During the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Davidoff of Geneva USA announced that for the first time in the history of its AVO brand, the company had created a new regional series that would only be sold to retailers in certain geographical regions.

Carrying the somewhat appropriate name of AVO Regional Editions, the line debuted at the aforementioned with the Regional East Edition and Regional West Edition, which offered two unique blends. Both cigars carried the same $11 price tag and production numbers, specifically 2,500 boxes of 10.

Fast forward to February of this year, when Davidoff announced the details of the two new blends in the series: North and South. The new cigars retail for $14 and are limited to 2,000 boxes of 10 cigars. While both the North and South were originally scheduled to ship to retailers in August, they did not begin to make their way to shelves until Oct. 1.

The subject of today’s review is the Regional Edition North, a 6 5/8 x 50 perfecto incorporating a Dominican wrapper covering a Dominican olor/piloto hybrid seco binder as well as a filler blend made up of all Dominican tobaccos: hybrid olor/piloto ligero, piloto ligero, San Vicente mejorado and San Vicente viso.

While the cigar is a regional edition for the U.S., Davidoff announced an additional 2,250 boxes of the Regional Edition North and 2,100 boxes of the Regional Edition South would be made available to stores worldwide.

  • Cigar Reviewed: AVO Regional North Edition
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Hybrid Olor/Piloto Seco)
  • Filler: Peru (Seco), Honduras (Jamastran Seco) and Dominican Republic (San Vicente Visus and Seco)
  • Length: 6 5/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $14 (Box of 10, $140)
  • Release Date: Oct. 1, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: 4,250 Boxes of 10 Cigars (42,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the AVO Regional North Edition is covered in a darker cinnamon brown wrapper that is parchment rough to the touch, though there is some obvious oil as well as multiple overt veins running up and down its length. The cigar has some nice give when squeezed and seems to be extremely well-rolled from the outside. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong barnyard, dark chocolate, cedar, lemon citrus, hay, earth and slight vanilla while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy cedar, leather, hay, white pepper, floral and raisin sweetness.

The very first thing I notice in the AVO Regional North Edition is a fairly aggressive metallic note on both the palate and the finish that makes it hard to discern many other flavors with any certainty. Thankfully, that note dies down fairly quickly, allowing dominant flavors of aged cedar and walnuts to emerge, followed by secondary notes of toasted bread, creamy leather, coffee grounds and a touch of floral. There is a bit of black pepper along with a small amount of vanilla bean sweetness noticeable on the retrohale as well as some slight spice on my lips, but none of them seem to be getting any stronger at the moment. Construction-wise, the draw is ideal after a Dickman cut, while the burn is wavy but not problematic and the smoke production is above average. The strength ends the first third well below the medium mark but still rising.

I am happy to taste that the metallic note from the beginning of the cigar is a thing of the past by the time the AVO Regional North’s second third begins, while some aged cedar and walnut combination dominates the profile. Other flavors of leather, cinnamon, dark chocolate, hay and slight mushrooms flit in and out, while the finish is full of generic earth notes and the retrohale features about the same amount of black pepper and vanilla sweetness. The draw continues to impress while the burn has thankfully evened out a bit, with neither giving me any issues for the time being. Strength-wise, the AVO manages to get a bit closer to the medium mark by the end of the second third but seems to stall there. 

Although the final third of the AVO Regional North Edition is dominated by the combination of aged cedar and walnuts that have become very familiar by this point, a couple of new flavors that include roasted coffee beans and a slight vegetal note fight for room with the already existing leather, cinnamon, hay, cocoa nibs and earth flavors. Unfortunately, while the black pepper on the retrohale has remained about the same, the vanilla sweetness has receded noticeably. In terms of construction, the amount of smoke has increased a bit while the draw continues along its excellent path and the burn continues to give me no problems other than being slightly wavy. Finally, the overall strength level increases a touch more, ending up just short of the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with about an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • Although it is nice that only stores located in specific regions of the U.S.A. can purchase the North Edition, I am not sure what the point is of limiting the North Edition to stores located in specific regions of the U.S. if they are also available to be purchased from various other stores around the world. Some stores ended up with both the East and West editions.
  • Regional editions are not exactly a new concept in the cigar world: Crowned Heads and Tatuaje have released their own versions through the years, while Habanos S.A. has made its Edición Regional program into a sales powerhouse across the globe.
  • Interestingly, The Fuente Fuente OpusX was once a de facto regional edition. When it debuted, the company choose to release OpusX in the eastern part of the U.S., while J.C. Newman—Fuente’s partner—released the Diamond Crown Maximus almost exclusively in the western part of the U.S.
  • Even though the logo printed on the secondary band is the same for all four versions, you can tell which version is which based on three different factors: all of the vitolas all different, the color schemes used on each are different, and the name of each is printed on the side of the primary band next to the logo.
  • Overall construction was excellent, with only two samples needing a touchup each and great draws after using a Dickman cut.
  • Davidoff of Geneva USA advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three cigars averaged one hour and 47 minutes.
  • If you are looking to purchase any of the AVO Regional North Edition, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Corona Cigar Co., Gotham Cigars, and STOGIES World Class Cigars all have them in stock.
87 Overall Score

After a bit of a rough start consisting of some metallic notes on both the palate and the finish—albeit quite a bit more on the latter than the former—the profile of the AVO Regional North Edition stabilizes nicely, allowing flavors of both aged cedar and walnuts to take center stage. Although those main flavors do not change much throughout the almost two-hour smoking time, the secondary notes include some unique additions, while the excellent construction makes the cigar a joy to smoke in that regard. In the end, despite its larger size and rough start—which will most likely be absorbed into the rest of the profile with a bit of age—the AVO Regional North Edition is an enjoyable cigar that would make for a decent candidate as a morning cigar.

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Brooks Whittington

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.