Produced only in a toro vitola, the cigar is constructed using Dominican San Vicente Ligero, Dominican Piloto Ligero, and Peruvian Piloto Visus. These leaves are held together by a Semilla 151 Seco, which is concealed thanks to a creamy Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
The Avo Improvisation 2020 has a lovely, creamy wrapper with a praliné shade, which is very distinctive of a Connecticut. The roll is consistent and relatively smooth, although there are a couple of bumps. Overall, they are well constructed with a firm spring.
The wrapper features an oily sheen, which is very pleasant to the eye against the light. Meanwhile, there are a couple of visible veins, but they’re not particularly rustic and quite refined in general.
Otherwise, there were aromas of brandy butter, which hinted a caramelized and creamy flavour with a touch of booziness in the background. Present were also spicy cinnamon and nutmeg.
Before we go any further, I’d just like to talk about the way these cigars were stored for the purposes of this review. In order to ensure proper standardization, we store all our cigars for review in the exact same way.
I experienced a very nice draw, which was balanced and didn’t have too much resistance, but not too little either. As for the pre-light aromas, they consisted of butterscotch, which is similar to the brandy butter earlier, but without the aforementioned booziness.
There is also a noticeable dried earth terracotta note as well as more cinnamon spice.
1st Third Smoking Experience
Notes: Butterscotch, Toasted Almonds, Cardamon
In the first third, I experienced a combination of more butterscotch with a touch of vanilla and toasted almonds. Additionally, there was a cardamom aroma, which was a surprising but very pleasant spicy note that had this slight mineral metallic quality.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
Notes: Chargilled Thyme, Malt, Pennies
Although it could be picked up towards the end of the first third, an intriguing metallic note became particularly prevalent in the second. I would describe it as “pennies” as it was reminiscent of copper metal.
While it may sound a bit strange, this is extremely satisfying and gives you a mineral, metallic flavour, which accords beautifully with what I would refer to as chargrilled thyme.
Meanwhile, there was also a malt flavour that I would relate to either producing beer or whiskey. It had a rich cereal character that elegantly accompanied the aromatic and mineral notes.
Final Third Smoking Experience
Notes: Cedar, Nutmeg, Dried Earth
The final third that consisted of cedar, which interestingly, was present in the previous two thirds but was never distinctive in its own right. Instead, it accorded with other flavours in those two sections of the cigar.
Here, the cedar was quite prevalent and it was accompanied by some spiciness, too. In this case, it was nutmeg as well as a touch of dried earth that nodded back to the terracotta in the pre-light.
Overall, we had an intricate smoking experience. There was some complexity within all these notes that offer different flavours that you could identify while they accorded together.
The mouthfeel was overall very smooth, as you can expect from a Connecticut cigar. It coated the palette with a creamy texture. Furthermore, the astringence was balanced. It wasn’t too tart nor did it produce too much salivation.
This property refers to the palate stimulation, which explores how the cigar stimulates different parts of the tongue when you hold the smoke into your mouth. As hinted earlier, it was balanced and offered a nice spread of stimulation throughout the tongue.
That being said, it did focus slightly towards the front and the lateral front in the earlier thirds before creeping up the back of the palate.
This observation naturally leads to the lifecycle, which was overall very developed. Here, we had a delicate evolution that took us through a variety of aromatic mineral and spicy notes. This experience resulted in a very pleasant, lingering finish as well as a fragrant residual scent.
Ash Backbone: Flaky
Burn Angle: Mostly Even
Draw: Mild Resistance
Final Smoking Time: 75 Minutes
The overall draw was consistent and ideal with a just a touch of resistance, but not too much either. In this case, it remained consistent throughout the entire smoke and the temperature was very cool and very pleasant on the palate.
I admit that I was slightly disappointed by the angle and ash backbone. Anyone who’s familiar with Avo cigars know that they tend to have their own little charm in this regard.
The burn line was often quite wavy, which did usually correct itself somewhere near the second third yet still needed touching up again towards the final third. As for the backbone, you could probably get an inch of ash but then, without any warning, it will plop off and fall into your lap, which is exactly what happened!
Ideal Pairings With An Avo Improvisation 2020
Fudge is at the top of our list thanks to its spicy caramel flavours and smooth mouthfeel, which echo the cigar’s characteristics. A custard-based dessert would be an intriguing alternative. We suggested custard creams, which is a classic English biscuit. However, similar alternatives local to you would be worth trying.
Finally, we suggest Rocher chocolates. The most well-known rocher chocolates brand is Ferrero Rocher. However, you could probably seek out Suchard Rocher instead, which has a fuller and more suitable flavour.
As for beverages, you could consider a lightly-peated whisky such as a Coal Ila. Alternatively, you could opt for a Campbeltown expression, which is often a little bit more floral. If you prefer a rum, an aged bottle by Flor de Caña would be our recommendation as it has a natural and mild flavour.
Meanwhile, if you’re a coffee-lover, you could go for a café au lait or a latte. I would suggest something like this rather than espresso because then you have the milk that pairs with the cigar’s creamy flavours.
Alternatively, we had one cigar with Dammann Frères Carrot Cake Rooibos tea, which is an infusion of various herbs and spices, including ginger, almonds, as well as cinnamon. Its light gourmet flavour pairs very nicely with this cigar.
Otherwise, we also enjoyed it with a Côtes de Provence rosé wine, which makes me realise that this is probably a cigar that you would want to consider with a mild wine that’s rich in mineral flavour.
In that light, you could also probably consider sparkling wines such as a Côtes de Blancs champagne.
First of all, I’m very fond of Avo’s bands, which are elegant and presentable for a variety of different occasions. Here, they’ve juxtapositioned black text with cream craft paper as well as copper metal, which looks very pleasing to the eye and works well against the wrapper of the cigar.
Unfortunately, the only problem with Avo bands, if anyone’s familiar with the brand, is that they’re very difficult to remove. Sadly, you will probably rip it to shreds rather than being able to save it for any kind of decoration or collection that you may have.
The box is original and presents the cigars in a unique way. It is delivered as two wooden cedar trays that stack inside an acrylic cover, which can be removed. It has a certain display value for either home storage or presenting cigars to guests.
As for the occasion, it’s a versatile cigar that can be enjoyed at home or taken to formal events such as weddings or even premium lounges.
In terms of the cigar’s value, it’s an excellent entry-level premium cigar. It comes at about $16 per stick, but you will generally have to invest in a whole box as it’s rare to be able to buy them as singles except in some local shops.
To summarise, the Avo Improvisation 2020 is a wonderfully aromatic cigar with notes of spices, minerals and metals, which are very pleasant and combine nicely together to tell you a very intriguing story.
This is a good value entry-level premium cigar. At $16 per stick, you have a lavish experience, which is definitely worthwhile for the investment.
On the cigar formula, as you can see, it earned 85 out of 100, which equates to a solid five-star review. This is a good quality cigar and it’s definitely one worth putting on your radar.
"A wonderfully aromatic cigar with notes of spices, minerals and metals, which are very pleasant and combine nicely together to tell you a very intriguing story."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★
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Paul Anthony is the founder and creative director at Bespoke Unit. He has had a life long affair with design, watches, fragrance and clothing. Originally from England, he now lives in the USA splitting time between NYC & Philly. Favoring "British Style", but has an overall eclectic taste.