His father is one of the cigar industry’s legendary master blenders; Avo was his adopted uncle, he knows the cigar business inside and out. He’s also just a really nice guy: Klaas Pieter Kelner, Davidoff Cigars Brand Ambassador, who talks with us about growing up at the heart of the business, the appreciation of a fine cigar, and more
Avo Companero 2009 Limited Edition
Avo Compañero LE09 Cigar
By Gary Korb
Every year, around the time of his March 22nd birthday, Avo Uvezian unveils a new limited edition cigar. This year’s selection, the Avo Compañero (Spanish for “companion”), not only commemorates the renowned musician and cigar epicurean’s 83rd birthday with another stunning cigar, but the camaraderie with his long time “compañero,” Hendrik Kelner, who’s been blending Avo’s cigars since 1982.
What I like about these annual “LE” releases is that they’re a nice departure from the mainline Avo selections like the Classic, Maduro, XO, Domaine, and Signature. Those cigars are so consistent that these special edition cigars give you a chance to discover another side of Avo, plus the fact that they’re also collectors items.
The blend consists of mostly of several different Dominican-grown Ligero tobaccos, plus a Peruvian leaf, Dominican binder, and according to the company, “the wrapper is a Cuban-seed grown in Ecuador,” which I suspect is sun-grown.
I received my Compañero in April when the cigars made their official release, and put it away in my humidor to let it settle. This wasn’t easy for me, since I confess that I’m of somewhat of an Avo groupie. But last week, my curiosity finally got the best of me and I said, “It’s time.”
Since I wanted to smoke this cigar under relaxed conditions, I called my good friend and smoking buddy, Richard, and we lit-up out on his deck with coffee and a bottle of Offley’s Reserve Port. First of all this, was an incredibly well-packed cigar. Solid as a rock from head to toe, yet when clipped had a very good draw. Its 6″ x 54 size gives it lots of heft making it feel really good in the hand.
During the pre-light, I noticed that the wrapper on my sample was darker than others I’ve seen in this series; more of a Maduro color with a beautiful chocolately hue. (This is why I believe the wrappers are sun-grown). Once clipped, the cold draw flavors were grassy, earthy and leathery. When I bit down on the cigar, I expected it to be chewy, but due to its firm packing, the cigar offered considerable resistance.
Once lit, the predominant flavors were that of sweet grass, sweet wood, spice, and a subtle hint of coffee. The finish left a little sting of red pepper on the back of the throat, while the aroma was redolently sweet. As the cigar burned it exposed a firm ash, which I tipped off at about the 1-inch mark, but it probably could have gone at least another half inch or more.
I paired the first half of the cigar with coffee, and switched to the Port for the second half. At that point, the cigar transitioned to a more peppery character, while the undercurrent of sweet wood and grass flavors continued to flow. By the third act, the cigar bloomed into a much more robust and spicy smoke, and I finally put it down at the last inch-and-a-half.
Overall, I found this cigar to be creamy, robust, peppery, yet also rather sweet. As a whole, I found it to be on par with Avo’s past LE editions. As after-dinner cigars go, the Avo Compañero with its long, portly shape, was a real treat that I can highly recommend.
Final Score: 9.0