The AVO Improvisation LE17 is the fifth installment in the AVO Cigars’ Improvisation Series. The cigar was released on March 22nd, 2017. Sadly, Avo passed away two days later. Thus, the LE17 will also be remembered as the last AVO cigar released during Uvezian’s lifetime.
Limited Edition cigars have been a big part of the heritage of AVO Cigars. In 2015, the AVO brand underwent a makeover featuring new banding, packaging, and a streamlining of the portfolio. As a part of the makeover, the annual AVO Limited Edition Series also underwent a change. From 2001 through 2014, the series was, for the most part, an annual release with a different size and different blend. Beginning in 2015, the AVO Improvisation Series would take over as the AVO brand’s limited edition line. This series would take existing AVO regular production releases and draw inspiration from those blends to create a series of all new blends. Today, we will dive deeper into the AVO Improvisation LE17.
In terms of drawing inspiration from previous AVO blends, the concept of the AVO Improvisation Series is to “borrow” tobaccos or characteristics from existing or previously released AVO blends and use it as a basis to create a whole new blend.
The AVO Improvisation LE17 is different from the previous four installments in that, instead of drawing inspiration from a single AVO release, it takes elements from three different AVO releases. AVO Syncro Nicaragua, AVO Syncro Nicaragua Fogata and the highly coveted AVO LE05. The AVO Improvisation LE17 utilizes the same variety of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos that were featured in the AVO LE05, blended with the same Estelí, Nicaragua filler tobacco used in the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Fogata. The shape is the 6 x 60 box-pressed format of the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro.
This is the second limited edition box-pressed cigar released under the AVO umbrella. It follows up the 2013 TAA release, the AVO Movement. It is one of three 6 x 60 box-press offerings that have been featured in the AVO brand; joining the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro and the recently released AVO Syncro South America Ritmo Gordo.
This is the first installment of the AVO Improvisation Series to also not use the “AVO Classic Covers” name. It is simply called AVO Improvisation Series LE17. The LE17 initials are short for “Limited Edition 2017”. Using these initials was something that was prevalent during the AVO Limited Edition Series from 2001 to 2014.
For completeness, the following are the five installments of the AVO Improvisation series and what it drew inspiration from.
- AVO Classic Covers Volume 1 (Inspired by the AVO Classic)
- AVO Classic Covers Volume 2 (Inspired by the AVO Heritage)
- AVO 90th Classic Covers Volume 3 (Inspired by the AVO XO)
- AVO 90th Classic Covers Volume 4 (Based on the AVO Domaine)
- AVO Improvisation LE17 (Inspired by AVO LE05, AVO Syncro Nicaragua Fogata, and AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro)
Without further ado, let’s break down the AVO Improvisation LE17 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend of the AVO Improvisation LE17 uses seven different tobaccos from three countries – the filler tobaccos consist of Nicaraguan Estelí Ligero and Dominican Seco and Ligero, a Dominican Olor Zona 7 binder leaf and a Habano Ecuador Marron Claro wrapper.
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador Marron Claro
Binder: Dominican Olor Zona 7
Filler: Estelí Ligero (NIC), San Vincente Ligero (DR), San Vicente Mejorado Seco (DR), Piloto Ligero (DR), Piloto Seco (DR)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
The AVO Improvisation LE17 is available in one size – a Special Toro. This is a 6 x 60 box-pressed vitola. Packaging includes 16 cigars per box. A total of 1,000 boxes were allocated for the U.S. market.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the AVO Improvisation LE17 has a caramel brown color to it. This was a wrapper that had a light coating of oil on it with a silky complexion. There were some visible wrapper seams as well as some visible veins. A couple of the samples I smoked had some veins with a slight toothy effect. The box press itself was a little softer than I prefer.
There are two bands on the AVO Improvisation LE17. The primary band is similar to what has been seen on the other Improvisation releases. This band features an antique white background. On the center of the band is a copper, black, and antique white colored AVO logo on a brown background. To the right is the text “AVO UVEZIAN” in copper font on a cream-colored background. To the left is the logo for the AVO Improvisation Series. This logo features “IMPROVISATION” in copper font with an orange Avo Uvezian Silhoutte being used in place of the letter “A”. Below that is the text “SERIES” in small copper font. There is a copper pinstripe near the top and the bottom on each side of the band.
Being that Uvezian was also an accomplished musician, AVO releases often draw inspiration for its packaging from the world of music. This is incorporated in the secondary band as well as the packaging. This band is black, copper, and gray and mimics a guitar fret.
With AVO Improvisation LE17, the packaging was inspired by a retro-style guitar case featuring a full black leather exterior with an orange leather interior lid and dual silver clasps.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the AVO Improvisation LE17, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the cigar. After clipping the cap, I commenced with the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of wood, cedar sweet-spice, and a slight minty note. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the cigar and see what the AVO Improvisation LE17 would have in store.
The start to the AVO Improvisation LE17 delivered a mix of cedar, natural tobacco, and black pepper. The black pepper was also especially prominent on the retro-hale. Early on, the natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront. There was a slight caramel sweetness to this natural tobacco flavor. Meanwhile the cedar and pepper subsided into the background where some additional grass notes emerged.
Later in the first third, the grass notes increased. Just after the AVO Improvisation LE17 entered the second third, the grass notes moved into the forefront while the natural tobacco subsided into the background. The caramel sweetness associated with the natural tobacco now had more of an orange rind component to it. This delivered a mix of sweetness and bitterness. Meanwhile, the pepper and cedar still remained in the background.
The last third saw the grassy notes remain in the forefront. The orange rind was also still present in the background. During this stage, the pepper and cedar had increased somewhat, but never overpowered the blend. This is the way the AVO Improvisation LE17 came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Burn-wise, the AVO Improvisation Series. LE17 scored very nicely. The cigar maintained a straight burn path. While it needed a few touch-ups along the way, I also found the LE17 maintained a straight burn line as well. The resulting ash was firm with a silver-gray color to it. The burn temperature was ideal, but the cigar burned on the quicker side. Each 6 x 60 sample was smoked in around the 75 to 90 minute range.
The LE17 is a box-press that had a looser draw than I prefer. This is what I believe led to the quicker burn. At the same time, the LE17 produced quite a bit of smoke.
Strength and Body
For the most part, I found the AVO Improvisation LE17 to be dialed back from a strength perspective. This was a cigar that I assessed as being mild to medium strength from start to finish. Meanwhile, there was some depth to the flavors giving this cigar a more in the way of body. I found the LE17 started out on the upper end of medium-bodied. There was a slight increase in the second half and by the last third, the LE17 was in medium to full-bodied territory.
In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had a significant edge over the strength.
The AVO Improvisation LE17 is a cigar that is going to deliver some nice flavors. While I have no problem smoking a 6 x 60 cigar, when the draw is more open, I do find it detracts from the smoking experience. In addition, one thing that surprised me is that while there were three types of ligero in the filler, this was still a relatively mild cigar from a nicotine standpoint.
At $18.00, it’s a cigar with a higher price point, and while that does not factor into our numerical score, it does weigh into the Assessment Rating. This is a cigar I think will appeal to fans of AVO Cigars. It’s certainly a cigar I would recommend that a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast give a try. It’s one I do plan on smoking again down the road.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Grass, Cedar, Pepper
Strength: Mild to Medium
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last Third)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 2.5-Try One
News: AVO Improvisation LE17 Announced
Brand Reference: AVO