Brandon's Top Cigars for 2020

Brandon Hayes

There is no shortage of cigar lists out there for your enjoyment. However, regardless of how much information I put out there, everyday someone asks me what cigars I smoke. I thought it would be fun to put a little different twist on my list versus others out there and hopefully open you up to something new to try. I have intently left off any cigars that are super limited, overly expensive or produced by me. 

Brandon’s Pick | New Releases of 2020 


ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold  

The ADVentura line is the work of Marcel Knobel, a Swiss coffee maker, cigar retailer and master sommelier, along with Henderson Ventura from the William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic. As many of you may already know, Henderson has helped produce many of our releases here at Renegade. I believe he is the most talented young cigar maker out there at the moment. The company released their first cigar in Europe in 2017 and launched their first cigars ( The Explorer ) in the USA in 2019. 

The King’s Gold uses a US Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a binder grown in Mexico and filler from the Dominican Republic, US and Nicaragua. Each of the tobaccos used in the King's Gold were aged a minimum of five years. 

It delivers a rich yet smooth smoking experience that builds in intensity as you enjoy it. It offers flavors of creaminess, leather, espresso and dark chocolate. While it is slightly stronger than what I typically enjoy, it still blows me away each time I smoke it.

Aladino Cameroon

The Aladino Cameroon is brought to you by JRE Tobacco Co and is made in Honduras at the families Fabrica de Puros Aladino factory. It uses all tobacco grown by the Eiroa family ( known for some of the best Corojo in the world ) - including the beautiful Honduran grown Cameroon wrapper. I believe this cigar is priced aggressively with all sizes coming in under $10. 

I have always been a fan of the Corojo tobaccos grown by the Eiroa family, probably more so than I am of Cameroon tobaccos. When Justo and Julio announced they were releasing a Honduran grown Cameroon cigar - I wasn’t really in a hurry to try it. However, I started hearing all the buzz around this release and I decided to get my hands on one. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. 

It smokes right in my true medium sweet spot. It definitely has some of the sweet and spicy characteristics that you would expect from a good Cameroon, but rather it plays well into the more dominant creamy and nutty flavors you get from well-grown Corojo. It is flavorful, complex and well priced in the market.


Worth Mentioning:
Perdomo 10th Anniversary Maduro / Sun Grown

Rocky Patel Grand Reserve
ADVentura Queen’s Pearl


Brandon’s Pick | Best Value 2020


Flor de las Antillas 

This one is easy for me. I have sold this cigar as a great value for a quality cigar since the day I got into this business. First released by My Father in 2012, this Nicaraguan Puro has made a lot of noise ( including #1 cigar of the year ). Flor De Las Antillas ( The Flower of the Antilles ) pays tribute to the Garcias heritages in Cuba. 

The cigar itself is beautiful with its soft box pressed design & light brown sun grown wrapper. It is medium in strength and offers flavors of floral, leather, nuttiness and white pepper. 

While I don’t typically spend much time thinking about rating, its hard not to be impressed by a 96-point rated cigar under $10. 



Cloud Hopper by Warped Cigars

While I enjoy a lot of Warped Cigars - the Cloud Hopper may be the companies best bang for the buck. It is a project that Warped’s owner Kyle Gellis worked on with his younger brother Devin. The name Cloud Hopper comes from their connection to traveling. 

Like a lot of Warped’s blends, it is produced with the manufacturing partner Aganorsa. It uses a Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The Cloud Hopper comes in two sizes - I enjoy them equally. It is smooth, creamy and has a graham cracker like finish that is simply hard to beat for $7.

Worth Mentioning:
La Galera Connecticut
Aganorsa Connecticut 


Brandon’s Pick | What I smoked the most of in 2020


Davidoff Nicaraguan

I remember when Davidoff announced that they were producing a Nicaraguan cigar - the cigar industry was shook. I don’t think anyone could have predicted this move and I certainly don’t think anyone would have predicted that they would nail it in a single release. 

This medium bodied ( Medium + in box-pressed ) cigar utilizes just the right amount of tobaccos from Condega, Esteli, Jalapa and Ometepe - checking just about all the boxes on Nicaraguan tobacco. 

It delivers a rich, almost dessert like smoking experience. It is an opportunity to taste what happens when some of the best blenders in the world get their hands on great Nicaraguan tobacco and age it properly (as long as 10 years). The result is rich, smooth flavors that are rich yet amazingly clean.

HR Signature 

If you have ever smoked out of my personal humidor - you know I am a fan of the HR Signature. It is a collaboration between the legendary Cuban tobacco grower Hirochi Robaina and Spencer Drake. The cigar reminds me of something between a creamy cuban cigar from yesteryear and a rich full flavor new age cigar from Nicaragua. It is an example of what happens when you take tobaccos from Jalapa and Esteli, age them well and let a master blend with it. It isn’t spicy, it doesn’t burn your palate - it simply rewards you with rich, creamy flavor.

Worth Mentioning:
Eiroa The First 20
Caldwell Savage
Aganorsa Guardian of the Farm
Herrera Esteli

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1 comment

Cant wait to try these out! Thank you for the recommendations. I’ll be in soon!

Lincoln C Harkins

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