The AVO line—introduced in 1987—is the result of a collaboration between some of the great cigar masters and a composer, Avo Uvezian (probably best known for writing “Strangers in the Night”). Born in 1926, the son of a family of musicians in Beirut, Avo Uvezian dreamed of becoming a great musician. Avo devoted himself to the piano, eventually studying at the famous Julliard School of Music in New York City. Avo eventually realized his dream, establishing his career as a musician. In the early 1980s, Avo opened a restaurant and piano bar in Puerto Rico and discovered his love for cigars. Around 1982 he met the master cigar maker Hendrik Kelner in the Dominican Republic and within six years the first AVO was sold in New York. Later in the mid 1990s, AVO Cigars sold their distribution rights Davidoff Cigars. Creating fine cigars is not unlike musical composition—talent, passion and expertise must come together to create something that will last through the ages. And like the well-known tunes that live on beyond their composer’s passing, a great cigar line will endure long beyond its makers.
To celebrate his birthday every year, Avo Uvezian releases a limited edition cigar. In 2014 he released the AVO 88, not only to celebrate his 88th birthday but also to commemorate his love for the 88 keys on the piano. This handmade Dominican puro will be music to your palate, featuring a blend of well aged piloto ligero, piloto viso, San Vicente ligero, criollo, and corojo olor filler, an olor criollo binder, and a wrapper from Yamasá. Rolled to perfection with a more pronounced point than is usually typical for a belicoso, this stunning mild- to medium-bodied stogie has notes of cedar, nuts, pepper, and slight creaminess. Enjoy this limited edition cigar around the piano with a champagne.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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