Isabela Cigars

December 31, 2020

2020 Year End Review; The best new cigars of the year




 Video review HERE.


2020 has been a crazy year but at least we still had our cigars. Last year I reviewed 108 cigars and I thought that record would stand for years to come. Nope. This year I reviewed a total of 129 cigars. Now, I'm fairly sure that record will stand for awhile but as they say, never say never. You would think that while reviewing 129 cigars I would surely find some great ones and I did. However, there were a lot of cigars that fell into the "good" category. Good, but not great. And, even with reviewing 129 cigars I still did not get to every new release out there. But I put a pretty good dent in them. Still, 2020 was not a bad year for cigars overall. Every cigar that I reviewed will be shown at the end of this post with it's score in thirds and the date it was reviewed. My top 25 cigars comes directly from this list. There are many COTY lists out there. But I feel mine stands above and alone. 

The video review runs down the top 25 in reverse order going from 25 to 1. But here on the blog the review starts off showing the number one cigar and moving through the rest of the top 25. If you click the name of any cigar in the Top 25 you will be taken to the original review in a separate window. The size and scores of the cigar are shown also. I spent a lot of time considering the number one cigar and finally made my decision. So, without further adieu here is my number one cigar of the year followed by the rest of the Top 25.


Number 1

Dissident Home 2020

6 x 54 box pressed

97-96-96

I first had this cigar in mid-year after returning from a trip to Pawleys Island in South Carolina. As soon as I had it I was amazed at the multitude of flavors it had. I wanted more. While this cigar and the Isabela Time Traveler tied in overall score this cigar stood out just a bit more. Therefore it is my Cigar of the Year for 2020. And what an appropriate name since all of us have spent way too much time at home this year. This cigar is made in the Fabrica Oveja Negra factory, which is owned by James Brown. You will see many cigars from this factory in my Top 25.


Number 2

Isabela Time Traveler 2019

6 1/2 x 42

96-97-96-96-96-97


This cigar also had a multitude of flavor changes. In fact, you can see how the changes affected the scores. I posted a score with every flavor change. It just kept changing. Most of the time for the better. Isabela Cigars is a small boutique company that makes some very good cigars. If you're not familiar with them you should definitely give them a try.


Number 3

Bishops Blend 2020 5 Year Anniversary Lancero and Robusto

Lancero: 7 x 42; Robusto: 5 x 48

96-96-96




Different sizes, or vitolas, of the same cigar often yield different flavors. You find yourself liking a particular size better than other sizes of the same cigar. In this case the lancero and robusto sizes of this cigar were almost identical. Both were equally good. After reviewing both sizes it was obvious they had tied with the same score. Therefore, they are both shown as my No. 3 cigar(s) of the year. Of course, these are also produced by James Brown at Fabrica Oveja Negra.


Number 4

Mi Querida Triqui Traca no. 648

6 x 48

96-96-96


Steve Saka and Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust have the Number 4 spot with this outstanding cigar. I reviewed it early in 2020 and it held a Top 5 rating the whole year. This, to me, is one of his best ever.


Number 5

Deliverance Nocturne MMXX Perfecto

5 x 56

96-96-96


James Brown keeps on producing my top cigars. Here is another one. This particular size of the Deliverance Nocturne MMXX is definitely the best. Absolutely wonderful.


Number 6

JFR Lunatic Torch Visionaries

6 x 52

96-96-96


The unfinished foot is an obvious feature of this cigar. In a lot of ways it reminded me of the Guardian of the Farm Campeon but perhaps slightly sweeter. Aganorsa Leaf has some great cigars and you can add this one to the list.


Number 7

Year of the Rat

5 1/2 x 46

96-96-95


Based on the Chinese calendar 2020 is the Year of the Rat. And how appropriate. 2020 has been whacky. It's an appropriate name for this year. The cigar, however, is not whacky. It is very flavorful and full bodied. 


Number 8

Supreme Leaf Robusto

5 x 52 box pressed

96-95-96


There was a lot of hype around this cigar before it came out and after having one I could see why. Another fantastic cigar from Aganorsa Leaf. Since having this cigar I also reviewed the toro version but this cigar is the better of the two vitolas.


Number 9

Last Rites Viaticum

5 x 54

95-95-95


Last Rites has been a popular production from James Brown but this year they added a new version, the Viaticum. This took the Last Rites series to a new level. A fantastic cigar.


Number 10

Morphine 2020 Corona Gorda

5 1/2 x 48

95-95-95


This cigar was the last cigar I reviewed for 2020. It wasted no time jumping into the Top 10. Another cigar produced by James Brown in Fabrica Oveja Negra. Very dark with lots of espresso but there are plenty of sweet notes. Excellent cigar.


Number 11

Casa Fernandez Aniversario Cuban 109

6 1/4 x 54

95-95-95




Number 12

Yagua by JC Newman

6 x 54

95-95-95




Number 13

HVC Hot Cake Laquito #5

6 x 54

95-96-94




Number 14

S&R 2020 Lancero

6 3/4 x 42

94-95-96




Number 15

Tatuaje Karloff

6 5/8 x 49

96-94-94




Number 16

Santa Muerte Barrio Santo

5 1/2 x 48

95-94-95




Number 17

Cohiba Royale

6 x 50

95-95-94




Number 18

Viaje Daisy Cutter 2020

4 x 54

95-95-94




Number 19

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Maduro Epicure

6 x 52

95-95-94




Number 20

Highclere Castle Victorian Toro

6 x 52

95-95-94




Number 21

Roma Craft Neanderthal LH

4 3/4 x 56

95-94-95




Number 22

S&R 2020 Corona Gorda

5 1/2 x 46

94-95-95




Number 23

L.J.Z. Limited Edition Robusto

5 x 52

94-95-94




Number 24

H. Upmann 175th Anniversary

7 x 50

95-94-94




Number 25

Nat Sherman Timeless TAA 2020 LE

6 x 50

94-95-94



I think that's a pretty impressive top 25. What do you think?



Factory of the Year

With 6 cigars in my Top 10 and 10 in my Top 25 (including ties) the cigar factory of the year is Fabrica Oveja Negra owned by James Brown. You may ask, with 129 cigars reviewed are Fabrica Oveja Negra cigars good enough to rise above so many others? The answer is simply, yes. They stood out all year and deserve the Factory of the Year designation. It was an easy decision.



Honorable Mention Factory of the Year:

Aganorsa Leaf, with 4 cigars in the Top 15.




Entire list of cigars reviewed:

Now, here are all the cigars reviewed for the year.

2020 Cigar Scores 

96.33

Dissident Home 2020 (6 x 54 Box Press) (97-96-96) 7/25/20

Isabela Time Traveler 2019 (96-97-96-96-96-97) 2/20/20


96

Bishops Blend 2020 5 Year Anniversary Lancero (7 x 42) (96-96-96) 5/2/20

Bishops Blend 2020 5 Year Anniversary Robusto (5 x 48) (96-96-96) 6/14/20

Mi Querida Triqui Traca no. 648 (6 x 48) (96-96-96) 1/28/20

Deliverance Nocturne MMXX Perfecto by BLTC (96-96-96) (5 x 56) 3/1/20

JFR Lunatic Torch Visionaries by Aganorsa Leaf (6 x 52) (96-96-96) 5/23/20


95.67

Drew Estate Year of the Rat (5 1/2 x 46) (96-96-95) 8/18/20

Supreme Leaf by Aganorsa Leaf (5 x 52 Box Pressed) (96-95-96) 3/29/20


95

Last Rites Viaticum by Black Label Trading Co. (5 x 54) (95-95-95) 1/19/20

Morphine 2020 Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 48) (95-95-95) 12/25/20

Casa Fernandez Aniversario Cuban 109 (6 1/4 x 54 Box Pressed) (95-95-95) 9/26/20

Yagua by J.C. Newman (6 x 54) (95-95-95) 10/10/20

HVC Hot Cake Laquito #5 (6 x 54) (95-96-94) 9/19/20

S&R 2020 Lancero (6 3/4 x 42) (94-95-96) 11/29/20


94.67

Tatuaje Karloff (6 5/8 x 49) (96-94-94) 10/31/20

Santa Muerte Barrio Santo by Black Label Trading Co. (5 1/2 x 48) (95-94-95) 4/28/20

Cohiba Royale Toro (6 x 50) (95-95-94) 5/9/20

Viaje Daisy Cutter 2020 (4 x 54) (95-95-94) 7/12/20

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Maduro Epicure (6 x 54 Box Pressed) (95-95-94) 9/6/20

Highclere Castle Victorian Toro (6 x 52) (95-95-94) 1/31/20

Roma Craft Neanderthal LH (4 3/4 x 56 box pressed) (95-94-95) 9/20/20

S&R 2020 Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) (94-95-95) 11/28/20


94.33

L.J.Z. Limited Edition Robusto by Emilio Cigars (5 x 52) (94-95-94) 11/27/20

H. Upmann 175th Anniversary (7 x 50) (95-94-94) 1/18/20

Nat Sherman Timeless TAA 2020 Limited Edition (6 x 50) (94-95-94) 6/13/20

Viaje Skull & Bones Johnny Blaze (6 x 56) (94-95-94) 2/29/20

Killer Bee Swarm (5 x 46) (95-94-94) 8/11/20


94

Lirio Rojo 2019 by Warped Cigars (6 3/8 x 42 lonsdale) (94-94-94) 2/16/20

Tyrannical Buc Maduro Dobles by Jas Sum Kral (JSK) Cigars (95-93-94) 8/8/20

Isabela Transporter (5 1/4″ x 54″ Double Perfecto) (94-94-94) 8/30/20

Viaje Red WMD 2020 (3 3/4 x 54) (94-94-94) 7/28/20

HVC First Selection Limited Edition Broadleaf Toro (6 x 52) (94-94-94) 9/27/20

Super Deluxe Robusto by Black Label Trading Co. (5 1/4 x 52) (94-95-93) 10/20/20

Dissident Rant (4 1/2 x 46 Petite Corona) (94-94-94) 11/17/20

CAO Pilon Robusto Extra (5 x 52) (93-94-95) 9/13/20

Archetype Pupil by Ventura Cigar Co. (95-94-93) 7/4/20

Viaje Skull & Bones Series The Hulk (5 1/4 x 60) (94-94-94) 5/10/20


93.75

Viaje Phat Jalapeño (5 3/16 x 55) (96-94-93-92) 3/11/20


93.67

Leaf by James (6 x 50) (94-94-93) 6/23/20

NBK Lizard King 2020 by Black Works Studio (5 x 50 box pressed) (95-93-93) 5/3/20

Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary D'Aosta (6 x 50) (93-94-94) 4/26/20

Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch (#7) 2020 (6 1/4 x 52) (94-94-93) 10/17/20

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Box Pressed Sun Grown Epicure (6 x 54) (94-93-94) 9/8/20

Undercrown Maduro Corona Pequena (4 x 44) (94-94-93) 3/24/20

Perez-Carrillo Pledge Sojourn (6 x 52) (94-94-93) 11/10/20

Maestro del Tiempo 6102R 2020 by Warped Cigars (5 1/2 x 48) (94-94-93) 12/19/20

Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino no. 60 (6 x 50) (93-94-94) 11/1/20

Cavalier Genève USA Exclusive Petit Corona (5 x 44) (94-94-93) 5/24/20

Aladino Cameroon Super Toro (6 x 52) (94-93-94) 8/2/20

Undercrown ShadyXX by Drew Estate (5 x 50 box pressed belicoso) (94-93-94) 1/26/20

Patina Maduro Rustic (5 x 52) (94-94-93) 5/17/20

M.C.B. Made In Miami Box-press Habano oscuro 5 Pack 6 x 52 (94-94-93) 7/28/20

CBoM Alex's Private Blend Cuban Seed Torpedo Maduro 6 1/2 x 52 (93-94-94) 7/28/20


93.33

Dissident Soapbox Toro Gordo (6 3/4 x 54) (93-94-93) 7/3/20

Viaje Summerfest 2020 (6 x 54) (94-93-93) 8/15/20

Perdomo Estate Selección Vintage Maduro Imperio (6 x 54) (94-93-93) 4/10/20

CAO Bones Chicken Foot (robusto) (5 x 54) (94-93-93) 8/25/20

Supreme Leaf Toro by Aganorsa Leaf (6 x 54 Box Press) (95-93-92) 8/29/20

Dissident Tirade (5 1/2 x 46) (94-93-93) 11/14/20

Crowned Heads Las Calaveras Edicion Limitada 2020 LC56 (6 x 56) (94-93-93) 9/18/20


93

Punch Chop Suey (7 x 37 Panatela) (94-93-92) 3/17/20

Muestra de Saka Unstolen Valor (6 x 52) (94-94-91) 8/1/20

HVC 500th Anniversary (Tesoros: 5 7/8 X 52) (95-92-92) 3/22/20

Cuevas Reserva Maduro Robusto (5 x 52) (93-93-93) 2/9/20

Crowned Heads Headley Grange Chamuco (93-94-92) (5 1/4 x 54)

JSK F**k the FDA (6 x 52) (93-93-93) 8/9/20

Room 101 Big Payback Maduro Toro (6 x 54) (93-93-93) 11/7/20


92.67

Emilio La Musa Toro (6 x 50) (93-93-92) 4/4/20

La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial no. 3 (6 x 50) (94-93-91) 4/19/20

La Mandarria by Casa Cuevas Cigars (6x52) (94-92-92) 5/16/20

Diamond Crown Maduro no. 4 (5 1/2 x 54) (93-93-92) 2/25/20

Tatuaje TAA Exclusive 2020 (5 5/8 x 54) (92-94-92) 10/11/20

Sobremesa Brûlée Blue (6 1/4 x 46 Grand Corona) (93-93-92) 12/13/20

Espinosa 601 La Bomba Warhead VI (5 x 58 figurado) (92-94-92) 9/22/20

La Libertad Robusto by Villiger Cigars (5 x 52) (93-93-92) 1/14/20


92.33

Buena Cosecha Corojo Torpedo by Casa Fernandez 6 1/4 x 54 (93-92-92) 5/25/20

Don Lino Africa (2019) Punda Milia (Toro) (5 1/2 x 54) (94-92-91) 1/4/20

BOTL 2019 Corona Gorda by Drew Estate (6 x 46) (93-92-92) 1/12/20

Dissident Bloc Box Pressed Toro (6 1/4 x 52) (92-93-92) 7/11/20

Diesel ESTELi PURO Robusto (5 1/4 x 54) (93-92-92) 10/6/20

Tatuaje Anarchy Kaos (6 1/2 x 49 Perfecto) (92-93-92) 8/22/20

CBoM Tampa Handrolls, Maduro, 6x52 Box pressed (92-93-92) 7/28/20

Undercrown Shade Corona Pequena (4 x 44) (92-93-92) 4/1/20


92

Boondock 2019 Corona Larga (6 1/4 x 46) (93-92-91) 2/2/20

Herman's Batch Toro by H. Upmann (6 x 52) (93-91-92) 1/11/20

La Coalición Siglo by Crowned Heads (6 x 52) (93-92-91) 2/22/20

Perdomo Estate Selección Vintage Sun Grown Imperio (6 x 54) (92-92-92) 4/7/20

Viaje Skull & Bones Bruce Banner (5 1/4 x 56) (95-92-89) 5/12/20


91.67

Brick House Maduro Toro (6 x 52) (93-91-91) 3/3/20

Diamond Crown MAXIMUS No. 4 (6 x 50) (92-91-92) 8/16/20

Highclere Castle (original) Toro (6 x 52) (93-91-91) 3/21/20

Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto (5 x 52) (92-92-91) 2/8/20

Diplomatico Robusto by Mombacho Cigars (5 x 50) (93-92-90) 4/12/20

JFR Lunatic Loco El Loquito (4 3/4 x 60) (93-92-90) 6/7/20

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección No. 1 (5.6 x 46) (92-91-92) 5/31/20


91.33

Diesel Delirium (6 x 52) (91-92-91) 3/28/20

Viaje Zombie Collector's Edition 2020 Green (5 1/2 x 54 figurado) (91-92-91) 10/27/20

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua Toro (6 x 54) (91-92-91) 7/18/20

Onyx Bold Nicaragua Robusto (5 x 50) (92-91-91) 8/23/20

CBoM Prime Select Pigtails Grand Toro 6x58 (92-92-90) 7/28/20

Viaje Skull & Bones Mephisto (6 1/2 x 56) (94-92-88) 3/20/20

Dissident Rave (5 1/2 x 52 Box Pressed) (93-90-91) 11/15/20


91

Quorum Maduro Toro (6 x 50) (92-91-90) 4/11/20

Viaje Zombie Collector's Edition 2020 Black (5 1/2 x 54 figurado) (92-90-91) 10/24/20

Cachitos by Global Premium Cigar (4 1/2 x 50) (92-91-90) 7/5/20


90.67

Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5 (5 1/2 x 52) (93-91-88) 4/18/20


90.33

Crowned Heads Court Reserve XVIII Full Court Press (5 7/8 x 52) (92-90-89) 2/15/20

Viaje Skull & Bones Ghost Rider (6 x 56) (91-90-90) 3/7/20

Viaje Birthday Blend 2020 (6 x 52 Torpedo) (92-91-88) 7/26/20

Crowned Heads Mil Dias Corona Gorda (6 x 46) (91-92-88) 11/8/20


90

CBoM Tampa Candela 5 packs 6 x 52 (90-90-90) 7/28/20


89.67

Villiger TAA Exclusive 2020 (6 x 54 Box Pressed) (91-90-88) 10/3/20


89.33

Warzone Toro by Espinosa Cigars and General Cigar (92-89-87) (6 x 52)

Viaje Circa '45 No. 2 (6 x 54) (92-89-87) 4/25/20

Tabernacle Goliath by Foundation Cigar Co. (5 x 58 Perfecto) (92-89-87) 11/21/20


89

Villiger Cuellar Black Forest Toro Gordo (6 x 54) (90-90-87) 1/1/20

Cavalier Genève Black Series II Salomone (7 x 50/58) (91-89-87) 6/6/20


88.67

Viaje Zombie Farmhand Andre (5 1/2 x 54) (91-88-87) 6/28/20

Fonseca Cedros by My Father Cigars (6 1/4 x 52) (88-90-88) 10/18/20

Tabernacle David by Foundation Cigar Co. (5 x 54 Perfecto) (92-87-87) 11/22/20


88.33

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Selección Toro Especiale (6 x 50) (90-88-87) 5/30/20

Macanudo Heritage Nuevo Robusto (5 x 50) (88-89-88) 1/5/20


87.67

Punch Knuckle Buster Toro (6 x 50) (91-88-84) 4/5/20

La Unica 400 (4 1/2 x 50) (90-87-86) 5/5/20

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2020 (5 7/8 x 52) (92-89-82) 10/4/20

Viaje Zombie Collector's Edition 2020 Red (5 1/2 x 54 figurado) (87-88-88) 10/25/20


87

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Capa Especial (5 5/8 x 46) (92-84-85) 10/13/20


86.67

Archetype Master by Ventura Cigar Co. (6 x 52) (89-86-85) 7/19/20


Here's hoping 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Rest assured I'll be here with more reviews looking for that illusive number 1. See you in 2021!

2 comments:

David said...

Great list. BLTC Bishops Blend was my favorite of 2020. Although the Morphine gives it a run. Last Rites was my "go to" at the lounge the past year. There are great cigars coming out of Oveja Negra for sure.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Tim Rollins said...

Thanks, David.