Orlando’s Cigar Legend

At 85, Avo Uvezian still blends business with pleasure.



Avo Uvezian is a regular at Corona Cigar Co.’s Sand Lake store.

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

Decked out in a spiffy three-piece suit and a plantation-style mimbre hat with a cigar in hand, Avo Uvezian looks like he stepped right out of a photo that hangs in the Orlando cigar bar he’s visiting. Back from a trip to Europe and, before that, a trade show in Las Vegas, Uvezian has some time to spend with his friend and Metro-West neighbor, Jeff Borysiewicz, the owner of Corona Cigar Co., before heading down to “visit his cigars” at the factory in Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic.

“I don’t know how he does it,” Borysiewicz marvels about Uvezian’s travel schedule as the front man for AVO Cigars. His busy itinerary over spring was made more fatiguing by the addition of a line-up of events honoring his 85th birthday, taking him to about 25 cities across Europe and the United States. Uvezian often drops in at Borysiewicz’s Sand Lake store for a smoke and to chat with friends, and he makes an occasional appearance at Corona’s Heathrow site where he plays piano in a lounge named for him. Uvezian enjoyed a well-traveled life as a jazz pianist and composer before he realized a talent for cigar-making.

Although he could have retired years ago after the Davidoff company bought his brand for a reported $10 million, Uvezian remains passionately involved in cigar-making. “It’s all about the blend,” he says of creating a quality cigar, “and blending tobacco is much more complex than blending wine.”

“When I’m in the Dominican Republic, I will tell the roller, ‘Put one more ligero leaf [coming from the top of the tobacco plant] in,’ and it changes the entire taste of the cigar,” he explains. “The wrapper, whether it’s a Connecticut wrapper or one from the Dominican Republic, can change the whole taste, too.”

That taste, Uvezian says, should remain constant from start to finish; lesser cigars can get stronger and more acrid as they
burn down.

Blenders carefully track the tobacco—which year, which field, the rain and temperature that year, the position on the plant—so they know what to reach for as they’re blending. Like wine, cigars are living products that continue to change as they age. As you smoke, take note of the maker, the country of origin of the tobacco, the year of production and the type of wrapper of the cigars you like. Soon enough, you’ll seldom buy a cigar that doesn’t please you.

If you like Uvezian’s taste in cigars, stand by because his next venture is a line of premium spirits—a malbec wine from Argentina, a Guatemalan rum, a tequila and a bourbon. How does he find the energy to launch a new business at 85? “I quit playing golf,” he quips. “I just didn’t have the time.”

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

 

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

2015 Best Lawyers

When you need an attorney, you want someone with a strong reputation and a proven track record. The annual Best Lawyers® list provides the names of Orlando-area attorneys most recommended by their colleagues in the field.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2015

Our annual list featuring 216 of the area’s finest dental professionals.

Dentists Q&As

We selected 4 dentists to weigh in on questions related to dental health.

Guide to Private Schools 2015

Our annual guide to private schools will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2014 Finest Doctors

Two national surveys name the Best and Top Doctors in Orlando, as recommended by their peers.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2014

More than 75 Central Florida chiropractors make our inaugural list.

Fall Getaways

Fall is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Real Estate's Hot 100

Whether you’re trying to buy or sell real estate, getting the best deal means finding an agent who possesses savvy and know-how and gets results. This list showcases some Central Florida agents who have demonstrated those skills.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Orlando’s Move to Go Green

We talked with Mayor Buddy Dyer about his plan for a greener Orlando.

Celebrities Who Got Their Start in Orlando

Check out our list of celebrities with Orlando roots.

Celebrities From Orlando

Handmade Home: Pastel Party

Deck out your Easter gathering with the colors of spring.
Edit Module