Avo 88 LE14

8-25-2014 been in humidor since 3-29-14

Avo 88 LE14 (6 x 52 Belicoso)

Wrapper: Dominican Yamasá
Binder: Dominican Olor/Criollo
Filler: Dominican Piloto Viso, Dominican Piloto Ligero, Dominican San Vicente Ligero, Dominican Corojo/Olor Crillo

Blender: Kendrik Kelner, Eladio Diaz

In 1987 Hendrik Kelner was approached by Avo Uvezian, musician and avid cigar enthusiast, about creating a cigar carrying his name to sell in Puerto Rico where Avo was playing piano. The first year that Avo cigars were produced Avo himself would head to the TabaDom offices and pick the cigars up personally. That year Avo had a run of 17,000 cigars. The next year Davidoff’s store in New York City on Madison Avenue was carrying the brand. In 2014 the Avo 88 Limited Edition 2014 has a run of 8,888 boxes of 16 cigars (142,208 cigars total), or a little over 8 times as many cigars than the original run of Avo in 1987.

The Avo 88 is the first Dominican Puro in Avo’s annual birthday celebration LE portfolio. There are some familiar Tobaccos use in this cigar. Many of them have been used in previous LE blends for either Avo or Davidoff. A couple of examples: Yamasá Wrapper was on the Davidoff Year of the Horse and was the binder on the Avo LE13; Dominican San Vicente Ligero was used in the filler of the Avo LE13 and Davidoff Year of the Snake. These Tobaccos have been pulled from the vast catalog of Tobaccos that Davidoff has in their warehouse; a warehouse that is rumored to hold four and a half years worth of tobacco given current production.

Though this is the Avo LE2014, it goes by “88” because 2014 is the year Mr. Uvezian turned 88 years old. As with many of the previous Avo LE annual releases, (due to Avo’s fascination with numbers and numerology) this release also has a numbers heavy back story and production. 88 is Avo’s age and the number of keys on a grand piano. 8,888 boxes of the Avo LE14 were produced. Of those, 888 were signed by Avo himself. Many of those boxes were sold at the 88 exclusive Avo events to promote the cigar and celebrate Avo’s birthday. 1,888 LE14 ashtrays were made to accompany the cigars and 488 grand piano box displays were created for select stores and Avo lounges.

The wrapper of this cigar is seamless. Even with a careful eye it is difficult to see the seams. The only place they are visible is on the abrupt and sharp belicoco cap. The taper is sudden and drastic, making this cigar look almost like a “sharp toro” in appearance. The color of the wrapper is a bit lighter than a brown paper shopping bag, but significantly more attractive. The vein structure is light and none of them seem to stand out or dominate. The main band is a classic Avo design with a color that is a dark beige, somewhere between the color of the Domaine and the Heritage. White and gold accents form the lettering and branding. On the side of the main band the notation LE14 can be seen in gold. The secondary band is the keyboard of a piano with the number 88 in gold boldly out front. It sits between the words “eighty” and “eight.”

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The wrapper is smooth and has a slightly oily feel to it. Around the cap it has a roughness to it and upon closer inspection it seems that the wrapper has some tooth to it and it is only noticeable on the cap. It feels a touch light in the hand. The Smell of the cigar before the light is a light barnyard and an even lighter peat. The lick on the cap feels very oily and leaves a residue on the lips with a light flavor of straw. A clip of the cap with a double guillotine opens the cigar to a draw that is just slightly too tight, but in no way a problem. The draw is earthy and has a light prune sweetness to it.

Light with a soft flame.

The initial puffs have a woody musk to it. There is an undertone of mushrooms. There are light toasted wheat flavors early on the draw. In the mouth the smoke feels smooth and buttery. Through the nose there is more of the musk notes that define most Kelner blends, this one being similar to the Avo Classic. There is also a bit of black pepper in the retrohale and it lingers to the finish. The finish itself is fairly complex. It has two main flavors, the first being the above mentioned black pepper, but once the black pepper fades, there is a light woody flavor left that clings tenaciously to the palate. The initial impression is that this is a solid medium body cigar. The shape of the cigar feels almost like smoking a toro, but there is still a bit of taper left making the cigar difficult to hold in the mouth. This promotes putting the cigar down and slowing down.

As the 88 settles in the wood notes pick up and it makes the mouth water. The spice lightens but remains just enough to give it a good complexity, especially in the finish.

The middle third brings on more of an umami overall profile. Wood and mushroom notes abound with rich moist earth undertones. Through the nose the musk has become a bit more tame and the spice has eased off as well. The finish becomes a touch dry in comparison to the finish in the first third and it has picked up a bit of the peat. The peat note is the longest part of the finish. The room note has a woodsy feel to it. Every part of this cigar feels nuanced and complex. The flavors feel as if they are in a constant state of gentle flux, all while remaining balanced with each other. The flavors coat the mouth and have a depth to them not often seen in cigars.

The beginning of the final third starts with some minor burn issues. A quick corrective light fixes that. This does not change the flavors in a negative way. The body has increased to a medium-full with heavy wood notes. “Heavy” is used because the power of the flavor and because the smoke seems to have some weight to it. The smoke is thick and smooth. The black pepper picks back up in the finish with wood, again, lingering. The retrohale has inched to the earth side once more with the musk becoming more of an afterthought. Near the very end of the cigar some mild clove flavors come out and the spice is the long note on the finish.

Burn to the burn

time 2 hours 35 minutes.

Burn: 9.5

Draw: 9

Taste: 10

Aftertaste: 9

Construction: 10

Balance: 10

Feel: 9

overall: 9.5

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~ by kuzi16 on August 25, 2014.

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