Dunhill & Escudo Navy De Luxe: The Verdict

On November 16, I wrote an article asking the question, are "Dunhill & Escudo Navy De Luxe the Same?" I pointed out several similarities and one difference. In a close-up photo, the Escudo appeared to have more yellow, or lighter colored Virginia tobacco, and the Dunhill "coin" appeared a bit darker. This was only noticeable in the close-up photo of the side-by-side comparison. In that particular photo, the two tobacco blends look different. So does this answer our question? Is the answer, "No, they are not the same"?

We don’t have a CSI lab here, so we can’t run sophisticated forensic tests, but … we have uncovered additional evidence that points to a verdict. We spoke to three different confidential industry sources. We also made some of our own additional observations, and of course, we have the results of our own taste tests not previously revealed.

One confidential industry source told us of the geographic origin of the tobaccos in the Dunhill blend. They are supposedly different from Escudo. A second source said that, "Yes, these two blends are one in the same", and a third source said, "No, they cannot be the same because of contractual obligations regarding the secret Dunhill recipes". This conjures up thoughts of the urban legend of “Coca-Cola’s Top-Secret Recipe”, supposedly known only to two top executives, with each one of them only knowing half of it. 

Who holds the secret recipes for Dunhill tobaccos, and where are they kept? Are they guarded by British Foot Guards, such as those that guard Buckingham Palace?

 As noted in our Dunhill De Luxe Navy Rolls Review, “The blend consists of Virginia and Perique. The Virginia tobaccos origin is Brazil and Africa, and the Perique is of course from Louisiana.” On the tin of Escudo, it is noted that the Virginia tobaccos come from the U.S. states of Virginia and North Carolina. That would be an obvious difference. However, tobacco from the U.S. is more expensive than tobacco from Brazil and Africa, and it is possible that the original tin description was left as is while the source of the tobaccos may have changed for economic reasons – profitability and economies of scale.

Based on what would appear to be the official posturing, these two blends are similar, but they are not one in the same.

My opinion, however, is that Dunhill De Luxe Navy Rolls and Escudo Navy De Luxe are the same.

I have smoked them both at the same time alternating back and forth in two pipes that are exactly the same shape and size. In my opinion, they taste exactly the same.

Now, let’s get back to that picture where the two coins looked different. There were some astute comments made on the original article.

Yachtexplorer said: “It would also be a good thing to ascertain if both tins are of the same age. I find that tobaccos tend to darken in the tin with age.”

Anders said: “Dunhill has a darker toned virginia, may this be due to aging?”

I believe they are both right. In the photo where the two coins look different, the Dunhill coin on the left is from a tin that was opened three months prior. Keep in mind that these type of tins are vacuum-sealed, and once they are open, the Virginia tobacco starts to age. The Escudo coin came from a fresh tin that was just opened at the time the picture was taken.

Going back to my review of the Dunhill blend, even though it was published a week after the original comparison article, the photos in that article were taken when the tin was first opened. In my reviews, I like to show the readers what the new, untouched tobacco looks like when the tin is first opened.

If you compare the coins of Dunhill and Escudo when the tins are both freshly opened, they both show the yellow-colored Virginias.

Look at the close-up of the freshly opened tin of Dunhill here. Compare that to the Escudo coin on the right in this photo from the original article.

Are they the same? Officially – NO. In my opinion, YES.

What do YOU think?

There is only one way to find out. Go and buy a fresh new tin of each, and do your own side-by-side comparison, and then come back here and tell us what YOU find.

6 Responses

  • Still havn’t tried any of these, but I just got back from Paul Olsen’s downtown … they’ve just made ‘Big Coin’, a limited Escudo clone that I’m hoping will give me an idea about this genre. They look exactly like the coins in your pictures.

  • The same to me except one is cheaper . Sometimes the discs are lighter depending on how old the tin is . IMO

  • Well, thanks for clearing that up… to my satisfaction, at least. If they are in fact different, and they’ve managed to fool you, then they would have fooled me too.

  • You piqued my curiosity with your article so I undertook the same experiment.
    Other than price and perhaps color (depending upon the tin), I found no difference in taste. The best part of the experiment was the satisfaction of enjoying my pipes with two great tasting, satisfying, mild and flavorful smokes!
    Cheers to all
    Stephen Spring