Team Cigar Review: AVO Improvisation LE19

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Cigar Details: AVO Improvisation LE19

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic and Peru
  • Factory: TABADOM
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $15.00
  • Release Date: March 2019
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the AVO Improvisation LE19 is rustic looking as it is medium brown and has some jagged, protruding veins present. The seams are smooth around the soft box press, but easily visible due to the color variation of the wrapper. The head is finished off with a well applied double cap. There are two bands with the primary being the traditional design for the brand. The second band uses the same color combination and denotes the year. The aroma from the wrapper has hay up front with light leather and stone fruit sweetness. The foot brings wood and stone fruit sweetness. The pre-light draw is a mix of cedar and hay with a mild spiciness on my lips and tongue.

Pre-light Experience

The pressed AVO Improvisation LE19 comes with a beautiful Colorado wrapper and is finished with a wonderful triple cap. There are a few veins present throughout and it has some tooth as well. The aromas are of hay, fruit, earth and wood, and there are some faint leather notes on top of that.

Pre-light Experience

The AVO Improvisation LE19 comes in cellophane, and the cellophane is designed in a well thought out way that doesn’t rip the UPC code when it’s opened. The cigar itself is a soft box press, with a primary and secondary band. The primary band is gold, brown, white and black indicating Improvisation AVO UVEZIAN. The secondary band is in a similar color scheme but only indicates 2019. Nosing the wrapper and foot, all I’m picking out is sweet tobacco with baking spices.

Pre-light Experience

The AVO Improvisation LE19 has an attractive silky smooth espresso brown wrapper. Construction looks and feels spot on as veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even without soft spots and head finished off with a triple cap. Aromas from the wrapper give perfume, barnyard and cedar. The foot smells of aggressive red pepper and cedar. Cold draw tells dry wood and hay.

First Third

The cigar begins with dry wood, some mustiness and a very subtle baking spice. At a half inch in, a slight char has joined the wood, which is now more defined as cedar, while the baking spice has faded away. The retrohale brings a mirror image of the lightly charred cedar and mustiness. At an inch in, the subtle baking spice returns to the background while the mustiness gains a slight sweetness. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.

First Third

The first third begins by showing some strong pepper spice flavors and it is paired with a sweet fruitiness like quality. There are some hay and musty wood notes, and I am picking up some seasoned wood, cocoa powder and citrus qualities on the finish. The strength and body are around a medium level, body a little bit more so than the strength, and the flavors are close to medium-full in my opinion.

First Third

My first few draws bring flavors of mushroom, and a moss and earth funky combination. On the retrohale, there’s more complexity with a sweet cream, and a mild baking spice finish. Mild pepper lingers on my lips through the post draw. As the cigar progresses, chocolate with some talc mixes in with the baking spices. The profile eventually settles into a light mushroom and moss combination with medium strength flavors of chocolate, baking spices and mild leather. Some of the leather moves to the mid palate and pushes into the post draw, bringing the mossy mushroom with it. At the halfway point of the cigar, mild cedar joins at the end of the draw. Chocolate starts carrying into the post draw with cedar firmly establishing control of the post draw.

First Third

The first third has a slick mouthfeel with flavors of prominent red pepper spice, espresso beans and lingering nuttiness. Retrohaling highlights the red pepper spice and nuttiness that much more as well as a faint cherry. Strength is medium-full and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the profile becomes a bit lighter as the cedar sheds the char and the mustiness isn’t as pronounced. The baking spice is no longer present either. At three quarters of an inch in, the char returns to the cedar. The retrohale continues to be a mirror image of the mouth draws. As the third comes to a close, the char has increased a bit. The strength in this third has bumped up to medium.

Second Third

I am in the second third of the cigar now and picking up some similar peppery spice notes and it has this charred wood and cocoa powder quality present with that. There are some leather and tobacco qualities, and the finish has that sweet fruity flavor. Like before, the cigar is smoking at a medium level in strength and body, and the flavors are just between medium and medium-full.

Second Third

Leather moves up to the front of my palate, with baking spices taking over the middle and partially into the end of the draw. The leather is also present on the retrohale at medium strength, with pepper accent notes. Once the middle third has established itself, earth joins the profile in the mid palate. Some harsh accents to the earth as it moves to the front palate, baking spices taking up the mid palate again. In the bottom half of the second third, the earth takes over the post draw, with a sweet baking spice chaser.

Second Third

The second third loses some complexities such that it is namely the spice centric expression of the first third. Unfortunately, the espresso beans and nuttiness are gone entirely. Strength although still medium-full is a main factor and it is that much more amplified when combined with the deep spice. Body remains medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the moderately charred cedar is up front with some mustiness following. At a half inch in, the char is fairly intense and brings some bitterness with it. At an inch in, the profile has settled down so things aren’t as intense, but the balance of flavors are about the same. The retrohale is slightly charred cedar and mustiness. The cigar finishes with this same profile. The strength in this third remained at medium.

Final Third

I am in the final third of the cigar now and there has been some transition into this third from before. I am picking up some spice notes, showing those pepper profiles from before, and it has some wood and leather as well. There are some cocoa qualities present also, and the finish is showing some earth, hay and cream qualities. It is a lovely final third, and a nice finish for the cigar.

Final Third

I find the profile to be creamy earth transitioning into the last third. Earth begins to fade with leather replacing it as the final third settles in. As last third progresses, creaminess takes over the profile.

Final Third

The last third mirrors the second third. Spice driven and filled with nicotine kick. When the burn is right (wrapper leaf burns) there is more to the cigar (nuts and hay), but most of the time I had to fight with the wrapper burn. Body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy throughout, but the cigar went out once in each third requiring re-lights. The ash held on in about inch and a half increments.

Burn

The burn on the cigar was fairly solid from start to finish. It was never perfect, but there was never a problem with how the cigar smoked. At times it was a little wavy and showing some imperfections, but in reality not a problem.

Burn

The burn on the AVO Improvisation LE19 is near perfect through the entire smoking experience. Ash holds on at 1-1/2 inch increments. There is some slight waviness in the middle third, eventually requiring a single touch-up.

Burn

The burn performance was horrendous. Past the first third, canoeing and the wrapper refusing to burn. All this led to countless touch-ups and at times complete re-lights.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar struggled with balance at times as there were some notes of the charred cedar and mustiness that were fairly dominant. The burn left a lot to be desired as it required multiple re-lights. While the AVO Improvisation LE19 isn’t likely something I would return to, fans of AVO may find something they like here. The price point is fitting for the type of release, I just didn’t feel it fit with the experience.

Draw

The draw was somewhat loose on the cigar. I felt it smoked quick and it really took away from the entire smoking experience.

Overall

The AVO Improvisation LE19 is far from a poor cigar, but at the same time does not help itself in being considered a successful limited edition. I am one that thinks limited editions need to be very special, and this cigar is not that. It is hard to be a truly special cigar, but that is what being limited is all about. I felt there were solid flavors from start to finish, but with the loose draw the cigar never took off and that took away from my smoking experience. I felt the final third is when the cigar really took off, and if the first two thirds smoked like that we would be in a completely different boat.

Draw

The draw is a half notch into the resistant spectrum, but still inside the spectrum for an ideal draw.

Overall

The AVO Improvisation LE19 starts out complex and interesting in the first third, but declines in balance and intensity as the cigar progresses. I get the impression this cigar might balance out the middle and last third given some time to rest. Overall, the experience was enjoyable, and the cigar is well constructed.

Draw

The draw, although a bit loose, was still considered very good. No real issues here.

Overall

I was overall a bit disappointed by the AVO Improvisation LE19. This is one of the times in which the poor burn performance led to a decrease in flavor/smoking enjoyment. When the wrapper burned correctly (and cigar did not canoe), the cigar tasted “good” just like the first third (prominent red pepper spice, espresso beans and lingering nuttiness). But when it didn’t (which was most of the cigar experience), deep spice was basically all there was. I may revisit the cigar down the road to see if the burn issues are remedied but as of now, a bit of a let down.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Very GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Average
SubparFinal
Third
GoodFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
SubparBurnGoodBurnAmazingBurnPoor
Very GoodDrawSubparDrawAmazingDrawVery Good
AverageOverallAverageOverallGoodOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.20

Cost/Point

$2.88

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.30

Cost/Point

$2.83

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

7.17

Cost/Point

$2.09

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.45

Cost/Point

$2.75

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: AVO Improvisation LE19
John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: AVO Improvisation LE19

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