Each spring, as cigar consumers in the U.S. begin to thaw out from the winter chill and are able to head back to their patios, decks and other outdoor spaces to enjoy a cigar, news begins to emerge about a handful of new and somewhat limited edition cigars that will be headed to the shelves of select retailers in the coming months. While they come from a small group of manufacturers, the cigars all share a common source: the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) annual meeting.
The TAA is a fairly small group of some of the country’s top tobacconists, a group of about 80 retailers (though many have multiple locations) as well as about 40 manufacturers. The association gathers annually to discuss issues facing the industry and retailers, as well as to have its annual trade show, a unique event that works on a group buying format in order to secure exclusive deals for these generally high-volume merchants.
In late March, it was announced that AVO would once again be offering a cigar made just for TAA members, an encore to last year’s AVO Movement. The AVO 2nd Movement used the same basic blend as 2013’s release but it was reported to have kicked the strength up a bit, though for unspecified reasons.
The AVO 2nd Movement became one of eight cigars released at the 2014 meeting exclusively for TAA members:
- La Flor Dominicana 707
- Padron 1964 Belicoso
- Padron 1964 Belicoso Maduro
- H. Upmann Bank Note
- Tatuaje TAA 2014
- Crowned Heads “The Angel’s Anvil”
- My Father 2014 TAA Exclusive
Additionally, it became a follow-up to 2013’s AVO Movement, the first AVO release created for the TAA. That 6 x 52 box-pressed toro was the first non-round cigar the company had made and was limited to 50,000 cigars produced. The blend could be described as typical for AVO as it used an Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican fillers.
This second release keeps the same blend components as last year’s release, but changes in the specifics promised to delivera more full-bodied experience than the original offered. Production also dropped to 30,000 cigars.
Cigar Reviewed: AVO 2nd Movement TAA Exclusive
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: O.K. Cigars
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 6 1/4 Inches
Ring Gauge: 47
MSRP: $11.00 (Boxes of 20, $220.00)
Date Released: June 25, 2014
Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
My first impression of the AVO 2nd Movement was that it seemed very soft to the touch; not so much the wrapper but how it felt when squeezed as it showed a surprising amount of give. This was something only found on the first cigar I smoked as the other two felt filled to a more standard level of firmness, but it was certainly an interesting first encounter. The wrapper is mottled with a matte dry earth color, though it’s not void of oils, as you can feel them fairly readily on your fingers and they provide a bit of slickness to the wrapper that is already fairly smooth thanks to small veins and little tooth. The size seems to work well, a bit more slender than a toro and three-quarters of an inch shorter than a standard Churchill give it plenty of presence but with a slightly more compact profile than either of those two vitolas tend to produce. The pre-light aroma is mild and neutral, showing some pepper only when after a few intense sniffs in search of it, though the final cigar I smoked also added a touch of simple sweetness that was a pleasant surprise. The cold draw is very open on one cigar and more dialed in the others, both with notes of wheat cracker, some pepper, tobacco and leather.
Despite a loose cold draw, the first puffs don’t come across as overly easy and offer a good amount of strength, delivering on the billing that this is a stronger offering than the original AVO Movement from 2013. It’s an interesting complexity between the Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler as both seem to be offering to the initial complexity, showing a good bit of vibrant pepperiness with an underlying note of dry wood furthering the mouth tingle along before a touch of a light and dry coffee note comes along. An early retrohale also shows a good amount of pepper but it is wrapped in a creamy and smooth smoke that buffers the pepper from coming into a more direct level of contact with the olfactory nerves. With the first bit of ash gone, the AVO 2nd Movement begins to show a bit of nuttiness with a light touch of salt, though doesn’t shed the pepper note in the least, with it even becoming more prominent at times. The creaminess of the smoke also develops wonderfully, at times taking on a bit of a condensed milk note before shifting into a thicker almond milk note that is both unique and delightful on the palate.
The flavor has begun to develop into more a grain note, and while it has me thinking cereal, it has me narrowing it down to a stronger and more organic taste than the more commercial and processed cereal note. The flavor is still dry with touches of light wood, leather and white pepper, and the creaminess that had me raving not that long ago is slowly departing from the equation. While the AVO 2nd Movement hasn’t lacked smoke production to this point, it adds even more in advance of its second half; a thick, off-white cloud that I wish wasn’t getting blown away by the fan I have set up in an attempt to stay cool. The midway point sees an uptick in the strength of the pepper as well as a shift in the flavor that offers more of a black pepper note that again furthers the notion that this is a stronger version of last year’s AVO Movement. The burn line has generally been okay and technical performance is acceptable, though I looked at the foot of the first cigar immediately after a clump of ash fell off and it showed signs of being slightly underfilled, or at least that there was an uneven burn happening underneath the wrapper. The smoke remains thick and starts to regain its previously creamy note heading into the final third while retrohales remain fairly peppery.
There isn’t a pronounced transition into the final third of the AVO 2nd Movement, and almost before I know it the bands need to come off lest they get overrun by the burn line. With all the transitions and upticks in strength found in the second third of the cigar, a bit of a respite is needed, which is graciously provided for a few puffs as the pepper diminishes and the milder base notes of grains, nuts, wood and leather are revealed. It’s not long though before the pepper returns and the wood becomes a bit damper and more pronounced, coming up out of the background notes for the final two inches. There is a touch of harshness emerging from the pepper, or at least it becomes heaped on at points and gets just is a bit too much for my tolerance, which ends up being the flurry of strength that brings the AVO 2nd Movement to a close.
- Even though it was used on last year’s release, I was still a bit surprised to see the LE14 designation on the band. Not that it doesn’t belong, but rather that it is the same mark used on the AVO 88. Yes, this is a limited edition, and yes, this is 2014, but it’s not the AVO LE14.
- Similarly, the style in which 2nd Movement was presented intrigued me, with the verticle line between 2 and nd, and then the ordinal number’s letters being stacked vertically, with another thicker line separating that from the word Movement.
- There were some combustion issues with the first cigar that led me to drybox the second and third, which seemed to resolve some but not all of the problems I found in the first cigar smoked. Based on my experience, I would definitely advise dryboxing these if you plan to smoke them sooner than later, and I wish I could have given these even more time to dry out, particularly the third cigar smoked.
- The cigar wasn’t slated to begin shipping until July, but retailers reported receiving them in late June.
- The 47th TAA Meeting and Convention is scheduled for April 12–16, 2015 at Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic.
- In addition to the releases that get announced each year, there are a number of cigars that TAA members have available to them on an ongoing basis. They include the Casa Antero TAA Exclusive, Ocaso TAA Exclusive, Padron 1964 Toro, Ashton VSG Robusto Especial, Romeo y Julieta Magnum, Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary TAA Exclusive and Acid Big Bang.
- Just about a year ago, I reviewed the Fonseca Signature Series TAA. I’ve also reviewed the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto Limitado TAA Edition and Tatuaje 10 Grand Chasseur TAA 2013.
- Musical references continue to be a part of the cigar industry, as Boutique Blends, Crowned Heads and CAO are three lines that come to the top of my mind for creating music-themed or inspired cigars, as well as Paul Garmirian for his Symphony line.
- I am by no means an expert in music terminology, so I will refer you to Wikipedia for a more proper definition of the term movement.
- If you’re not familiar with who Avo Uvezian is, his Wikipedia page is worth a read.
- He has also been featured in halfwheel’s Portraits series.
- The question must be asked: Will there be an AVO 3rd Movement released in 2015?
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- AVO is part of Davidoff who is an advertiser on halfwheel.com.
As the saying goes, you can have too much of a good thing, which appears to be the case of the AVO 2nd Movement. The promise of a full-bodied flavor profile ended up costing this cigar points, as while the pepper was enjoyable at times, it too often dominated the flavor and overshadowed the rich, creamy and buttery notes that I was expecting from my experience with the AVO Movement, as well as any appreciable sweetness and subtlety that this tobacco might have offered. Add in fairly consistent burn issues that frustrated the smoking experience and it confirmed that this sequel falls short of the bar set by the original.