Review: Balmoral Añejo XO
Balmoral Añejo XO
Produced by: Royal Agio Cigars
Wrapper: Sun-Grown Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican Olor, Nicaragua (Estelí) and stalk-cut Brazilian Mata Norte
Size: Gran Toro—6 x 52
Strength: Medium to full
Time to smoke: 90 minutes
Release date: 2016
About the cigar:
Royal Agio Cigars has been around for 115 years, but the Balmoral line itself is fairly new. Royal Agio Cigars CEO Boris Wintermans started out his Balmoral line with the Añejo 18, which got its name because it used an 18-year-old wrapper, which unfortunately they only had a limited supply of. Once that wrapper ran out, Wintermans decided to follow it up with the Balmoral Añejo XO that we now know and love.
“We have our curiosity; we want to discover new flavors, new tastes, and that would take us in a certain direction,” Wintermans told us during an interview. “What we don’t want to do is create something that’s already out there.”
Wintermans continues, “Just the other day, I was watching a movie on the plane. It was from A Star is Born, and this guy says, ‘It’s always going to be the same 12 notes, but it’s about how you deliver those 12 notes.’ It’s the same with tobacco. There are so many different ways you can express yourself, and for me personally, the Balmoral is the way I can express myself through blending and sharing it with all the consumers. The Añejo XO was really one of the first cigars that made a big impact for us and put us on the map.”
First off, I’m a huge fan of the Balmoral bands; they’re just so simple yet elegant. This complemented by the gorgeous, slightly veiny wrapper, and we’re off to a great start.
The cold draw features some sweet flavors that I can’t quite put my finger on yet, but there is definitely some cinnamon spice. The cold draw is semi-tight but immediately opens once lit. The initial flavors are tons of pepper and some chocolate with alluringly wonderful aromas of cedar off the foot. This cigar, while spicy, exudes smoothness.
The flavors return to the cinnamon I was tasting in the cold draw and mixes with the cedar aroma to create a truly special marriage of flavors and smells. The peppery ash holds for about an inch and a half before naturally falling. The smoke production is thick.
The burn line is slightly wavy throughout and requires tending to twice to correct it, but it was nothing worrisome.
The flavors transition in the final third to more pepper but this time with some sweet espresso flavors moving in. As the cigar nears the end, the aromas become even more woody (which I didn’t think was possible), and I feel like I’m smoking in the middle of a forest.
I will note that on the two Balmoral’s I smoked, the bands on each cigar came off while I was taking them out of the cellophane. They were easily reaffixed (I like keeping the band on for a while), and at least they weren’t on there so tight that they tore the wrapper like with some cigars.
Oak Aged Imperial Cream Stout from Mad River Brewing. The smooth cocoa flavor of this cigar nicely complements the dark chocolate of the stout, but it isn’t overly sweet, so neither overpowers the other. This stout is like dessert, and it pairs perfectly with a cigar and a quiet Sunday evening.
I’ve been enjoying Balmoral cigars for a few years now, and I’ve devoured every new cigar they’ve come out with. They are just quality cigars at an amazing price point. The Balmoral Añejo XO is now a classic of the Balmoral line and rightly so—it’s a superb smoke. If you haven’t tried one yet, head over to your local tobacconist and smoke one today. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
For more info and to check out the full Balmoral line, visit us.balmoralcigars.com.
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