The Davidoff acquisition machine goes back, way back. One of their earliest acquisitions was in 2004 when they bought Griffin’s Cigars. The brand was founded in 1984 by Bernard H. Grobert who named the cigars after his night club in Switzerland. Prior to Davidoff purchasing the brand, they distributed the cigars which was exported for sale into the United States in 1989.
Today we look at the Griffin’s Special Edition 2013 which came packaged in a box that was painted on both sides, so when opening the box completely flat it would look like a blackjack table. The cigars came packed with a set of cards and dice with two different types of cigars. 17 with a lighter Ecuadorian Clara Rojiza wrapper that had a secondary band denoting Casino and 4 with a darker version of the wrapper that contained a secondary band of a joker. The cigars paid tribute to the German game 17+4 in which blackjack was derived from. On top of that, the boxes were packed with 21 cigars.
Cigar Review: Griffin’s 2013 Special Edition Joker
Size: 5.25 x 54 (Robusto Extra)
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
The Look: Our own David Garofalo who had been looking for the box these Griffin’s came packaged in managed to track one down. Upon its arrival, he took all the cigars out and dumped them into my humidor, happy to walk away with just the box that he coveted so much; needless to say this gift of 21 cigars shows how awesome it is to work for him The darker Joker version of the cigar is surprisingly oily for being almost 3 years old. There is some brindle like effects on the darker wrapper with a few veins that are raised against the leaf. The cigar is spongy and the foot slightly under filled.
The Notes: After cutting the cap I take in the aroma of the foot which serves up an aroma similar to that or espresso complete with the lemon rind. The cold draw has notes of chocolate and earth with a hint of the aforementioned espresso.
Once the cigar is toasted with the Vertigo Intimidator that was sitting on my desk the cigar becomes much darker than the notes experienced on the cold draw. For starters it is more earthy and has an abundance of pepper notes on the palate. About an inch into the cigar it begins to mellow out some and notes of orange peel and dark chocolate begin to emerge as red pepper tingles the nostrils.
In the second third of the cigar the Griffin’s Special Edition Joker changes for the better. Some of the notes experienced on the prelight draw begin to emerge with rich espresso notes and a hint of lemon rind. On the retrohale the pepper has left the building and sweet notes of chocolate develop on the finish that are enhanced by pushing the smoke through your nose.
The final third of the Joker from Griffin’s returns to the dark flavor profile of the first third with nuances of leather and dark chocolate while some subtle espresso notes remain on the finish. The retrohale sees the return of red pepper that moves the cigar to just north of medium strength.
The Burn: I was a little surprised by how thick the combustion line was and how poor the burn was. While the burn picture below showcases the cigar at its best, it began to burn crooked and jagged looking ugly at the burn line. The medium gray ash became darker as the cigar progressed but it managed to hold on for more than half the cigar. The draw was near perfect.
The Finish: When I first began smoking cigars, The Griffin’s was one of my go to sticks, and still to this day I enjoy smoking one in the morning with a cup of coffee. However, The Joker was a cigar that just fell short for me. While I enjoyed the cold draw and the middle portion of the cigar, the remainder just didn’t do it for me. The packaging was cool and I understand why David chased one down but the cigar just didn’t meet expectations.
Price: $12.00 / $252.00