2 Sep 2015
You could be forgiven for not being familiar with Royal Agio Cigars. But while the Netherlands-based company may not be a major player in the U.S. market (at least not yet), Agio has a huge presence internationally and has recently achieved the milestone of over 800 million cigars sold in a single year. That’s a lot of cigars.
Agio, which was founded in 1904 by Jacques Wintermans, has recently partnered with Drew Estate to bring its cigars to the American market. The Agio portfolio includes the Balmoral Añejo 18, which had a successful launch in 2014, limited by the rarity of the 18-year-old Arapiraca wrapper.
This year, Agio introduced Añejo XO, which is made in the Dominican Republic using well-aged tobaccos. The wrapper is Brazilian sun-grown, the binder Dominican, and the filler is a three-country blend from Brazil, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. The new blend was on display at Drew Estate’s elaborate booth at the IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans this summer. It is expected to be made available at a couple-hundred tobacconists nationwide.
Añejo XO is offered in three vitolas: Rothschild Masivo ($9.90), Mk52 ($10.95), and Petit Robusto FT ($8.50). The Rothschild Masivo measures 5 inches long with a generous ring gauge of 55. Kudos to Agio for including the name of the vitola on the foot band, though I don’t think there’s any way to confuse the three sizes; the Mk52 is a torpedo, and the “FT” in the Petit Robusto’s name refers to its “flag tail.”
The Rothschild Masivo is an oily specimen with a few prominent veins, a reddish hue, and a nicely applied triple-cap. The foot shows a cross-section of tightly packed tobaccos and exudes pre-light notes of damp wood and leather. The cold draw is stiff with the wrapper imparting a slight sweetness on the lips.
Right from the outset, the Añejo XO boasts a big, bold flavor of earth, raisin, black pepper spice, and rich espresso. The background note reminds me of black cherry. Full-bodied and strong, each puff coats the palate with thick smoke, and the aftertaste is formidable with a considerable concentration of spice on the tip of the tongue. There are few changes in flavor from light to nub.
Construction leaves a little to be desired given the burn line—which requires a few touch-ups along the way to stay even—and the moderately tight draw. But the ash holds firm off the foot and the smoke production is solid.
The Rothschild Masivo is a heavy-handed, blunt-force instrument with plenty of power and an interesting interplay between spice, earthy richness, and fruity sweetness. I’d recommend giving it a try on a full stomach after a large meal with a complementary beverage, preferably a sweet sipping rum. In my book, it earns three and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys