Friday, November 8, 2013

History Series: Avo Cigars

Avo Uvezian, is known to us as the maker of some of the finest premium cigars, but to many, Avo is much more. Born in 1926 in Beirut, Avo Uvezian is an accomplished and highly respected jazz pianist. Both Avo's parents were musically inclined. His father was a composer and conductor of an orchestra and his mother was an accomplished singer. As a young boy, Avo traveled the country performing all over the Middle East. Eventually, he joined a boys group called, “Liban Boys”. They traveled the country and eventually received a contract to play in a Baghdad hotel. From there, they received an invitation to play for the Shah of Iran, where Avo became the personal pianist for the Shah. Then in 1947, Avo was able to travel to the U.S and become a legalized citizen. This allowed Avo to attend school at the prestigious, Julliard School of Music in New York, where he studied classical piano as well as music composition.

However, The Korean War forced Avo to put his music career on hold, as he was drafted into the infantry. One day while playing the piano, one of Avo's officers over-heard him and was blown away by his talent. It was not long after Avo was taken out of the infantry and placed into band training. When he arrived in Korea, Avo play at the Officers Club where he received accolades from all his superiors for his musical talents. In 1953, Avo was honorably discharged and was free once again to pursue his dream of music. Throughout the 1950's and 60's, Avo played with all the great jazz musicians of the period. Avo was not just limited to his talents at the piano, he wrote songs, one of his finest being, “Broken Guitar” which just so happened to be the early version of "Strangers in the Night," which Frank Sinatra recorded and released in the mid 1960's.

Avo's talents went well beyond music, as he was a businessman at heart. In the early 1980's, he spent some time in Switzerland where his daughter was christened. While celebrating with a friend, he bought several Cuban cigars and was disgusted by the price. During this same time period, Avo traveled to Puerto Rico where he opened his own restaurant and piano bar. It's at this point that Avo truly discovered his love of fine cigars and began to offer his own Avo hand-rolled cigars to his guests. They quickly became so popular that he decided he needed to move beyond just simply offering small quantities of hand rolled cigars at his restaurant. He needed a manufacturing facility that could produce his premium hand rolled cigars; cigars worthy of bearing the Avo name.

His journey took him to the Dominican Republic where for two years he searched before finally meeting Hendrik Kelner. In his words, the partnership with Hendrik was, "Success in perfect harmony". Avo's first cigar line was released in 1988, in New York City.  

Just like in his music career, Avo was a perfectionist. His career launch into cigars was and is no different. He first and foremost chose only the finest tobacco for his cigars. This paid off in a huge way. By the mid 1990's, the Avo cigar brand was selling millions of cigars per year and was receiving high praise from the cigar industry. Today, his recipe for success has never changed. His cigars are still highly sought after and continue to receive the highest industry marks. With lines like his Avo Lounge Edition, Avo 787, and Avo LE 85th Anniversary cigar, it's plain to see that Avo Uvezian has not only committed himself to his craft, but is committed to producing only the finest premium cigars that we have all come to know and love, and they are simply called, Avo.

Order Avo Cigars Here

Monday, November 4, 2013

History Series: Ashton Cigars

The name Ashton Cigars is synonymous with quality, craftsmanship, and premium cigars. It was founded in 1985 by Robert Levin, a second generation tobacconist. Ashton Cigars has grown to be one of the finest cigar brands in the world. Mr. Levin got his start in the industry as not only a tobacconist, but also worked as an importer. After years of obtaining insightful knowledge about the industry, Robert decided it was time for him to launch his own brand. Ashton Cigars was born.

Taking all of the knowledge that he had learned as a retailer and importer, Robert sought out a manufacturer who could produce the quality cigars that he wanted to create. His journey for this quest took him to the Fuente Family. Seeing the quality and consistency of cigars that the Fuente family was producing, Robert quickly settled on them and began the long process of creating the first line of cigars to bare the Ashton name.

Today, Ashton Cigars has grown and now is offered in six very different blends. Some of which come in up to thirteen different sizes. Ashton Cigars has gone on to produce a vast array of cigars, one of those is the Cabinet Selection. It's a vintage limited-edition cigar that has undergone an extensive aging process that lasts as long as five years. In 1999, Ashton unveiled its VSG line (Virgin Sun Grown) that is full-bodied and loaded with a bouquet of flavors. Cigar insider has given this line of cigars numerous 90 plus ratings, making it one of the most successful cigar lines from Ashton.

Then in 2003, the Ashton Heritage Puro Sol was released. It has received high marks for its quality craftsmanship and premium tobacco. On its release, Cigar Insider gave it a 90 rating. This continued the 90 plus rating streak that Ashton Cigars continues to receive to this day. The cigar features a gorgeous African Cameroon wrapper; it's the first to do so in the company's history. This cigar is a collaboration of two industry giants, the The Fuentes and The Meerapfels families.

For its 20th Anniversary, Ashton released the Ashton Estate Sun Grown, a rare exclusive limited-edition cigar blended by Carlos Fuente Jr. The wrapper for this cigar is grown on the Chateau de la Fuente farm and is a one-of-a-kind.

Since the inception of the Ashton brand and their partnership with the Fuente family, Ashton Cigars has partnered with another industry giant, Don Pepin Garcia to create the San Cristobal cigar line. This cigar line has received high marks from industry leaders as well as from the cult following it has obtained.

It's clear to see that with a dedication to quality, flavor, and craftsmanship, Ashton Cigars is truly one of the premier cigar companies in the industry today. Their premium lines of cigars have truly entered the halls of cigar history. For the past 27 years, we've enjoyed the pleasures of smoking the fruits of hard labor by Mr. Robert Levin.