Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the AVO 22 (30th Anniversary). This is a cigar line we previously assessed back in June 2015 when it was a part of AVO’s Greatest Hits.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: O.K. Cigars
Figuardo (U.S.): 5 7/8 x 50
In 2018, AVO Cigars commemorated 30 years of the brand. The milestone was marked by a new limited edition release and the return of many classic lines – both limited and regular production. One cigar that made a return was the AVO 22 – a cigar released in 2002 as a limited edition.
The cigars released as a part of the 30th-anniversary occasion include:
- AVO 30 Years Improvisation (New limited edition)
- AVO Maduro (Limited return of discontinued Brand,)
- AVO 22 (Limited return of 2002 limited edition)
- AVO Signature (Limited return of discontinued drand)
- AVO LE05 (Limited return of 2005 limited edition)
- Commemorative packaging for the AVO Syncro Nicaragua, AVO Syncro Nicaragua Fogota, AVO Syncro South America Ritmo, Fall 2018)
The AVO 22 was the 2002 installment of the AVO Limited Edition series. It started based off a personal blend for brand founder Avo Uvezian made by Henke Kelner. The name is tied to Avo’s interest in numerology. The number “22” can be tied to Avo’s own birthday (March 22nd), his sister’s birthday, the day of the month he left the Middle East, and the day of the month he arrived in the United States.
The blend consists of an Ecuadorian wrapper over Dominican binder and filler. Back in 2002, this limited edition was released in two figurado sizes: 5 7/8 x 52 for the U.S. market and 5 7/8 x 43 for the European market. In 2014, the U.S. version of the AVO 22 made a limited return as a part of AVO’s Greatest Hits sampler. It is the U.S. version that returns for the 30th anniversary.
While the blend and size are the same, there are a couple of packaging changes. First, the AVO 22 30th Anniversary received a slight refresh on the canister packaging (most notably the incorporation of the orange color). Second, AVO 22 cigars also received banding (the original cigars were unbanded). The bands include the updated AVO logo from 2015 on the primary band and a secondary 30th-anniversary band.
The AVO 22 started out with notes of cream, cedar, and black pepper. Early on the black pepper notes were present on both the after-draw and retro-hale (something I noticed when I smoked the AVO Greatest Hits’ installment). The first third saw the cream and cedar alternate in intensity and a unique floral-like sweetness emerged. As the cigar progressed to the midway point, the primary flavors changed to creamy wood, and the floral sweetness started to diminish. By the final third, the creamy woods took over. Concurrently, here was an increase in intensity of the black pepper and a further decrease of the floral sweetness.
Overall, this cigar remained a constant medium strength cigar. In terms of body, this started out medium and progressed to medium to full in the second half.
While the AVO 22 30th anniversary release scored the same as the AVO’s Greatest Hits release, I definitely had a better experience this time around (Cigar Coop scoring has changed since then). Normally I don’t like a cigar that has a floral presence in the flavor profile, but this is certainly an exception. In this case, I found the floral notes pleasant and it made for a unique smoking experience. This is a cigar I’d probably steer toward a more experienced cigar enthusiast, but it’s certainly a cigar I wouldn’t discourage a novice for trying. As for myself, I’d smoke this again and it’s worthy of picking up multiples for the humidor.
Key Flavors: Cream, Classic Wood, Cedar, Black Pepper, Floral
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Value: Buy Multiples
Previous Assessment: AVO Limited Edition 2002 – AVO 22 (American) (Part of Avo’s Greatest Hits Sampler)
News: AVO 22 Makes Return for 30th Anniversary
Source: Davidoff of Geneva
Brand Reference: AVO
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted