A Smoke With Avo

Last night I had the chance to pair some of my favorite things: steak, cigars, wine and great company. It was the kickoff dinner for the Avo Compañero tour, commemorating Avo Uvezian’s 83rd birthday and the release of the newest Avo celebratory cigar.

All cigar smokers know Avo. He’s a wonderful guy with charm, style and his very own cigar brand. He has the energy of men a third his age, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and a vibrant personality that lights up a room. Impossible to miss with his wide brimmed mimbre hat and impeccably tailored white suit, the talented musician sold his first cigars from his piano, and today is one of the best-known cigar stars in the world.

Since his 75th birthday eight years ago, Avo has celebrated each birthday by releasing a new limited-edition cigar. How could I say no?

Smoking while you dine is a lost art in New York. To make it work last night, Michael Herklots, the general manager of the Davidoff shops, turned his company’s Madison Avenue store into a cigar-friendly restaurant. Tables were brought in, about 60 enthusiasts sat down, and the wait staff from nearby Rothmann’s Steakhouse wheeled in steak dinners with all the trimmings, from seafood salad to a birthday cheesecake. Everyone smoked Avos while eating the delicious meal.

I really applaud all of you for being here tonight,” Herklots said at the start, a nod to the brutal economic climate. He spoke of the new Avo cigar, called the Compañero, which means “friend," or "comrade.”

The Compañero was passed out after we had finished our steaks. I find many Avos, like the Avo XO Intermezzo I smoked at the start of my meal, quite mild—this one is not. It reminded me somewhat of the Avo Signature (the second cigar I smoked at dinner), my favorite of the Avo blends. The Compañero is stronger still than the Signature, which I attribute to the heavy amount of Dominican ligero in the blend. There’s also a bit of Peruvian seco, and I tend to enjoy cigars made with a bit of Peruvian in the blend.

Avo (who will actually turn 83 on Monday) spoke to the crowd, who he called his compañeros. “My wife says, ‘when are you going to stop?’ I said, ‘stop what? Do you want me to die?’ I want 16 more years,’” he said, harkening to an Avo 99. The crowd applauded heartily.

Let’s go even more—I want to see an Avo 100. Cent’anni, Avo. Happy birthday.

"Avo is one of the most liked person in the industry, I agree with Savona wish there would be more Avo's around, "FELIZ CUMPLEA¿S" hope you will be with us twenty more." —March 17, 2009 17:09 PM
"Happy birthday AVO from Poland from Polish Cigars Aficionados" —March 18, 2009 11:00 AM
"Happy birthday AVO from Poland from Polish Cigars Aficionados" —March 18, 2009 10:53 AM