Last year, Davidoff of Geneva USA announced plans for a makeover of the AVO brand, including design changes to the logos and bands as well as removing more than half of the products in the brand’s portfolio.

Earlier this year, the company announced the first regular production new line since the rebrand, the AVO Syncro Nicaragua.

The AVO website goes into more detail:

As the first in our Syncro Series, AVO Nicaragua is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. One that begins on the remote island of Ometepe; a unique landscape where a rare and exceptional tobacco is grown. Known for its wild character and peppery notes, we carefully fuse this tobacco with earthy flavors from our estate in the Dominican Republic. The composition is an experience that is perfectly in sync with the moments worth sharing.

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro Box 1

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro Box 3

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro Box 2

Blend-wise, the Syncro Nicaragua incorporates a dark Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper covering a Dominican binder and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua’s Ometepe region and Olancho, Peru.

The new brand launched with four different vitolas.

  • AVO Syncro Nicaragua Short Robusto (4 x 52) — $7.90 (Boxes of 20, $158)
  • AVO Syncro Nicaragua Robusto (5 x 50) — $8.90 (Boxes of 20, $178)
  • AVO Syncro Nicaragua Toro (6 x 54) — $9.90 (Boxes of 20, $198)
  • AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro (6 x 60) — $10.90 (Boxes of 20, $218)

Syncro Nicaragua debuted at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

While the cigars shipped to retailers in the U.S. last month, the brand will launch globally next year.

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua (Ometepe) & Peru (Olancho)
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Vitola: Gordo
  • MSRP: $10.90 (Boxes of 20, $218)
  • Release Date: Aug. 24, 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The AVO is visually-striking from the first time you see it, with a sharp box-press and a reddish-brown wrapper that is extremely smooth to the touch. There is neither any veins prominent, nor oil present either, and the cigar is spongy when squeezed. The aroma coming from the wrapper is as distinct as it is unique: a combination of rich chocolate, nutmeg sweetness and mint that makes me want to sniff it like a fool for longer than is appropriate. The cold draw brings flavors of baker’s spices, creamy oak, raisin sweetness and dank earth, along with slight pepper.

Despite the large ring gauge, the foot of the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro lights up easily, and I immediately notice flavors of baker’s spices, creamy cedar, leather, dark cocoa, wheat and some slight mushroom. The same raisin sweetness from the cold draw is present on the retrohale, but just not overly strong as of yet, and it combines nicely with some white pepper that is also noticeable. The smoke production is massive off of the foot, and the draw is excellent. Although the burn is a bit wavy, it is far from being problematic. The overall strength is almost nonexistent so far, and fails to even get out of the mild category by the time the first third comes to a close.

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro 2

The raisin sweetness increases noticeably during the second third of the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro, becoming more prominent on both the retrohale and the finish. A creamy cedar flavor is dominant, followed by lesser flavors of coffee beans, earth, leather, grass, barnyard and dark chocolate. While the mushroom note is still present, it is not overly strong at this point, and is relegated mostly to the retrohale. Construction-wise, the Syncro Nicaragua continues to impress, and the smoke production remains quite a bit higher than normal. The strength has increased by the halfway point, but still only makes it to a solid medium by the end of the second third.

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro 3

While the creamy cedar remains the dominant flavor combination in the final third of the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro, it is joined by other notes of almonds, buttery bread, coffee beans, dark chocolate, grass and a touch of mushroom. The raisin sweetness continues to be noticeable, but it has decreased from its high point in the second third, and continues to decrease in strength as the cigar burns down, replaced by a slight floral note. The draw continues to be excellent and while I do have to touch-up the burn once, it is fine after that, giving me no more problems. The strength did increase slightly, but still fails to make it out of the medium range by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.

AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro 4

Final Notes

  • The AVO Syncro Nicaragua is not the first box-pressed AVO release; that distinction goes to the TAA-exclusive AVO Movement that was released in 2013.
  • The Special Toro vitola is quite large, but the box-press made it relatively enjoyable to smoke.
  • I do find it a bit odd that the name of this cigar includes the Nicaragua moniker when a large majority of tobacco that is used in the cigar comes from other countries.
  • I used a v-cutter on my first sample, and was rewarded with a draw that was quite a bit looser than I like, although it was still smokable. For my second sample, I cut a very small piece off the cap—less than a quarter of an inch—and while it turned out to be a good choice, it took too much effort. The third sample I punched, and was rewarded with just the right amount of resistance.
  • That mushroom note I tasted throughout the cigars was noticeable, but thankfully not as aggressive as some of the AVO blends I have smoked.
  • You can see our coverage of the AVO booth at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
  • The construction on each of the cigars was excellent overall, but the ash was extremely flaky, with small chunks seemingly falling off at the slightest provocation.
  • The average smoking time for all three samples was just over two hours.
  • The AVO brand is distributed by Davidoff of Geneva USA, which advertisers on halfwheel. Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Davidoff of Geneva USA.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136), Emerson’s Cigars, JR Cigars and Serious Cigars have the AVO Syncro Nicaragua in stock.
89 Overall Score

The AVO Syncro Nicaragua is one smooth blend. While the profile is not as complex as I was hoping for—at least in the largest vitola—the flavors were crisp, easily identifiable and nicely balanced. The construction was excellent on all counts, and I enjoyed it enough that there were times I forgot I was smoking a 6 x 60 ring gauge. While it is not as good as the Davidoff Nicaragua Diadema for me, the AVO Syncro Nicaragua Special Toro is an extremely enjoyable cigar, and one that I can easily recommend for people looking for a smooth, easy to smoke option.

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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.