In the 2002, Sean “Puff Daddy” “Puffy” “P-Diddy” “Diddy” “Dirty Money” Whatever his name is this week” Combs released an album called “We Invented The Remix”. If you know anything about his work, you know that he made his mark in the rap industry by remaking and sampling old classics for his recording artists to sing or rap over. While Puffy didn’t actually create the Remix, he definitely made it cool.
Fast forward to 2015. Henke Kelner, Master Blender of Davidoff cigars, took a page from page from Diddy’s book and covered a classic…literally. His latest masterpiece, the Avo Classic Covers 2015 puts a spin on the Avo Classic cigar that he’s been making for and inspired by jazz piano legend Avo Uvezian since 1995. Instead of blending Avo’s annual birthday cigar this year as they’ve done in years past, they decided to try something different this year launching the Improvisation Series using much of the same blend while adding a hook, if you will, to the already classic song.
Because I’m always partial to original versions, I played the two cigars, the Avo Classic and the Avo Classic Covers 2015, against one another to see which one made me dance the most. Kinda like dueling pianos (see what I did there).
Avo Classic #2
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Avo Classic Covers 2015
Wrapper: Ecuadorian 702
Binder: San Andreas
Pre-light and 1st Third
This cigar was well constructed with a smooth, thin claro wrapper with little to no veins showing. Boasting of tobacco aged 25 years, this particular shade of brown resembled that of graham cracker. Not giving off much of a smell pre-light, it lit quickly with an immediate burst of woodiness and coffee notes. The oak like aroma made it feel natural and old school, while the coffee offered a pleasant and subtle creaminess.
The Cover was beautifully wrapped in a darker, rare and highly sought after Ecuadorian 702 wrapper. It had a similar, smooth feel yet with few noticeably lighter colored veins. It was a pretty cool contrast to see against the darker background of the leaf. I’ll be honest when I say that for years I’ve skeptically read that Kelner’s cigars have “barnyard” and “hay” aromas pre-light. I was astonished when I smelt this thing up. There it was! It actually did smell a little like straw and barn! While that didn’t really turn me on, I knew that I’d get something totally different once I sparked it up. On light, the Cover offered a bit of a tea taste with hints of cinnamon.
After the initial creaminess, as you let the smoke linger in your mouth there are traces of white pepper with some spiciness on the retrohale. One thing that I was not surprised about was how even and sharp the burn line was. The Davidoff/Avo lines are known for their quality in construction and the Classic didn’t disappoint in this area.
This thing woke my tongue right up…in a good way. Halfway through the notes began to get savory and meaty…not like steak, but like a bold hearty flavor. While I couldn’t put my finger on the taste, I knew I liked it! Just like the Classic, burn and was no issue and the oils in the wrapper begin to really shine through. Holding it up to the light, I could actually see the oil crystalizing…which was just really cool to look at.
Finishing up the Classic, the build up became increasingly intense with notes of licorice on the finish. All hints of spiciness and cream faded away, but not so much that the last inch was not enjoyable.
Don’t look at me weird, but this thing really started to remind me of my mother baking a cake. There were loads of cooking spices present such as cinnamon, nutmeg and an almost ginger twang to it. If I had some icing to pour over it, I would have had a Sock-It-To-Me Cake. The Cover ended on a sweet and mild note that definitely made me want to light up another.
I have to say that the Classic Covers 2015 won in my dual. Like an R. Kelly remix, this blend actually was a totally different song from the original. It reminded me of it’s predecessor only because I kept the “Avo” band on until the burn line got close. Like a true classic, the Classic #2 remained consistent throughout, not trying to give ya anything different or fancy, just goodness. The Cover was a great, new school and complex stick, that definitely offered a great change of pace from the original.
I suggest that whichever you decide to try, enjoy it with some instrumental jazz or download an Avo Uvezian album. It made me feel like the artist was there with me as I jammed out to his work. Kelner definitely produced another hit for him and I look forward to what they compose and release in 2016.