Avanti Cigar News

Danilo Finizio - Master Blender

Behind the Scenes at Avanti with Danilo Finizio

November 14, 2022

To make the highest quality cigars, we use only the highest quality tobacco that is grown in Kentucky and Tennessee. Creating the perfect tobacco blend is an important step in our cigar-making process. Our master blender, Danilo Finizio, is giving us an inside look at the fire-cured tobacco that goes into every Avanti cigar!

What standards do you follow for selecting the best tobacco for Avanti Cigars? Are these industry standards or did you develop your own set of standards for selection?

We only use the finest, hand-picked tobacco from Kentucky and Tennessee in our cigars. To achieve the perfect blend in every cigar we make, we use tobacco from at least three different crop years that has been aged for 2 to 3 years.

Danilo Finizio - Master Blender inspecting tobacco

What characteristics of the tobacco leaf dictate your choices in the selection process for that specific crop yield?

The stalk position is very important in determining the taste of Kentucky tobacco. We harvest the wrapper tobacco from the high sections of the tobacco plant. The rest of the stalk is used as filler tobacco. We then evaluate the leaves for characteristics of aroma, taste and texture.

Do certain fermentation outcomes lend themselves better to different flavors?

Thanks to the natural organic process of fermentation, the dark fire-cured tobacco changes its flavor profile. During fermentation, the temperature of the tobacco increases under the pressure of its own weight. By carefully controlling the temperature, turnings and humidity, the tobacco is able to slowly expel any impurities in the leaves. The fermentation process develops the organoleptic qualities of the fire-cured leaf. 

The specific times and temperatures of Parodi fermentation release the natural sugars of the leaf, which produces a sweeter and more balanced flavor. 

What do you find to be unique about Avanti’s tobacco preparation process? How has the process evolved over time?

The fermentation process develops the aromatic qualities of the fire-cured leaf. It purifies the leaf and allows the taste and aroma to develop. The special and “strong” fermentation process for the dark fire-cured tobacco has the most dramatic impact on the flavor and aroma of the final cigar. 

We also increase the burning capacity and decrease the nicotine with our aging process. 

The aging process starts with the “marrying” between the wrapper and the filler after the cigars are made. The first week of aging allows the humidity to decrease and stabilize since the filler tobacco was at a much higher humidity than the wrapper tobacco. The filler was also at a higher burning capacity due to its intense and strong fermentation.

After the first week of de-humidification and combining of the different tobacco, the real aging process begins. This helps the different leaf flavors and aromas blend together and harmonize. Just like aging raw tobacco, cigar aging releases all the impurities during the aging process. Thanks to this process, we end up with a balanced and harmonious taste.

Dried tobacco leaves falling