Cigar Review: Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut

  • BalmoralConn_straightVitola: Rothschild Masivo
  • 5” x 55 ring gauge 
  • ~$10.25
  • Purchased…but I can’t remember where!

Background

One of the cigars I picked up in California this past month was the Balmoral Anejo XO Connecticut. You may have noted above that I can’t remember where I picked it up…could have been Maxamar, could have been Islands, could have been…well, a couple other places. But Small Batch carries it, so for the sake of argument, we’ll say it was Maxamar.

Balmoral is a brand from Royal Agio Cigars and this is one of their first lines since fully establishing their own U.S. sales and distribution network. According to Cigar-Coop, these are produced at “the Royal Agio cigar factory in San Pedro de Macaris in the Dominican Republic utilizing what the company calls an ‘exploratory blending philosophy’ of company CEO Boris Wintermans.” The Anejo XO Connecticut was introduced alongside the Anejo XO Oscar at this year’s IPCPR show.

The blend consists of Brazilian, Dominican, and Nicaraguan fillers, a Dominican Olor binder, and a Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf. This review stick is my first one of this blend.

Prelight

What I like about the packaging on this cigar is that the bands are pretty much the same design as found on the original Balmoral Anejo, but the color scheme is completely changed up, with the cream, navy blue and gold foil color scheme looking very sharp against the golden Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf. The coloration of the wrapper was even and beautiful, so much so that it would pass for a Davidoff…except there was a bit of veininess and lumpiness that you wouldn’t see on one of their sticks.

The wrapper leaf had a nice, clean hay aroma, while the foot of the cigar had a mix of earth, cocoa powder, and sweet hay. After clipping, the draw was very open. The cold draw had sweet citrus and grass notes.

BalmoralConn_bandFlavor

I fired up the Balmoral Anejo XO Connecticut and was rewarded by the expected notes of sweet hay and bread from the Shade and Dominican leaf, but there was also earth and roasted nuts and red pepper from the other leaves in the blend. Right from the beginning it was on the more medium side of mild-to-medium, but with a tremendous amount of complexity. As the first third burned through the profile got more earthy while the pepper toned down a bit. The sweetness continued to come through with a bright citrus note.

The second third was creamy with notes of cedar emerging early on. Citrus and sweeter notes moved to a more secondary note and pepper was only detectable on the retrohale at this point.

The last third offered up a very creamy—almost buttery—note that was a really nice counterpoint to the resurgent pepper. Earthy and woody notes were still strong in the flavor profile, as well.

Construction

I had a fantastic draw, very even burn line and solid ash.

Value

Excellent cigar and right in the middle of the sweet spot price-wise, so I call it very good value.

BalmoralConn_footConclusions

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the Balmoral Aneno XO Connecticut. The different tobaccos used promised a complex flavor profile and the cigar definitely did not  disappoint. It was creamy, sweet and smooth, but at the same time peppery, woody and earthy—a delight for the palate. I would definitely recommend this stick for fans of Connecticut Shade sticks, especially if you skew more to the medium-bodied Connys.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9.5/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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