At IPCPR 2013, Oettinger Davidoff Group showed off its newest regular production cigar for the AVO line, AVO Serenata. Many of the AVO cigars are either directly musically themed or have sizes that are musically themed, which is a nod towards Avo Uvezian’s love for music. Having started his musical journey early on in life, Uvezian had a successful career as a composer and pianist before he got into the cigar business in the 1980s.

Serenata will not debut in retail stores until 2014, when it does it will be offered in three sizes. They are:

  • AVO Serenata Robusto (5 x 50)
  • AVO Serenata Perfecto (5 7/8 x 50)
  • AVO Serenata Toro (6 x 54)

At the trade show, we were able to get a picture of the box, which looks like this:

AVO Serenata 2

AVO Serenata Robusto 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: AVO Serenata Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: O.K. Cigars
  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic
  • Binder: Mexican Sumatra
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.50 (Box of 20, $170)
  • Release Date: 2014
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The wrapper is a light almond color, very soft and well applied. Giving the cigar a gentle squeeze it seems quite soft, almost to the point of being squishy. Breathing in the aroma of the wrapper I get notes of sweet, light tobacco and a slight barnyard smell. Cutting the cigar and taking a cold draw plays an odd mixture of pepper and bitter ammonia over my tongue.

Starting off the first third of the AVO Serenata I’m quite pleased that the cold draw flavors don’t translate into the flavors after it’s lit. Light vanilla, sweet tobacco, and the meekest hint of cocoa make up an enjoyable profile to begin with. Overall it is a very light, wafty profile to start out with – very appropriate profile for a cigar with a treble clef in its name. The ash is a uniform medium gray that doesn’t hold much past half an inch, while the burn is razor sharp and even. Surprisingly, after feeling how much give the cigar had, the draw is ideal in my opinion – just enough resistance to give you control and loose enough that you’re not giving yourself a headache having to draw too hard. The cocoa has developed a bit into milk chocolate, and the overall profile has a nice creamy taste. Towards the end of the first third there is a slight bitter note that hits on the back of the tongue that gives me pause and doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the profile.

AVO Serenata Robusto 2

Moving into the second third we see that bitter note disappear and a hot cinnamon note join the previous profile of milk chocolate, vanilla, and sweet tobacco. The burn continues to be impressively straight while the ash holds somewhere between a half an inch and an inch. Even with the hot cinnamon note added the cigar is still quite firmly in the mild department, in both strength and body.

AVO Serenata Robusto 3

The final third starts off needing a touch up, which is a bit of a surprise since the first two thirds were so perfect. The other surprising thing is the complete 180 on the flavor profile. A black pepper note has grown and now dominates everything else, giving it an overall medium to full body. The strength however has stayed at a continuous mild level. Finishing up the Serenata I’m able to smoke it until the very end without any harshness or unpleasant flavors.

AVO Serenata Robusto 4

Final Notes:

  • A serenata is a musical piece or performance that is composed or performed in somebody’s honor. Avo Uvezian has certainly earned the right in not only the music business but the cigar business as well, to be honored with such.
  • I know the bands are prerelease bands since they say so on the side, so I’m hoping that they come up with a little more visually stunning band. With the treble clef symbol used for the S in Serenata there’s room for the creation of a beautiful band.
  • The bands look somewhat similar to the bands Room101 has used for its prereleases, notably OSOK.
  • In 1995 Davidoff purchased distribution rights for AVO Cigars.
  • It’s somewhat odd that Davidoff decided to show off and give samples of a cigar that won’t be out for a few months, as the company had plenty new to show off elsewhere. I also seem to recall retailers placing some sort of orders, which was makes it even more abnormal.
  • As stated earlier in the review, this is going to only be available in brick and mortar stores.
  • Since that’s the case, while most of our sponsors carry AVO cigars, only Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar King, Famous Smoke ShopMike’s Cigars and Tobacco Grove have retail locations, so theoretically these will be the only sponsors that will carry them.
  • This cigar was provided to halfwheel by Davidoff at IPCPR 2013, who is a site sponsor.
  • Final smoking time averaged just under an hour and a half.
85 Overall Score

As with most AVO cigars I can remember smoking in recent memory, this one followed suit in terms of a mild body. While the flavors were light and more of a whisper than a shout, they still harmonized together really well for the most part. Only a couple of times during the cigar did some off flavors give me pause. Construction was overall very solid and only a couple of slight hiccups at the end marred what I would otherwise consider a flawless burn. The final third was really what brought my opinion of the cigar down a couple of notches, and saw the consistent change in the cigar across all three samples I smoked. Unfortunately that took it from something I would seek out regularly to something that I’ll only occasionally smoke. As always I suggest trying them out for yourself, but I also suggest keeping it at a five pack or less before you make your own mind up.

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Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.