Avo Heritage Robusto

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When the limited edition Avo Compañero was released in 2009, iconic spokesman Avo Uvezian declared it “the best blend ever released under my name from the Occidental Kelner Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic.” Avo lovers look forward to Uvezian’s annual limited edition releases, and the Companero seemed to garner more praise and excitement than many previous years’ entries. Most Avo cigars tend to be like Davidoff blends: milder, more subtle, and a little more “exclusive” than what is generally found in my humidor. But the Compañero stands out, with many calling it the strongest, if not the best Avo yet.

The Avo Heritage is based on the Compañero blend, perhaps inspired by the popularity of its proud progenitor, or perhaps to fill out the Avo portfolio with a heavier cigar. It uses the same wrapper leaf, a dark Ecuadorian Habano, and for punch the filler includes three different Dominican ligero leaves. The core of the cigar is buttressed with seco leaves from the Dominican Republic as well as Peru, and the bunch is bound with a San Vicente leaf, also from the DR. The cigar was released in the summer of 2010, and is available in four sizes:

  • Churchill: 6 3/4 x 48
  • Robusto: 4 7/8 x 50
  • Short Robusto: 4 x 56
  • Toro: 6 x 50

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Construction Notes

It’s safe to assume quality construction from this factory, and the Avo Heritage Robusto holds no surprises in that regard. The wrapper is a dark and smooth colorado maduro with a touch of oil. The head is finished with a simple but elegant single cap.  The roll is firm, the draw is effortless, and it burns with a slow and even disposition.

A well made cigar draws no attention to its behavior. In that respect this one is practically invisible.

Overall construction: Excellent.

Tasting Notes

The Heritage robusto starts up with an herbal, grassy flavor overlaid with oak. There is a peppery aftertaste, and the finish is dry. A complex aroma with notes of vanilla, or even coconut, blends well with the earthier flavors on the palate.

As the cigar develops it picks up some maduro-like flavors: chocolate notes pop up amidst the grassy, mustier flavors. From the ad copy I was expecting a heavier cigar, but I found it to be medium in body and only slightly punchier than the Domaine Avo.

The last stage gives the pepper mill a few more cranks, but even with the spice and the char it remains balanced and smooth.

Conclusion

Avo’s Heritage Robusto is a fine cigar, though a little too dry and grassy for me. It’s smooth, it offers a complex aroma, and is rather affordable, for an Avo anyway — MSRP ranges around $7.00 USD per cigar.

The Heritage Robusto earned a nearly perfect construction score, and if you’re a fan of peppery Dominican cigars (and have exceptional taste) you’ll want to try this one. But given my dilatory posting habits, you probably already have.

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Final Score: 88

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Avo Maduro Robusto

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The legend of Avo Uvezian, jazz pianist, composer of “Strangers in the Night,” and cigar celebrity, is well known. If you’re in the dark about Avo, it’s quite a story — a brief version can be found in our review of the Avo Domaine, and Zen and the Art of the Cigar has a manufacturer spotlight of Avo that includes a complete rundown of the various Avo blends.

Avo cigars are blended by master ligador Hendrik Kelner of Davidoff, which since 1995 has also owned the brand.

Avo’s Maduro line utilizes the same Dominican binder and filler as the Classic line — the only difference, of course, is the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The Classic line is known for its mild sophistication, exactly what you’d expect from a firm like Davidoff, not to mention the suave character in the Mimbres hat. The Maduro wrapper changes the blend’s profile significantly, adding a little strength and a dose of sweetness.

Six sizes are currently available in the Maduro line:

  • Robusto – 5 x 50
  • #2  – 6 x 50 (toro)
  • #3 – 7.5 x 50 (presidente)
  • #9 – 4.75 x 48 (corona extra)
  • Belicoso – 6 x 48
  • Piramides – 7 x 36/54

The binder and filler leaves are Dominican, mostly from the Cibao valley.

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The wrapper on this robusto is typical of genuine maduro — thick, rough, and a bit chipped in places. It looks a lot more serious than it smokes. The prelight scent is of sweet tobacco with a whiff of compost on the wrapper.  The roll is solid and the cap clips cleanly.

The first flavors to emerge from the Avo Maduro are grassy and sweet. The aroma is rich and chocolaty. The smoke is mild to medium in body and extremely smooth. There is almost no finish and the aftertaste is negligible.

By the mid-point the flavor continues to be mild and straightforward, though it gradually becomes earthier and less grassy. The sweet chocolate on the nose steals the show here while the finish and aftertaste seem to be waiting in the wings.

The last third brings out some toastier cereal-like flavors which combine on the palate with the sweet aroma to create something like oatmeal with maple syrup. It’s an interesting effect, though very mellow in intensity.

The Avo maduro smokes very much like the Classic line — it’s an easy smoking cigar with a very clean flavor profile. Construction qualities here were almost perfect: an easy draw and a perfectly even burn. My only complaint was an ash that had a tendency to crack every inch or so.

This is a cigar I would smoke for its aromatic qualities more than anything else. Paired with a Classic Avo with its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper this would be a perfect way to teach a new cigar smoker the difference between natural and maduro flavors. It’s also a great example of how a rough looking, manly maduro can be incredibly clean and mild.

The robusto in this line runs around 5 to 6 USD before tax. A great price for the quality you’re getting.

Final Score: 86

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~cigarfan