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Staff Reviews

Avo XO Intermezzo Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I am smoking an Avo XO called the Intermezzo. The cigar is a standard 5 x 50 Robusto, and Intermezzo is a musical composition that fits between two other major compositions, similar to an interlude. Many Avo cigars are named for musical terms because the brand’s founder, Avo Uvezian, was a notable Armenian-American jazz pianist. Before his passing in 2017, Uvezian served as the brand’s main showman and was easy to spot at events around the country in his straw mimbre hat and white Brioni suit with a cigar in hand. 

Avo cigars are part of the prestigious Davidoff portfolio and are blended by the company’s chief cigar-maker, Hendrik Kelner, at the sprawling Davidoff cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Avo debuted in the late 1980s and was touted as a less expensive alternative to Davidoff’s premium White Label cigars. Today, the brand is marketed around Uvezian’s musical legacy, and the cigars are just a touch stronger than most Davidoff blends.  

Avo XO is blended from a light-tan Ecuador Connecticut and a premium interior of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The wrapper leaf is creamy in color and its gold and orange cigar band features the letters, A-V-O, front and center in an overlapping design. The Intermezzo leaves light aromas of cedar and honey in the nose when you take in the scent of the foot. With a quick clip to the cap, cold tasting notes of pepper, caramels, and wood build nice expectations.

XO fires up without any issues. The draw is fluent and fluffy clouds of smoke come out. Quickly, though, the flavor becomes bitter. Hints of Vegemite and pepper prompt me to stick out my tongue for a moment to get the smoke off it. And, the foot of the cigar appears to smolder in sharp spirals even when I’m not taking a draw. My eyes twitch slightly. Avo XO is not a strong cigar, though, so its abrasive taste is a bit shocking.

The first third of the cigar continues in similar fashion. I pause for a minute here and there and pick it back up from the ashtray waiting for the flavor to change. By the middle, things improve. Finally, the flavor is creamy, rich, and nutty. Notes of almonds, grain, and cedar combine, and the taste becomes more appealing. The texture is still a touch powdery, but the bitter notes recede and the smoke coming off the foot has calmed down. Avo XO finishes with notes of coffee and cream, wheat, wood, and must. It stays a little dry but is pleasant enough. The last impressions aren’t bad. However, the Intermezzo has much to overcome from its rough introduction. It’s tough to score it high even if it ended well. I will smoke another soon and revisit Avo XO on a fresh palate.

If you’re looking for a creamy, easygoing cigar with Davidoff’s pedigree, but at a lower price, Avo fits the bill. Avo XO isn’t astonishing, but it’s also not unsmokeable. It falls in the middle. I may have smoked one that could use a little more age. If it had begun like it ended, I would have given it a higher mark. There are other Avo blends to consider too. Nutty notes of hay, coffee beans, and mushrooms are common in cigars blended by Hendrik Kelner. If that sounds good, consider Davidoff alternatives such as Avo or even the company’s lower tier brands like The Griffin’s and Camacho. They’re all are handcrafted to Davidoff’s stringent standards for quality and consistency, but they don’t cost nearly as much.


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