Like that old Peggy Lee song, while burning my AVO #2, I kept asking myself, "is that all there is?"
Let me back up a minute. I'll admit, this cigar is gorgeous. Hendrik Kelner is masterful when it comes to consistency and aesthetics. To the eye, each cigar he crafts is pretty, featuring smooth, even wrappers with zero imperfections. In the hand, every stick is impeccable, each well-packed, identical from cigar to cigar in weight, firm with nary a soft spot to be found. And personally, the AVO classic blend has something of a place in my heart. 11 or 12 years ago when I transitioned from an occasional recreational cigar enthusiast into a full-blown 5+ cigar a day maniac, it was an AVO that started me on the path. Before that point I mostly smoked garden variety blends such as H. Upmann and Te-Amo, sprinkled in with the occasional Las Cabrillas or similar subpar something or other. So when I first burned an AVO, it was a veritable epiphany. Of course the palate continued to evolve to the point where I now prefer a little more complex and heavier blend for the most part. Thus AVO has not been in my regular rotation for years. So it's high time I revisit it!
Ahhh, indeed AVO is the same eye candy it always is. The #2 vitola is what I have in my hand and the first thing to jump out is the beautiful Connecticut wrapper....smooth as silk. The construction is excellent. After lighting, the opening is creamy and pleasant. Like a Macanudo or a Montecristo, it's nothing if not consistent. But also like those two brands, it evolves very little as it burns from head to foot, remaining pretty darn mild and uneventful, almost boring. It offers a tad more ooomph than a Macanudo but still keeps me wanting more. If you like 'em super mild in body and light on flavor, then AVO is right up your alley. Frankly you can't go too far wrong with AVO - it's a crowd pleaser and solid brand name, one that gets a respectable rating from me. If for no other reason than personal nostalgia....but just doesn't have the magic I remember.