For the past 11 years, at the end of March, Davidoff has released a limited edition AVO with aspects involving something to do with music to commemorate company founder’s Avo Uvezian’s birthday. As in recent years, the now 87-year-old attended events around the county to launch the release with the first being the official U.S.A. launch on March 28 at Davidoff of Geneva in New York, NY. This year’s incarnation of the annual release is named after the Dominant 13th chord in music and each box contains 13 cigars.

The press release covered the details back in March:

March 1, 2013 (Pinellas Park, Fla) — The successful AVO brand is launching a musical cigar composition “The Dominant 13th” the new 2013 Limited Edition, which was created by the passionate jazz musician and cigar connoisseur, Avo Uvezian. It has complex and promising characteristics, just like its namesake – the Dominant 13th chord. The innovative, succinct tobacco creation, in the popular and impressive Toro format, gleams in a deep brown wrapper from Ecuador.

This complex and mature cigar composition by Avo Uvezian also provides a musical inspiration. The new AVO Limited Edition 2013 offers aficionados not only a perfectly balanced cigar to enjoy, but also an excellent homage to jazz. The inside cover shows Avo Uvezian’s song, “Delightful Days”, along with a personal dedication:

My dear friend, Every month, I visit our tobacco fields and cigar factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic, to get inspiration and blend new cigars. The cigar you are smoking right now was composed on such a trip, resulting in an amazingly complex blend. While smoking this cigar it reminded me of the most famous and complex jazz chord, the famous Dominant 13th. Thus I composed the above song “Delightful Days” to make you experience the Dominant 13th chord while smoking my new anniversary blend. Truly yours, Avo Uvezian

Both in music, as well as in the composition of the finest cigars, which Avo Uvezian began in 1987, passion and perfection are the driving forces which inspire him to achieve absolute harmony in all of his symphonies. Like no other, he knows how to reflect a love of music in all the nuances of his cigars, and how to share it with every aficionado.

The packaging of the new product captivates with measure and sophistication. The cigar box is innovative in its book-like design, featuring a brown matte exterior characterized by a vintage style leather-look. Inside the cigar box, a USB stick containing a brief movie clip, songs by Avo, the AVO cigar catalog and screen saver ensure the longevity of these unique compositions for Avo Uvezian’s birthday.

Production of “The Dominant 13th” Limited Edition 2013 is limited to 9000 boxes worldwide. The Dominant 13th will be launched in the USA on March 28, 2013. In Europe, the launch can vary from country to country, beginning mid-April 2013.

Avo Uvezian will introduce his new cigar in person during his annual AVO Anniversary Tour beginning March 28th. Avo will travel to 7 different locations this year in celebration of his 87th birthday and his newest release, The Dominant 13th.

The boxes the AVO The Dominant 13th come in look like this:


(Photos via Oettinger Davidoff Group)

There have now been 12 different AVO Limited Editions, with the first released in 2002. They are:

  • AVO 22 American (5 7/8 x 50) & European (6 x 43) — 2002
  • AVO 77 (6 1/2 x 50) — 2003
  • AVO Legacy (5 3/4 x 48) — 2004
  • AVO LE05 (5 5/8 x 52) 2005
  • AVO 80th Anniversary (6 x 52) — 2006
  • AVO Limited Edition 2007 (5 1/2 x 48) — 2007
  • AVO Limited Edition 2008 Tesoro (5 3/4 x 50) — 2008
  • AVO Limited Edition 2009 Compañero (6 x 54) — 2009
  • AVO Limited Edition 2010 (5 x 55) — 2010
  • AVO 85th Anniversary (6 3/4 x 50) — 2011
  • AVO Limited Edition 2012 La Trompeta (6 1/2 x 54) — 2012
  • AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th (6 x 52) –– 2013

AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
  • Binder: Dominican Republic Yamasá
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Piloto Viso, Habano Viso, San Vicente Ligero & Corojo/Olor Ligero) & Peru Viso
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $15.00 (Boxes of 13, $195.00)
  • Date Released: March 28, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 9,000 Boxes of 13 Cigars (117,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The AVO The Dominant 13th sports a noticeable mocha brown wrapper that has a slight red tint to it and is velvety smooth to the touch. It is just a bit spongy when squeezed and there is a tiny amount of oil noticeable. Aroma coming from the wrapper is strong hay, earth, peanuts and sweet cedar, and the cold draw has a distinct combination of peanuts and sawdust.

The first third of the AVO Limited Edition 2013 starts out with a very strong aged cedar base, along with other notes of leather, sweet earth and peanuts. I am noticing a tiny sweet note in the background, but it is nowhere near strong enough to identify as of yet. There is absolutely no spice or pepper either on the tongue or on the retrohale for the entire first third. The draw is just a tiny bit loose so far and the burn is fine, while the smoke production is above average. Strength is nearly non-existent and ends the first third no higher than smack dab in the middle of the mild category.

AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th 2

Unfortunately, the profile of the second third of the AVO The Dominant 13th is pretty much a carbon copy of the first third, with a dominant rich aged cedar note, along with other flavors of peanuts, earth and creamy leather. The sweet note from the first third is still present, but is still fairly generic and still not distinct enough to quantify. There is also still no spice or pepper present and the smoke production has remained constant. Both the burn and the draw continue on the same path and the overall strength sees a very small bump ending the second third at a high mild.

AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th 3

Thankfully, the final third of the AVO The Dominant 13th held a few surprises. First, there was a noticeable uptick in the amount of white pepper on the retrohale that started right around the start of the third, along with a more creamy and sweet chocolate note that both really added some much needed complexity to the profile. Other notes remained pretty much the same: leather, cedar, earth and creamy nuts. The draw its still a bit loose, and the burn is not perfect, but both are not bad enough to do anything more the slightly annoy me. Strength wise, the AVO ends on the mildish side of medium, and the nub did get a bit hot at the end, forcing me to put it down with a little less than an inch left.

AVO Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th 4

Final Notes:

  • The cold draw has distinct flavor of peanuts and sawdust, like at an old peanut packing plant my father took me to in Benson, North Carolina when I was younger. There was also a distinct peanut flavor that I noted throughout the cigar, but it was just a straight peanut note.
  • In case you have no clue who Avo Uvezian is, here is his Wikipedia page and here is the Icons of Cigars portrait I took of him this year. Honestly, I was extremely impressed with him as a person when I met him, and he seems to be one of the most humble and gracious people you will ever meet. His history is definitely worth a read.
  • Avo Uvezian’s birthday is on March 22 and mine is on March 25. Just saying.
  • I love the fact that the number 13 is so prevalent in this release: released in 2013, 13 cigars in each box, and the name of the cigar itself includes the number 13 in a meaningful way.
  • The included USB is not the first time that an AVO limited edition has been packed with some of Uvezian’s music, the AVO Legacy included the like-named CD.
  • While the total number of boxes of AVO The Dominant 13th is 1,000 less than last year’s release, there are actually 17,000 more total, due to the fact that there are 13 in each box compared to 10 of the Trompeta.
  • I am really impressed with the amount of information on the blend that AVO put out with this release, and I really wish more manufacturers would follow suit in that regard.
  • If the final third did not have the transitions it did, specially in the sweet chocolate flavor and noticeable white pepper on the retrohale, the score would have been quite a bit lower. The final third really saved this cigar for me.
  • I love the look of both bands, both in color scheme and logos work well together contrasted against the color of the wrapper.
  • Both of the samples I smoked seemed to be absolutely packed with tobacco, so it was shock when the draw was a bit spongy on both. Not enough to really affect the flavors, but very noticeable.
  • The wrapper on the AVO The Dominant 13th is fairly fragile and the bands on both of my samples smoked took a piece of it off when I tried to take them off. Surprisingly, the chunk of missing wrapper did not unravel further, so it really ended up being a non factor as far as construction goes.
  • The final smoking time for both samples averaged one hour and 30 minutes.
  • If you would like to order the AVO Limited Edition 2013, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar (800.887.7877), Cigar King (800.669.7167) and Mike’s Cigars (800.962.4427) all have them in stock. Make sure to tell them halfwheel sent you.
85 Overall Score

I usually expect for the yearly AVO blends to be mild and the AVO The Dominant 13th has that in spades. Unfortunately, while the flavors that are present are rich and the cigar is eminently smokable, it seems to be missing a lot of the complexity or nuance that I was hoping to find, especially in the first two thirds. The overall construction was fine, and it did put out a lot of smoke, but in the end, I was left wanting more out of the blend  than I tasted. The AVO The Dominant 13th is a good cigar overall for sure, but still falls well short of the best that AVO has put out over the years.

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.