Country: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $ 8.00 - $ 10.00
Available in 8 sizes:
No.2 (6X50) [pictured]
No.3 (7.5 X 50)
No.5 (6 7/8 X46)
No.9 (4.75 X 48)
AVO Brand Manager
Whenever you hear that someone is a composer, you can’t help but ask, “Did he write something that I might have heard?” In the case of Avo and his musical career, everyone knows the song he wrote. Tell us a little about it.
As the story goes, Avo composed a melody for his song called Broken Guitar. This melody was eventually taken and developed into the music used for Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night and the rest is history.
What role did cigars play in Avo’s career before he started his own brand?
Cigars have always been a part of Avo, even at his shows. He would often walk around the crowd mid-session and offer the guests a cigar. He felt that a good cigar went beautifully with his jazz and put the audience in the right state of mind to enjoy the show. It sort of slowed down time. So he would basically buy them and just give them out. And then he’d always enjoy a cigar after his shows.
So how did he go from occasionally giving away cigars and smoking them after his shows to contracting a factory in the Dominican Republic to make a brand for him?
Well, at that point it was the mid 80s and Avo was living in Puerto Rico and performing at his piano bar nightly. He was giving out cigars to his audience and his daughter Karin suggested that he sell them instead of giving them away. Avo liked this idea very much.
So he flew to the Dominican Republic and met with Henke Kelner. Now, keep in mind that Henke’s opera-tion was very small at this point, so it was not very impressive, but the two hit it off and Henke gave Avo some samples of what he could make for him. When Avo lit that first cigar, he thought it was incredible and knew he must do something with it. So he took more samples back to Puerto Rico and passed them out. His friends, his audience, everybody loved them. This was still a big step because although it is much more common today, back then it wasn’t common for a person outside of the cigar business to start a brand, but he knew he had something good so he went for it. And that’s a brief history of how Avo gets into the cigar business.
So is the first blend that Avo launched basically what we are smoking when we fire up an AVO Classic today?
Yes, except it wasn’t called AVO Classic back then. It was just called AVO, but yes it is the same blend as what we smoke today. It’s a mild and creamy smoke, but it’s well balanced on the palate.
Was there a particular event that was the cata-lyst for the name change from the AVO to the AVO Classic?
Well once we released the AVO XO everyone referred to the original as the AVO Classic and eventually we made it official. But really it refers to the fact that it’s the first line. It’s a very classic style of cigar, but it also refers to music so it works well.
Most people immediately think of Henke Kelner as the master blender for Davidoff, and rightly so. But it is fascinating to me that it was Avo who “discovered” Henke and then turned Davidoff on to him. How did that come about?
Yes! Avo was the first to officially work with Henke. They had a special bond and started growing together. It wasn’t until a few years later that Zino Davidoff moved his cigar production from Cuba to the Dominican Republic, under Henke Kelner.