AVO LE05 was originally released under AVO Cigars’ annual “Limited Edition” series in 2005, using a somewhat nondescript blend that has since become one of the most sought-after cigars ever released by the 30-year-old company. Each year since 2001, AVO has released a unique blend to commemorate founder Avo Uvezian’s birthday, with the original LE05 marking the fifth cigar in the series.

Since this time, AVO has occasionally revisited these limited cigars, releasing commemorative collections such as 2014’s AVO Greatest Hits Sampler. Noticeably absent from all previous re-releases was the AVO LE05, with master blenders Hendrik “Henke” Kelner and Eladio Díaz claiming that they hadn’t been able to give the unique blend its due diligence. But in 2018, the master blenders finally constructed a blend worthy of the LE05 label, releasing 30,000 cigars as part of AVO Cigars’ milestone 30th anniversary celebrations.

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AVO LE05 30th Anniversary Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Oettinger Kelner Cigars (Dominican Republic)
  • Production: Limited Edition (1,500 boxes of 20 cigars)
  • Vitola: 5⅜″ × 50 (Robusto Extra)
  • Price: $15.00 (MSRP)

On paper, AVO LE05 30th Anniversary is identical to its 2005 predecessor, using select Dominican fillers and binder and being finished in an Ecuadorian wrapper. The cigars are rolled in a singular, 5⅜″ × 50 Robusto Extra size (which is two points slimmer than the original release) and packaged in an overall similar layout to the 2005 release—being slightly dolled up in appearance to commemorate the celebratory occasion.

Appearance

AVO LE05 30th Anniversary pays tribute to the original release, while being modernized to showcase a cohesive feel across the many cigars revived for the 30th anniversary collection. Where the original cigars were un-banded and packaged in plain-wood boxes of 20 cigars (simply being stamped “AVO LE05” in blue ink), 2018’s rendition features clear, sliding box lids and two additional bands on each cigar. The 20-count boxes are unique in that there are five boxes packaged in long wooden crates—essentially making for 100-count cabinets intended for retailer display. The cigars boast the standard AVO primary band (with an added “LE05” on the band’s side), joined by a 30th anniversary commemorative sub-band.

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The cigars themselves display a beautiful, bronze-hued wrapper, complete with minimal oils and a small amount of medium-to-fine veins. The wrapper is fairly smooth to the touch, having a slight fuzziness from a light amount of tooth on the leaf. The Robusto Extra—which feels like a cross between toro and robusto—seems to be bunched around medium-firm, giving an overall solid feel.

On the nose, the wrapper shows aromas of musk, tang, and brown sugar; this is joined by sweet cedar, brown sugar, and chestnuts on the foot. Altogether, it’s an aroma I feel most enthusiasts could quickly identify as Dominican. The pre-light is medium-firm, showing an assortment of cinnamon, sawdust, cherry wood, rustic leather and hardwoods (like a baseball mitt kept in your grandfather’s garage), and sweet brown sugar.

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Smoking Experience

AVO LE05 30th Anniversary does not start at all how I expected. It is very unusual, with loads of wild herbs and botanicals—almost gin-like, with a biting bitterness similar to fruit rinds and the dryness of grapefruit. It’s hard to fully articulate—almost like walking through the budding woods during the spring. This experience was almost off-putting during my first smoking experience, as I initially confused the profile for under-aged, ammonia-like flavors. But with additional samples, I began to understand the profile as described in this review.

The first signs of familiarity in this blend come from notes of light-roast coffee beans and sourdough. Most of these flavors are subtle and refined, with full retrohales on every puff being required to fully appreciate the depth of the profile. There are an assortment of aromatic cabinet spices, followed by white pepper and a spice that almost borders on horseradish territory (with an associated afterburn).

AVO LE05 30th Anniversary cigar smoking

The smoke hits the palate on the middle of the tongue foremost, creeping out to the sides of the tongue. It’s a dry texture, providing just the right amount of bitterness to feel balanced and not unwanted. There is a slight draw resistence, pulling in a medium-light amount of smoke on each draw. The construction is wavy but never requiring much thought or maintenance.

Eventually, the coffee beans begin to take center stage, being joined by bitter nuts and freshly cut wood. Plenty of florals and buttery qualities help to convey a deep and evolving profile, offering a long finish that moves from light spices, to custard, to salted butter. The salty aspect is amplified by the open tobaccos against the tongue, which is similar to licking a charred and salted steak. This eventually helps to build the cigar’s signature flavor (in my opinion) when transitioning between the final two thirds: bone marrow. The cigar continues in this vein until the absolute nub, offering creamy nuts, plenty of florals, tang, and a great salty balance.

AVO LE05 30th Anniversary cigar ash

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

I’ll be upfront—I’ve smoked more of these cigars for “review” purposes than probably any of my other reviews over the past seven years. In other words, yes, I will be smoking many more LE05s… at least while supplies remain.

I like to sum up the AVO LE05 30th Anniversary smoking experience with a musical analogy:

It’s almost comparable to an album that is initially overlooked, not fully sinking in until it’s given multiple listens—front to back. Then, one day, you’re suddenly struck with the realization that the album is an all-time favorite. This is because the best albums don’t simply jump out at you, instantly clicking with a poppy rhythm; it’s a deeper substance that eventually wins out in the end.


Profile
  • Flavor: Medium-full
  • Strength: Medium-light
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • Botanicals
  • Coffee beans
  • Custard
  • White pepper
  • Bone marrow
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Trappist ale, Gin & tonic, Himalayan salt block steak, Light-roast coffee pour-over
  • Purchase Recommendation: As many as you can find

AVO LE05 30th Anniversary cigar nubbed

AVO LE05 30th Anniversary
AVO LE05 30th Anniversary is easily one of the most disruptive, palate-shocking smoking experiences I've had in recent memory. There are times when you feel your palate has adjusted to the standard range of smoking profiles on the market; as if there is a wheel of flavors, with each cigar simply landing on one of the pre-selected outcomes. And then there are those unique smoking experiences that prove otherwise, reminding that there is much more left to be discovered. It's that feeling of searching out new flavor profiles when a smoker first begins eagerly diving into the world of premium cigars head first. AVO LE05 30th Anniversary revives that optimistic sensation for the ardent cigar enthusiast.
Appearance92%
Burn/Construction94%
Draw93%
Flavor95%
Complexity100%
Price/Value93%
Pros
  • Deep progression and complexity
  • Triumphant challenge to the developed palate
  • Outstanding balance of sensations, including saltiness, bitterness, sweetness, and acidity
Cons
  • Unusual start will have some smokers distancing themselves before the profile develops
95%Symphonic

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