Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company

Royal Agio, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic

San Pedro de Macoris Sun Grown Corona

San Pedro de Macoris Sun Grown Corona. A long name for a cigar. But a good name is you know the reason for it. The Royal Agio factory is located in the town of San Pedro de Macoris. And to honor the people from the town that works for Royal Agio, the Wintermans family named a cigar line after the town. A cigar line that started out with an Ecuador and Brazil blend. But now there is also a Nicaraguan blend and this Sun Grown blend. Royal Agio is now part of Scandinavian Tobacco Group and taken off the American market. What will happen with the brand is unsure of the new owners. Scandinavian Tobacco group doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to acquiring brands and doing them well. You can read more about Agio in articles about the history of the brand part one and part two on the affiliated site Ministry of Cigars.

This cigar is available in several sizes. A small Perla. A classic Robusto. The unavoidable Gran Toro. And then this 5⅞x42 Corona. The filler contains tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and the Agio signature Brazil. The binder comes from the Dominican Republic. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano. The San Pedro de Macoris lines are all budget-friendly. This corona comes in at €3.70 in Germany, the largest cigar market in Europe. But even the 6×52 Gran Toro comes in below 5 euro. Earlier I did a review of the San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona, San Pedro de Macoris Brazil Robusto, and the San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador Robusto.

The cigar looks nice. Somehow slender cigars look more elegant than robusto sized cigars or thicker. More sophisticated. The ring pops, matte black with bright yellow, red, blue, and silver. The wrapper is Colorado colored and feels like very fine sandpaper. The construction feels great. The medium-strong aroma is on the darker side of the palate Wood, earthiness, manure, those kinds of smell.

The cold draw is fine with a classic raw tobacco flavor. After lighting the cigar releases chocolate, coffee, leather, and soil. The mouthfeel is a bit sticky, thick, textured. Those flavors hang around for a bit, with some sweetness from the Brazilian tobacco, and a hint of black pepper. After a third, the flavors change to that cocoa flavor but with hay and more pepper. That hay becomes stronger and some cedar shows up as well. The mouthfeel remains textured and thick. In the last third, there is more cedar but the cocoa flavor deteriorates to a slightly unpleasant flavor.

The ash is dark, almost black. It is not firm either. The draw is fantastic. The smoke is thick and white. The burn is straight. This is a medium-bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Categories: 89, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Añejo XO Gordo

Balmoral Añejo XO Gordo. In 2014, Royal Agio launched the Balmoral Añejo XO series. It was the follow up for the every successful Balmoral Añejo 18 release. The latter had an 18-year-old Brazilian wrapper. But when Royal Agio ran out of that wrapper, they created the Balmoral Añejo XO, still with aged tobacco but in larger supply. And the line was a success from the start. Worldwide, and it put the Balmoral brand on the map in the United States.


Today, there are 4 different Balmoral Añejo lines. The Añejo XO, the Añejo XO Connecticut, Oscuro, and Nicaragua. But the Balmoral Añejo XO Gordo was used as an event-only cigar in several countries. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, Royal Agio decided to release the cigar to all retailers last month. With so many people working from home, and more time on their hands, they could enjoy this Gordo without having to go to events. Events that are prohibited in most countries anyway during the pandemic.


The cigar is impressive. Big, thick, and aggressively looking. Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco isn’t the smoothest looking tobacco in the world. It’s rough and tough-looking with veins. It’s the Danny Trejo under the tobaccos. The ring makes up for it though. contemporary design. Gray, off white and gold. Stylish. The foot ring is in the same style. The cigar feels well constructed, evenly spongy all over. The aroma is peppery with dark chocolate.


The cold draw is very easy. The cigar has a dry tobacco flavor. After lighting there’s an immediate flavor explosion. Coffee, pepper, and sweetness. Slowly a mild spice shows up, herbal almost, with some leather. The herbal flavor starts to dominate and is supported by charred wood and earthiness. Some salt shows up as well, and the mouthfeel is mild creamy. After a third, there’s pepper, wood, grass, and some spices. The sweetness then reappears with more spices, wood, leather, and pepper. The wood flavor is a bit charred, like barbecue.


The draw is open, light, easy. Too open. There is a lot of smoke, white but it’s a little thin though. The burn has to be corrected several times as well. The cigar is smooth and mellow. Due to the wrapper filler ratio, the cigar lacks a bit of character. It is milder than the smaller sizes of the same blend. The cigar is medium-bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? The blend yes, the size no!

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Categories: 89, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona

San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona. Royal Agio Cigars has a factory in the Dominican Republic. In San Pedro de Macoris. And to pay tribute to the home town of their factory, and all the hard-working employees, the created a line bearing that name. It’s set up as a budget-friendly line with different blends. Currently, there are four. San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador, Brazil, Sun Grown, and Nicaragua.


On our recent visit to Royal Agio, we had the opportunity to take the San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona for a review. This cigar is made with Dominican and Brazilian fillers. The binder is Dominican. The wrapper comes from Nicaragua, as the name of the cigar suggests. The cigar measures 5⅞x42 and retails in Germany for only €3,70

The cigar is okay looking. A Colorado brown wrapper, slightly leathery. Not the smoothest, but also not the ugliest wrapper out there. The ring is nice, matte black with blue and silver. Clean, clear. The cigar feels good, it’s evenly spongy everywhere. There is a very mild aroma of damp hay.


The cold draw is fine. The flavors from the cold draw are mild, almost nonexisting. There’s a faint tobacco flavor. Once lit, there is more flavor. Dry coffee with spices, leather, and leaves. Slowly more spices show up. Cinnamon, nutmeg, those kinds of flavors. With pepper on the background and aftertaste. Sweet yet peppery gingerbread with a hint of hay is the next flavor pattern. The mouthfeel is dry but creamy. After a third, the gingerbread is still there with the pepper. But now with toast and leather. There is some harshness in the second part too though, a bitterness. The final third is more peppery, with wood, spices and more bitterness.


The draw is on the easy side of good. Still acceptable but a little more resistance would have been nicer. The light gray ash looks like stacked dimes. The smoke is thick and good in volume. The cigar is smooth, balanced. It doesn’t have a lot of character, but enough to be a pleasant smoke. The burn is straight. The smoke time is one hour and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Once in a while.

number88

Categories: 88, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris

Balmoral Añejo Oscuro Lancero FT

Balmoral Añejo Oscuro Lancero FT. This is the 2019 limited edition for the Balmoral Añejo series. Balmoral launched the Ańejo a few years ago with an 18-year-old wrapper. The cigar was an instant hit and put the brand back in the spotlights. So when the Dutch cigar manufacturer ran out of the wrapper, they tweaked the blend and created the Balmoral Ańejo XO series. Slowly that series grew, with the addition of a Connecticut Shade version, an Oscuro version and a Nicaraguan version. Each year, the brand sees a limited edition. The Balmoral Añejo XO Lancero was a huge hit, so a few months ago, Balmoral released the 2019 limited edition. That’s a lancero for the Balmoral Añejo XO Oscuro blend.


The cigar measures 7×40. And it has a flag tail, that’s what the FT in the name stands for. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Brazil. That last one is part of the Balmoral signature. All Balmoral Añejo XO cigars have some Brazilian tobacco in the blend. The binder comes from the Dominican Republic as well. That’s where the Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company factory is located. The hometown of the factory is in San Pedro de Macoris. Royal Agio honored the town by creating several blends with the San Pedro de Macoris name. The wrapper for this Balmoral Añejo XO Oscuro comes from the San Andres region in Mexico.

The dark wrapper has a few veins, but nothing too thick or ugly. The dark color is quite even. The rings are beautifully designed and it’s clear why the logo and design have won several design prizes. The ring protecting the foot is glossy black with a beautiful gold print. The regular ring is gray, with black, white and golden details. The flag tail is a nice touch to the cigar. The construction feels good. There is a mild barnyard aroma, with a little ammonia.


The cold draw is great. The flavors are a slightly spicy raw tobacco flavor. A warm flavor. Once lit, it’s a strong coffee flavor with spices and pepper. The flavors then turn to a milder coffee and more gingerbread spices. There’s also a vegetal flavor and creamy chocolate sweetness, although that last one is very mild. Slowly some leaves, leather and more sweetness join the palate. And then, after an inch, there is a nice sweet smokey barbecue flavor. The smokey wood flavor, with the sweetness, is the main flavor for the second third. But there is mild milk chocolate on the background as well. In the last third, the cigar gets less smokey and releases more spices. Green herbs and warm spices on toast with wood. Add a little pepper and that’s the flavor palate of the cigar in the final third.


The draw is great. But the light gray ash with dark smears is coarse and not very dense nor firm. The smoke is plentiful but could have been a bit thicker. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is smooth, balanced and smokes perfectly. It’s a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. But it smokes quite fast, even though lanceros are supposed to be smoked slowly. The smoke time is one hour and forty-five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? I would love to have a box or two

number91

Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut Rothschild Massivo

Since Balmoral started with the Añejo series, several releases have been done. It started with the Añejo 18, which got a follow-up release a year later in another vital. Then the Añejo XO was launched. An Oscuro version came on the market and now a Connecticut version. It was launched in the USA in 2018, and in 2019, some European countries saw the cigars appear.


The wrapper is American grown Connecticut Shade. From the Connecticut River Valley. As a binder, Indonesian Sumatra was used. And the filler for this blend comes from Pennsylvania, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. The Brazilian tobacco comes from the Mata Norte region and is one of the more exclusive Brazilian tobaccos.

The wrapper is pale. It has a cheesy brownish color. The bright white and blue ring, with the embossed gold letters, is clean and contemporary. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice. The cigar has a strong aroma. It smells like fresh cut young wood, pepper and sawdust.

The cold draw is good, with a mild tobacco flavor. After lighting, I taste a sweet young wood flavor, mildly bitter. Then a mild peppery harshness shows up too. I taste a strong dry leather flavor as well, with wood. After half a centimeter my fear becomes reality. That slightly sweet yet clearly musty flavor that is typical with Connecticut Shade wrappers shows up. I also taste some cinnamon. The cigar has young wood, leather, cinnamon, pepper, salt, and that mustiness. The flavors are balanced, nuanced and there is plenty of dynamics going on. In the final third, I still taste a mixture of the flavors mentioned above, but with a growing pepper and peanut. The peanut flavor disappears quickly. The finale lacks pepper, but taste more grassy and leathery.


The draw is great. The smoke is very thick, and a lot when it comes to volume. The burn is razor sharp. The ash is dense but breaks off easily. The cigar is mild to medium in body, medium-full flavored. The blend is fantastic if it wasn’t for my personal hatred towards the mustiness.

Would I buy this cigar again? Due to the mustiness, no. But it is an interesting blend with perfect construction

number91

Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Toro

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

number91

Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Royal Selection Maduro Corona

Balmoral, probably the most famous Dutch cigar brand nowadays, but in The Netherlands not just famous for their longfillers. Their short fillers are everywhere, from supermarkets to gas stations, and their longfillers never impressed me until a few years ago. I was the host of the Dutch Big Smoke and Balmoral contacted me to see if they could release their new line, the Anejo at the Big Smoke and my first reaction was “why do you think we want to introduce a gas station cigar?”. Well, I met up with the marketing manager anyway, smoked the cigar and had to apologize for my blunt reaction, what a great cigar and I smoked a lot of them since and reviewed them before on my blog too.


But I have to admit, I didn’t smoke their other offerings ever again, not even their Dominican Selection shortfiller that I smoked a lot and loved a lot as a novice cigar smoker. I found a Balmoral Royal Selection Corona in my humidor and this 5 7/8×42 cigar is made in the Dominican Republic with Brazilian and Dominican filler, a Dominican Olor binder and Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Time to let the prejudice go and review this cigar.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark and typical Brazilian with thick veins, dry to the touch but also oily. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is old fashioned and in need of an update. Two colors green with white and golden lines, a shield with the beautiful B in the centre and Balmoral on top, since 1895 on the bottom. The print quality is great, the ring is clear but the design is too old fashioned for me. The aroma is a mixture of barnyard, manure and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin and a little pepper. After lighting the cigar, with a torch this time, and I taste coffee, earthy flavors, a little lemon and some sweetness. The flavors changes to earthy flavor with wood and some chocolate. Halfway I taste peanuts, some salt, a little chocolate and pepper. The final third starts with a hazelnut chocolate butter flavor, Nutella like with some vanilla. The flavor changes to nutty with pepper and a hint of cocoa.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is great, almost completely straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution is good. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not as good as the Anejo series but better than I remembered.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , ,

Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Magnifico

Last year, when I smoked the Balmoral Anejo XO Lancero, I told the story on how the Balmoral Anejo line surprised and shocked me. I never thought highly of the Balmoral longfillers but that Anejo 18 and the Anejo XO that followed the Anejo 18 made me completely change my mind, great cigars. When I was a novice cigar smoker the short filler Balmoral Dominican Selection was one of my go to cigars though, and it’s a great company, but the Anejo 18 & XO elevated the company.


Now maybe you’ve seen the video of my mancave, and every now and then friends come over for an evening of cigars. Last time I had friends over, one of them handed me the latest limited edition of the Balmoral Anejo XO series, the Gran Magnifico, a 6×56 figurado made with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, Dominican binder and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, all aged tobacco and after rolling the cigars get a minimum of six months to rest so the flavors can get married. Only 14,000 cigars were made, 1400 boxes of 10.


The clean ring is great, just three colors, gray and white, with some gold in the lettering, high quality printing with a matching foot ring to protect the foot of the cigar. And the construction is fantastic too, the foot has a 46 ring, then the cigar gets to a 56 ring at a third of the length to end in a torpedo shaped head. Unique and probably very difficult to roll, yet the construction feels flawless. The coffee colored wrapper is glossy and dull at the same time with a few veins but then again, Brazilian wrappers are never the best looking wrappers but the taste matters. The cigar has a strong and deep aroma of straw, hay, barnyard and manure.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is peppery and perfect. After lighting I taste chocolate, pepper and an earthy flavor.  The balance is great. After an inch I still taste that dark chocolate with straw, hay and wood. Slowly a mild pepper shows up. Halfway it’s straw, pepper and with that dark chocolate on the back. I also taste some peanuts. Later I taste some natural sweetness. The final third starts nutty, walnuts and hazelnuts with pepper.


The draw is great, could be a little touch tighter but only a very little touch. The smoke is white, thick and full. The layered ash is light gray and firm. This cigar is subtle and well balanced. I would say it’s medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? If they are still to be found, yeah!

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador Robusto

Yesterday I wrote about Agio cigars latest release, the San Pedro de Macoris line and I reviewed the Brazil blend. Today I’ll be smoking the second blend, the Ecuador blend, made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper grown in Ecuador, Dominican Olor as a binder and filler consisting from Brazilian tobacco and Dominican Olor and Piloto Ligero. I got this cigar at the same shop as the Brazil version, Piet van Kuyk in Eindhoven


I don’t know if this budget friendly cigar, €4.50 in The Netherlands, is available on the American market or will be available on the American market. Agio used to be distributed by Drew Estate but recently they parted ways and Agio is on its own now on the American market, although they still distribute Drew Estate in several European countries. I can only imagine that Agio will release these San Pedro de Macoris in the USA too once their office is up and running.


As with the Brazil blend, the designers of the ring made good use of the colors of the flag. The rooster logo is in yellow, the lines on the ring are in red and blue so the Ecuadorean flag is represented, add the silver letters and you have a slick modern ring. The wrapper is slightly pale but still quite dark for a Connecticut shade cigar. I see one vein on this well shaped cigar. The cigar has a strong smell, quite ammonia rich like a stable in the morning when the cows just were released from a night in the shelter and before the farmer cleaned out the sawdust and straw that covered the concrete floor.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, the flavor is mildly acidic with white pepper. After lighting I taste earthy coffee with a sharp edge. There is a woody flavor too and spices. The coffee disappears. After a third I taste lemon with cedar and herbs. Halfway I taste lemon, a mild musty cedar, a little cinnamon and sugar.


The draw is a bit easy.  The smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is a bit off. The thin wrapper cracks halfway. The cigar is medium bodied medium flavored. There is little evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s better than the Brazil but still not a cigar for me.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris | Tags: , , , , ,

San Pedro de Macoris Brazil Robusto

San Pedro de Macoris is a city about an hour from Santo Domingo and it is know for the sugarplantations, tobacco and famous Dominican baseball players. And it is where Agio has their factory where they produce the famous Balmoral cigars. It’s also where these San Pedro de Macoris cigars are made, named after the city to honor the workers in the factory and out on the tobacco fields.

 


The cigars got released in The Netherlands a few months ago but I hadn’t tried them until I visited Piet van Kuyk cigars in the city of Eindhoven and got one of each blend for a review. The Brazil blend of the San Pedro de Macoris is made from Dominican Olor, Piloto Ligero and some Brazilian tobacco for the filler, a Dominican Olor as binder and a Sun Grown Arapiraca wrapper from Brazil. The cigars are available in the sizes robusto, corona and perla, I smoked the robusto for this review.

 


I like the ring, which is smooth, black with a green rooster, silver lettering and a good use of the national colors of Brazil, green and yellow. It’s a quite modern looking ring, not a copy of the new Camacho rings, not even in the same style yet it has the same modern feel. The wrapper is dark with some smears, and dull. It is smoother than what I’m used to from Brazilian tobacco though. What strikes me is how well rounded the head of this cigar is, perfect construction. The cigar feels well packed too. The aroma is strong, farmland is what comes to mind, but farmland that’s being worked on when the air is full of aroma.

 


I punched the cigar, the binder and wrapper are thick and the cold draw is a little tight. I lit the cigar with my soft flame and taste coffee.  The coffee turns earthy soon with a mild chemical sweetness, like the aspartame they use in diet sodas. I also taste some lime and some low quality milk chocolate. After a third it’s just the aspartame. Halfway the cheap chocolate return on the background.

 


The draw is good. The ash is quite dark, the layers are very clear and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness. The color is light gray. The evolution is not dynamic, it’s actually quite boring. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. Technically the cigar is great, but the flavors aren’t for me. Nice budget cigar for incidental smokers though.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris | Tags: , , , , , ,

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