Royal Agio first introduced the Balmoral Añejo cigars in 2012 with the Añejo 18. A limited edition with an 18-year-old wrapper. That cigar was a huge success, and Royal Agio managed to secure another batch of vintage tobacco for a release the next year. In 2014, the company introduced the Balmoral Añejo XO series, a tweaked version of the Añejo 18 blend with a wrapper that was readily available.
The cigars are now available worldwide, including the USA. The lines have expanded, with yearly limited editions in odd shapes. And there are also other wrappers available, Añejo XO Oscuro and Añejo XO Connecticut. The Añejo XO blend consists from Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian filler, a Dominican binder and the almost signature Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Earlier this year, Ministry of Cigars reviewed the Balmoral Dueto Robusto.
Name: Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Toro
Country: Dominican Republic
Factory: Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company
Vitola: Gran Toro
Wrapper: Brasil, Arapiraca sun-grown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nicaragua
Price: € 8,70
Cutter: Xikar X2
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: 2 hours
Purchased at Primera Lelycentre
Balmoral did not only upgrade their portfolio with the release of the Añejo series, but they also updated and upgraded their artwork. The rings are classy and elegant with a beautiful color scheme. Grey, beige and gold, with a foot ring in the same colours. The wrapper is dark, but not as dark as Maduro or Oscuro wrappers. Brazilian wrappers usually have lots of veins, this wrapper is quite smooth, just one vein on the back. The strong aroma is quite acidic with wood and barnyard smells.
The Balmoral Añejo XO has a great cold draw with a strong tobacco and raisin flavour. Once lit, the flavours are espresso with some white pepper and liquid cane sugar. Soon after, leather and wood flavours show up, leather becomes the dominant flavour. After a centimeter, leather is replaced by the sweet wood, with some green herbs and pepper. The second third sees the return of the leather, with pepper, sweetness and citrus. The cigar has a buttery, creamy mouthfeel. Halfway the cigar has a woody flavour profile with some soil, some metallic flavour and leather. The final third is creamy with pepper and leather. The finale is sweet with green herbs, pepper and nuts.
The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is quite dark, but firm and with nice black rings. This cigar is medium-full bodied, full flavored. The sweetness of the Brazilian wrapper ties all the flavours together. The smoke time is two hours.