Zino Davidoff

Zino Davidoff

Swiss industrialist, owner of the famous brand 'Davidoff'
Date of Birth: 11.03.1906
Country: Switzerland

  1. Biography of Zino Davidoff
  2. Early Life
  3. Success in the Tobacco Business
  4. Literary Contributions and Later Life

Biography of Zino Davidoff

Zino Davidoff, whose real name was Zinoviy (Zuselle-Meer) Gilelevich Davydov, was a Swiss industrialist and the owner of the famous 'Davidoff' brand. He was a tobacco merchant and the founder of the tobacco brand 'Davidoff', a Swiss trade mark that encompassed a wide range of products including cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco. The brand is currently owned by the company 'Imperial Tobacco'. According to contemporaries, four words most accurately described Zino Davidoff: elegance, humanism, humor, and charm. He was friends with many celebrities and members of royal families.

Zino Davidoff

Early Life

Zino Davidoff was born on March 11, 1906, in Kiev, which was then part of the Russian Empire and is now the capital of Ukraine. However, according to other sources, he was born in the small town of Novhorod-Siverskyi in northern Ukraine. Zinoviy was the eldest of four children of tobacco merchant Henri Davidoff, as he called himself in emigration, and his wife Rashel Orlova. Information about Zino's childhood is somewhat vague, as he was very young at the time and could only recall a few episodes from his family's history. His parents were either tobacco traders or cigarette manufacturers in Kiev. Fleeing from political unrest, they emigrated to Switzerland in 1911 in search of a better life, settling in Geneva and opening their own tobacco shop in 1912.

Zino Davidoff

Success in the Tobacco Business

After completing school in 1924, Zino traveled to Latin America to gain a better understanding of tobacco production and related trade. He visited Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba, where he spent two years working on tobacco plantations and was introduced to Cuban cigars for the first time. Upon his return to Switzerland in 1930, Zino took over the management of his parents' shop. What initially began as a modest tobacco store turned into a highly successful business during and after World War II. Neutral Switzerland managed to avoid much of the chaos and devastation that ravaged other European countries, and it became a refuge for many affluent tobacco consumers. Zino's special achievement was the introduction of the premium-class Cuban cigar series 'Hoyo de Monterrey Châteaux' to the market in the 1940s, created for the cigar distributor 'A Dürr Co.' in Zurich. It is believed that around the same time, Zino invented the first tabletop cigar humidor, a special box for storing cigars that maintains the same humidity and temperature as during the production process in Havana.

Literary Contributions and Later Life

Davidoff is also known for writing several books on proper cigar smoking and Cuban cigar brands, which gained considerable popularity. In 1970, Zino sold his small but exceptionally successful tobacco shop, the 'Max Oettinger Company' in Geneva, to the first European importer of Cuban cigars for approximately one million dollars, which was a substantial amount at the time. He remained a representative of the 'Davidoff' brand until the end of his life. In the 1990s, he severed ties with Fidel Castro's regime and relocated his plantations and factories to Saint-Domingue, a former French colony, in a famous incident where he burned hundreds of thousands of Cuban cigars, accusing their manufacturer, 'Cubatabaco', of producing low-quality products. This incident played a significant role in establishing Dominican cigars as the number one choice worldwide. Zino Davidoff passed away on January 14, 1994, in Geneva at the age of 87, leaving behind his wife, daughter, and three siblings.