Early last year, Drew Estate announced a distribution agreement with the Netherlands based cigar company, Royal Agio Cigars. Royal Agio was started in 1904 by Jacques Wintermans, and to this day is run by the Wintermans family. Primarily focusing on cigarillos, the company has factories throughout Europe including one in Sri Lanka, with their Westerlo, Belgium factory being one of the largest in the world producing approximately 750 million cigars annually. For their premium cigar offerings, they have a factory in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic that handles their Balmoral Dominican Selection and De Huifkar production.

One of the cigars produced there is the Balmoral Royal Selection Añejo 18, which is what we’ll be taking a look at today. Offered in a 6 1/4 x 52 torpedo and a 5 x 55 Rothschild Masivo, the cigar is said to feature a Brazilian wrapper that has been aged 18 years, thus giving it the Añejo 18 name.

Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Balmoral Royal Selection Añejo 18 Rothschild Masivo
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Agio Cigars
  • Wrapper: Brazilian
  • Binder: Dominican Olor
  • Filler: Brazilian Bahia, Dominican Olor, Nicaraguan Ligero
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 55
  • Vitola: Rothschild Masivo
  • MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 20, $240)
  • Date Released: 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Balmoral’s wrapper is a medium to dark brown that has plenty of imperfections in it, though it’s far from what I would consider ugly. It has a pretty rough wrapper and it’s quite oily, almost to the point where it feels like it has hand lotion all over it. I struggle to get much aroma off the wrapper past a touch of barnyard and a tiny bit of cinnamon. On the other hand, the cold draw is quite flavorful with smooth, sweet milk chocolate, hazelnuts and a spicy peppery finish.

Starting into the first third there is a huge nuttiness to the profile, not quite the hazelnut from the cold draw however. Alongside that there is some cocoa and a bit of black pepper, and the profile is smooth enough that I’m able to retrohale despite the pepper note. The burn is a little wavy starting out and the ash is compact and a very dark gray – almost black. Draw is quite good, right in the middle of the ideal range. As I progress into the first third the black pepper increases and pushes the other flavors to the background.

Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo 2

The second third starts out with the cigar’s strength noticeably increasing along with the black pepper still dominating out front making a retrohale fairly difficult. The nuttiness has returned however and has transformed into the cold draw’s specific hazelnut note, alongside creamy sweet cocoa making the profile quite pleasant and enjoyable. The burn has corrected itself since the minor issues in the first third and the ash holds nicely to around the inch mark. The hazelnut and cocoa notes start to fight back against the pepper, struggling towards the forefront, though the pepper remains strong keeping all three notes in an even harmony of sorts.

Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo 3

The final third sees the a similar profile, though some of the creamy sweetness has dissipated somewhat. The burn has left a small part lagging behind, requiring a small touch up, but has otherwise been great. Though the second third saw a significant increase in the strength of the cigar, there hasn’t been much growth past that leaving it at a medium. As the cigar moves towards the end the pepper increases slightly, with the cocoa and hazelnut not quite relegated to the background but not quite at the forefront either.

Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18 Rothschild Masivo 4

Final Notes

  • There was little information that I could actually find about this cigar, the least of which was Balmoral or Agio’s actual websites.
  • For a fairly new cigar to the North American market, it doesn’t seem to be priced very competitively.
  • The distribution agreement sees Agio to distribute Drew Estate in certain European markets.
  • Each sample was very consistent in every aspect of the cigar, from construction to flavor profile.
  • The Agio company has seen leadership under four generations of Wintermans.
  • The cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by Drew Estate.
  • Final smoking time averaged just under an hour and a half.
86 Overall Score

Coming from a company that I was previously unfamiliar with, I went into this cigar without any expectations. Coming out the other end after smoking all three samples I was sent however, any future cigars from Royal Agio Cigars will have some pretty decent expectations going in. The burn wasn’t perfect, and the cigar certainly isn’t going to win any beauty awards, but the rest of the construction was impressive and the profile was quite enjoyable. It wasn’t overly complex, but the few flavors that jockeyed to be the predominant one made for a pleasing and interesting experience. I know the price might be a little high for a cigar of it’s size and from a company you might not have heard of before, but it’s definitely worth checking out and I look forward to trying the other Balmoral lines that have been brought to the North American market.

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Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.