The Dominican Republic and Nicaragua shared, in equal parts, the privilege of appearing among the first five awarded cigars of the year 2020, according to the annual ranking of the prestigious digital publication Cigar Aficionado. The Dominican Republic obtained the first two places, and Nicaragua the third and fourth place, being the fifth place in the power of a cigar made in Cuba.
Tabacalera la Alianza, from the Dominican Republic, obtained the No.1 position with the pure E.P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel, which achieved a score of 98.
This 2020 triumph came as a confirmation of the quality and perseverance of Ernesto Pérez Carrillo, a manufacturer with a 50-year career as the owner of factories large and small, who between 2014 and 2020 won an interesting trilogy of awards. Indeed, as a tribute to his family, in 2014 he released a brand called La Historia, whose size E-III obtained second place in the ranking. Four years later, with the E.P. Carrillo Encore, achieved that the pure Encore Majestic, was named Cigar of the Year and just two years later he returned to obtain the precious award.
This dark-colored Pledge Prequel, measuring 5"X 50 ring gauge, stood out as last year's richest and most structured pure, in part thanks to its Connecticut Habano wrapper, a Cuban seed variety grown in Connecticut. It offers a savory smoke with different and bold flavors of spicy oak, licorice, black cherry, black pepper and other spices that harmonize with each other and provide a subtle hint of baked apple at the end.
The second place was occupied by Fuente Fuente OpusX Doble Robusto, with a score of 97, a cigar made by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., also from the Dominican Republic.
This cigar, made entirely with tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic, belongs to the OpusX line, which owes much of its character to its packaging, grown in the shade of Corojo seeds, at Chateau de la Fuente, in that country. And precisely in the packaging was the challenge to overcome, since this particular type of leaf did not have a cultivation tradition in the Dominican Republic, but the determination and perseverance of this manufacturer managed, with the right seeds in the right soil, to incorporate a Dominican cover to the vast and complex world of tobacco.
With this Doble Robusto cigar, which provides a strong smoke with the aroma of baking spices, harmonized with caramel flavor, cherry liqueur and at the end a note of rum barrel, Fuente lives up to its deserved fame.
The 1964 Anniversary Series Hermoso Padrón, winner of the third place in the 2020 Ranking, obtained a score of 97 and was made by Padrón Cigars Inc., a well-known manufacturer in Nicaragua, with leaves grown and completely treated in that country.
This cigar belongs to the Padrón 1964 Anniversary line, which was released in 1994, as part of the company's 30th anniversary celebrations. It is a robust box-pressed short, with a dimension of 4 "X 56 ring gauge, it offers a mixture of smoke whose flavors and aromas recall the qualities of cocoa and coffee, typical of this line.
Apparently it is precisely the size of this cigar, incorporated into the Hermoso line in 2016, which intensifies the vigor of this mixture, much in demand by the public.
La Mission L’Atelier 1959, are made for the L'Atelier brand, at the García family's My Father Cigar factory in Nicaragua, obtained 96 points in this fourth place.
La Mission, which is a variation of the original line, L'Atelier, is distinguished by its striking appearance and its interesting mix, composed of a Mexican layer from San Andrés, with a binder and filler of Sancti Spiritus tobacco, grown in the Central American country.
Especially the 1959 size, it shows a flavorful note of sweet baking spices and a touch of anise for a smoking experience full of contrasts and counterweights.
The fifth place, with 95 points, was for the Habano Punch Short by Punch, made with a selection of wrapper, filler and binder leaves from the Vuelta Abajo region, in Cuba. The historic brand Punch, created in the mid-nineteenth century in that Caribbean country, incorporated ring gauge 50 for the first time in its vitolario, the thickest of the brand.
An interesting fact to note is that the Cuban Punch brand had decades without including a new size in its regular production portfolio. On the contrary, it had eliminated sizes over time; that is why, at the 2019 Habano Festival, it surprised the public when it announced this robust, “one of the finest Cuban Punches we’ve encountered in years”, according to the words of Cigar Aficionado.