In 2012, Agio introduced the Balmoral Añejo 18 series with an 18-year-old wrapper. That cigar was such a hit that the next year another batch was released until the company ran out of wrapper that old. Yet the demand was so high, that the company decided to tweak the blend and use that blend for a new Añejo line, the Balmoral Añejo XO, introduced in 2014. After that, the Añejo lines got more offspring with Oscuro or Connecticut wrappers for example. And the lines were introduced to the US market too.
I think I wrote this before, but my opinion on Balmoral wasn’t that highly until they released that Añejo 18. From the first puff I loved that cigar, and actually, the Balmoral Añejo XO FT Lancero is still one of the highest scoring cigars on cigarguideblog.com ever. So it’s time to see if this 6×52 Gran Toro comes closes. The blend, with Dominican, Brazilian and Nicaraguan fillers, a Dominican binder and a Sungrown Arapiraca wrapper from Brazil is the same, only the vitola is different.
The rings are beautiful, classic yet elegant with a nice color scheme of gran, beige and gold. The foot ring has the same vibe. The wrapper is quite dark, without getting Maduro or Oscuro dark though, just a nice reddish brown dark. There’s one large vein on the back of the cigar, but for a Brazilian wrapper, this cigar looks smooth. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, a little acidic with wood and barnyard aromas.
The cold draw is amazing, with strong raw tobacco and raisin aromas. After lighting, I taste coffee, espresso-like, strong, with a little pepper. Then liquid cane sugar shows up, with leather and wood. The leather is the main attraction. The wood with a nice sweetness becomes the main flavor after a centimeter, with some green herbs as well. All flavors are peppery too. After a third, the leather returns, with still the pepper, the sweetness, and some citrus. The mouthfeel it buttery, creamy. I also taste some soil and a mild metallic flavor. Halfway I taste more wood, still that mild metallic flavor and leather. The final third is creamy with pepper and leather. Near the end, the sweetness returns, with green herbs, pepper, and nuts.
The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is quite dark, but firm and with nice black rings. I would call this cigar medium-full bodied, full flavored. The sweetness of the Brazilian wrapper ties all the flavors together. The smoke time is two hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will