Today we release the next five candidates for the Stogie Press best cigars of the 2020. As noted previously, there will be three categories, large, medium, and small company. In each category, there will be 15 cigars that made the cut for the category. In no particular order, here are the next 5 cigars (candidates) in each category. As we have done in the past, the final ranking will be published on New Years Eve at 12-Midnight.
Additionally, on the first Taking It To The Nub show of season 2, which will air January 2, 2020, we will announce the overall 2020 Stogie Press Cigar of the Year, based on the three number 1 cigars for each category.
SMALL/BOUTIQUE CIGAR COMPANY
The HVC 500th Anniversary was a spectacular cigar with a complex and balanced journey of flavors and aromas. I have to say the start of this was very Cubanesque and caught my attention. The flavors transitioned and morphed through the journey with a core of sweetness and floral.
The Rodriguez Cigars Primera Clase Corona will not win a long ash contest, but that is no problem as this morsel delivered on bold flavor and growing strength from foot to nub. Complex in flavor, it offered a fine burn, perfect draw, full volume of smoke in every puff, and never required a touch up.
The Crux Limitada 2019 – The Show is a cigar I took down to the nub on each sample I enjoyed. This is a cigar that is rich in balanced flavors with pleasant and smooth transitions throughout the burn. I especially enjoyed the lingering citrus note on the palate that kept the profile bright and enjoyable. This is a cigar I enjoy year after year from this small company, a company which has shown great perseverance even in this post FDA era.
If you are a fan of well balanced and flavorful habano cigars, the Barreda Don Chico Habano is a must try. The complexity of this showed up early in the burn and stayed through the journey down to the nub. Construction was quite decent with just a mild wave in the burn and the draw was spot on.
The Amendola Family Cigars Cannoli was very much as described – a perfect after dinner smoke that I would say pairs perfectly with a cup of Italian espresso. The flavor notes were well balanced and pleasing from foot to nub. Jeffrey and Erik nailed this blend and I still would like to know what the binder and filler were, though I hear it is Nicaraguan. This is a fine cigar you can enjoy anytime of the day.
MEDIUM CIGAR COMPANY
The JRE Tobacco Aladino Corojo Reserva was an awesome cigar that had fine array of balanced and pleasurable notes and aromas. I especially enjoyed the cherry notes that moved in and out and brightened the profile. It held an incredible long and solid ash the smoke was cool and pleasant from the foot down to the nub. This is one that both experienced and developing palates would highly appreciate.
The Black Label Trading Co. Santa Muerte 2019 Short Robusto was exactly what I expect from James Brown and Fabrica Oveja Negra. This gem of a cigar was simply awesome in its delivery of balanced flavors, aromas, and excellent construction. I really enjoyed the notes of caramel, cocoa, and mint that moved in and about through the burn. This is a cigar any seasoned enthusiast would enjoy and may well be one I would offer a newer cigar smoker that wanted to expand their palate.
The Viaje Amuse-Bouche was a spectacular cigar that was a flavor filled sensation with great transitions of balanced flavor and aromas from foot to nub. This is a cigar I vote to be a full production line from Viaje. Expect flavors like pepper, cream, citrus, cocoa, cinnamon, and sweetness as the burn progresses through the journey.
The ACE Prime Luciano – The Dreamer was a smooth and pleasant blend that had a fine array of flavors and aromas all delivered through a well constructed lancero vitola. I liked the early floral and spice in the journey along with the almond and savory butter notes deeper in the burn.
Large Cigar Company
The Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Robusto was by far one of the best cigars I smoked this year. It is a shame that this has been hiding from the US market for two years, though I applaud Rocky Patel for finally releasing it to the US consumer. With all that is going on in 2020, we can’t travel internationally, but we can certainly enjoy this gem of a cigar, which started with alluring pre-light aromas and flavors, and just continued to deliver an elegant smoking experience from foot to nub. It held an outstandingly long ash and burned all but pristinely through the journey.
The Drew Estate 2020 BOTL Lancero was an elegant and pleasurable smoking experience from foot to nub. The almost two hour journey was filled with well balanced flavors and shifting aromas that kept the palate intrigued. ‘Designed for aficionados’ is certainly an apt description of this gem.
El Artista proves that you can make a fine premium cigar for under $7.00 retail. The Puro Ambar is a welcome re-blend from the company on this classic line. With a mild to medium strength and medium body of flavors and aromas this is one that can be enjoyed anytime of the day. At an MSRP less than $7.00 this is most certainly an easy box buy.
The H. Upmann 175 Anniversary was well worth the $18.00 price for the 2 hour and 20 minute flavor and aroma filled smoking sensation. I especially enjoyed the honey like sweetness that entered in the start of the second third and added a unique dimension to the flavor profile. A.J. Fernandez did an outstanding job on this craft.
The Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua was an excellent cigar that after a short lived harsh start, offered a well balanced array of flavors and aromas from foot to nub. Construction was solid with just a mild wave in the first half followed with a fairly crisp burn after.
Tune in next Monday when we release the final five cigars in each category.