Over the past three years, Davidoff has focused a considerable amount of attention of bringing many of its iconic releases that were either limited production or discontinued back to the forefront. Earlier this year, Davidoff announced that the AVO Classic Belicoso was returning for a limited production run. The AVO Classic line is one of the oldest lines under the AVO brand. The Belicoso size is one that had not been seen since 2005. Today we take a closer look at the 2021 re-release of the AVO Classic Belicoso.
The story of the AVO Classic dates back to 1988. It was a cigar that was a project was done by the late Avo Uvezian and Henke Kelner before either party was a part of the Davidoff family. AVO Classic has remained a staple of the Davidoff portfolio now heading into its fifth decade. According to Davidoff, the differentiating factor of the AVO Classic line is that it contains some amount of 25-year tobacco in the filler blend. In 2015, the AVO portfolio underwent a major rebranding. The AVO Classic received updated banding and packaging, but overall the blend remained the same. The re-release of the AVO Classic Belicoso marks the first time that size is being released with the updating bandit and packaging.
Without further ado, let’s break down the AVO Classic Belicoso and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The AVO Classic Blend consists of a dark Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut Seed wrapper over a blend of Dominican binder and filler. The specifics of the binder and filler are not disclosed – other than the fact that one component of the filler uses 25-year-old tobacco. Production is handled at Davidoff’s O.K. Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Seed
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: O.K. Cigars
The AVO Classic Belicoso returns in the same 6 x 48 size as before. A total of 2,000 25-count boxes were released into the U.S. For completeness, we also list the other sizes offered in the AVO Classic line.
Belicoso: 6 x 48 (Limited)
No 9: 4 3/4 x 48
Robusto: 5 x 50
No 5: 6 7/8 x 46
No 2: 6 x 50
Pirimides: 7 x 36/54
No. 3: 7 1/2 x 50
No. 6: 6 x 60
Puritos: 4 x 30
The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper on the AVO Classic Belicoso is definitely on the darker side. This had a medium to dark brown color with a slight Colorado tint to it. There was a slight amount of oil on the wrapper along with a slight amount of mottling. While there were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams, this was a cigar that was definitely on the smoother side. There is a moderate taper at the head of the cigar converging on the belicoso tip.
The band of the AVO Classic features an antique white background. On the center of the band is a gold, beige, black, and antique white AVO logo on a brown background. On the upper and lower portions of the band on both the left and right side is a thick beige stripe with gold and antique white trim above and below it. On the left side beige stripe is the text “CLASSIC” and on the right side is the text “AVO UVEZIAN” – both in gold font.
A straight cut was placed about halfway down from the tip on the tapered portion of the AVO Classic Belicoso. Once the tip was removed it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of chocolate, wood, and a slight cedar note. To me, this was a very good pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the AVO Classic Belicoso and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The AVO Classic Belicoso opened up with a combination of chocolate, nut, hay, and a slight Bing cherry note. Early on the chocolate and nut notes moved into the forefront. The hay and Bing cherry settled into the background. Later in the first third, a black pepper note also surfaced in the background.
As the AVO Classic Belicoso moved through the second third the chocolate and nut flavors were replaced by a straight-forward earthy note. The chocolate and nut joined the hay and cherry notes in the background. Later in the Bing cherry notes morphed into more of a citrus note. As for the pepper notes, they slowly increased in intensity.
By the final third, the earth notes remained primary. The pepper notes and citrus notes were more prominent. There still were some hay notes and traces of the chocolate notes. As for the nut flavors, they had dissipated. This is the way the AVO Classic Belicoso came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The AVO Classic Belicoso maintained a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line. This was not a cigar that was in need of frequent touch-ups. The resulting ash was on the firm side. The ash itself was silver-gray with some darker streaka in it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels thought the smoking experience.
The draw to the AVO Classic Belicoso performed well. The one negative is on each sample, I found the area where the tip was cut to have a slight amount of loose tobacco despite being able to place a clean cut. In the end, this was a minor inconvenience on the draw and didn’t result in any other adverse effects. In fact, while there was a slight amount of loose tobacco on the tongue, there still was a slight resistance when deriving the flavor – and that was a good thing.
Strength and Body
The AVO Classic is not known for being a very bold cigar, and the AVO Classic Belicoso is no exception. The AVO Classic Belicoso is a cigar that started out mild to medium strength before progressing to medium in the second half. As for the body, the flavors stayed on the low end of medium from start to finish.
As for strength versus body in the AVO Classic Belicoso, the body maintained an edge throughout the smoking experience – but the edge narrowed in the second half as the strength slightly increased.
The date this assessment is being published would have been the 95th birthday of the late Avo Uvezian. As we have done every year since 2013, we have published an AVO cigar review to recognize the brand. In the case of this year’s assessment, this gets a quite a favorable one.
While I have enjoyed the AVO Classic line, I can’t say it’s been my favorite line. In fact, I was a little perplexed why Davidoff was bringing back the Belicoso size. A belicoso size simply doesn’t light the world on fire. However, I had never smoked the original AVO Classic Belicoso – and if it was anything like 2021 one, I can see why they brought this one back. The Belicoso simply is “the belle of the ball” in terms of this blend. It’s a blend that has excellent flavor and plenty of complexity to keep one interested. In the end, this is a cigar I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s not only a cigar I would smoke again, but it’s one worthy of buying multiples to keep in the humidor. Scoring at 90 points, it reaches the threshold of the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Chocolate, Nut, Earth, Bing Cherry, Citrus, Hay, Black Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to High
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Haf), Medium (Second Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: AVO Classic Belicoso Returns for Limited Run
Brand Reference: AVO
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted.