At the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, Royal Agio Cigars unveiled the second installment of its Balmoral Serie Signaturas line with the Paso Doble. Balmoral is the premium cigar brand under Royal Agio Cigars and in particular, the Balmoral Serie Signaturas is a line the company created to collaborate with other leading cigar makers. The first installment was a year earlier with the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Dueto. This was a project done between Royal Agio Cigars CEO Boris Wintermans and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. With the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble, this time Wintermans would team up with Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana. While Perez-Carrillo Jr is known for his collaborations, Gomez has not done many of these. While on the surface it was a surprise to many, Wintermans and Gomez already had a relationship in that Royal Agio had been distributing La Flor Dominicana in Europe. Nonetheless, the fact that Gomez was involved in the project made this a choice for one of our hottest cigars to look out for at the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show. Today we explore the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble in the Gran Toro size.
The name Paso Doble translates to “two-step” and it’s an appropriate name for this project. According to Royal Agio Cigars, the blend incorporates the blending styles of both Wintermans and Gomez.
The future of the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble and all of the handmade cigars under Royal Agio Cigars is very much in doubt. Late last year came word that Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) would be acquiring Royal Agio Cigars. Much of that acquisition by STG was driven by the fact that Royal Agio’s machine-made business was an attractive target. All indications are that the Paso Doble is going to be the final installment in the short-lived Balmoral Serie Signaturas project.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The blend of the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble features fillers that incorporate tobaccos from Gomez’s La Canela farms and Brazilian tobacco that is a staple of Wintermans’ blends. The cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Brazil.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican, Brazilian
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera La Flor
The Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble is available in three sizes presented in 10-count boxes. Production is handled at Gomez’s Tabacalera La Flor.
Robusto: 5 3⁄4 x 50
Gran Toro: 6 1⁄4 x 54
Brindis (Figurado): 7 x 55
The Ecuadorian Havana wrapper of the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro had a medium to dark brown color with a slight colorado tint. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper’s surface itself was somewhat bumpy with visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble. At the top of the primary band Is a white shield with gold trim and font. Inside the shield is a large “B” surrounded by an inner shield border. Above that inner shield is the text “BALMORAL SERIE SIGNATURAS” with the text “BALMORAL” in larger font. To the left and right of the shied is a charcoal gray background. The left side of the shield has the text “LITTO GOMEZ in gold font with his signature below it in white font. The right of the shield has the text “BORIS WINTERMANS” in gold font with his signature below in white font. The far right of the band has gold adornments. Below the shield are blue and gold adornments with the text “PASO DOBLE” in white font.
The secondary band is located near the footer. Most of the band is covered with more blue and gold adornments. On that background is a red circular badge with gold adornments. On the badge going around the circumference is the text “WINTERMANS LITTO GOMEZ” in gold font. The lower part of the secondary band has a white background with the name of the vitola in gold font. In this case, the text was “GRAN TORO”.
The cigar experience of the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro commenced with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced earth, black pepper, and natural tobacco. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band, light up the Paso Doble Gran Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro picked up where the pre-light draw left off with notes of earth, black pepper, and natural tobacco. As the cigar moved through the early stages, notes of lemon-citrus and nut emerged. Toward the midway point of the first third, the lemon-citrus and earth notes moved into the forefront with the natural tobacco, pepper, and nut secondary notes.
Later in the first third of the Paso Doble Gran Toro, the lemon-citrus morphed into a lemon-herb note. By the start of the second third, the earth notes diminished into the background and were replaced by the natural tobacco notes. The natural tobacco and lemon-herb notes were in the forefront and alternated in intensity. As the cigar progressed through the second third, the natural tobacco notes developed a bitter component – which started to affect the balance of the cigar. Meanwhile, the pepper notes remained in the background and the nut flavors dissipated.
There wasn’t much change during the last third, the natural tobacco and lemon-herb notes remained primary. By this point, the natural tobacco notes still had an edge. There was a slight increase in the pepper notes, but this spicy component never really kicked in here. This is the way the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
For the most part, Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro maintained a straight burn path. However, it did require several touch-ups along the way. The burn line itself was jagged at times. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose or flakey either. This was an ash that was silver-gray in color with some dark spots mixed in. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw of the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro scored very nicely. This was a cigar that had a slight amount of resistance – something that I look for on a draw. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble Gran Toro is not a cigar that is going to overpower you with strength and body. This was a cigar that was medium in strength and body from start to finish. There was a slight increase in the intensity levels along the way, but in the end, both attributes remained in the medium range of the spectrum.
When it came to strength and body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither having an edge over the other.
Any project with Litto Gomez was bound to get attention and the Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble was no exception. When I first smoked the cigar last fall, my initial impressions were this was a cigar that could live up to expectations. However, now about six months later, this is not a cigar that has aged favorably, and I found the cigar experience to be somewhat disappointing. While not a bad cigar by any means, this cigar was off-balance (particularly when some of the bitterness emerged) and it lacked any wow factor. While it’s a cigar that could be enjoyed by any enthusiast, my recommendation is to try a sample first before making a purchasing decision.
Key Flavors: Earth, Natural Tobacco, Lemon-Citrus, Lemon-Herb, Pepper, Nut
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Boris Wintermans and Litto Gomez Team up for Balmoral Serie Signaturas Paso Doble
Source: Royal Agio Cigars
Brand Reference: Royal Agio Cigars
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop