One of my favorite cigars that has been released in the past 5 years has been the Balmoral Anejo XO by Royal Agio, so I was really excited to visit their booth at the 2018 IPCPR show in Las Vegas. Royal Agio had a distribution deal with Drew Estate to distribute the Balmoral line in the US with the Balmoral Anejo XO and Balmoral Anejo 18 Limited Edition. I was blown away by both cigars so I was excited to hear they were releasing two new lines of the Balmoral Anejo XO in Connecticut and Oscuro. The original Anejo XO was released with a Sun Grown Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, which is a favorite in Europe, so it was natural the next two releases feature a Connecticut Shade and Sun Grown Stalk Cut Mexican San Andres wrapper. Royal Agio formed their own distribution company called Royal Agio USA based in Bradenton, FL in late 2017 and these are the first cigars released under their own company. You can see our interview with Boris Wintermans, CEO of Royal Agio, and Jaime Florez-Estrada, Vice President of Marketing, talking about the Anejo XO Connecticut, Anejo XO Oscuro and the collaboration cigar with EP Carrillo, Dueto, here. Let’s take a look at the Anejo XO Connecticut.
- Wrapper: Connecticut Shade (USA)
- Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Filler: Dominican Olor, Pennsylvania 41, Stalk Cut Brazilian Mata Norte, exclusive to Royal Agio
- MSRP: $10.50
- Vitola: Gran Toro
- Size: 6 x 52
- Box Size: 20 count
The Anejo XO Connecticut has a beautiful golden wrapper that almost seems velvety to the touch. The construction of the cigar looks very good with a smooth wrapper leaf and well applied cap. The draw is spot on with the “milkshake” draw that I like. The cold draw has notes of hay and almonds.
The Anejo XO Connecticut starts off with notes of hay, almonds, cinnamon, white pepper and cream with slight hints of vanilla. I get more of the cinnamon note on the retrohale which adds a nice contrast to the creaminess of the cigar. The cigar develops stronger nutty and creamy notes as it nears the midpoint. The cigar has a medium body, a long finish and is well balanced. The cigar is also producing a ton of smoke.
The Anejo XO Connecticut gets more savory and less sweet on the last half. A cedar note develops and becomes the backbone of the flavor profile of the cigar. The almond/nutty note is still going strong, but the cinnamon and white pepper notes have diminished. The creaminess is very mild now, but I get more hints of vanilla now. The cigar is a little more bitter now, but still very well balanced. The body of the cigar is closer to medium-full as well.
Balmoral cigars have long been a favorite in Europe for this smaller tin cigars like the Panter and Mehari’s, but when they released their Anejo line, US smokers started to take notice. Their new additions that Balmoral introduced this year at IPCPR are excellent additions to the portfolio. The Anejo XO Connecticut is not your grandfather’s connecticut though. It has a bold flavor profile and medium, approaching full, body which is what today’s cigar smoker is looking for. It’s very smooth, well balanced and flavorful. This might be my new benchmark for Connecticut wrapper cigars replacing the EP Carrillo New Wave Connecticut. Since I’ve reviewed this cigar, I had the robusto size and I think I actually prefer that size in the Connecticut over the Gran Toro, but neither are a slouch. I’d give the robusto an extra point just because the flavor seemed a little more concentrated to me. I’m looking forward to getting myself a box of these for myself.