigar making process is a very exacting science. Before a cigar is sold, it needs to pass several stages of approval. Cigars that pass are sold at those super-premium prices you see on the shelves of your favoured divan, cigars that don’t pass are not thrown away. More often than not, they are sold as “seconds” – cigars that are identical in content in everyway to their “first” cousins, except for tiny imperfections such as unmatching wrapper colour, mild discolourations, minor wrapper damage or veining, or too tight or loose drawings. Taste wise, they are virtually the same but serious aficionados will avoid seconds because of they are considered imperfect.
It is difficult to obtain seconds in Malaysia – mostly due to the premium nature of the Malaysian cigar market. Cigars are so expensive in Malaysia due to taxation and import costs, traditionally, only the very rich can afford them. For these people, price is hardly an issue so why bother selling seconds?
There are two brands of Davidoff seconds – Private Stock Long Filler, marked by the dark red band and Private Stock Medium Filler, marked by a lighter red band with the letters “PS” clearly printed. The cigar i tried is the Long Filler variety, a corona sized #5. I picked up a 5-pack of these cigars from the Davidoff shop in KLCC. It retails for RM95, but if you ask really nicely, you can probably get a discount of 10-15%.
The scent test produced one of the lightest, fresh tobacco smells i’ve had the pleasure of encountering in a cigar. The wrapper is a pleasant natural colour with very few veins and a healthy oily sheen. I’ve never seen a second before, but this cigar certainly looks as good as many firsts i’ve experienced.
Davidoff cigars, with the exception of the Gran Cru series, are known for their mild touch on the palate. As a Davidoff second, the Private Stock #5 is no different. It was effortless to light; just a few quick licks of flame got it started. The first few draws was very, very light. The volume of smoke was fairly large, but it tasted very “quiet” – the woddy tobacco tastes i’ve grown accustomed to by smoking Cubans or even the medium-full Avo Domaine was no where in attendance. On the outset, this is a very mild cigar. Does it get stronger past the half-way mark? Yes, but just slightly as a woody and slightly spicy flavour becomes more noticed.
The aesthetic value of this cigar is top-notch. It looks good, feels good and burns extremely well. Not a single relight was needed and the cigar burns a very white, pure ash that easily extended more than an inch before being tapped off. They each come in cello wrappers, but i took off a few and placed them in my humidor for about a week – the wrapper is extremely healthy as an oily sheen immeditately became apparent and left a very pleasant touch to the fingers as i held it.
Verdict: Buy this cigar and be amazed at how well Davidoff cigars are built. Its incredible that the Private Stock range are seconds. Taste wise, these cigars will suit many as they provide a very mild touch to the palate. An easy, anytime-of-the-day smoke. But if you prefer something stronger to wash the palate and to assist the digestive juices after a good meal in the evening, you will probably find more joy with a Cuban such as the Montecristo No. 2.