At the end of last year, it was announced that the AVO brand would be getting a makeover. Well, it was more than a a makeover. They were actually cutting back on production, adjusting prices, improving packaging and making the line more appealing to brick and mortar retailers. The actual changes occurred in the early months of this year, and just a few months later they announced a new regular production AVO. The cigar was called AVO Syncro Nicaragua, and it would be the first regular production box-pressed release, as well as the firs time Nicaraguan was used in a regular production AVO blend. The cigar was released at the 2015 IPCPR, and recently made its way into retail stores. Today we look at three of the four sizes, and in some ways do a vertical tasting of the line.
Cigars: AVO Syncro Nicaragua Robusto, Toro & Special Toro
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: O.K. Cigars
Wrapper: Dark Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Doominican Republic (Piloto, San Vicente Mejorado and hybrid Olor/Piloto), Nicaraguan (Ometepe) & Peruvian (Olancho)
Length: Robusto is 5", Toro & Special Toro are 6"
Ring Gauge: 50 ring gauge, 54 ring gauge, 60 ring gauge (respectively)
Vitola: Robusto, Toro & Gordo
The cigars are nicely pressed and come with wrappers that sports very few if any minor veins present at all. They are fairly firm throughout and come with a nice finishing cap. Fine in texture, they have a freshly shaved wood feel, adding a touch of grit. The coloring is that of a light Colorado and it has a faded brown and reddish hue coloring. The wrappers are delivering an aroma of cookies and some Christmas spices, nice sweet notes, and the foots are giving off aromas hay, pepper and a sweet lemon like quality.
The Synco Nicaragua Robusto delivers a flavor profile that captures these sweet and hay like qualities. There is a sweetness present that reminds me of Frosted Flakes, and it has soft manure like aroma following that. There are touches of rich earth present as well, and it has a finish of light chocolate and heavy spice that lingers for some time. I am getting some faded cinnamon notes on the end as well. I would classify the robusto as being medium in body and strength, and the same goes for the flavors. It is slightly one-dimensional, and I would not call it complex, but it is enjoyable. There is very little transitioning throughout either. The construction is good in the sense that the burn line is even and the cigar is producing a firm ash that has a solid gray coloring, but the draw is little bit snugger than I prefer. Overall, the Syncro Nicaragua Robusto gets an 86 in my book.
The Toro is slightly different from the Robusto and I find that it is not as sweet. There is a slight sweetness present with the blend, but there is more spice present overall. I am getting some white pepper notes, and it has that soft chocolate quality with that. Along with that, I am getting an herbal and citrus quality which adds to the overall complexity of the blend. There is a touch of cinnamon present as well, and it has a nice earthy vibe also. I would say that the cigar is smoking around a medium level, similar with that of the robusto, and that goes for the flavors, body and strength. It is a more complex blend than the robusto, and it has some depth to it. There is not an abundance of transitioning present, but it still has a nice delivery. The draw is much better in this offering as well, and it is producing a nice burn line with a lovely charcoal ash on the end. The Toro really delivers more than the Robusto, and is a better offering in my opinion. I give the cigar a solid 87.
Smoking the Special Toro, it shows some changes from the Toro and Robusto. In this line, the larger the offering gets, less sweetness is shown and more spiciness and dry earth flavors make their way to the forefront. I am getting some mineral and herbal qualities in this smoke, and it has a soft chocolate, cinnamon and pepper profile with that. There are those earth and spice notes on top of that, and there are some grassy an hay like flavors on the finish. Overall, there is a little bit more complexity in the blend and the extra filler tobacco helps. There was still not a great bit of transitioning present with the cigar, but it delivers a nice and consistent flavor profile. The construction remains top notch, and from beginning to end it delivers an even burn line with a cool and easy draw. In terms of body, strength and flavor profile, I would say that it is in line with the other two offerings, and I would say it is smoking at a medium level. Smoking the Special Toro, I give it an 87. It is right between the Toro and Robusto, and while it is nice to see the sweetness much softer, I think having a little more present would have improved the blend.
The new AVO Syncro Nicaragua is a nice addition to the brand, and a unique one at that. Pressing the cigar and using some Nicaraguan tobacco will make it more appealing to some smokers who did not reach out to the brand before. It's a newer blend, nothing really in line with some older AVO blends, and it is good to see something different with a new cigar. The cigar itself showed excellent construction with a nice strength and body level, and it had a fairly solid flavor profile with that. Personally, I would have loved to see more Nicaraguan tobacco in the blend, and really have the cigar live up to what the name implies. I know AVO is a brand that is typically lighter while remaining flavorful and balanced, but I would have liked to see a little bit more strength and body with a stronger and bolder flavor profile. With that being said, I have yet to smoke the Short Robusto to truly find the winning offering, but right now I would go with the Toro or Special Toro. The Special Toro will be a little bit more spicier and earthier, while the Toro will have a little bit more sweetness. The AVO Syncro Nicaragua gets a score between 86 and 87.
Rating: 86-87 AKA "Couple"
*Cigars for this assessment were provided by AVO.