Avo Limited Edition 2013 – The Dominant 13
(Avo LE13)

The Avo Limited Edition 2013 – The Dominant 13th is the 2013 entry in Avo Cigars’ annual Limited Edition Series. Each year a different limited production release is done in a different size and a different blend.  The releases are timed around brand ambassador Avo Uvezian’s birthday.  In 2010, I felt the series reached its apex with the release of the Avo Limited Edition 2010 (Avo LE10).  The Avo LE10 was a radical departure from much of the Avo line as it was one of the strongest, full-bodied smokes produced in the brand.  It was worthy enough to garner our selection for 2010 Cigar of the Year.  This was followed up in 2011 with the Avo Limited Edition 2011 as that finished as our #5 Cigar of the 2011. In fact, since 2009, these cigars have all assessed “Memorable”.  The release of the 2013 cigar, the Avo Dominant 13th continues in the solid tradition this series has delivered in recent years. While not quite the powerhouse in strength and body like the Avo LE10, this cigar still holds its own.

The Avo Dominant 13th was released to coincide with Uvezian’s 87th birthday. Back when we previewed the cigar, we explained the significance of the name and the connection to Uvezian’s background in the music industry:

The Dominant 13 is another cigar that pays tribute to brand ambassador Avo Uvezian’s musical roots as it refers to the Dominant 13th chord.  The 13th is also symbolic of the year (2013) and the limited edition release (this is the 13th in the LE series).  This marks the third consecutive Avo cigar released with a musical theme – joining the Avo Limited Edition 2012 La Trompeta and the Avo 25th Anniversary (that featured piano packaging) The article mentions specific innovative packaging including a box designed like a musical book, complete with sheet music for the Uvezian song “Delightful Days”.   There is also a USB drive included that contains some multimedia musical and marketing material.


Let’s take a closer look at the Avo Limited Edition 2013 – Dominant 13th and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile


The Avo Dominant 13th features tobaccos from three countries – Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

Wrapper: Habano 2000 Ecuador
Binder: Yamasá (Dominican)
Filler:  Dominican (Piloto, Habano-seed Viso, San Vincente Ligero, Corojo/Olor Ligero) Peruvian Viso

Vitolas Available

Consistent with the Avo Limited Edition series, the Avo Dominant 13th will be available in a one vitola.  For the Avo Dominant 13th, it is a 6 x 52 toro.  This marks a return to a parejo shape to the Avo Limited Edition series.  This is something that has not been done since the Avo LE10. 

The plan is for production of the Avo Dominant 13 to be limited to 9000 boxes of 13.

From a historical perspective, here is a list of the 13 cigars that have made up the annual Avo Limited Edition series.  The blend has varied from year to year.

2001:  Avo 75 (7 x 50) 
2002:  Avo 22 (5 7/8 x 50 – unbanded perfectos)
2003:  Avo 77 (6 1⁄2 x 50)
2004:  Avo Legacy (5 3/4 x 48)
2005:  Avo LE 05 (5 5/8 x 52 – unbanded)
2006:  Avo 80 (6 x 52 – belicoso)
2007:  Avo LE 07 (5 5/8 x 48 – unbanded)
2008:  Avo Limited Edition 2008 Tesoro (5 3/4 x 50)
2009:  Avo Limited Edition 2009 Companero (6 x 54)
2010:  Avo LE 10 (5 1/2 x 55)
2011:  Avo Limited Edition 2011 85th (6 3/4 x 50 – Diadema)
2012:  Avo Limited Edition 2012 La Trompeta (6 1/2 x 54 – Torpedo)
2013:  Avo Limited Edition 2013 Dominant 13 (6 x 52)
(Source Cigarcyclopedia and Cigar Coop)

Avo Limited Editions 2009 – 2013
Left to Right: Avo LE 09, Avo LE 10, Avo LE 11
Avo LE 12, Avo LE 13

Appearance

The Avo Dominant 13th has an interesting medium-brown – almost creamy wrapper.  There is some oil to the wrapper and it has a slightly bumpy feel when touched.  The wrapper does a decent job hiding the wrapper seams, but there are some visible veins.

There are two bands on the Avo Dominant 13th.  The first band is similar to the brown, gold, black, and white band that has been seen the past few years on the Avo Limited Edition series. The background to the band is brown in color.  The Avo logo is front and center on that bend.  To the left of the logo is the text “Avo Uvezian” in gold font.  To the right of the logo is the text “LE13” also in gold font.   The band has gold and white trim going around it.

There is a secondary band below the Avo logo band that is primarily brown in color with white trim.  There is a gold silhouette of Uvezian and a musical stanza on the brown background  Over the silhouette in white font is the text “The Dominant 13th”.  

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Avo Dominant 13, I opted to use a straight cut to remove the cap.  Once the cap was clipped, I then moved on to the pre-light draw.  The cold draw provided a combination of exotic spice, earth – and grass notes.  The grass notes were the ones common to so many Avo and Davidoff.  Overall, I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw.  At this point, I was ready to light up the Avo Dominant 13 and see what the smoking experience would deliver.


Flavor Profile

The start to the Avo Dominant 13 provided a nice blast of pepper to start.  This pepper spice was more of a classic black pepper and not quite as “exotic” as I got on the pre-light draw.  The spice subsided and was joined by notes of oak, nuts, coffee, and grass.   The retro-hale was what I would term “multi-dimensional” providing both pepper and natural tobacco flavors.  The Avo Dominant 13 is definitely a cigar you want to retro-hale to experience everything this cigar offers.

By the five percent mark, the coffee notes became primary.  The coffee notes stayed primary throughout most of the first half.  Meanwhile, the notes of nut, pepper, and grass initially started out secondary, but then rotated in and out as a primary note.  The early oak notes had dissipated.

By the midway point, the flavor pattern remained the same, but a cream note surfaced in the background.  This flavor remained secondary while the other background notes still tended to rotate between primary and secondary.  The retro-hale continued to show some nice complexity as a toasted nut flavor joined the sweet-spice.

The toasted nut flavor on the retro-hale eventually made its way to the tongue as well.   Later in the second third, the toasted nut flavors displaced the coffee as a primary note.  The pepper and coffee notes became more of a secondary flavor.  By this point, the cream and grass note had begun to dissipate.

As the cigar experience of the Dominant 13 came to a close, the toasted nut, coffee, and pepper notes remained.  The Dominant 13 never got overly spicy.  The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.  This nub was a real finger-burner.

Burn and Draw

On a personal note, I was very happy to see the Avo Limited Edition series return to a parejo shape.   In my opinion, a parejo will consistently deliver a better burn and draw on a cigar – and such was the case with the Avo Dominant 13.

From a burn standpoint, the burn line was straight with a slight bit of jaggedness.  I wouldn’t categorize the burn as uneven as it really didn’t require many-touch-ups.   The burn did produce an abundant and thick smoke.   At the same time the resulting ash had salt and pepper color to it. The ash was not overly tight, but is was firm and not prone to flaking or floweing.   The burn temperature was ideal.   The one surprise was that the burn rate was on the fast side.   The fast burn didn’t have any adverse effects on the smoking experience other than shorten the length of it.

Burn of the Avo Dominant 13

The draw was outstanding.  It had a touch of resistance to it – resulting in a draw that was not on the loose side or on the right side.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, the Avo Dominant 13 is going to start out as a classic medium strength cigar.  The strength will increase in the second half and by the final third, the Dominant 13 will be medium to full in strength.   As for the flavors, the Dominant 13 has some very deep ones.  These might be some of the fullest flavors I’ve seen on an Avo release in some time.  I assessed the Dominant 13 to be a full-bodied smoke.  When looking at the balance between the strength and body, there is no doubt the body is going to have the edge here.  At the same time I wouldn’t call the Dominant 13 as a cigar that is void in strength – just one that is going to have some deeper flavors.

Final Thoughts

At the start of this assessment, I mentioned this was going to be an Avo limited edition that would hold its own in terms of strength and body.  From a strength perspective,  while it won’t reach the level of what the Avo LE 10 delivered, it is going to have more strength than 2011’s Avo 85th and 2012’s Avo La Trompeta.  At the same time, the Dominant 13 is going to be pretty close in terms of body to what the Avo LE 10 delivered.  In other words, if you felt the Avo 85th and Avo La Trompeta needed more kick, then the Dominant 13 is a cigar to check out.   

I found the Avo Dominant 13 to be a cigar that is perfect for the novice enthusiast who wants to experience full-bodied flavors, but not be overpowered with nicotine.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts will not only appreciate the flavors profile, but the complexity this cigar delivers. If there is such thing as “lucky 13”, this cigar is it.  It’s a definite winner in the Avo Limited Edition series. It is a cigar worthy of tracking a box down of – and one I would reach for again.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium (Medium to Full – last third)
Body: Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 94


Source: The cigars for this assessment were originally gifted to me by a friend.