Zino Cigars by the Oettinger Davidoff Group defined the ultra-premium cigar.
Founded by the eminent Zino Davidoff as a result of the infamous Cuban-American trade embargo, Zino Cigars was originally a release for the American market. Davidoff was already a household name around the world, but the embargo isolated the American aficionados, already enamored with the signature quality and consistency of a Davidoff Cigar.
Zino searched for the perfect home for his new brand through the various lands where he performed his tobacconist’s pilgrimage earlier in his life—traveling through South America and the Caribbean as he had when he was learning the fine art of cultivating premium tobacco. He found that home in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras, famously writing in The Connoisseur’s Book Of The Cigar; “Honduras has a tobacco tradition which dates from the time of the Mayas . . . [a tradition which is, in essence,] the oldest in the world.” From their new headquarters, Zino Cigars were officially re-released in 1978.
Zino Cigars quickly gained fame for releasing cigars at unprecedented premium price points, at about twelve dollars a stick, adjusted for inflation. Despite the higher price point, Zino became a favorite in the American market among aficionados who appreciated the fuller, richer smoke. The iconic original core lines included the Zino Gold Label, the Zino Connoisseur Series, and the Zino Mouton-Cadet (created in honor of Zino Davidoff’s friendship with the Rothschild family of Mouton Rothschild Wines).
In 1989, production of Davidoff Cigars was moved to the Dominican Republic, under the supervision of master cultivator and cigar maker Hendrik “Henke” Kelner. With the move, Davidoff Cigars once again became available in the United States.
During the Cigar Boom of the 1990s, Davidoff flourished in the American market, lauded for its pedigree, construction, flavor, and dignified class. Zino Cigars were overshadowed as a result, and slowly began to fade off the market.
As the reverberations of the boom began to subside, Peter Arnell, the Arnell Group, and Steve Stout approached the then President and CEO of Oettinger Davidoff Group, Dr. Reto Cina, saying, “We believe that the cigar business needs to be refashioned, rejuvenated and rethought.”
Dr. Cina and PASS (Peter Arnell and Steve Stout) set out to bring a truly revolutionary cigar, and the result was the Zino Platinum line. Zino Platinum took inspiration from the flair and opulence of American musical icons of the 2000s, and created a fine, ultra-premium cigar, which broke records for being the highest priced cigar made outside of Cuba. Zino Platinum was a favorite among the elite, discerning aficionados, including famed musician and music mogul, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.
While the Zino Platinum was a pioneering success in a new class of cigars, in 2006, to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Zino Davidoff, Zino Cigars reintroduced classic Honduran offerings alongside Zino Platinum.
Today, the Zino Cigar family stands as the pinnacle of the Oettinger Davidoff Group. While Davidoff Cigars will always remain the most popular and iconic, Zino Cigars is the ultra-premium, limited release where Oettinger Davidoff can exhibit the finest in cigar making.