Being Dutch, I have always seen Balmoral cigars, but until a few years ago, my opinion of them wasn’t that good. They were for sale everywhere, tobacco shops, supermarkets, gas stations, convenience shops, everywhere. But those were their short filler cigars, they had some premium Long fillers too, but even those weren’t my cup of tea. The only Balmoral I liked was the Dominican Selection, a dry-cured short filler with Dominican tobacco and I smoked a lot of those in my early cigar smoking days.
My view on Balmoral changed with the Añejo, that completely changed everything, what an amazing cigar and all the premium cigars from Balmoral since were fantastic. So when I heard that they would do a signature series in which they work with other big names in the industry, I was excited. Being a cigar geek it’s always fun to see great minds working together. And the first one is a collaboration with Ernesto Perez Carrillo, the Balmoral Dueto. I smoked the robusto.
The wrapper, grown in Jalapa, Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras is quite light colored. Because of the large foot ring and the large main ring it’s hard to see the quality of the wrapper. Judging from the back, I see a lot of small veins and the wrapper isn’t the prettiest I have seen. The rings are cool though, not straight but curvy. A grey, white and golden Balmoral logo, very recognisable but with a curly red addition , black details and in golden letters the name of Ernesto Perez Carrillo. The foot ring is the same red and black, with the EPC crest in gold. The cigar has a good spongy feel. The aroma is a spicy hay smell, quite strong.
The cold draw, after cutting the cigar, is perfect. The flavours are dry, dried wood, raisin and dried grass. In the first puffs I taste leather and caramel sweetness. The sweetness is probably from the Brazilian tobacco. After a quarter of an inch I taste some gingerbread like spices. But the leather is the strongest flavour. After an inch I taste some dark chocolate too. After a third I taste more herbs, with some sugar and still leather. I also taste a little pepper. Overall the flavors are a bit dry. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger, I also taste cinnamon. The final third starts with a hint of vanilla underneath the spices. The sweetness is growing in the last part, with a mild yet pleasant bitterness and some earthy flavours. The final few puffs have a nice hazelnut flavour.
The ash is pepper and salt coloured. The ash isn’t very firm though. The burn is straight as an arrow. And the smoke is plentiful and thick. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The draw is perfect. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s a great cigar.