5th avenue lashes out to Davidoff. Sources in Germany confirmed to Ministry of Cigars that German retailers received a letter from 5th Avenue, the Habanos distributor, about Davidoff events. And the letter is pretty aggressive.
A few weeks ago, Oettinger Davidoff hosted several blind tastings in several European countries. Participants received three cigars, all without a ring and compared them to each other. At the end of the event, the cigars were revealed. It turned out that in every single event, two of the three cigars were from Davidoff and the remaining one was a Cuban cigar. For the Davidoff cigars, the Davidoff Escurio Robusto and the Davidoff Yamasa Robusto were selected. The Cuban cigars were either a Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No2 or a Partagas Serie D No.4, depending on the event. And of course, the Cuban cigars showed a lot of issues.
5th Avenue’s response
In a letter to the German retailers, 5th Avenue lashed out. The first point they raised in the letter was the providence of Habanos cigars. The cigars didn’t come from 5th Avenue, the official and only distributor for Habanos in Germany. The Cuban cigars came from Switzerland, but it is unclear if they came from an official Habanos distributor or from the gray market. And that makes it unfair competition. Several participants of the blind tastings raised questions about the storage quality of the Cuban cigars from the blind tasting.
The second point that 5th Avenue mentioned was the price difference in the cigars selected. The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No2 retails for €11,20 and the Partagas D4 retails for €11,30 fixed prices. The Davidoff Escurio Robusto retails for €15,80 and the Davidoff Yamasa robusto has a fixed price tag of €20,20.
Heinrich Villiger from 5th Avenue writes in the letter that it’s a low blow and that it’s the first time he ever sees a manufacturer of premium cigars steep to this level. According to him, the blind tastings are staged so that the Davidoff cigars will be perceived better while dragging down the main competition.
We love blind tastings. It’s a great way to educate consumers and get them out of their comfort zone. But we agree with 5th Avenue. A blind tasting should be really blind. And they should be fair. With cigars from legitimate sources, stored in optimal conditions and from the same price range. It should not be staged, with cigars from untraceable sources. If Davidoff would have purchased the cigars from the retailers that were hosting the event it would have been fair. And then picked the Cohiba Siglo II or the Cohiba Robusto, which are in the price range of the Davidoff Escurio and Yamasa it would have been fair. They failed to do that, creating an unfair ‘blind tasting’ with 5th Avenue’s fierce response as a result.