This famous brand acts according to its motto, declared by the founder: “To enjoy, one must love; to love, you need to understand; to understand, you need to know; to know, you must first understand the details. ” And Zinoviy Davydov was born on March 11, 1906 in Kiev. His father adored to mix different varieties of tobacco, attracting to this and his relatives. In 1911 the family left Russia, settling in Geneva. Chaim Davydov turned into Henry Davidoff, and his hobby formed the basis for the establishment of a tobacco shop. This store offered products for pipes and cigarettes.


Over time, Zinovy, who became Zino in Switzerland, began to study diligently from his father’s tobacco business. Until 18 years, the young man was under the tutelage of his father, and when it became clear that his son had already grown up, he was sent to America. There the young Davidoff was to continue his “tobacco” training. And Zino’s ability to do this was really – he was amazingly determined the subtle flavors of not only tobacco, but also wines, perfumes, culinary dishes. Five years Zino studied overseas – he learned about how to grow, dry and process different types of tobacco. Davidoff visited Brazil, Argentina and Cuba. In just a few years, the errand boy in a small Geneva shop turned into a large buyer of products for tobacco factories. In Havana, Zino managed to become the first European to smoke a unique local cigar. After such a tasting, Davidoff wanted to send a batch of a unique product to his father. Moreover, he constantly hinted that it would be time to compensate for the money spent on his training. However, before Zino faced a problem – expensive cigars during the trip would simply crumble. Then the young businessman tightly closed the lid with a wooden box, and inside he placed a hygrometer, which allowed to maintain the desired level of humidity.

In 1931, a few months later, Zino appeared in his father’s Geneva shop on Ruderiv Street. A young dandy in a white satin suit was holding a treasured box in his hands. The father, seeing this simple invention, only said: “They say that everything is simple, but so much so …”. Henry was happy that his son inherited a propensity for a family business, but did not hurry to share it. My father believed that Zino should start his business from scratch. That news did not surprise him – he was used to being independent for a long time already. To start a business, I needed a loan for rent and development. However, his father refused to help in this. Zino helped marry. He loved Martha quite sincerely, and she was also the daughter of a rich merchant. The dowry of the bride was enough to open a new store. Together with her husband, Marta worked literally indefatigably – it was true love.

The first store was only half the success. At that difficult time it was extremely difficult to attract customers. Martha was able to leave the shop only once – and even then, at the time of delivery. But this absence gave the family a beautiful blond child. Already at the age of five, the girl stood behind the counter, placing herself under her feet a stool. But the girl also took revenge for her own childhood, surrounded by tobacco, and for the mother’s life spent in these walls. Much later, already before the death of Zino, the heiress refused to lead the family business – she had a very strong allergy to tobacco since childhood.

In the fate of the company, one of the days before the Second World War became important and crucial. The apartment of a young tobacco entrepreneur was called from Paris. Representatives of the largest Cuban cigar companies invited Davidoff to deal with the sale of all of their products, accumulated in European warehouses. Suppliers feared that all of their goods would simply be selected by the Germans. However, Zino could not get out of his pocket 100,000 francs in time, and the Swiss bank at first refused a loan. I had to persuade financiers to give a loan on bail of only honest name Davidoff and his person. So the cigars got to the warehouse in Geneva.During the war, Zino had regular clients-diplomats from different countries and simply immigrants who had managed to leave the countries occupied by the Germans. This business has become a real gold vein, because the supply of cigars from overseas stopped. To abandon the favorite habits was so difficult … Thus, the tobacco business of Davidoff was unexpectedly very successful.


However, just to rest on the laurels in the family was not accepted. After the war, Zino during a dinner at the restaurant drew attention to the unrealistically high price of French wines. It turned out that even he, a non-poor man, can not afford them. Negative emotions became the basis for a constructive idea. The very next day the businessman sent a box of cigars to the trading house of the famous French wine Grand Crus de Bordeaux. Davidoff only asked that he be given the opportunity to call his cigars in the name of elite drinks. The manufacturer was much surprised at such impudence, but gave permission for this, while absolutely free. In 1946, cigars appeared, whose names for rich chic lovers sounded meaningful – Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Mouton-Rotschild and others. This move proved to be very successful with a financial point of view, after that orders of the same name in restaurants Zino could afford. In 1948, the brand cigars “Davidoff” entered the market. A mixture of tobacco for them was invented by the owner himself, the name of the product was given in such a way as to show that the manufacturer guarantees its quality by its own name.

The emergence of a new tobacco product in Havana has not gone unnoticed. Cuban producers in appreciation of Davidoff even gave him a mansion in the heart of Havana. Previously, there lived the Fowler family, where they built the famous El Laguito factory, where the legendary Avelino Lara personally supervised the twisting of Davidoff cigars.

Zino took his first vacation in 25 years in 1970, traveling with his wife to Cannes. To Marthe, he said that he forbade even mentioning tobacco in his presence, because it was about rest. But after a day Davidoff threw everything and flew home on the plane – his favorite work was sweeter than rest. Becoming a millionaire, Zino lived all in the same five-room apartment, and not a personal home, and his wife still cooked him food.

In 1985, the cooperation between the Davidoff brand and Reemtsma began. As a result, several new brands of cigarettes appeared at once, the best of which Zino gave his name. To promote the brand Davidoff used the phrase: “When you know what is worth.” Advertising said that these cigarettes reflected the lifestyle and sophistication of the consumer’s taste, enabling him to emphasize his own uniqueness and vital harmony. The creator of the brand stressed that it offers the highest quality. Zino would like people to be grateful for smoking so many exquisite cigarettes.

Today, business has grown considerably. Only in the London branch of “Davidoff” is annually sold 400 thousand cigars, there are 220 species. The petty shopkeeper Khaim Davydov could not have predicted that his son’s company currently owns 26 enterprises and 39 branded stores around the world. The brand products are not limited to tobacco products alone. Since 1985, vodka and brandy “Davidoff” have been on sale, also the brand offers watches, glasses, coffee, accessories, perfumes for women and men. And in 1991, the story of the Cuban cigar line “Davidoff” ended. The heated debate over quality and brand rights led to Zino’s abandonment of this product. Now cigars of the same size were produced on the Dominican Republic. Zino could afford to give up the cult product.


Zino once asked how he, the tobacco expert, could become a winemaker. He calmly replied that it was completely analogous to the way he had become a watchmaker, a haberdasher and a perfumer. In 1994, Zino Davidoff died, and his empire was sold first to the Germans from Tchibo, and in 2006 to the British tobacco company Imperial Tobacco Group for 540 million euros.Nevertheless, the traditions of style have been preserved. So in 2008 it was Davidoff cigarettes that received the award for the best packaging design. Today it is a premium product, but the exquisite taste and appearance of it are worth it.

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