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2020 CA Report: The 2020 Cigar Journal Trophy Awards Cigars

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And the Winner Is. . .The 2020 Cigar Journal Trophy Award Cigars 

The 2020 Cigar Trophy Awards marks the 20th year Cigar Journal has honored excellence in premium cigar making and other cigar-related categoriesHowever, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, this year’s Awards ceremony took place virtually on September 18, 2020 via ZOOM 

Between June 3rd and June 14th, 2020, cigar lovers worldwide nominated thousands of cigars from the leading cigar-making countries. Other categories included best cigar accessories and cigar lounges. What also makes the Cigar Trophy awards unique is they are the only awards in the cigar industry that are determined by cigar consumers.  

After the nominations were voted on between June 22 to July 3, the five most frequently mentioned products and lounges made it onto the shortlist. 

2020 cigar journal cigar trophy awards logo

“Around 150,000 votes were submitted. . .and it became clear that products with a large community in the social media networks could rely on the support of their fans,” said, Reinhold C. Widmayer of Cigar Journal magazine. 

As always, the manufacturers and brand owners, a virtual Who’s Who of the cigar industry, participated live. There was some pretty stiff competition this year, too.  

Since they are more easily obtainable, this report is limited to cigars made outside of Cuba. But if you must know, Partagas won for Best Cuban Brand, and the Cohiba Behike BHK 52 won for Best Cuban Cigar.  

And the Cigar Journal 2020 Trophy Award goes to. . . 


Best Brand Dominican Republic 2020: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Arturo Fuente Don Carlos cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Since Arturo Fuente Cigars won Best Brand DR last year, I’m not all that surprised the Don Carlos selection took the 2020 Trophy. I’ve been yakking about this brand for years as my favorite of all the Fuente brands for its impeccable construction, long-aged tobaccos, and consistently rich, complex flavor profiles. It’s a goldilocks line for me, too, in that, the blends have more body and strength than the main line Arturo Fuente cigarsyet are not as bold, spicy, or as hard to get as Fuente Fuente Opus X cigars. They’re just uber-creamy, intensely flavorful, and delightfully aromatic. Nice size selection, too. 


Best Cigar Dominican Republic 2020: Davidoff Grand Cru Toro  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Davidoff Grand Cru cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Size: 6″x54 
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut  
Binder & Filler: Dominican 

Davidoff calls their Gran Cru line, “the last word in sophistication.”  Every component is stellar starting with wrappers that are so silky you’d swear they were made of real silk. This medium-bodied cigar is beautifully layered, too. Notes of creamy sweetness, oak, nuts, earthiness, and a peppery finish are enhanced by an almost mesmerizing aroma. And because the Grand Cru line is allied with the fine wines Zino Davidoff admired, you might want to opt for a Pinot Noir or a tangy Chardonnay. When it comes to the ultimate in cigar refinement, the Davidoff Grand Cru Toro is a winner. 


Best Value Dominican Republic 2020La Aurora 1903 Cameroon   

 Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars La Aurora 1903 Cameroon cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

One thing you can say for La Auroratheir main line cigars have always been reasonably priced. Take the La Aurora Cameroon 1903 selection for example. (Have you ever noticed that La Aurora seems to have a lot of cigar lines named for years?) Rolled in prime select African Cameroon wrappers, this line is a real standout in both flavor and price. The core tobaccos offer a well-balanced recipe of Dominican and Nicaraguan longfillers bound in an Ecuadorian leaf. The smoke is medium-bodied with a mostly sweet-spicy character complemented by nutty and woody accents. Offered in several popular sizes, the La Aurora 1903 Cameroons are good cigars for beginners, too. 


Best Brand Honduras 2020Camacho Corojo  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Camacho Corojo cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

This was a tough category because the finalists were all amazing, including former Camacho owner, Christian Eiroa’s First 20 Years, but Camacho Corojo prevailed. The seed comes from the original Cuban Corojo seeds developed in the 1940s by famed tobacco grower, Diego Rodriguez, who hybridized the imported, native Mesoamerican Criollo strain with Indonesian Sumatra. It took to Cuba’s soil, climate, and—VOILA! Eventually, the seed made it to Honduras and a classic was born. Many say the Camacho Corojo is closest to a Cuban flavor you can get. I say, it’s more like the best Honduran flavor you can get. This line is a must-try for every cigar smoker, and I’ll leave it there.  


Best Cigar Honduras 2020Rocky Patel Number 6 Robusto  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Rocky Patel Number 6 cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Size: 5 ½x50 
Strength: Medium  
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo 
Binder: Honduras 
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the Rocky Patel Number 6 took the Best Cigar prize. I smoked this cigar shortly after it came out and it was really impressive. Its numerical name comes from it being the sixth and best-smoking blend during the blending process. In blending world, that’s almost miraculous. This heavily Honduran-forward blend is practically a puro, but for some savory Nicaraguan leaf. Medium in body, this is a sweet-spicy smoke laden with well-balanced notes of coffee, earth, sweet spice, and a thread of caramel that weaves it all together. The Number 6 Robusto makes a relaxing after dinner treat that’s worthy of its Cigar Journal “93” tasting score.   


Best Brand Nicaragua 2020Oliva Serie V  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Oliva Serie V cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Introduced in 2007, The Oliva Serie V is a genuine classic that pulled out a win from some really tough competitors like My Father and PadrónMade in a number of sizes, including the award-winning Oliva Serie V Lancero (above)Oliva Serie V cigars are lauded for their creamy, complex, and full-bodied, yet never overpowering flavor profile. The capa is a tawny Ecuadorian Habano sun-grown that surrounds a core of Jalapa Valley ligerosLight up and discover a profuse and well-balanced cocktail of earth, wood, nuts, coffee, and pepper underscored by a layer of sweet spicesIf you haven’t had the Oliva Serie V experience, now’s as good a time as ever to pick a winner.  


Best Cigar NicaraguaPerdomo ESV Imperio Sun Grown  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Perdomo Estate Seleccion Vintage Sun Grown cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Size6×54, box-pressed 
WrapperNicaraguan Sun Grown Cuban seed Jalapa 
BinderFiller: Nicaraguan Cuban seed Estelí  

Perdomo Cigars is having a great year. On the heels of their Perdomo 10th Anniversary Sun Grown and Maduro releases last month, Perdomo took the Best Nicaraguan Cigar Trophy, beating the awesome Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generación V Salomon. I’ve been a big fan of Perdomo’s sun grown cigars, especially the 20th Anniversary EpicureThe best way to describe the ESV Imperio is, it’s like the 20th Epicure on HGH. It’s got all that smooth and creamy flavor, but Nick’s use of an Estelí core takes the cigar to a bolder mix of sweet tobacco, oak, cedar, and nutmeg to name but a few of the players. It’s a terrific smoke, especially after dinner. Just one piece of advice—savor it slowly.   


Best Value NicaraguaPadrón Classic Series  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Padron cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

If you’ve been smoking cigars for a while, odds are you’ve had a few Padrón Classic cigars by nowthe line with the “2000,” “3000,” “4000” etc., sizes, among others.  Assuming that’s true, you probably also realized that these somewhat rustic-looking Nicaraguans are remarkably affordable. Even better is they burn great, draw effortlessly, and you get a lot of flavorful smoke for your buck. Mostly medium in body, Padrón cigars reveal notes of earthy spice, cedar, coffee, and cocoa bean, and the maduros offer an extra helping of sweet spices. Somehow Padrón has come up with a recipe that’s universally loved, and it’s not surprising that they’re often at the top of a lot of cigar smokers’ favorite lists.  


Best Cigar Other CountriesToscano Antico (Italy) 

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigars Toscano cigars at Famous Smoke Shop

Size: 6×38 double perfecto 
Strength: Medium-plus 
Wrapper: U.S. Kentucky  
Binder: None 
Filler: Italian and U.S. Kentucky fire-cured  

Now here’s a cigar that’s truly unique in so many respects from the company that also won the 2020 Cigar Trophy for Best Brand/Other Countries. If you call yourself a cigar smoker, you just have to have at least one Toscano. So, why not make it Toscano Antico. In the true Toscano tradition, this dusky, fire-cured blend has a Kentucky wrapper over Italian and Kentucky medium-length fillersThey’re machine-made, and they sell like crazy, too. Starting out with a very pungent, peaty aroma, intense flavors of bitter almond, leather, wood, anise, bitter cocoa, and cloves are just some of the treats at the heart of this unique blend. One review site suggests pairing the Antico with espresso, a sweet Madeira, or Amarone.  


Best AccessoryBoveda Humidity Control Packs  

Cigar Journal Trophy Awards 2020 best cigar accessories Boveda cigar humidification pack at Famous Smoke Shop

The Boveda Humidity Control packs have become a standard in the cigar industry for keeping premium cigars factory fresh. Bovedas are so widely used, it’s no wonder they took the Best Accessory Trophy. I doubt there’s an avid cigar smoker out there who hasn’t used one by now. Bovedas are also lifesavers, especially when your humidor is acting a little out of sorts, but they didn’t stop there. Cigar Advisor has recommended them incalculable times be it for humidity control, seasoning your humidor, and calibrating a hygrometer.  

*   *   * 

I hope many of your favorites received an award this year. For the complete list of nominations and winners, visit Cigar Journal online. 

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Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and Executive Editor of Cigar Advisor. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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