Brand: Avalon Juke – Ebony
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Filler: Nicaraguan / Dominican
Origin: Dominican Republic
Avalon Cigars are a product created by a couple of guys in Mississippi. From reading their website, I gathered that the cigar was created in a very laid back and relaxed atmosphere. This same attitude shined through while visiting their booth at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas. In one corner sat a man playing guitar. In the opposite corner sat the brand owner looking relaxed. Between the two there was a third man sitting on a pool table enjoying himself.
Throughout the trade show the scene didn’t change much, everyone looked as if they were enjoying themselves. On numerous occasions we stopped into the Avalon booth in passing just to say hi and see how things were going. Each and every time we were greeted with a smile and invited to take a load off.
One of the lines I was given at the show was the Juke Series – Ebony. This particular vitola is perfecto shaped and looks very much like the Fuente Short Story, but the similarities end there. The Ebony line consists of a filler blend from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, a binder from Indonesia, and is topped off with a Connecticut Shade wrapper grown in Ecuador.
The Juke is a line of cigars named after small roadside establishments in the south were you can get yourself something to drink and enjoy the music. Each of the establishments are vastly different from one another, as are the cigars in this line. The Ebony is branded as the mild cigar that anyone can enjoy, non cigar smokers included.
These cigars come packaged in boxes of twenty and are available in three sizes which include, a Churchill (50 x 7.00), Perfecto / Torpedo (54 x 4.50), and a Corona (44 x 4.50). They are available mostly in southern states and do not seem to have made nationwide distribution as of yet. The only online retailer that I have seen them sold through is Serious Cigars, which is also out of stock.
Before lighting up my Avalon Juke – Ebony, I gave it a good looking over. The first thing I noticed, that struck me a bit odd, was the cap. Unless I just haven’t noticed on many others cigars this is the first one that I have seen with a double cap. The formation of the cap and the manner in which it was applied looks excellent.
The wrapper is a consistent dark blonde color from head to foot with an attractive dull sheen. There are a few veins through the length of the wrapper, all of which are small and protrude very little which makes the cigar smooth to the touch. When pinched, I found the cigar to be firm and consistently packed with tobacco from head to foot.
The aroma on the wrapper comes across as mildly sweet, due to the enclosed foot it was difficult to get any aroma from the exposed tobacco. Once opened up, I checked the draw and found it to be a little tight. This is most likely caused by the enclosed, nipple shaped foot of the stick. The cold draw produced the same mildly sweet sensation that I smelled on the wrapper.
After pondering for a minute on weather the method of lighting that Ace talked about last week would work or not, I sparked my lighter and touched the flame to the nipple shaped tip of my cigar. After a some light toasting, I removed the flame and took a puff, and to my surprise, toasting the small exposed portion of the foot was enough to evenly light my Avalon Juke.
The result of lighting in this manner produced a cool smoke that didn’t smack me in the face and overwhelm my palate. In the body department this cigar was living up to what Avalon described it to be. The smoke was very mild with a middle of the road sort of finish that wasn’t quiet creamy, but wasn’t quiet dry either.
Just like the aroma of the wrapper and the taste of the cold draw, the primary flavor component at this point was a mild natural sweetness with just a touch of bitterness from the Connecticut Shade wrapper. When taking into account my morning beverage of black coffee, I think that these two make for a nice combination. As Brian Hewitt has labeled me in Vegas, I am a “coffee purist” since I only like drinking coffee with no added sugar or cream. The mixture of black coffee, with its dry sort of finish, compliments the naturally sweet tobacco flavor of the Avalon nicely.
As I rounded the fifty minute mark, I found myself smack dab in the middle of the second third. The body has stayed mild up until this point while the finish was beginning to make a transition. Earlier on the finish was kind of middle of the road, not really dry but nor really creamy. The further into the cigar I was getting the more creamy and buttery it was becoming.
On the flavor side of the smoke, the naturally sweet tobacco flavor was slowly beginning to fade as a nutty, sort of almond flavor was beginning to develop and take center stage. After expelling the smoke from my mouth and sinuses and allowing the lingering flavors to settle, I started to notice a mild woody flavor in the background. On the occasion when I didn’t let the flavors settle long enough and I took a sip of coffee, this mild woody flavor was washed away and very easily missed.
As my Avalon Juke – Ebony burned, it produced a tightly compacted and firm ash that was very light in color. After more than an inch had developed, I had to give it a couple of firm taps to knock it from the cigar. The draw was about average with a bit of resistance, but produced a generous supply of thick and flavorful smoke. The burn rate was about average for me and produced a thin and even burn line.
After a little over an hour had passed, I made my way into the final third of my Avalon Juke Series. Just as in the second third, the body did not increase much throughout. It is still easily considered mild. The finish was becoming more creamy and buttery as I puffed along. Combination of finish and body made the cigar very easy to smoke, even very early on in the day.
In the flavor department, there wasn’t much change over the second third. The natural tobacco sweetness remained in the background and became slightly tart while the primary focus remained on the nutty, almond like flavor of the second third. On the occasional puff the smoke was becoming harsh but only seemed to last for a puff or two before vanishing. Feeling the heat on the remainder of the cigar leads me to believe its possibly due to the size of the cigar at this point, and how much it is heating up with each puff.
As the cigar was coming to a close, the burning characteristics remained top notch. The burn line remained thin and even, all the while I had a fan in the room circulating the air which I thought may lead to some minor waviness. The resting smoke is light but has started to put off a pungent room aroma that is becoming more and more offensive as I smoke. Early on, this room aroma was mild and pleasant but at this point it has come a long way and is beginning to become an irritant to my eyes.
When it was finally time to set my Avalon Juke – Ebony down to rest, about an hour and a half passed. From start to finish this cigar remained mild and easy to smoke. The flavors were pretty straight forward and easy to follow which makes it a prime candidate for the new cigar smoker. I also think that the smoke has enough flavor to pair up well with a cup of coffee as a morning smoke.
I could definitely see myself smoking more of these but have some mixed feelings about the price point. While $5.00 doesn’t sound like much for a quality cigar, I couldn’t help but think of all the other, larger, cigars I could also find for that price. Being a boutique brand, I can certainly understand why the cigars are priced the way they are. Even so, I still have my doubts that I would pick this up over the variety of other mild cigars that I would consider a morning smoke.
While I enjoyed the flavors and body, they just didn’t stand out enough and make enough of an impression to get me to go out and search for this stick at a local cigar shop. Then again, for someone who smokes far more mild cigars than I do, this may be something right up your alley.
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