AVO Brand Manager
Avo is a man of incredible musical talent. He’s charming and cultured. He’s a great many things, but a farmer he is not. How then did he come to grow the special tobacco that is in the AVO Domaine?
After Avo had been traveling through the Dominican for a while, he found this small area that he wanted to use to plant tobacco. It was just Avo the artist looking at a piece of land thinking, “This would be nice.” But it wasn’t in a typical tobacco growing region or area, so all the farmers told him not to use that plot and tried to persuade him to buy in another area. He said, “No I think we’ll try this.” So he did, and he had the farmers plant tobacco there. So no, he’s not a farmer, he’s a musician. They planted it and after the first year the tobacco was just OK. The second year, it got better. By the third year the tobacco coming out of this area was spectacular. Because of the soil in the area and the way that the sun hit the tobacco early in the morning, the tobacco that came out of there was just rich and complex and had a lot of flavor. It gave off this kind of cocoa, almost nutty type of flavor. So Henke [Kelner] told Avo, “We must do something special with this tobacco.” And that’s how the Domaine 10 was born.
Why did he name it Domaine 10? And for that matter, why are all the vitolas in the Domaine line named numerically?
The Domaine launched on the AVO brand’s 10th an-niversary. So it was named the AVO Domaine 10 and it came in only one size. Then, a year later, we came out with the Domaine 20 and 30 and then followed the 40 and 50, then the 60. Since then we’ve discontinued the 30, 40, and the 60 and we just introduced the 70, which is a 6 x 54 Toro. Unfortunately, although it drives me nuts, I can’t just restart the numbering and put them back in sequence! (chuckling)
My favorite of the AVO Domaine sizes is definitely the Domaine 50, but it’s not a common perfecto shape. What’s the story behind that shape?
Avo loves the perfecto shape. This specialty size is manufactured to the specifications found in an antique Dutch cigar mold from 1823 - a find at an antique show in Paris. Normally, when you’re going to roll a specialty size like that, you take one of your best rollers from another size and train them on how to roll this format. But Avo — again with his artistic mind — said, “Why would we take someone away from something they’re fantastic at? Let’s take somebody from zero and make this dif-ficult shape become second nature to him. Something that feels right to him without being swayed by anything else.” So the next roller up that they felt was talented enough and could be trained for this size went right on to roll the Domaine 50. It took a little while (it is one of the most difficult sizes to roll), but he nailed it. When you look at the cap on this type of perfecto, it’s a little shorter and flatter and also the perfecto tip on the end isn’t as long. It’s a little more concentrated and gets a little thicker. It’s kind of between a perfecto and a di-adema. So that was his way of doing it and ever since then, every new roller we bring in to roll the 50 gets trained on this format.
So the newest size is the Domaine 70, a 6 x 54 toro. It’s interesting that the brand has only now gotten to the point where you’ve launched a toro. How do you think it’ll do?
The best seller in the Domaine line is the 50 and, although it’s still too early to tell, it is looking like the 70 and the 50 will be neck and neck as our best sellers (followed by the robusto). The 70 having that format and the filler tobacco that is used in this line, you get a lot of flavor and a lot of complexity from it. And since the Domaine never had a 54 (ring gauge) it just stands out.
From an intensity standpoint, where does the Do-maine sit inside of the AVO portfolio?
You’ve got Classic on one end, which is the mildest, creamiest blend and the Heritage on the other end as the most full-bodied. Domaine is a perfect medium to full intensity but very balanced on the palate.