Posts Tagged With: Balmoral

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
number90

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

Cigar of the month January

In 2018 I will do a cigar of the month again and here’s the list for january, 15 cigars, in order from most liked to least liked.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Drew Estate Undergrown Sun Grown Flying Pig with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) C.A.O. Fuma em Gorda Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Magnifico (Dominican Republic) 93 points
4) Plasencia Alma del Campo Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Quesada 40th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Gurkha Ghost Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Kristoff CG Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Epic Maduro Lancero (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
10) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Esperiencia Prominente (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto (Costa Rica) 89 points
12) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto (Costa Rica) 89 points
13) Vegas de Santiago D8 Toro (Costa Rica) 88 points
14) Xiphos Connecticut Robusto (Costa Rica) 88 points
15) Romeo Y Julieta EL 2016 (Cuba) 86 points

Dont forget to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram

Categories: Cigar of the month | 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: , , , , ,

Cigarguideblog Top 25 cigars of 2017

On January first of 2017 I switched from the rating system I had been using for 10 years to a 100 point scoring system for three main reasons:

– I could compare scores for myself
– The companies I reviewed cigars from could use the scores to promote their cigars, and that would make my number of visitors grow too
– I could make a top 25 at the end of the year.

The old system I’d been using for so long came from an old (I think it was Hungarian) website, an online humidor, that is no longer online and now that I’ve been using a 100 point score system for a year I no longer want to go back to my old system. How I come to my 100 point score is explained here (insert link)

The last few years I also updated my blog very irregularly due to my work, as part of the industry and the strict Dutch laws it could be considered advertising and I didn’t want to take any risk, even though my reviews are in English and I reviewed a lot of cigars that I didn’t represented. I just did a few reviews to keep the site alive but since parting ways with my then employer in June of 2016 I did a weekly review until the end of the year. To make a new start on the blog I decided to change a few things, like the set up of the review to make it a bit more personal, the 100 point score and a review every Wednesday and Sunday. As a lancero lover I also decided to write a lancero review every 15th of the month, even if the 15th wasn’t a Wednesday or Sunday and to top it off I also wrote a few special reviews on special dates or a series of reviews.

Out of the 156 cigars I reviewed, here’s my top 25 cigars of 2017:

1) Jas Sum Kral Kralot Pre-release Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 95
2) Balmoral Anejo XO FT127 Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 95
3) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 95
4) Warped Little Havana Toro (USA) with a score of 95
5) Undercrown Manifesto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
6) Oliva Masterblend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
6) Don Fernando Corona (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
8) Kilo Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
9) Oliva Masterblend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
10) Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius Toro (USA) with a score of 94
11) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
11) Mi Querida Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
11) My Father 911 Commemorate Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) La Sagrada Familia Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) Ilja VIII A by My Father (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) 601 La Bomba Napalm (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
17) Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Robusto (Honduras) with a score of 93
17) Joya Red Half Corona (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
19) Tatuaje RC233 Figurado (USA) with a score of 93
20) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Figurado (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
21) Oliva Classic Natural Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
22) RomaCraft Wunderlust Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
23) Viking Viking Robusto (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
23) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
25) Jas Sum Kral CRNA NOK Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
25) Puros de Hostos Commendador Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
25) Long Live the King my style is jalapeño Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93

Now you might think “hey, that’s 27 cigars” and you’re right but the Jas Sum Kral CRNA Nok, the Puros de Hostos Commendador and the Long Live the King scored exactly the same rating on my 1000 point system so they share the 25th spot, just like the Oliva Masterblend 1 and the Don Fernando share the 6th spot, the Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak, Mi Querida and the My Father 911 commemorate cigar share spot 11, La Sagrada Familia, Ilja VIII and 601 share spot 14, Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua and Joya Red share spot 17 and both Viking cigars share the 23rd spot brotherly. Maybe for the next year I need to come up with a divider, if you have suggestions, please let me know.

The breakdown

So I scored 156 cigars in 2017 and the average score is 88,6 so 89 but to end up in the top 25 you had to score at least 92,8 and the average of the top 25 is 93.7

Now looking at the countries, Nicaragua rules the top 27 with 19 entries, the Dominican Republic scores 5, then a surprising number three with 2 entries from the USA and 1 Honduran cigar. That means no Cuban, Costa Rican, Panamanian, Mexican, Peruvian and Dutch cigars made the cut.

Cigars smoked: 156
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 89

Now broken down per country:
Flag USA
America:
Cigars smoked: 5
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 89

 

flag costa rica
Costa Rica:
Cigars smoked: 3
Highest score: 91
Lowest score: 90
Average score: 90

flag cuba
Cuba:
Cigars smoked: 12
Highest score: 92
Lowest score: 84
Average score: 88

flag dominican
Dominican Republic:
Cigars smoked: 38
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 72
Average score: 82

 

Flag honduras
Honduras:
Cigars smoked: 15
Highest score: 93
Lowest score: 79
Average score: 90

 

Flag Mexico
Mexico:
Cigars smoked: 7
Highest score: 86
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 90

 

flag nicaragua
Nicaragua:
Cigars smoked: 73
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 77
Average score: 91

 

flag netherlands
Netherlands:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 89
Lowest score: 89
Average score: 89

 

flag panama
Panama:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 89
Lowest score: 89
Average score: 89

 

flag peru
Peru:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 82
Lowest score: 82
Average score: 82

Now what do these numbers say? It is too simple to say that the average per country is which country I like best because I haven’t smoked an equal amount of cigars per country. But it is safe to say that my preferences are more met by Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars then by any other country.

If you look at the average scores between the Dominican Republic and Cuba you might say I prefer Cuba over the Dominican but I reviewed a lot of Dominican budget cigars and only premium cigars from Cuba so if I cut those budget cigars out, the average of the Dominican Republic shoots back to 90, all those budget cigars definitely effected the average for the Dominican Republic.

Categories: Misc | 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
number86

 

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

Cigar of the month May

Over the last month I reviewed 14 cigars and the cigar of the month may is:

Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero with a 95 score.

This month I smoked a unicorn that scored high, something I never expected to smoke, I smoked the best lancero I had in a long long time, and the best cigar I’ve smoked this year and the three worst cigars I rated for my blog since my new rating system came in place. So the reviews were all over the board.

1) Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero (Dominican Republic) 95 points
2) Undercrown Manifesto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Robusto (Honduras) 93 points
4) JSK CRNA NOK Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
5) Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro Robusto Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Santiago Connecticut Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points
7) Macanudo Inspirado Mareva (Honduras) 88 points
8) 708 Juniors Barber Pole (Dominican Republic) 85 points
9) Antonius Red Label Robusto (Dominican Republic) 85 points
10) Romeo Y Julieta Gran Reserva Wide Churchill (Cuba) 84 points
11) 708 Shaggy Barber Pole (Dominican Republic) 82 points
12) Macarena Maduro Toro (Mexico) 75 points
13) Macarena Naturel Toro (Mexico) 73 points
14) Gasparilla Pirate Fest Churchill (USA) 73 points

 

Balmoral is a Dutch company, so as a fellow Dutchy i’m happy that we still master the art of making great cigars.

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero

From 2010 till 2015, when the Dutch FDA closed us down, I was one of the people behind the Dutch Big Smoke. One day, in the early summer of 2012, I went to the zoo with my nephew and my phone rings, unknown number, I pick up and it was the marketing manager of Royal Agio telling me that they wanted to introduce a new Balmoral cigar, the Balmoral Anejo 18, and asked me of we could fit them in at the Big Smoke mid september. Now Balmoral is mainly known for their shortfillers that, in The Netherlands, are sold in convenience stores, gas stations etc and their line of longfillers are dated and way under the radar of the cigar geeks like me, the only Balmoral I liked at the moment was the Balmoral Dominican Selection, a short filler dry cigar with Dominican tobacco and its a very good cigar for a short filler. So my response was blunt “why do you think we want a gas station cigar on the Big Smoke?”. Boy, was I wrong there!


A few weeks later Jaco de Kramer, who now owns Jacks’ Cigar bar in Rotterdam, tells me that he was at a barbecue and one of the Wintermans (owners of Agio) was there and he smoked that unreleased cigar, according to him it was great. I decided to call the Agio Marketing manager and told him to meet me, my employer, my Big Smoke co-organizer and Ed van Dalen, a well known cigar retailer, in the Van Dalen Lounge in Rotterdam the next Friday with some samples so we could try them and make up our minds. So that Friday he showed up, we all cut the cigar, lit it and after 3 puffs I look at the Agio guy and go “ok, how do you want to proceed from here?”, that cigar was great, and like I was so wrong to shut him down on that first phone call. Now the Anejo 18 had an 18 year old wrapper, so after 2 years of production they ran out of it and the follow up was the Balmoral Anejo XO, which came pretty close to the Anejo 18. I jumped for joy when I heard Agio would do a limited run of my favorite vitola, a 7×40 lancero. First they were released in the States but then 750 cigars (75 boxes of 10) came to The Netherlands. I managed to buy two at Primera Lelycentre, the shop of Ronald Riecker, a very passionated tobacco retailer in Lelystad.


I just love the size, not just because a Lancero has a beautiful wrapper to filler ratio, the wrapper gives most of the flavor, because of the low amount of filler the cigar gets more dynamic, its also an elegant cigar due to the length and the slenderness of the ring gauge. For the blend Agio used Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian filler, a Dominican Olor binder and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper and as expected from Brazilian wrappers it is a bit rustic yet it also has a mild oily shine. A nice detail is the small pig tail. The construction feels good. The cigar has a deep, dark and relatively strong barnyard aroma, like walking into a stable with some cows but before they pissed all over the floor. The cigar has a double ring, a gray foot band with a white and gold line at the bottom and golden letters saying Anejo XO and in smaller letters Lancero FT. The normal band is white and gray with gray and golden letters. It says Balmoral on top in white and the B logo in gold, near the bottom it says Lancero FT in gray and underneath edicion 2016 limitada in white and god. The band is simple but tasteful, no coloring, its very clear what it is and I like it.


Because of the ring gauge and the pig tail I cut the cigar and this time I used a cutter from the Spanish company HF Barcelona. The cold draw is flawless. The flavor is mild spicy. After I lit the cigar with my Ronson lighter I taste a very pleasant full coffee flavor. After a few puffs I also taste some dark chocolate. Soon after I also taste pepper, it’s all balanced.

After in inch the coffee is gone and I taste spices, chocolate and some herbs. A third in I taste herbs, cedar and some nuts with a peppery aftertaste. Every few puffs I taste a faint chocolate too. Halfway there is a little citrus flavor too. When I review I don’t eat anything and I only drink water but I think this cigar would be spectacular with some dark chocolate. Slowly but surely the cigar gains strength and becomes more peppery. After two thirds pepper is the main flavor but every now and then I still taste the chocolates.


The draw is perfect, 100 out of 100 points. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is frayed, light gray with dark spots but it is firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is full bodied and full of strong full flavors yet well balanced and full of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m afraid they are all sold out, I would by a box or two, or three, or four, or five if possible.

Score: 95

95

Categories: 95, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Balmoral Anejo 18

During the organization of the Dutch Big smoke somebody suggested that we should take a look at the Balmoral Anejo as one of the 10 cigars that came with the ticket. Now my first reaction was ‘no way, there is no place for a gas station cigar on my watch’ but after reading a review and talking to a friend who had smoked a pre-release cigar I changed my mind and me & the other people behind the Dutch Big Smoke decided to try one and we were sold. The Balmoral Anejo 18 was a ‘must have’ for the 2012 Big Smoke.
130209balmoralanejo1_zpsfaa979b8
The Balmoral Anejo 18 Rothschild is a longfiller with some 18 year old tobacco, a dark and veiny wrapper, beautiful bands, a firm construction and a strong barnyard smell. The predraw is great and I taste pepper and some earthy flavor.
130209balmoralanejo2_zps7f88b59d
The flavors are sharp without becoming harsh, I taste pepper and coffee. The red pepper I can feel all the way down my throat. After half an inch I taste some toast with pepper and a little bit of chocolate. The toasted flavors are getting stronger. After a third I taste toast with nuts and pepper. The cigar is full flavored with some chocolate on the background.
130209balmoralanejo3_zps5d97cab2
Halfway I still taste the toast with some spices and pepper, although the pepper has lost some of its strength. After two thirds the pepper gains some strength again on a bed of toast and a hint of chocolate. The pepper really pops at the end, it makes my lips tingle
130209balmoralanejo4_zps6dfefd52
This cigar lasted me for an hour and twenty minutes. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. The smoke is white and reasonably thick. The burn is beautiful. The cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
130209balmoralanejo5_zps03853722
Would I buy this cigar again? I already did

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

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

Blog at WordPress.com.