Davidoff Cigars caught the cigar world’s attention with the announcement of a regional-only release from their AVO Cigars brand at the 2019 IPCPR/PCA Trade Show in Las Vegas. The series was dubbed Regional Edition, with the East and West editions being the first to hit the market. As the concept alludes, the cigars were limited to retailers in those geographic regions, with 2,500 boxes of 10 cigars apiece in circulation. AVO returned the series a year later, this time covering the north and south regions of the US.
While the year 2020 will definitely want to be forgotten by a vast majority, there were some high points, and the introduction of the AVO Regional North and South editions was one such case. The cigars were originally scheduled for a late summer release, but 2020 did its thing and the North and South were delayed until October.
For me, my competitive side comes out a little bit with this series. I mean, one almost can’t help themselves but think of it as a type of rivalry: East vs West, North vs South. I know one of the common conversations that will surround this entire line is, “Who’s was the best?”
AVO Regional North Edition Breakdown
- Wrapper: Dominican Republic
- Binder: Dominican Republic (Hybrid Olor/Piloto Seco)
- Filler: Dominican Republic (San Vicente Visus | San Vicente Mejorado Ligero | Piloto Ligero | Hybrid Olor/Piloto Ligero)
- Factory: Oettinger Kelner Cigars (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Limited Edition (2,000 boxes of 10 cigars for USA)
- Vitola: 6⅝″ × 50 (Perfecto)
- Price: $14.00 (MSRP)
Like the East and West editions that preceded it, this cigar comes in one vitola, in this case being a shapely 6⅝″ × 50 perfecto. The North blend centers around Dominican tobaccos, including a wide variety of seed types and primings. This differs from the South cigar, which incorporates a four-country blend and a double dose of Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf throughout the binder and wrapper.
One of the first things I noticed, which was a shared trait with the East and West editions, is the compass rose graphic on the outside of the boxes line up to make one full compass. Also, the bands on the cigars themselves share the color and artwork from the opposite region. For some, I could see this as confusing, for others, I see this as tying the project together and being a subtle little hint that you need to get all the boxes to complete the graphic.
The cigars are neatly arranged in cello in the heavy paper boxes. Getting to the cigar, this one attractive perfecto! Davidoff is well-known for putting out exceptional-looking products, and this cigar is no exception. It has a beautiful medium-brown wrapper, with a nice oily sheen. The body of the cigar has mostly invisible seams, some visible veins, and a little bit of tooth that give it an old-school vibe. The cigar is relatively firm from the foot to the very cleanly applied cap, with no noticeable soft spots.
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The aromas coming from the very small foot of this perfecto were pretty complex: chocolate, barnyard, cedar, and hay, with a little citrus zest on the finish. The pre-light was hard to get a good grasp on, as it is a perfecto and the foot is mostly closed prior to lighting, but the notes present were a combination of the flavors from the foot, with a hint more cedar, cabinet spices, and plum (the latter being the lasting note on the palate).
The cigar starts off with heavy notes of fresh-ground coffee, dark chocolate, cedar, dark earth, and pepper. The retrohale actually has quite a bit of pepper zing to it at the start—that becomes a little more subdued just a short time later. There is an overall floral note in the background that adds an interesting layer of complexity. Getting to the one-inch mark, the coffee notes become creamier and walnut shell joins the party. Draw and burn are both very good, and the smoke output is quite thick, adding an overall creaminess to the experience. Strength-wise, this cigar is not quite to the middle of medium, while body and complexity are pushing medium-full as the flavors are being very well presented.
Getting just about to the halfway point, one of the first things I noticed is the spice on the retrohale has gone to more of a white pepper cabinet spice, as opposed to zingy black pepper. This makes the core profile of the cigar even better. Fresh bread has entered the profile, joining the dark chocolate, coffee, and walnut shells. Combined with the cabinet spice on the retrohale and the creaminess on the palate, it is making for a very flavorful experience. However, one part that is becoming confusing to my palate is the increase in intensity of the floral note. It is lingering a little bit on the finish, and is actually detracting slightly from the core notes in the profile. The strength has crept up a notch to medium, while body and complexity remain the same.
Getting to the finish, thankfully, the floral note fades to the background, and the earthy, chocolate bread notes push through as dominant. At this point, combined with the cabinet spice of the retrohale and the creaminess of the smoke texture, it is almost dessert like in profile. Sweet with an earthy finish are the best words I can use to describe it. The burn and draw have been very good throughout, and a lack of touchups—combined with a cool smoking temperature—have made for an ideal construction.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I would. This cigar was very good, as were the East and the West, being an overall fun project from AVO.
- My rankings of the series, based on my personal experience from favorite to least is as follows:
East > North > West > South.
- Interestingly, both of these cigars (North and South) are being offered outside of the United States, with 2,250 boxes of the North and 2,100 boxes of the South being made available elsewhere around the world. This strikes me as a little odd, and takes away a little bit, in my opinion, from the true regional release vibe.
- Flavor: Medium / Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium / Full
- Fresh ground coffee
- Dark Chocolate
- Walnut shells
- Cabinet Spice
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Single Malt Scotch | Medium-roast coffee | Apple juice | Root beer | Moscow mule
- Purchase Recommendation: fiver (though having the boxes would be cool from a swag standpoint)
- Flavor forward
- Right balance of sweet vs spicy
- Great burn and draw
- Floral note midway was not a good fit
- Bands can be confusing, mixing North and South design elements
- Smokes quickly for an almost seven-inch-long cigar