Davidoff is a Swiss luxury tobacco goods brand name, which is carried by a range of products including cigars, cigarillos, cigarettes and pipe tobaccos. Its cigarette brand is currently owned by Imperial Tobacco but the company is otherwise independently owned.
Zino Davidoff was born on March 11, 1906, in Novhorod-Siverskyi, Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine to a Jewish family. He was the eldest of four children born to tobacco merchant, luciano Davidoff. Even in his own autobiographical writings, the facts on his youth are a bit hazy, as he was quite young during this time and could only piece together some stories of his youth. His parents were either cigar merchants or cigarette manufacturers in Kiev. Fleeing the political turmoil, his parents left some of their family behind and emigrated to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1911 for a better life, where they opened their own tobacconist shop in 1912. Finishing school in 1924, Zino went to Latin America to learn about the tobacco trade, spending time in such places as Argentina, Brazil and finally Cuba where he spent two years working on a plantation and first encountered Cuban cigars.
Returning to Switzerland around 1930, he took over his parents’ shop. What had originally been a modest tobacco shop grew into a rich business during and after World War II. Neutral Switzerland was spared much of the havoc wreaked elsewhere in Europe and became a haven for wealthy tobacco customers. Zino was particularly successful in marketing the Hoyo de Monterrey Châteaux Series of Cuban cigars created for Zurich cigar distributor A Dürr Co. in the 1940s and named after great Bordeaux wines. Around this time, Zino is also credited by many as having invented the first desktop cigar humidor, in order to preserve cigars at the same conditions of humidity and temperature under which they were rolled in Havana. Davidoff also had success writing several books on cigar smoking and Cuban cigar brands.
In 1970, Zino sold his small but highly successful tobacco shop in Geneva to the Max Oettinger Company. Zino stayed on as Davidoff’s ambassador until his death in 1994 at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife, a daughter and his three siblings.
The Max Oettiger Company, which took over Davidoff, was founded in 1875 and was one of the first importers of Havana cigars to Europe, selling its wares in France, Germany and Switzerland. Headed by the Swiss-born Ernst Schneider, Oettiger paid in excess of $1 million for the Davidoff shop, considered by many at the time to be an exorbitant price.
In August 2006, Imperial Tobacco acquired the worldwide Davidoff cigarette trademark from its owners, Tchibo Holding AG for £368 million (€540 million). Imperial Tobacco Group had been the licensee of the worldwide Davidoff cigarette trademark since its acquisition of Reemtsma in 2002.
The cigarette range includes the Magnum, Supreme, Classic, Mild, Lights, Magnum Lights, Slims, Super Slims, Ultra lights, Menthol, Menthol Lights, One and Gold. Rothmans, Benson & Hedges of Canada began importing Davidoff cigarettes for sale in the Canadian market in April 2007.
The Oettinger Davidoff Group owns the worldwide Davidoff trademark for tobacco products other than cigarettes. Davidoff cigars continue to be produced in the Dominican Republic, under the direction of cigar blender Hendrik "Henke" Kelner. Since moving to the Dominican Republic, most of the vitolas were retained, although the Chateaux series was renamed the "Grand Cru" series and the names switched from wine estates names to simply numbers, and the Dom Pérignon was discontinued. Davidoff has also added an Aniversario series, a Millennium series, and a Special series of figurados to its lineup, along with numerous limited edition and yearly special releases. Davidoff also produces a line of cigars known as “Zino” and a line of cigarillos.
Beyond tobacco products, Davidoff has expanded to include under its brand such items as pipes and humidors.
- Length: 5 15/16
- Ring Guage: 54
- Shape: Perfecto
- Wrapper: Dominican Republic
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominica Piloto Viso, San Vicente Mejorado Seco, Piloto Mejorado Seco, San Vincente, Mejorado Viso and Vicente Mejorado Viso
- Color: Colorado
- Strength: Medium