Review: Balmoral Añejo XO by Royal Agio

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:

  • Rothschild Masivo - 5 x 55, MSRP $9.90
  • Torpedo Mk52 - 6 1/4 x 52, MSRP $10.95
  • Petit Robusto FT (Flag Tail) - 4 3/8 x 48, MSRP $8.50

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

MSRP: $9.90

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.

Views: 299

Comment by Charlie on September 8, 2015 at 2:55pm

That final 1/3 might have came alive and brought you a mind blowing transition Rob ;-)

Comment by RobbyRas on September 8, 2015 at 3:00pm

You'd think, but it didn't...

Comment by Charlie on September 8, 2015 at 3:03pm

I hear these are stronger than the 18 so i want to try them in the petite robusto size..

Comment by Matt Ross on September 8, 2015 at 3:06pm

I smoked an early release version of this, and I thought it was good, but I thought the original Anejo was fantastic, and this wasn't fantastic.  And at that price point, I'd probably agree with your rating, Rob.

Comment by RobbyRas on September 8, 2015 at 6:06pm

the strength was nothing to get excited about... I'd call it medium... nothing more... I need to revisit that 18... 

Comment by Stogie Geeks on September 16, 2015 at 1:25pm

Rob, you and I are usually close on stuff like this - but this one was a colossal miss for me.  This was a cigar that started out with a ton of potential and then nose-dived and become flat and one dimensional.  

On a side note, Drew Estate marketing has done a terrible job at incorporating the Royal Agio lines into its portfolio.  They've had 18 months to do this, and IMHO they can blame Swisher here. To me Balmoral still seems very much like an "outsider".  You don't see that problem with the Joya de Nicaragua lines.



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