The third volume in Avo's Classic Covers series is on its way to U.S. retailers. Dubbed Avo 90th, the limited-edition cigar is a tribute to famed cigarmaker and career jazz musician Avo Uvezian, who turns 90 years old today. To honor the occasion, brand-owner Davidoff has jazzed things up by adding vintage-dated tobaccos to the blend.
From 2001 to 2014, Davidoff released a limited-edition birthday cigar every year. But last year, Avo celebrated instead with the launch of Classic Covers, a part of the Avo brand's larger Improvisation Series.
The idea behind Classic Covers is to make each limited edition a "cover" of a regular-production Avo blend. Avo 90th is a cover of the Avo XO, meaning it contains the same filler tobaccos as the mainstay cigar but is "covered" in a different binder and wrapper. Classic Covers Volumes 1 and 2, both of which came out in 2015, were covers of the Avo Classic and Heritage blends, respectfully.
Avo 90th is made up of five varieties of Dominican filler tobacco: Piloto Cubano, a Corojo-Olor hybrid, Criollo and two strains of San Vicente Mejorado, grown in different regions of the Dominican Republic. Although it's the same filler blend found in the Avo XO brand, Davidoff claims the Avo 90th uses vintage tobaccos (unlike the tobacco in the core XO line, which has no particular age statement)—specifically the Corojo-Olor hybrid, aged 10 years, and the Criollo, which is aged for 11 years. The limited-edition cigar swaps XO's Dominican binder for a Mexican San Andrés leaf and its Connecticut shade wrapper for a Habano 2000 cover leaf grown in Ecuador.
Avo 90th comes in one size only, a 6 inch by 54 ring gauge Toro, and ships in boxes of 18 cigars. Similar to the vinyl-themed packaging that encased the second volume, the Avo 90th box is a replica of Uvezian's personal record player. After the cigars are removed, the box doubles as an ashtray, complete with a cigar rest on the tone arm of the turntable and the Avo 90th logo adorned at the base.
Only 3,500 boxes of the Avo 90th were produced, each set to retail for around $300, or $16.90 per cigar. They will begin shipping to Europe shortly after they arrive in the United States.
In the past Uvezian had accompanied the release of his birthday cigars with a multicity tour; however, Davidoff confirmed to Cigar Aficionado that he will only be making one appearance this year, on April 7 at the Carnegie Club in New York City.
This article first appeared in the March 22, 2016 issue of Cigar Insider.