Avo Limited Edition 2014 – Avo 88

The Avo Limited Edition 2014 – Avo 88 is the 2014 entry in Avo Cigars’ annual limited edition series.  Each year the release coincides with brand ambassador Avo Uvezian’s birthday.With 2014 being Uvezian’s 88th birthday, this year’s edition has appropriately been titled the Avo 88. As we will see the 88 holds a special significance for Uvezian. Overall, the Avo Limited Edition series has achieved a legendary status on Cigar Coop as in recent years as they have garnered high scores and high ratings. In 2010, the series reached its apex with the release of the Avo Limited Edition 2010 (Avo LE10) as it was the Cigar Coop selection for 2010 Cigar of the Year.  With the 2014 Limited Edition, the Avo 88 earns a rightful place among the series’ iconic releases as this is simply one outstanding cigar.

When we previewed the Avo 88, we learned that the Avo 88 not only represents Uvezian’s 88th birthday, but it has significance because it represents the number of keys on a grand piano. It is also said that Uvezian has a fascination with numerology. In the press release, some context was provided:

Avo Uvezian’s pursuit to compose the perfect blend for his 88th birthday cigar began several years ago. The goal was to compose a cigar that encapsulated an exciting and perfect balance of flavors and strength that is the foundation of every great musical composition. When Avo explained the objective to Master Blenders, Henke Kelner and Eladio Diaz, they were determined to successfully achieve Avo’s challenge. The ideal tobaccos were selected, the beautiful Belicoso format was chosen, and years of passionately fine-tuning the blend followed. Finally, the dedication to perfection from this legendary trio of cigar composers resulted in a Dominican Puro cigar that will be celebrated by connoisseurs throughout the ages.”

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Avo Limited Edition 2014 – Avo 88 and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

According to my research this is the first Dominican puro in the LE series. It features a wrapper from the Yamasá region of the Dominican Republic. In the past year, wrapper from this region on several Davidoff (Avo Cigars’ parent company) special releases. These releases include: Davidoff 2014 Year of the Horse the Davidoff of Geneva 25th AnniversaryDavidoff Madison Avenue 25th Anniversary the Davidoff Golden Band Awards cigar, and Davidoff Masters Edition 2013 Club House Toro.

Last year, Yamasá region tobacco was used on the Avo Limited Edition 2013 Dominant 13.

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

Vitolas Available

The Avo Limited Edition 2014 – Avo 88 is available in one size – 6 x 52 belicoso. The cigar will have an SRP of $16.00 per cigar and $256.00 per box. Each box has a black piano lacquer style. In keeping to Uvezian’s fascination with numerology, there will be 8,888 boxes made. Each box will have a black piano lacquer style. 888 of those boxes will be personally autographed by Uvezian.

For historical purposes, here is a list of the Avo Limited Edition series:

2001:  Avo 75 (7 x 50)
2002:  Avo 22 (multiple)
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 Limited Edition 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)
2014:  Avo Limited Edition 2014 Avo 88
(Source Cigarcyclopedia and Cigar Coop)

 

Previous Avo Limited Editions (Left to Right – 2009 to 2013)

Appearance

The Yamasá region wrapper of the Avo 88 has a milk chocolate color with some colorado red mixed in. Upon closer examination, some darker marbling can be seen. There is a light amount of oil not the surface of the wrapper. The surface is smooth and most of the veins and wrapper seams are well hidden. The tip of this belicoso is noteworthy – the best way to describe it is that it tapers almost like a Hershey’s Kiss

There are two bands on the Avo 88. 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 “LE14” also in gold font. The band has gold and white trim going around it.

There is a secondary band below the primary one has an ivory background with piano keys laid out on it. In the middle of the band is an “88” with the first “8” in gold and the second “8” in ivory with gold trim. To the left of the “88” is the text “EIGHTY” in black font while to the right is the text “EIGHT” – also in black font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Avo 88, I went with a straight cut to start things off. I removed about half of the belicoso tip to still get the effect of the tapering. From there, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw provided a wide variety of flavor right out of the gate. While the flavors were subtle, I picked up notes of earth, chocolate, pepper, and mild citrus. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw to the Avo 88 to be outstanding. At this point I was ready to light up the Avo 88 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The Avo 88 kicked off with a mix of grass, red pepper, light chocolate, and some sweeter natural tobacco flavors. The first few minutes of the cigar did not have a dominant flavor, but the red pepper was very much present on the retro-hale.
By about the five percent mark, the chocolate flavors got richer and moved into the forefront. The natural tobacco sweetness changed up to more of a orange cream. While the orange cream had a citrus quality it was more sweet than acidic. Meanwhile the red pepper and grass notes were in the background. There were times in the first third where I could also detect a little corojo sweetness.

In the second third the chocolate and orange cream notes still were in the forefront. The grass notes, which now had a bit of an earthy quality also moved into the forefront. The red pepper notes remained in the background, but by the start of the second half they started to increase.
In the last third, the red pepper and grass/earth notes remained in the forefront. The chocolate and orange cream had diminished, but still complemented the flavor profile very nicely. This is the way the flavor profile held until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

For the most part the Avo 88 burned well. At times the burn got a little jagged and when it did, I touched it up. For the most part while I had to do more touch-ups than I preferred, this cigar was never in danger of canoeing or tunneling. For the most part the ash was light gray with some darker spots in it. The ash was firm and was not prone to flaking or flowering. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Early burn of the Avo Limited Edition 2014 – Avo 88

 

Midpoint burn of the Avo Limited Edition 2014 – Avo 88

The draw was outstanding. Normally I’m critical of belicosos – especially on the draw. However, the draw was effortless on this. I liked the way this cigar tapered as it made it easy to puff on. The tip never got soft on the Avo 88.

Stength and Body

The strength and body both start out what I would say is is in the classic Avo medium strength / medium-bodied range. Both the strength and the body do increase gradually and by the second half, both attributes had progressed into the medium to full range. In face, the strength of this cigar does sneak up on you. Overall, the strength and balance counter each other very nicely.

Final Thoughts

I smoked three Avo 88 cigars for this assessment and they all smoked excellent. On each subsequent cigar, I enjoyed it more than the previous – and I was able to derive more intricacies. This cigar has an excellent flavor profile and a ton of complexity. The only minor drawback were the multiple touch-ups I had to do with the burn, but again I would not categorize this cigar as problemsome. I’m all curious to see what happens to this cigar over time. In the past few years, I have found the Avo Limited Edition releases to stand the test of time, and really age nicely. This cigar was one that was ready to smoke now. I’d probably recommend the Avo 88 to a more experienced cigar enthusiast, but it is not a cigar I’d discourage the novice from trying. Overall this is an outstanding release. It’s a cigar that is not only box worthy, but one worth fighting Chuck Norris for.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 4.5 – Fight Chuck Norris for Them
Score: 94

References

Price: $16.00
Source: Cigars provided by manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a

* The cigars for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by Davidoff. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence this assessment.