Avo 85th Anniversary 2011 Limited Edition

Avo 85th Anniversary 2011 Limited Edition

Avo CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Diadema
Size : 6.6 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Peru
Price : $17.50 MSRP

Avo 85th Anniversary is the annual release celebrating Avo Uvezian’s birthday. The first one was released 10 years ago and since then it has become a tradition. I have tasted several of these releases and it has been hit or miss. In particular, the 2008 Tesoro didn’t impress me much. However, the 2011 release has collected mostly positive reviews and I couldn’t resist picking a sampler when I stopped by the Davidoff shop in Geneva. Unlike most other Avo smokes, this is not a Dominican puro. The 6.6 x 50 Diadema (sort of a long perfecto) sports a sun grown Dominican wrapper and is filled with San Vicente and Piloto Dominican tobacco. The binder is, however, Peruvian. Let’s see how it smokes, shall we?

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★☆
The format is interesting and the cigar itself is a pleasure to look at. Its soft brown wrapper shows several prominent veins and exhales a spicy smell with dry wood notes at the foot. Rather hard to the touch, it creaks slightly when pressed with fingers. The classic (Domaine-like) band is complemented with a second 85th anniversary band.

Construction : Rating: ★★★½☆
Have you ever had a plugged Avo? I seriously don’t remember having one and this was no exception (at $17.50 MSRP I sure hope there aren’t many plugged sticks…). The perfecto is easy to light and burns slowly, needing a correction here and there as the burn line wanders a little. It produces generous amounts of thick white smoke. Some people even found this smoke too thick as I was once (gently) asked to move to the last table in a café – apparently a family couldn’t enjoy their dinner properly.

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½
After the initial (and very short) spiciness, the usual Avo cedar flavors are progressively appearing, but these are definitely not the only ones present. The first third allows the cigar to slowly deploy its array of notes – dried fruits, coffee, raisins, gingerbread, all nicely balanced and interlinked. The smoke is very creamy and marks a huge difference with the Tesoro, which I found rather rough and unrefined. In the second third, the body is still medium and I note with satisfaction that there is almost no grassiness/hay that I sometimes experience with Avo smokes. Is this due to a sufficient amount of aging prior to the release? The coffee/cocoa sweetness is very present on the tip of the tongue. The last third is still creamy, despite a noticeable strength increase. After approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, I put it down almost nubbed.

Value : Rating: ★★★½☆
Yeah, it costs $17.50 (without taxes…), but it’s not a petit robusto either. I found the price/quality ratio acceptable and wouldn’t hesitate to pick a few more sticks, considering the creaminess and the richness of palette.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★☆
This is one of the best (if not the best – I need to smoke some more Heritage to decide) Avo smokes that I have recently smoked. If you’re a fan of Mr. Kelner’s flavor profile, you won’t be disappointed with the 85th anniversary. This medium-bodied smoke with abundant, complex flavors, should become even better with 1-2 years of age on it.