Davidoff Special Series - Special R

 

Country:  Dominican Republic
Wrapper:  Ecuador
Binder:  Dominican Republic
Filler:  Dominican Republic
Price:  $7.80 - $28.20

Available in 6 Sizes:

Entreacto - Cigarrillos (3.5" X43)  
Short Perfecto (4.9" X 52)
Special 'R' - Robusto (4.9" X 50) [pictured]
Special 'R' Tubo (4.9" X50)

Special 'T'  - Toro (6.0" X 52)
Double 'R' - Churchill (7.5" X 50)

Q&A

Richard Krutick
Head of Marketing Davidoff of Geneva

It has been our experience that when you meet a traditional “Davidoff Smoker” and ask which Davidoff they prefer, more often than not they name one of the Special Series. Why is that?

Agreed. This line is undoubtedly the one with which we’ve become most known. When smokers get to-gether and someone brings up the Davidoff brand, they’re almost always associating a cigar from the Special Series. Personally, I think the shape is a huge factor with this line. Three unconventional leaves were used in the blend and it does have a very popular flavor profile, but it seems these vitolas began a slight evolution from the original cigars that first brought Davidoff renown. The Special R line was really what began to break the mold. It’s when Davidoff started to come into its own.

From the outside looking in, it seems that the Davidoff brand and its leadership always establish a line, solidify and strengthen its place in the market, and then evolve from it in the next cycle. Is that more or less the strategy?

Absolutely. It actually touches all the brands featured in this group. We began with a foundation of classic vitolas with mild flavors and, through the years, we’ve developed cigars we thought would push the brand by building upon that core. Starting with the Special, followed by the Millennium Blend, then Puro d’Oro, and finally the Nicaragua, which have all built on each predecessor’s strengths. This developed a strong evolution of not simply the cigars, but of Davidoff as a brand.

Let’s apply the evolution principle more specifically to the Special. How would you describe the difference between Special and the lines that came before it?

That’s a great question, actually, and an idea that we’ve put quite a bit of thought into over the years. We think of those original classics as having the same basic ingredients with slightly different recipes. They have very similar flavor profiles, but retain minute distinctions. Moving down the lines, some would have more flavor intensity than others, and by the time you get to the Special Series, it’s the most full-bodied of those lighter classic cigars. The Classic and Mille (Thousand Series) are very similar and equally mild, then the Grand Cru and Special take it up a notch. The Special is a pretty full cigar when you’re comparing to the classic Davidoffs. We consistently have blind tastings with these three cigars to delve into these distinctions as deeply as possible and smokers are always blown away by it.

What do the smokers who go through one of these blind tastings find is the biggest difference between the Special Series and the classics?

I think the most common answers revolve around a more pronounced nuttiness and spice than the classic lines.

There is a new ad new campaign from Davidoff that sort of celebrates a part of this evolution, right?

There is. It’s titled “Viva subtlety, Viva sophistication,” and it’s the idea that these are subtle, sophisticated cigars. They don’t need to shout. Our cigars have nu-ance and flavor. They’re rich with subtle aromas and refinement, untouched by either fashion or fad. We think it’s time for the return of purity and originality of classic cigars that display that timeless quality for which we’re so well known.

 

Nub Cameroon

 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $6.00  - $7.50

Available in 4 sizes:
358 - 3 3/4" X 58 (Natural Robusto)
460 - 4 X60 (
Natural Rothschild)
464T - 4" X 64 (
Torpedo)
466BPT - 4 X66 (Natural Torpedo)

Q&A

Cory Bappert
VP of Sales, 
Oliva Cigar Co.

Nub has been one of the more interesting phenomena in the cigar industry. It has been copied time and time again, yet whenever anyone refers to that size, they say “Nub size.” What do you attribute to the incredible success of this brand?

Hands down, Nub has become not just an established brand, but it’s become a staple in the industry as well. When it was first released, some dismissed it as simply a gimmick, but now it’s more recognizable than many other brands out there. These cigars are mainstream smokes across the country and, because of that, some people have tried to imitate them. Although imitation is the highest form of flattery, these other cigars just haven’t been able to stand the test of time. Nub is not a shape or vitola; it’s a brand. A brand that represents the hard work that has gone into it. Those who have tried to imitate the Nub unsuccessfully simply thought that they could recreate a 4 x 60 cigar (for example) and that it would sell, not taking into account the fact that, at the end of the day, consumers look for quality over everything else. Consumers are what drive a cigar’s success, and the staying power of the Nub is due to the loyalty of the smokers who purchase and enjoy it. We think that’s a direct reflection of its quality. It’s not just about putting tobacco in a mold and creating a certain size. There’s so much more to it.

We understand that Nub Cameroon is second only to the Nub Connecticut in sales, beating out the Habano, Maduro and Cain Nubs. Why do you think this is?

The Cameroon is really something special for Nub. The wrapper is a true African Cameroon that’s aged an exceptionally long time. We bought the wrapper years ago, and the tremendous flavors brought out by that aging process really shine through. Some brands use Cameroon wrappers that are not authentic African Cameroon, but we think it not only sets the Nub apart, but also that smokers themselves can taste the difference. It’s no wonder it has become the second highest seller in the Nub line.

You mentioned other Cameroon wrappers, but from a flavor standpoint, what specifically sets the African Cameroon apart from the others?

Well, today’s smokers are used to the better-known wrappers — the Habano and Connecticut for example — but the African Cameroon in the Nub imparts such a unique flavor profile. The nuttiness, light spice, and oak finish make it a favorite for so many. Some people say they are not fans of the Cameroon flavor, but get hooked when they try it once. I’d argue that this Nub has the truest Cameroon flavor out there today... especially since that authentic flavor has been lost with so many imitations in the marketplace.

This is the only cigar in the Nub line that’s box pressed, right? Why is that?

Right. The 466BPT Cameroon is the only Nub that’s box pressed, and it’s because we wanted to use the same concept that we used on the Serie G Cameroon, with which has had so much success. Initially, we thought we would keep the Nub vitolas consistent, and after seeing how good the Cameroon was with a box press, we were blown away. That sealed the deal for us.

Over the years, we’ve probably seen hundreds of “Nub stand” photos on the web and social media, what’s your favorite?

Haha...The Nub stand was something we used in an ad when the cigar was first starting to gain popularity. The image showed the Nub smoked down to the ring and standing on its ash. It caught on. I remember one in particular; it shows a Nub stand in front of the Eiffel Tower... We still get tons of shots to this day and think it’s pretty cool.

 

Nub Connecticut

 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $6.00  - $7.50

Available in 4 sizes:
354 - 3 3/4" X 54 (Natural Rothschild),
358 -
3 3/4" X 58 (Natural Robusto)
460 - 4 X60 (Natural Rothschild) [pictured]
464T - 4" X 64 (Torpedo)

Q&A

Cory Bappert
VP of Sales, 
Oliva Cigar Co.

Who is currently handling the product development for the Nub line and is there anything new in the pipeline for the brand?

There’s always been a collective effort within the company to expand and experiment with new lines, but we find that the Nub blends have become such a popular choice for so many smokers that we’ve chosen to maintain that high level of quality and consistency rather than try and stray too far from what works. That said, we may surprise smokers with a limited release or two very soon, so keep your eyes open.

The Nub brand has grown significantly year after year. Do you find that there is a particular segment of cigar smokers that gravitate more to the Nub than others?

You know, there is really no individual segment of the market that smokes Nub; they all smoke Nub. We’ve seen that our customers come from all ages (obviously referring only to adults), backgrounds, and smoking styles. Nub has transcended the consumer base and there’s something in the Nub portfolio for smokers of every preference from the Connecticut on down.

Much has been said and written about just how much tobacco goes into each Nub cigar; can you give us a tangible example that smokers can easily relate to?

I can tell you that there’s as much tobacco in a 4 x 66 Nub as there is in an 8 x 52 cigar. It’s certainly enough tobacco to satisfy just about every type of smoker out there.

That’s an incredible amount of tobacco for such a short cigar! No wonder they don’t burn as fast as newbies expect.

Because it is such a different cigar and perhaps requires certain skills and proficiencies on the part of the buncher and roller, is the manufacture of Nub Cigars handled any differently than other products made at the Oliva Cigar Factory?

Without a doubt. From a bunching and rolling standpoint, it takes dedicated rollers that have been trained and have experience in the Nub format to make them, but in terms of the raw material that goes into Nub and the quality control processes that we have at the Oliva Cigar Factory, they are treated with the same high level of scrutiny as all premium cigars made at our factory. But to come back to your question, Nub has it’s own dedicated rolling room in the factory and the rollers in there are very adept at working with the Nub format — and still we can never make enough. In fact, due to the ever-increasing demand, we’ve recently had to expand into the new Oliva factory in downtown Estelí. Among other Oliva products, the new factory rolls the Nub Connecticut, Nub’s most popular blend.

The Nub Connecticut is easily one of the most flavorful Connecticut Shade cigars on the market today. So while it is not surprising that it is the most popular Nub, what do you attribute it’s popularity to?

Well you said it, it is an incredibly flavorful and wellbalanced cigar, forget that it’s a Nub. Consumers opt for the Nub Connecticut when they are looking for a Connecticut Shade cigar that gives them that creamy vanilla and oak profile with amped-up flavor.

That’s interesting; internally we joked about wanting to eat it because it smells so good in the pre-light.

We say the same thing!

 

Nub Habano

 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $6.00  - $7.50

Available in 4 sizes:
358 - 3 3/4" X 58 (Natural Rothschild)
460 - 4 X60 (
Natural Rothschild) [pictured]
464T - 4" X 64 (Natural 
Torpedo)
466- 4 X66 (Natural Rothschild)

Q&A

Cory Bappert
VP of Sales,
Oliva Cigar Co.

The Nub and Cain brands were developed under Studio Tobac, but that all seems to be in flux. What is the current state and structure of Studio Tobac?

We’re actually in the process of transitioning both the Nub and Cain brands outside of Studio Tobac, to be marketed separately. This allows us to focus more on making Studio Tobac a brand that releases more limited edition and exclusive cigars. Nub and Cain are so strong as individual brands that it’s more efficient to have them stand on their own and allow Studio Tobac to move forward in creating other unique and exciting lines.

The wrapper on that Nub Habano is a think of beauty. Is that wrapper used on any other cigars in the Oliva portfolio?

Actually, yes! That same Habano wrapper is also found, in some form or fashion, on a couple of our other premium lines. Specifically, the Serie O shares this same wrapper and the Serie V, one of our most sought after cigars, uses this wrapper but from a different priming.

What’s the biggest misconception cigar smokers have about Nub?

What we’ve heard the most at events or when speaking to consumers is that, because of the smaller vitola, they assume it’s a shorter smoking duration, and that’s simply not the case. Almost every time, I don’t even have to say a thing, because when someone suggests that, there’s another smoker who puts that myth to rest. Initially, that was the biggest challenge we found... convincing smokers unfamiliar with Nub that it was a comparable smoking time to most other vitolas.

It must surprise the hell out of those who think that Nub is a “quick smoke,” especially when they reach for a Nub Habano and find that not only is it not quick, but it’s also no joke. It has some power to it!

Yeah, it happens… our Oliva Cigar representatives as well as our tobacconists do their best to guide smokers in the direction of the product that the smoker will enjoy most but as you can imagine, some guys want to dive right in. And that’s OK too, as long as at the end of the day they enjoy their cigar.

Do you think the shorter size of the Nub influences when and where people enjoy them?

Honestly, I don’t think so. I haven’t heard anyone tell me that the size itself plays any part in that decision. On the contrary I’ve heard numerous people say that they enjoy them all over the place. 

Over the years Nub, Cain, and Studio Tobac have hosted some of the best in-store promotional events that we’ve ever attended. They were the kinds of events that people drove to from miles around for a chance win some pretty incredible prizes. Are there plans to continue with that event strategy?

I’m sure you remember when we gave away the Corvette and Mini Cooper with Nub and the custom motorcycle with Cain. But as much fun as those huge events were, we wanted to step back a bit and go in a different direction for promotions. Since the Studio Tobac tour is complete, what we’ve decided to do is keep the events smaller in size but much more widespread. The tour in a way limited us by only having one event in one location at a time. But with numerous events occurring simultaneously, we see it as a win for everyone. We still have plenty of give-a-ways and raffles for really great prizes, but we’re doing it at more shops across the country. Ultimately, we feel that more people can enjoy Nub events this way — people who may not have been able to travel to those larger ones. Our goal moving forward is to ensure that we can pass on more value to our loyal customers as well as keep them smiling with cool bonuses more often.