In 2021, a number of cigar brands came together to offer “Cigars for Hope”, a Toro-size sampler box of six cigars to raise funds for communities in Honduras that had been hit hard by Tropical Storm Eta, Hurricane Iota and the Covid-19 pandemic. It was from this box that I first came across Cavalier Genève, established by Sebastien Decoppet from Geneva in Switzerland, and tried the Cavalier Genève White Series.
A mild to medium cigar, according to Cavalier, it has a Habano wrapper and filler and a Connecticut binder. Put simply, the leaf is from a Cuban/Habano seed.
While I prefer medium- to full-bodied cigars, I did enjoy the White Series, particularly because of the black pepper and spicy notes that made up for the mildness. That was enough to pique my curiosity about the brand. Plus, the gold diamond on the wrapper — not a separate band — fascinated me. It’s the symbol of Cavalier Genève, said to be edible 24-karat gold, and you smoke through it.
On a recent trip to Geneva, I visited the tobacconist Rhein Cigars with the intention of trying out a couple of the Cavaliers. I was introduced to Rhein by a friend on a previous visit. Established in the early 1900s by Salomon Rhein, a Russian émigré, Rhein continues to be a family business. On my first visit, I walked in, suitcase in tow and dressed for a long flight back home, and was served without judgment.
After a discussion concerning my palate and the types of cigars I enjoy, I picked up two sticks of the Cavalier Genève Black II Series Robusto Gordo with the intention of going back for a couple more before I left Geneva, if I liked the smoke. The Black II Series is the third in Cavalier’s range, which started with the White Series followed by the Black Series.
The Black II is a maduro with a darkish Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering Nicaraguan Habano binder and filler tobacco leaves. Cavalier Genève used to work with third-party factories to roll their cigars, such as San Judas Tadeo Cigar Factory in Danli, Honduras which is where the Black II was rolled when launched in 2017. In late 2021 Cavalier opened their own factory, Fabrica Centroamericana de Tabaco S.A. in Danli and gradually moved all operations in-house.
The Black II Robusto Gordo is box-pressed and has a nice flavour profile that includes earth, coffee beans, and spice and pepper. While there is variation between the thirds, it isn’t too drastic with flavour notes drifting to the background while other become more prominent as you smoke. I had one outside a bar on a cold Geneva night and the other while taking a walk on a chilly afternoon the day I was to fly out. In both settings, the cigar smoked well, with a decent draw.
Sadly, I didn’t have the time to restock; I would’ve liked to try the Black II Robusto Gordo (and the Salomones) in Joburg’s summer climate to see how well the cigar travels. It’s definitely one I will add to my regular rotation once I find someone travelling to Geneva to pick up a box or two for me.