|Avo Lounge Cigar – Toro|
One thing I like to do when I visit a cigar store or lounge is to sample something that is exclusive or hard to find. On a recent visit to Corona Cigars in Orlando, Florida, I knew one cigar that falls into that category – the Avo Lounge cigar was available there. This is a cigar made by Avo that is only sold in his Avo lounges worldwide (Corona Cigars has an Avo lounge at its Heathrow location). Whether a cigar is hard to find or not, the end result is always how good the cigar smokes and would I smoke it again. For the most part, the Avo Lounge proved to be very positive experience for me.
Recently, I had a conversation with someone on whether Dominican or Nicaraguan tobacco makes a cigar better. After I answered Nicaraguan, I was reminded that I do like a lot of Avo Cigars and they tend to be made up primarily of Dominican-blend tobaccos. This is where the magic of master blender Henke Kelner comes into play. I know when Kelner is in the equation the end result is going to be a good product. Since Kelner blends for Avo, the Avo Lounge (like just about all Avos) fall into a profile that doesn’t match my personal preferences. Yet in 2010, I surprised a lot of people by giving my Cigar of the Year to the Avo Limited Edition 2010 – a cigar with not a drop of Nicaraguan tobacco.
Let’s take a look at the Avo Lounge and see what it brings to the table:
As mentioned above, no Nicaraguan tobacco in this cigar. Here is an overview:
Wrapper: Ecuadorian 151 Sun Grown Wrapper
Note: The Dominican tobaccos are a combination of tobaccos from Olor, San Vincente, and Piloto Cubano – three staples from Kelner’s arsenal.
There are two sizes available in the Avo Lounge – both have a 50 ring gauge.
Toro: 6 x 50
Double Corona: 7 x 50
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For this cigar experience I selected the Toro size. I placed a straight cut into the cap and was immediately pleased with the pre-light draw. The dry draw had some very pronounced cedar spice to it. There even was a touch of mint on the aftertaste of the prelight draw. I liked how the Avo Lounge had a bold dry draw to it, so I was excited to take the next step and fire this one up.
The initial draws of the Avo Lounge treated me to a strong blast of spice. It was interesting because a lot of times when I get a blast of spice in a Nicaraguan blend, it is usually black pepper (a.k.a the Pepin Pepper blast). This spice was definitely more of the cedar spice variety – continuing what I got on the pre-light draw. In the background I also picked up notes of earth and grass.
As the cigar progressed through the first third, I definitely noticed a cream taste emerge. The cream eventually moved front and center by the time the cigar experience entered the second third. In the early stages of that second third, I noticed on the draw I got the cream notes and the spice was pushed to more of an aftertaste from the draw. I noticed the cedar spice began to subside significantly by the mid-point of the cigar. It is around this point where the cream notes mesh nicely with the ever-present earth and grass notes in the cigar.
As the Avo Lounge enters the last third, I definitely noticed the cream notes subside and the cedar spice return. The last third had a harsher taste than I normally would have liked. It wasn’t overly harsh, but it wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked. The nub finished soft and cool, but still had some of the harsh notes.
Burn and Draw
Except for a few minor touch-ups, the Avo Lounge cigar burned real well. The burn rate and temperature were excellent too. I don’t think any of the harsh flavors I got at the end were due to burn issues. The draw was outstanding throughout the whole smoke.
Strength and Body
I’ve heard mixed reports on the Avo Lounge as far as strength goes. Some folks said mild and others have gone as far to say as medium to full. I do think the strength falls squarely in the middle of the spectrum here. It’s a solid medium – providing just the right amount of pop to balance the flavors. As for the body, the flavor notes definitely had depth throughout the smoking experience. The Avo Lounge is definitely a medium to full in this category.
Except for some of the harshness I got at the end, I really enjoyed the Avo Lounge cigar. I should re-emphasize that this wasn’t overly harsh at the finish – just a little harsher than I would have liked. It did provide some unique flavors and actually reminded me of something I was already aware of – Dominican-blend Cigars can stand up with my Nicaraguan favorites. The nice thing about this cigar is I would give it to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. This will definitely be a cigar I pick up again.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Disclaimer: This cigar was purchased at Corona Cigars in Orlando, Florida.