Avo Syncro South America Ritmo | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Mexican
Filler: Brazilian, Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Peruvian
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto – Box Pressed
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $10.90

Today we take a look at the Avo Syncro South America Ritmo.
Thanks to good buddy Aaron H. for gifting me the sticks 2 months ago. He had them for a month or two before that.

From Cigar Aficionado:
“It’s the third release within the Avo Syncro series, and the first to contain tobacco from so many different countries.

While the first two Avo Syncro cigars showcased a range of tobaccos from various Nicaraguan growing regions, Avo Syncro South America Ritmo highlights tobaccos from seven different countries, with a special emphasis on Brazilian leaf in the filler.

“This fusion of tobaccos spanning across seven different countries of origin results in the most intense flavor profile within the Avo portfolio,” Charles Awad, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Oettinger Davidoff AG, said in a statement.

Licensing granted to Davidoff of Geneva.

“Covered in an Ecuadoran wrapper leaf, South American Ritmo also contains a Mexican binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Peru, Brazil, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

“The cigar will launch in four box-pressed sizes: Robusto, at 5 inches by 50 ring ($10.90); Toro, at 6 by 54 ($11.90); Special Toro, 6 by 60 ($12.90) and Torpedo Largo, at 7 by 54 ($13.90). South America Ritmo comes packaged in 20-count boxes and is rolled at Davidoff’s Oettinger Kelner (OK) Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.
Avo Syncro South America Ritmo, like all Avo cigars, is named after legendary jazz composer Avo Uvesian, who passed away in March.”

Ritmo is the Spanish word for rhythm.

Nice looking stick. Nearly seamless with a minimum of unsightly veins. A slight toothiness allows it to be used as a scratching post for kittens. The box press isn’t bad but isn’t consistent. Nicely applied triple cap.

From the shaft, I can smell buttery caramel, milk chocolate, café latte, white pepper, hazelnuts, cream, and cedar.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell dark cocoa, caramel, molasses, white pepper, coffee, herbs, hazelnuts, orange zest, cedar, and green tea.

The cold draw presents flavors of orange zest, cocoa, coffee, caramel, almonds, herbs, cinnamon, tea, herbs, and cedar.

The draw is impeccable. Smoke pours from the cherry like a house a’ burnin’.
I have zero luck with the burn on any box pressed cigar. Fingers crossed.

Lots of flavor upfront: Caramel, chocolate, orange zest, cedar, non-descript spiciness, roasted almonds, cinnamon, café latte, cedar, and creaminess.

This is good. I tried my first stick after a month in my possession and the first half was all hay and black pepper. The second half was pretty good. Patience required so I put the Ritmo into a medically induced coma for another month and voila.
Strength is a solid medium.

Little sips of water reinforce the disparate nature of the flavors giving them added life and influence.
Like all box pressed sticks, I am fighting the char line. But a carefully aimed torch fixes the abhorrent situation.

I prefer strong cigars but the Avo Syncro South America Ritmo has a nice breakfast cereal appeal. Easy on the brain as I’m not being bombarded by nicotine and the strength is in abeyance.

The strength of the Ritmo slips from stereotypical medium to an unwelcome mild/medium blend. You can count on one hand the number of mild body cigars I like. I hope the Ritmo breathes life into my lungs causing uncontrollable coughing and searing headaches soon.

The Avo Syncro South America Ritmo is a pleasant enough cigar but nothing worse its price tag of double digits. There are a lot of bright young blenders producing some extraordinary blends and keeping the price in the $8 range. AVO is simply pulling a Davidoff with most of their blends. It’s all PR, man.

I received some Hiram & Solomon blends the other day and with only a couple days of rest, they shone like the noon sun. And they are in the same exact price range as these Avo blends. Huge difference in the passion for blending between the two companies.

There is a tad bit of complexity, an acceptable amount of balance, transitions could be doing better…but there is some nice nuance and subtlety going on.

Here is a list of reasonably priced sticks that put the Avo Syncro South America Ritmo to shame: A.J. Fernandez Atlantic Cigar 20th Aniversario ($7), 2017 Mash-Up by Isabela Cigar Company ($9), Flor de Nino by Marrero Cigars ($8), Southern Draw Cigars Rose of Sharon ($9.50), Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez ($9), Joya Black by Joya de Nicaragua ($6), and Foundry Time Flies ($8). You get the idea.

Some time is 25 minutes.

The Ritmo improves dramatically at this point. Malts enter the picture. The creaminess and black pepper are pretty intense. The citrus and caramel make a nice pair. There is most definitely a strong coffee influence that almost tastes like a Java.

And the cigar goes out.

If this were an $8 cigar, I’d say “Atta boy” to Avo. But at $11-$14 a pop, I expect fireworks instead of a measly sparkler.

As I near the halfway point it becomes déjà vu all over again. While the first half is much better than it was a month ago, it is the second half that shines.

The Avo Syncro South America Ritmo has become what the blender must have intended. It is zesty, aromatic, intensely flavorful, and impressing the shit out of me.

This is how the Ritmo should have begun the adventure. This means Old School blending at its finest. The cigar needs months and months of humi time. Reviewing it at 3 months old is too soon. I believe the cigar will do better with more age on it.

The Ritmo tastes exactly like every new $12 blend on the market…which seems to be the median price for decent premium cigars as of the last year or two.

I’m very impressed with the construction. Perfect draw. And the burn line has settled down requiring only occasional touch ups.
Very complex now. Nice series of transitions. Beautiful balance.

Knowing what I know now, I wish I had waited on reviewing the Ritmo but this was my last stick so I am not going to start all over again and buy some new sticks and try again in 6 months.

Therefore, I will give the Ritmo the benefit of the doubt on the first half and chalk it up to not being quite ready to smoke yet. The second half is in line with an $11 stick and I shall assume the first half will complete the circle in a couple of months. Still check out my list of lesser expensive sticks for an experience every bit as good as the Ritmo but a few bucks less per stick.

Strength goes from mild/medium to a hair above medium strength.
A good cigar but not a barn burner. I like the Ritmo but it falls into the category of optimum average-ness. I’ve tasted what the Ritmo has to offer in countless other blends. There is nothing new to offer the consumer with this witch’s brew.

Smoke time is one hour.

The Ritmo halts its growth progress. It has found its comfort zone and seemingly plans to stay there. So maybe this is just the way the cigar performs and additional months of humidor time will not significantly change the outcome.

One last time: Malts, creaminess, black pepper, coffee, dark cocoa, cedar, citrus, almonds, cinnamon, and caramel.

I believe there would be more Sis-Boom-Bah in my reaction if the price were more accurate and matching the quality. But when is the last time you’ve seen an Avo for less than $10?
My list of better cigars for less dough now seems canonized.
The Ritmo is on cruise control. Good cigar. The bottom line is that the blend is ordinary for its price.

The flavor profile lessens its attack to my palate. Some harshness appears towards the end.
Complexity recedes a bit. Flavors missing are chocolate, caramel, citrus, and cinnamon.

The last vestiges of the stick cause a nicotine rush as the blend moves to medium/full strength.
Mind you, this is my palate at work. You might have a completely different experience. But I doubt it unless you are a smoker that doesn’t care much about complexity. But then the brand does attract more sophisticated smokers. Avo is a good brand but is highly inconsistent.
If you find the Ritmo on sale, I’d say go for it. But at $11-$14…I’d take a pass.


And now for something completely different:
I thought I’d go back to the story that I published a long time ago about how I became a member of the English progressive band, Curved Air in 1974.

“Would you like to come to Europe with us this summer?” asked Skip and Debbie?
“Huh?” I replied with exact articulation.

“We are going to buy one way tickets and go. We thought that we would form a trio of you, me and Travis and head for Greece. And live off of our music. Whatcha’ think?”

My head spun. What a nutty idea. But I was 23 and naive. I had a steady girlfriend, 3 years younger than me, and she had a 2 year old daughter. I called her and told her of my plans. And then asked if she wanted to come with me? She said yes. Oh God. In retrospect, that was a huge mistake. If they weren’t with me, I wouldn’t have felt the need to come home after I was fired from Curved Air and left England broke. But I loved her; so my decision made no sense for my career.

We left America and landed in Amsterdam with our one way tickets. And not enough cash on us to turn around and fly back. It was make it or break it time.
We figured we’d be motivated if were stuck and penniless. A really stupid plan.

After 6 weeks in Europe, we were broke. We figured the dough we brought with us would last for months. Man, were we wrong.

With what little dough we had left, we decided that if we were to be poor, and on the streets, better we were in a country that spoke English. So we took the ferry from Calais, France to Dover, England….everyone puking the whole way. The English Channel is one of the roughest waterways in the world.

After a few weeks of spinning our wheels and checking “Melody Maker’s” musician Want Ads every day, we were really, really broke. The girls found gigs as maids in a hotel. So we were able, at least, to eat. We lived in a 200 year old dungeon flat on the west side of London.

I called the phone number in Melody Maker for a roadie gig, but it was also the phone number for a bassist wanted gig. I was dying for any job.
The voice on the other end suggested that I try out for the band and if I didn’t make it, I could look at the roadie gig. So an audition was set.

There was trepidation from my friends. We had come as a group…sort of. Prior to leaving for Europe, Travis got drunk and wrapped his bike around a tree, a block from our house one late night, and splattered his leg into a million pieces. He spent months in a VA hospital and our plans got all fucked up. But the tickets were paid for and we decided not to scrap the plan.

I had 5£ left on me. I spent half of it getting to the audition in St. John’s Wood. The home of Miles Copeland III. It was a block away from Abbey Road (EMI) Studio. (Stewart Copeland lived a couple doors down in a flat. And we would sit on the stoop and watch tourists trying to get that famous Beatles’ crosswalk photo….but it was a busy street and English drivers made it a point to run down tourists.)

I was ushered downstairs to the practice room. It was encased in glass and I saw the band playing with another bassist. As I entered the lounge, my heart sank. There had to be at least 20 other bassists waiting their turn. As I sat and listened to the same songs being played over and over again to test the bass players, I played my own versions in my head. Time dragged on unmercifully.

I could hear the whispers of the other bassists as they discussed who was sitting, and waiting, with us. Apparently, players of note had arrived and the other players felt it was becoming a waste of time. So did I. So I got up, grabbed my bass, and left.
I got as far as halfway down the driveway when Stewart Copeland came after me.
“Hey douche bag! Where do you think you’re going?”

I told him I didn’t do cattle call auditions. He insulted me again and grabbed my arm and pulled me back downstairs. He told me: “Sit down and shut the fuck up.”

My turn finally arrived.

With the words, “You know, we’ve been playing the same shit all day. Why don’t you give us something to play?” The color and blood drained from my body.
So I tied my balls to the hitching post and played something in jazz fusion style…really funky. They joined in and we went to town.

At the time, every bassist in England sounded like Chris Squire of Yes. Very technical, but no soul. I on the other hand, had been playing like the players on the CTI label in America. Funky and jazzy. Very Stanley Clarke-ish, Ron Carter, James Jamerson, and others.

They went nuts over me. We kept playing and I played my ass off in the time allotted.
When we were done, I was introduced to everyone. The keyboard player was Darryl Way. A very famous violinist with the group Curved Air.

I had no idea who that band was. That’s because, while Curved Air, was huge in Europe, they had bombed in America. They sounded like a cross between “Jefferson Airplane” and “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Both bands had chick singers and were considered progressive rock.

But this was not Curved Air. Curved Air had folded two years earlier. Miles grabbed Darryl from Darryl’s own band, “Wolf,” and said he’d build a great band around him. The band was formed and a singer was the last member needed. We became “Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.” We played out a couple times for a pittance in small clubs.

One day, Darryl comes to rehearsal and says we have to put the band on hold for a couple of months because Curved Air had a record deal that had to be completed with Decca… so they figured the easiest approach was to do a live album. Go on tour as Curved Air with the original members, record a couple of gigs and voila! An album.
“Kohn. You’re going to be the bassist.”

Rehearsals began in Covent Garden (London’s vegetable warehouse section) where a very cool rehearsal studio existed. The band knew the music. I didn’t. And it was complicated. All the players had serious classical backgrounds. The violinist and keys player are now world famous composers of symphonies and operas.

So most of the rehearsal time was spent drinking tea and eating biscuits.

So before the first gig, we had two weeks of nearly non-existent rehearsal. And the recording of the album was planned to be done at the first two gigs. I was sweating bullets.
I thought we were doing club gigs until we drove up to the Round House in London. It seated thousands and we headlined.

I remember freaking out because since I didn’t know the songs very well, I had cheat sheets on a music stand. A music stand at the Round House would look very unprofessional for a rock n roll band.

And then I remember, “Ladies and Gentlemen….For the first time in 2 years…The original CURVED AIR!!!!
“1-2-3-4,” screamed Darryl.
To be continued….

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1 reply

  1. Hey Katman, good to see you back at the keyboard. Man I really enjoy your reviews. Hope you are doing well.

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