The Balmoral Añejo XO is the second premium cigar released by Royal Agio in the US in the last two years. In March of 2014 Royal Agio and Drew Estate reached a distribution agreement. Since then Royal Agio has released the Balmoral Añejo 18 (IPCPR 2014 Release) and Balmoral Añejo XO.
The Balmoral Añejo XO is available in stores now and comes in three sizes:
I spoke with Royal Agio CEO Boris Wintermans at IPCPR regarding the new Añejo XO.
Balmoral Añejo XO
Size: 5 x 55
Vitola: Rothschild Masivo
Wrapper: Brazilian Sungrown
Binder: Dominican Republic Olor
Filler: Brazil, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Cigars smoked for review: 2
Cigars for review were provided by Royal Agio Cigars
Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system
Pre-Light: The Balmoral Añejo XO shows up in style. As you can see in the photos above, the Añejo XO comes in a cardboard coffin and features beautiful bands. This is the kind of cigar I would buy whether I knew anything about it or not. The presentation is top notch. The foot band differentiates the XO from the Balmoral Añejo 18.
The Brazilian wrapper had a marbled leather look to it and a toothy feel. The wrapper smelled of barnyard and hay with mild notes of cedar and baking spice. The cold draw was smooth and offered notes of raisins and dates. There were some mild notes of anise and baking spice in there as well.
Beginning: Right away the Balmoral Añejo XO offers up big time flavor. I was hit with jammy notes raisins and dates along with some oak and a mild baking spice. The baking spice was on the tongue and was the main component of the retrohale. There was an underlying sugarcane sweetness in there as well.
The baking spice grew in intensity as I progressed through the first third, but it was never overpowering. The Balmoral Añejo XO started off with full flavor and medium strength.
Middle: There was little transition I progressed through the second third. The overall flavor profile basically stayed the same. There a few fluctuations in the sweetness and spice, but overall the profile held true.
End: The Balmoral Añejo XO ended pretty much much the way it began. There was a great balance of sweet, earth and spice in the profile and the strength maintained a steady medium.
Final Thoughts: The Balmoral Añejo XO offered up a great flavor profile with very little transition. There was complexity and balance of flavor which I enjoyed very much, but things were pretty straight forward. I found myself enjoying the XO in spite of its lack of transitions. This begs the question does a cigar need a bunch of transitions to hold the smoker's interest? The Balmoral Añejo XO taught me that sometimes a good flavor profile with complexity can be enough.
Rating: 89 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
There is a lot to love about the Balmoral Añejo XO. It is an elegant cigar with a lovely flavor profile. At just under $10 for a robust, it is a bit pricey, but I think it delivers enough flavor to warrant the price tag. I'm curious to see how the Petite Robusto FT performs. If it delivers a similar experience, then I think that one may be a box split. If you haven't checked out Royal Agio yet, you may want to seek a few out.