Wrapper: Ecuadorian 151 Sun Grown Wrapper
Binder: Dominican (Olor, Piloto Cubano, San Vicente)
Filler: Dominican (Proprietary)
Size: 5 x 50 “Robusto”
Price: $10.00 MSRP ($6.75 in AVO Quartet Robusto Assortment Box- See Below)
It was a dark and stormy night. Claps of thunder shook the house and I heard little girl screams.
Apparently, they did not come from my wife or even my dog; it was me. I am sitting at my laptop at 8am and it looks like night outside so that should guarantee some great photos my lovelies.
I got this single cigar in a box of four AVO cigar blends. It is called the AVO Quartet Robusto Assortment.
Mine came from Small Batch Cigar. But last I looked; they had only 5 boxes left. Don’t know if they plan to get more.
The stick I am reviewing today is one I had never heard of. The Lounge Edition is only sold at a couple of the AVO Lounges in NYC and at Heathrow Airport in London.
And Corona Cigar sells them. No other online store sells this blend. Corona does not sell the robusto size as the size was designed specifically for this box presentation. What they do sell are the two sizes AVO sells at their AVO lounges: Double Corona 7.5 x 50 and Toro 6 x 50.
If you go to Corona, the Toro goes for $13.00 each and the Double Corona goes for $16.00 each.
The Lounge Edition has been around since 2009/2010. The 4 pack sampler contains these blends: the AVO Heritage, AVO Signature, AVO Lounge Edition and the yet to be released: “AU14 Batch No. 024.”
The $6.75 price that Small Batch Cigar sells each cigar for, in the sampler, certainly makes this a must have group of AVO blends.
It is a very nice looking stick. A bit rustic with some very large veins. Near invisible seams. A perfect triple cap. Perfectly round. I roll a cigar like pool players roll their sticks on the table. The wrapper is a dark and oily coffee bean brown. It feels toothy in some places and smooth as silk in others.
The light baby blue cigar band is a departure for AVO. While the style is exactly the same as other AVO blends, the baby blue and silver writing is striking.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, cedar, herbal notes, and some green pepper.
Time to light up.
The cigar is jam packed to the gills with not much give. But the draw is spot on and smoke fills the room. Immediately, there is a nice sweetness. A big dose of cedar. And here comes the spiciness. It went from nothing to a Garcia Blast in about 45 seconds. There is a very earthy flavor. I read in Cigar Aficionado that they like to use the term, “Peat” a lot. According to the dictionary, this is what peat means: “A brown, soil-like material characteristic of boggy, acid ground, consisting of partly decomposed vegetable matter. It is widely cut and dried for use in gardening and as fuel.”
Someone save up and buy me a new palate. The odds of me being able to taste peat are about 100 to 1. Especially, since I’ve never put real peat in my mouth.
The draw opens up even more allowing for a broader stroke of room filling smoke. The pepper is red pepper. It almost starts like a Nicaraguan but there isn’t a drop of Nic tobacco in this blend.
I read two reviews and they reported a minty taste. Well, gul durn it. I taste it too. Since I had only one of these sticks and no do-overs possible, I like to hedge my bets. But I taste more of a spearmint flavor than say a fresh mint. Very refreshing and doesn’t happen very often.
The spiciness keeps moving on an upward trajectory. My tongue tingles and the left side of my face is numb. While I don’t taste peat, the newly added woodiness and earthiness make quite the impression. There is a nice toastiness enveloping the flavor profile closing in on flavor bomb status.
Here are the flavors: Sweetness, spice, cedar, wood, earthiness, spearmint, and peat. (LOL). I guess I will have to race one of the bunnies in the backyard around and pick up its droppings and make a shake from them so I really know what peat tastes like.
The second third begins. The sweetness adds on a honey element.
One gets so used to smoking almost nothing but Nicaraguan based cigars; it throws me a little when I get something completely different. It has become a flavor bomb of a different color.
Creaminess enters the fray. Instead of big booming flavors, these flavors are delicate. As if you blew on them, they would flutter away…like me.
I just know that the robusto is the perfect size for this stick. The double corona is just too damn big and the delicate flavors would disintegrate by the muddiness of the stick’s size. The Toro has a fighting chance.
I’ve only allowed this stick to humidor age for a week. And it has everything I want in a cigar. It nears the halfway point and is very complex. It has a delightful balance with a long and chewy finish.
I get a new fruity component. It gets caught up in the sweetness and the honey. It is a combo of a floral note and apricot. I know that sounds strange but this is a very unique cigar. I would love to have a box of these but not at $12 a stick.
Which brings me to is this cigar worth $10 in the box price? No. Is it worth $6.75 that Small Batch Cigar sells it for? Absolutely!!
I love the red pepper. It has placed itself just behind the sweetness giving the whole cigar a kick in the rump.
The halfway point is upon me and the flavors: Creaminess, sweetness, red pepper, honey, earthiness, fruit, cedar, and spearmint.
The creaminess really surges at this point. And the overall flavor profile is now explosive with balance and variety.
The stick started out at classic medium body. At the halfway point, it becomes a strong medium/full body stick. Uh-Oh. I see nicotine in my future. I grab a crash helmet in case I pass out and fall out of my chair.
The last third begins and while I would not pay $11 or $12 or $16 for this stick, it is sheer brilliance of blending. If I were you, I’d hop over to Small Batch Cigar and get one of those 5 remaining 4 pack samplers. Worth every dime and then some.
The red pepper moves to the front of the flavor list. Ha-Cha-Cha!
I love this cigar and it will make my list of excellent cigars in the $5-$6 range because there is no other place to put it. Of course, it is cheating as it really doesn’t belong there due to the MSRP of the bigger sticks. So call the Cigar Ratings Police.
This is a wonderful cigar. It’s a shame that there is only one way to get the robusto. And another shame that you have to pay so much for the Toro and Double Corona.
And now for something completely different:
Another repeat story that my long time readers have read more than once. So sorry. My mind is slipping.
Curved Air’s touring schedule was always the same. 2-3 weeks in England first. Then another 4 weeks, or so, on the Continent starting with Amsterdam and the rest of Holland.
As soon as we were settled in our hotel, we made our road manager drive us to the Paradiso Club in the heart of Amsterdam. Back then, it was a government run club that cost 5 Guilders (About $1.25) to join. That gave you the privilege of visiting any time for free and the pure bliss of being able to buy hashish in small quantities in the basement bar.
Like the Three Stooges, Stewart, Sonja and I pushed our way down the stairs to the basement bar. It was dark and dank. And not crowded like the rest of the club. Next to the bar sat a man in a huge overstuffed chair. Behind him was a big black board with the names of the hash for sale and their prices. The amounts were usually in grams. But you could buy as much as you wanted.
And if you were really lucky, he also sold weed. Hash was more prevalent in England and Europe because it was easier to smuggle. Based on size vs. profit, it made more sense than big bundles of pot.
This one day, weed was on sale by the ounce. It came from Africa. And man oh man was it potent. We each bought an ounce which at the time went for something around $50. We always bought the best hash and it went for around $10 per gram. So we would end up leaving the joint with 4 oz. of weed (Darryl didn’t do drugs but was not judgmental. He was a drinker.) and around 8 grams of hash.
Back then, it was perfectly legal to smoke dope in public and public places..like a movie theatre.
This same night, we decided to stay and watch a band. One level was rock, one level was disco and one level had a DJ. And you had to pay extra to see the band in the amphitheater.
Europeans smoked their hash by heating it, breaking it apart and rolling it with cigarette tobacco. Since I had never smoked a cigarette, that method made me sick. While Stew was a multi-country guy, he preferred the method I liked…just like all red blooded Americans; smoke the hash in a pipe.
So we pulled out the communal pipe and went to town. The hash we bought in the States was OK but nothing like the stuff in Amsterdam. It was fresh and very potent.
We all went our separate ways to check things out. Stew and I stuck together because we had only the one pipe.
We saw a ruckus on level 2. Darryl was speed drinking and being a belligerent guy, got into a fight. We settled things with the bouncer by telling them who we were. And that we would be playing in the amphitheater the next night.
We were still asked to leave.
There was nothing like it. Strolling the colorful streets of Amsterdam at night. All the different people. A true melting pot. And taking puffs from the pipe. A giggle fest began and we had to stop at an outdoor coffee shop and order some of the most delicious coffee on the planet.
No one cared if we smoked right there.
It usually took 3 days to completely deplete our supplies. So just before leaving Amsterdam, we would stock up once more because the rest of the trip had no venues for buying dope.
Driving through Europe is something else. The sights were beautiful; especially Switzerland. Everything looked like a post card.
We were high from the moment we left the club until the end of the tour.
Even while playing the concerts. We had a regimen of smoking a bowl full while Darryl played his 10 minute solo on the violin. The roadies had the pipe ready to go and Stew and I partook of the few moments we had to get high once more.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS