AVO Improvisation LE21

AVO Improvisation LE21

2021 marks the 21st consecutive year that AVO Cigars has released an annual limited edition cigar. It also marks the start of the third decade of this series – an incredible feat in itself. For the first 14 years (2001-2014), the cigar was positioned as a birthday cigar for the late Avo Uvezian. In 2015, the company changed the direction of the annual limited edition cigar, putting the annual releases under the AVO Improvisation Series. These were not just limited cigar brands, but drew inspiration from other things ranging from other AVO blends to specific tobaccos to cigar molds. For this year’s installment, the AVO Improvisation LE21, while it was explicitly stated, the inspiration is from the Double Corona vitola, the size used on the first AVO Limited Edition, 20 years ago.

The following are the first 14 installments of the AVO Limited Edition series:

For completeness, the following are the nine installments of the AVO Improvisation Series and what each drew inspiration from:

Without further ado, let’s break down the AVO Improvisation LE21 and see what this cigar brings to the table.


Blend and Origin

The AVO Improvisation LE21 features Ecuadorian tobaccos for the binder and filler and an all-Dominican filler.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Ecuadorian
Filler: Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: O.K. Cigars

Vitolas Offered

The AVO Improvisation LE21 is offered in one size – a 7 1/2 x 50 Double Corona. The cigars come packaged in 20-count boxes with a total of 2,500 boxes allocated for the U.S. market and 4,550 boxes globally.

Packaging of the AVO Improvisation LE21 (Photo Credit: Davidoff of Geneva)


The Ecuadorian wrapper of the AVO Improvisation LE21 has a light roasted coffee bean color to it. There is a sheen of oil on the wrapper. There also is significant mottling on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper has some visible veins as well as visible wrapper seams.

There are two bands on the AVO Improvisation LE21. The primary band is similar to what has been seen on the other Improvisation releases. This band features a white background. On the center of the band is a copper, charcoal, and white AVO logo on a brown background. On the upper and lower portions of the band on both the left and right sides is a thick charcoal stripe. To the right, in between the stripes, is the text “AVO UVEZIAN” in white font. On the left is the logo for the AVO Improvisation Series – also in white. The charcoal stripe is surrounded by copper and white stripes above and below it.

The secondary band has a charcoal background. On the center of the band is a large “20” in copper font intersecting a  large “21.” The left side of the band has the text “TWENTY” in black font while the right side has the text “20” in black font. Like the primary band, on the upper and lower portions of the band on both the left and right sides is a thick copper stripe.


Pre-Light Draw

A straight guillotine cut was used to remove the cap of the AVO Improvisation LE21. Once the cap was detached, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered notes of coffee beans, straw, and a touch of citrus.  This was a satisfactory pre-light draw. With the pre-light draw ritual completed, it was time to light up the AVO Improvisation LE21 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Tasting Notes

The AVO Improvisation LE21 opened up with notes of coffee beans and cocoa. Some notes of mineral and black pepper surfaced in the background. As the cigar progressed through the first third, the coffee bean emerged as the sole primary note. There also were some citrus notes that emerged in the background. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black pepper from the retro-hale.

During the second third of the AVO Improvisation LE21, the coffee bean notes remained grounded in the forefront. This was rounded out by the mineral, black pepper, and citrus notes. By this point, the cocoa notes had dissipated. By the midway point, the black pepper notes started to increase in intensity.

The last third saw the pepper notes move into the forefront joining the coffee bean notes. By this point, the flavors were a bit muddled and unbalanced. The mineral and citrus notes seemed to be more of a detriment to the overall flavor profile. This is the way the AVO Improvisation LE21 was until the very end. The cigar finished with a soft and slightly lukewarm nub.


Overall the AVO Improvisation LE 21 had a straight burn path and relatively straight burn line. As the cigar experience progressed, this cigar required more touch-ups to maintain the burn. The touch-ups did the trick, but the amount needed was more than average. The resulting ash was gray with some darker streaks in it. This ash skewed toward to firmer side. The burn rate was a little fast as I was able to finish each cigar with an average of 1 hour and 54 minutes. The burn temperature was ideal until the very end when it got a little lukewarm.

AVO Improvisation LE 21 - Burn

Burn of the AVO Improvisation LE 21


Overall the AVO Improvisation LE21 had an open, but not loose draw. Normally I prefer a little more resistance on my draw. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.

Strength and Body

When it comes to strength and body, the AVO Improvisation LE21 was somewhat a throwback to some of the older more dialed-back AVO releases. This is a cigar that started out mild in strength and mild to medium in body. Both attributes had a nominal increase in intensity. By the last third, the LE21 was at mild to medium strength and medium in body.

In terms of strength versus body, the body held a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.


Final Thoughts

The AVO Improvisation LE21 was a tale of two cigars. The first half of this cigar was amazing. It delivered the wonderful nuanced flavors I have come to expect from an AVO Cigar. The second half wasn’t quite as good. The flavors became somewhat muddled and it just wasn’t quite as enjoyable. If you go back to 2009-2015, AVO Limited Editions were consistently contending for some of the highest-rated cigars of the year on the Cigar Coop list. Except for the first Improvisational release (Classic Covers Volume 1), I haven’t seen this series perform at this level anymore. Standing on its own and not considering the past history of this series, I’d still recommend trying a sample first before deciding on a purchase.


Key Flavors: Coffee Bean, Cocoa, Mineral, Citrus, Black Pepper
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Mild (1st 2/3), Mild to Medium (Final Third)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st 2/3), Medium (Final Third)
Finish: Good


Value: Buy One
Score: 88


News: AVO Improvisation 2021 Announced
Price: $16.00
Source: Purchased
Brand Reference: AVO

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted.