My Weekend Cigar: Avo Limited Edition LE2010
Last week our good friend Tom Smith from Davidoff cigars stopped by to host a special sampling preview dinner for the upcoming Avo Limited Edition 2010 cigars. I didn't make it to the dinner, but Arthur did, and he saved a couple of unbanded samples for Hayward and me.
First, the back story: The Avo LE10 is advertised as a "Super-Robusto" format, rolled to 5½" x 55. The blend consists of unspecified full-bodied Ligero longfillers and a Mexican-grown Sumatra binder seamlessly rolled in a dark Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper.
Hayward got a head start on me and sent me his tasting notes. I hid them to prevent tainting my opinion and wrote the following review. Compare how our notes differed and you'll see just how subjective sampling cigars really is.
As is usually the case with Avo LE releases, the cigar was a sight to behold. The wrapper glistened with a dark, chocolately sheen that was especially oily and leathery. Held under the nose it offered an extra sweet grassy aroma.
The cap cut perfectly and I tasted a caramely-spicy flavor on the pre-light. The cigar was very fresh which made it little softer and chewier, too.
I paired the cigar with spring water. It lit-up nice and evenly. The first few puffs were a little grassy as some Avo cigars tend to be early on. The next few puffs had a hot shot of pepper in them. The smoke quickly smoothed out to a predominantly medium-bodied flavor with notes of black pepper and anise on the finish.
At about an inch-and-a-half the flavors and strength changed up dramatically. Still very creamy, but a more spicy-peppery flavor began seeping in. Shortly after that, woody flavors of sweet cedar and oak emerged. The grassiness was still lingering somewhere down in the mix.
Just passed the first third, this was one of the strongest Avos I've had in a while, even for this series. At the halfway point the smoke was starting to get into my nervous system; my hands were beginning to sweat and the smoke was still very peppery on the finish.
During the final act the smoke presented myriad wood, coffee, and cocoa notes, while remaining very peppery and potent. Several minutes after putting it down I felt it in my gut. It's been a while since a cigar did that to me.
1st Third: Spicy, peppery beginning. Medium-bodied, slight woody undertone
2nd Third: Minty notes on the finish develop into rich, chocolaty flavors. Deep, earthy baseline. Pleasant, room-filling aroma of sweet, toasty coconut. Pepper dies down a little. Strength increases to medium-full plus. Complex as hell.
Last Third: Dark fruit notes, like cherry. Pepper is back. A whiff of ammonia is gone as quickly as it arrived, announcing the arrival of leathery notes. Full-bodied now, with thick, billowing smoke. Woody notes become very apparent.
And so it goes. If you love strong cigars look out for the Avo LE10's when they officially release on Avo's 84th birthday, March 22nd, 2010.