Tag Archive for avo

Smoke Blog: Avo Domaine

Riding home from the UFC fight the other night, I got a text message from a bud asking me to stop on by. I called him back, made some noises about having to get some sleep, get some writing done. Then he said the magic words:

“I just got a new box of Avo cigars.”

Sold. Sleep is for suckers.

I showed up, we poured a few drinks and caught up for a bit, then out came the humidor. He cracked it open and I was greeted with a whole selection of Avos from the sampler he purchased. I had tried most of them, but not the Avo Domaine. It’s darker wrapper caught my eye, and the gentle bite of its aroma cried out to be tasted.

I lit her up. The peppery tang immediately set it apart from the rest of the Avo line, and its fuller flavor tended to linger on the tongue a bit longer than usual. It burned slow and even, never showing the slightest sign of tunneling or canoeing, and I only once had to touch up one tiny side with a flame because I spent a little too much time yapping between puffs. The solid ash demonstrated the stick’s perfect construction, and it produced a nice, thick, heady smoke for well over an hour.

All in all, it was a great example of Avo craftsmanship and quality. I wouldn’t call it a generic pass-around smoke like the Avo #5 or the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real, but the Domaine would be a great addition to the private side of the humidor, reserved for the right mood or for special occasions.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: RyJ Reserva Real and Cigar Spike

This is my first cigar in weeks.

I bit the inside of my lip and had a nasty sore, so I’ve held off on the celebratory cigar for my Evileye Books announcement until I could be sure the smoke wouldn’t irritate or infect the wound. Now that it’s smoothed over again, I got my ass back out on the front porch and lit up a Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real. It only took a few puffs to remember why it’s one of my go-to smokes for casual smoking.

I’ve ranted about the joys of the RyJ plenty of times in the past, though, so this time I thought I’d concentrate on the Cigar Spike I used to pierce the end cap for smoking. I’m normally a punch guy, but in my experience, most of them don’t hold an edge and I sometimes feel like I’m about to break the cigar or I’ll compress the tobacco near the foot as I’m punching the hole. This is especially a problem when a cigar is a little too moist and the cap doesn’t cut as easily.

On those occasions I’ll turn to a cutter. I can’t say I’ve got much of a preference between the cutter and the punch other than a punch is more convenient to carry (I tend to use the coin pocket in my jeans for my lighter and cutting gear), so it’s not a big deal to switch back and forth. However, if the cap isn’t fixed properly, they may fall apart. I’ve also had problems with some cigars crushing before cutting, and often times I’ll get bits of tobacco in my mouth.

The Cigar Spike promised to solve all of these problems: they’re tiny and portable, there’s no knife edge to lose sharpness, and because they’re pushing a hole into the cap there are no bits of tobacco falling out. I was a bit skeptical, but for three bucks shipped, I decided to give it a shot. A few days later my three Cigar Spikes arrived.

They delivered on being tiny and portable. The small piece of smooth plastic fit into my pocket with ease, right up against my lighter. Because it’s not metal, there’s no danger of it scratching or scuffing my trusty Xikar lighter, either. The point is slightly rounded, so it won’t poke anything and there are no worries about it going dull. Time to put it to work.

It took no effort to push the Spike through the Reserva Real’s cap, which made me happy. No compression or excessive pushing to endanger the draw is a good thing. I took a test draw on the unlit cigar and it felt a little tough, so I pushed the Spike in again to widen the hole (just push in farther and the hole gets wider), then turned it ninety degrees and poked again. I didn’t get a plus sign some of the reviews mentioned, just a small, roundish hole a bit smaller than a punch would have made. The next test draw proved smoother and easier.

Satisfied that far, I left the punch and cutter inside and went out to light up. I will say the draw with a punch or cutter is a bit looser, but the spiked draw worked just fine. An hour into the cigar I had zero problems with the draw. I tend to bite the end from time to time, though, and a half hour later the draw got tougher. Another quick and effortless poke, though, and the draw was right back to the way it started.

All in all, I’m happy with the little guys. I look forward to trying them again with a few more smokes, and I’m going to give one to a local friend, a rookie smoker who just purchased his first box of Avos (after sampling a couple I gave him, natch). I’ll let you know how it goes in my next Smoke Blog entry.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Making the Magic Happen

Avo & Me
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

Friends & Family Day at the karate dojo went well today. Now we’ve got a quiet weekend evening with no real plans, giving me some much-needed time to play catchup and get some writing done.

That’s why I’m out front with an Avo #3 and the MacBook Pro. I’m looking at some sketches from an artist for one project and doing a quick bit of research for another. I’m catching up with a couple Twitter friends and doing some web maintenance. I’m grabbing the day’s pics off the camera and preparing them for upload.

Most important, I’m clearing away all distractions to get some writing done tonight. A good cigar centers me. When it’s finished, I’ll retire to the office, cue up a playlist of writing music, and start hammering on the keyboard.

Ten pages of script are due on the 30th. If I focus, I can get them done tonight.

Now if only I can narrow down the selection between these two possible villains for the book…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: Avo #3

It’s been quite some time since I blogged a cigar, but as good as the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real may be, there’s only so much that can be said about them. Now that I’ve finished that box this summer, I felt it was time for the next great smoke.

Normally the Avo line is out of my price range (single, celebratory smokes excepted), but I found a great deal at an online store and pounced. I would prefer to visit a brick and mortar cigar shop, but I don’t always have that luxury out here.

Plus it’s damn hard to turn down a savings of nearly 50%.

The Avo is every bit as good as I remembered and then some. Their smooth draw and solid construction make them a joy to hold, and they produce plenty of silky smoke. The bold, earthy flavor gives way to a creamy finish with a hint of leather. This finish survives to the next puff, but is far from overstaying its welcome.

In short they are worthy successors to my beloved RyJ Reserva Reals, if not superior. I’m on my third from the box and it’s just as pleasing as the first. If this continues, I won’t hesitate to order the next box.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: Don Tomas Cameroon Collection

Cigars with a Cameroon wrapper are very popular, but I tend to find their taste a little harsh, especially in the finish. I’ve been told maybe I just had bad luck with cigars or brands, or perhaps I just don’t like the blends certain brands use. I much prefer the Connecticut shade wrappers like my go-to smoke, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real, but I’ll continue to try Cameroon-wrapped smokes and see if I can’t narrow down the problem.

It’s with this in mind I lit up the Don Tomas Cameroon last week. It came as part of a robusto sampler pack I ordered a while back, and I wanted to give it some time in the humidor so there would be no lingering dryness from shipping that may affect the flavor. It lit easily, and the draw was fine. My luck with sturdy cigars in the face of spring breezes continued with the Don Tomas, as I had no trouble even as the cold started to numb my fingers. The cigar had a fine ash and produced thick smoke.

But there was that odd tang to the finish again. Not altogether unpleasant, but I found myself pining for one of my Reservas instead. Perhaps next time I’ll have to try a Cameroon with a beer or a glass of whiskey and see if that doesn’t level things out. I’m almost certain some good smokes I’ve sampled in the past have been wrapped in Cameroon tobacco, but it seems like when this flavor appears, it’s in a smoke with a Cameroon wrapper.

This week I’ll be visiting New Trends with John. I’ll have to chat up the owner, Mark, and see if he can offer some insight or tell me I’m just nuts. While we discuss it, I think I’ll have a nice Avo Classic.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.