Humidor 5 Sterne Davidoff Ambassador Zechbauer München

Davidoff’s Star System

Oettinger Davidoff AG has about two dozen subsidiaries worldwide that service their respective markets. Since 1973, there has been a depository system in place for the company’s trade partners, which obligates retailers to offer Davidoff’s full product range. In the meantime, in Germany and Austria a new model has stood out. Within the first year of its implementation, turnover increased by 43 percent. 

Cigar Journal Interview Davidoff Olaf Ruf

Photo: Volker Schäffner

When Olaf Ruf took over management of Davidoff of Geneva Germany GmbH in 2016 and a short time later also the Austrian subsidiary, he undertook the development of a new sales model. He wanted to make it easier for tobacconists to become trade partners; above all, however, he wanted to make the partnerships more flexible and more advantageous for both sides. “The old depot system in Germany was very rigid,” Ruf explains. “Only a few tobacconists were able to offer the Davidoff brand in their shops because it obligated them to offer the full product range.”  Prior to the change in the depository system in mid-2017, there were 125 Davidoff depositories in Germany; today there are 305 partners in three categories. Ruf says, “It was important to us to create a win-win situation for everyone – for customers, retailers, and for our company.”  Ruf explains why Oettinger Davidoff AG has a depository system in place and can’t offer its products to simply every dealer. [Editorial note: the only exception being Austria, where, due to the tobacco monopoly all tobacconists must be supplied.]  “Davidoff is a luxury brand that raises high expectations among consumers. That’s why we only work with partners that can also fulfil these expectations together with us. To be a Davidoff depository you need more than a certain selection of goods. We attach great importance to retailers and their employees having in-depth knowledge of cigars. Today, connoisseurs are well-informed and expect the same from their dealers.”  For this, the company has developed an online training tool for retailers, the so-called Davidoff Academy. There are also special training courses and tastings. Davidoff supports its partners with high-quality showcase designs and decorations, which in turn ensures a uniform brand identity. “The depository system in Germany and Austria is a complete package that requires a lot of dedication and motivation from the participating merchants to provide consumers with the exclusive shopping experience that they expect from Davidoff.”  The depository system is similar in Germany and Austria. Depending on the depository level (analogous to hotels with stars), there are various requirements that the location must meet in order to be a Davidoff partner. 


DAVIDOFF-AMBASSADOR-EXCLUSIVE On August 1, 2019, a strictly limited Davidoff Exclusive Germany Edition came onto the market. This is only available in flagship stores and 5***** Ambassador tobacconists. The cigar comprises a complex blend with tobaccos from four various countries of origin.  From the first draw, this Robusto keeps the connoisseur in suspense with a diverse play of flavors and aromas. Is it more piquant or full of herbal spice? More cedary or, rather, flowery? Do the roasted aromas have the upper hand or do the spices prevail? Everyone has to decide for themselves with this exciting cigar. One thing is for sure: there’s something of everything, and it makes you want a second sampling.


The Davidoff Starred Specialists*  Alongside the three Davidoff Flagship stores in Germany the following categories of tobacconists exist: 5***** ambassador (Germany: 80, austria: 32) Product Range: 40 Davidoff formats, 7 small cigars, 8 The Griffin’s formats, 7 Camacho formats, as well as Davidoff pipe tobacco and cigarillos  4**** Premium Partners (Germany: 64, austria: 19)  Product Range: 21 Davidoff formats, 5 small cigars, 4 The Griffin’s formats, 5 Camacho formats, as well as Davidoff pipe tobacco and cigarillos 3*** Depot Partners (Germany: 158, austria: 7) Product Range: 10 Davidoff formats, 3 The Griffin’s formats, 3 Camacho formats, as well as Davidoff pipe tobacco and cigarillos  Here you can find all the Davidoff specialist dealers in Germany and Austria. 

His journalistic career began in 1979 as a freelancer for German-language newspapers in the US, and later for Austrian media including Die Wochenpresse and Das Wirtschaftsblatt. For ten years he also produced programs for over 60 radio stations around the world. In 1994, Reinhold C. Widmayer devoted himself to all things cigar, publishing technical articles in cigar magazines. He began working for Cigar Journal in 2001 and became editor-in-chief in 2005; under his auspices the journal has established itself as the world’s leading cigar magazine.


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