Bite Size Review: Balmoral Añejo XO
Monday, Monday…It’s the dawn of a new week and as I prepare to review our next cigar, it occurs to me that we at 99 Cigars have see-sawed between straight sets of Dominican cigars followed by bunches of Nicaraguan leaf. Randomly. Well, buckle up ’cause we’re about to jump back on the Dominican train. Sort of. More like a Dutch-Brazilian-Dominican train. Let me elaborate.
Boris Wintermans is a fourth generation heir to the Dutch-based Royal Agio cigar kingdom. For over 100 years, the Wintermans have been crafting premium cigars and selling them to a demanding global clientele. While they offer a number of selections that cater to diverse palates, their foray into Dominican premiums starts with Balmoral. Garnering a respectable rating of 89 in 2016 by Cigar Aficionado, the Añejo XO Mk52 is the highest rated cigar in the Balmoral stable since the Royal Selection Maduro Torpedo took home a 92 in 2000. It’s worth noting that based on Cigar Aficionado’s rating scale, it missed being classified as “outstanding’ by 1 point. Shame.
The Mk52‘s construction is solid and features a beautiful torpedo treatment. The oily, whiskey-colored Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper oozes a host of aromas and features a nice cap treatment. The pungent notes of fudge from the foot would make Willy Wonka blush. The complexity, flavor palette and some surprise transitions make this a great cigar. It also has staying power able to keep the attention of even those with ADHD down to the nub without becoming washed out, hot or harsh. I enjoyed every minute of the hour and 20 minutes or so we spent together. Rich, smooth and delicious from start to finish, the Añejo XO Mk52 is boxworthy and definitely a go-to in our book and we’ll be coming back. Often. – In Fumo Pax!
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Mk52 [Torpedo]
- Length/ Ring Gauge: 6.25″ / 52
- Purchased: Online Retailer
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca Sungrown
- Binder: Dominican Olor
- Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Brazilian
- Cutter: Colibri V
- Lighter: Xikar Exec II
- Price: $10.15
Build: Excellent firmness throughout; nice cap
Aromas: Shaft – green tea, raisins and caramel; Foot – floral, fudge; Cold Draw – Chocolate and raisins
Flavors: leather, oats and chocolate; vanilla on retro; dark cherries on inhale; espresso finish; hints of hemp, almonds and lots of nougat; Adds cinnamon hints and gets woodier into transitions. Finish become mores toasty.
Touch ups: None
Recommend: 1. Go-to 2. 5-packer 3. 3rd stringer 4. Smoke a banana instead