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Back in 2002, AVO released one of its first limited edition cigars, the legendary the AVO 22. Crafted by Henke Kelner as a private cigar for the company at first, after the positive reviews the blend got, they decided to release a limited number for general consumption.

Davidoff describes it:

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It is a limited edition cigar, and only a small number of boxes have been produced. Each box’s factory tag is numbered. The suggested retail price per box is $222. Avo 22 is a 5 7/8″ perfecto-shaped cigar with a 50 ring gauge. The filler is a combination of four different tobaccos from a variety of the best growing regions in the Dominican Republic. Thebinder is also Dominican and, to finish it off, Avo chose a Connecticut seed Ecuadorian wrapper. The blend is described by Davidoff as a “rare and wonderful treat for the cigar smoker who has come to love the balanced taste and aroma of Avo cigars.” Avo and Dominican cigar maker Henky Kelner originally created these cigars as a private stock for themselves and a few close friends. Thrilled with the results, they decided to share them with Avo’s true aficionados.

Avo personally directed every phase in the creation of 22, from the seeds and plants to the packaging and name – selected because 22 is a very significant number for Avo. His birthday is on the 22nd, his sister’s birthday is on the 22nd, he left the Middle East as a young man on a 22nd, and he arrived to begin his new life in the U.S. on a 22nd.

There are actually five different versions of the blend: an American AVO 22, a European AVO 22, the Boris 11, and two other personal versions for the Corona Cigar Company, which is arguably Avo Uvezian’s home shop.

Vitolas.net has all of the info on the differences between them, which you can read all about it by clicking here

The two AVO 22 versions of the blend are as follows:

  • The American Release — This release came packaged in round canisters of 19 cigars, and only 2,700 were sold in the U.S.
  • The European Release — Sold in Europe and Asia, packaged in the exact same canisters as the American release, but because of the thinner ring gauge of this version, there were actually 22 cigars included in each. There were only 2,000 total canisters sold of this version.

The different ring gauges of the American (50 RG) and European (43 RG) versions are quite noticeable, especially when looked at from the foot.

AVO 22 (Euro) 1.png

AVO 22 (Euro) 2.png

  • Cigar Reviewed: AVO 22
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Sun Grown
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler: 4 Different Dominican Tobaccos
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 43
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • Est. Price: $10.09 (Canisters of 22, $222.00)
  • Date Released: 2002
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Canisters of 22 Cigars (44,000 Total Cigars)

The cigar itself has and almost perfect wrapper on it, a very light brown color and smells of cedar, tobacco and peanut butter. I love the perfecto shape and the construction is flawless, as I have come to expect from all of Kelner’s cigars. The wrapper is also quite rough to the touch and still has a bit of oil on it.

The cigar lights up very easily and I get a bit of spice in the first few puffs, but that quickly fades into the background. I start tasting a multitude of flavors all at once and interestingly, all are very distinct: leather, sweet cedar, chocolate, just a bit of hay, and way in the background, that Kelner muskiness that is present in many Davidoffs.

AVO 22 (Euro) 3.png

The second third starts with most of the same flavors, but about a third into it, I taste a great caramel flavor that mixes together with the spice and the sweet cedar to produce a wonderful combination that continued on until the last third.

AVO 22 (Euro) 4.png

The final third is a combination of all of the major flavors so far…Leather, Cream, Chocolate,  a bit of spice, and a nutty flavor that I could not put my finger on. I really did not want this to end.

AVO 22 (Euro) 5.png

Final Notes:

  • Anyone who smokes Kelner’s cigars for any length of time knows about the “muskiness” flavors that sometimes dominate his blends, what I find to be a combination of earthiness and mushrooms. They are a trademark of his, and while I did notice it in the first third, the flavor almost disappeared after that. It could be the age of the cigar, but I found the lack of it interesting nonetheless.
  • I have not formally reviewed the American AVO 22 as of yet, but I have smoked a few, and to me, the major differences between the two versions is that the European blend seems to be a bit sweeter in flavor and also quite a bit drier as well, especially in the finish.
  • Interestingly, I did not notice a huge difference in strength.
  • This cigar reminded me quite a bit of another one of my favorite milder cigars, the E.P. Carrillo Inaugural. Honestly, this cigar beats it, but I was thinking as I was smoking this cigar that the AVO could be close to what the Encore might taste like after it has a bit of age on it.
  • The draw and burn were absolute perfection, almost to the point where I was hoping it would screw up, just so I could say that I needed to fix the burn at least once or that the draw got just a bit tight at some point. Alas, that was not to be.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 20 minutes.
94 Overall Score

This is what cigar dreams are made of. This is not a strong cigar by any means, but it has flavor in spades and three words stuck with me as I was smoking this stick: complex, creamy and smooth. This is an excellent example of what a mild to medium cigar should taste like with flavors changing every time you turn around and just the right amount of spice to draw it all together. Throw in an amazing burn and draw for the entire cigar and you have an almost perfect specimen.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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