Two of the longest-running, consecutive, annual, limited-edition series in the premium cigar industry are owned by the same company: Oettinger Davidoff AG. This would be the AVO Limited Edition Series and Camacho Liberty Series, beginning in 2001 and 2002, respectively. But this was not by design, as the Camacho Liberty Series was the brainchild of the company’s previous owners (the Eiroa family), with Davidoff continuing the tradition well beyond the six years that it had existed at the time Camacho was acquired in 2008.
The 2020 Liberty Series cigar was first announced in February of this year, marking a much-welcomed return to the series’ original strategy of offering completely new sizes/blends on an annual basis. This ended a two-year hiatus in the Liberty Series (Liberty Series 2018 and 2019), where Camacho had begun re-releasing previous sizes/blends dubbed Throwbacks in an effort to comply with FDA guidelines.
Camacho Liberty 2020
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Honduran Corojo
- Filler: Dominican Republic | Honduran Corojo
- Factory: Diadema Cigars de Honduras, S.A. (Honduras)
- Production: Limited Edition (2,550 boxes of 20 cigars)
- Vitola: 6″ × 60 (Box-Pressed Gordo)
- Price: $20.00 (MSRP)
Camacho Liberty 2020 was rolled in one of the largest-gauged vitolas in the series’ history, a 6″ × 60 box-pressed gordo. The cigar incorporates leaves from three countries, primarily focusing on four different primings of Camacho’s signature Honduran-grown Original Corojo. Each of these tobaccos are sourced from a single farm and vintage, being aged for four years before being incorporated into the final blend. Camacho had 51,000 cigars rolled at their modern Diadema Cigars de Honduras factory in Honduras, eventually launching on June 1st.
The Camacho Liberty Series has long been known for showcasing some of the most eye-catching packaging in the world of premium cigars, always arriving in large boxes of 20 coffins, with new color schemes and graphics on each go-round. Looking back, it’s almost as if there is an alternating style, teetering between clean and sophisticated, and more stylized/colorful. Liberty 2020 not only falls in the latter camp, but shows Camacho taking perhaps the most graphic liberty in the series’ 18-year history, emblazoning the box’s lid with a vibrantly colored American bald eagle—whose feathers are striped in red, white, and blue.
It’s not often you find a cigar with an ultra-premium price tag in a gordo format, but Camacho has been known to experiment with the Liberty Series, and vitolas are no exception. The cigar has a substantial feel in the hand, being roughly as heavy as it looks. It is triple capped and the medium-brown wrapper is virtually flawless, being exceptionally smooth to the touch. The box-press has fairly rounded corners, with the cigar taking on a very geometrically square shape when looking down the barrel. There is a nice springiness to the body when lightly squeezed, feeling like a medium-firm filler bunch.
On the wrapper, the aromas are light and airy, showing subtleties of cedar, clean cherries, and a little barnyard hay. The foot is loaded with the same cherry note, though it is much more ripe, as well as touches of hickory and thyme. With a straight cut, the pre-light draw is a bit loose, giving off flavors of spicy rye bread, raw floral honey, and cedar.
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The Liberty 2020 is slow to light, though it grabs your attention straight away. The profile is bright and zesty, opening up with pink peppercorn and a gentle spice through the retrohale. Overall, the profile feels very clean, having plenty of fresh baking spices, cinnamon, and buttered nuts. Eventually, black pepper makes its way into the mix, backed by a growing sweetness in the range of browed butter and a finish of wet concrete. At an inch and a half, the burn is straight, the ash is solid, and the body hovers just under medium.
Cinnamon continues into the second third, gently tickling through the nostrils. The sweetness grows to become a more prominent feature of the profile (though not quite in the lead), coming across like brown sugar in one sample and a more specific vanilla-chocolate followed by sweetened condensed milk in another. Some samples carried the loose pre-light draw into the smoking experience, while others were virtually perfect, once the cigar was lit; this translates into a medium amount of smoke through each draw. The experience feels very balanced, causing me to go deep diving for individual flavor notes; this isn’t necessarily a criticism, as a non-review smoking experience would simply come across as balanced and satisfying. This balanced nature is evidenced on the palate by lighting up the back sides of the tongue foremost, causing a mouthwatering sensation overall. This is followed by the tip of the tongue (sweetness), front sides (saltiness), and back center (bitterness), hitting each region in a cascading fashion.
The profile feels somewhat atypical, with ginger and lemon zest coming across like a hot toddy cocktail. The profile begins losing its brightness in the cigar’s second half, requiring a couple of touchups along the way. These touchups do well to fight the darkening profile, perking the smoke back up with sweet fruit snacks in the background and nougat through the finish. Allspice rises to the front of the pack, followed by a citrus twang and dark spices looming just behind. The profile is medium in body and strength, while flavor can be pegged around medium-plus in intensity.
The foreshadowing of the midsection proves true in the final segment, with clove, cardamom, and black peppercorn giving a pinching sensation through the retrohale. There is a menthol-like cooling sensation on the lips, joined by black tea on the palate and an off-putting Splenda-like sweetness through the finish. Gone is the mouthwatering sensation from before, now dry and increasingly bitter on the palate. Charred components enter the mix, with the profile showing notes of dark cocoa, dry earth, burnt chestnut, overly toasted bread, and an herb-like note that is a dead ringer for tonic water.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Tentatively, yes. The cigar was certainly not my favorite size in the Liberty Series, but the box-press goes a long way, making the 60 gauge feel closer to 56–58. As a proud American, it’s hard to resist an unabashedly American cigar. Even though Independence Day is now behind us, I’d still grab a few of these—light one up on a warm summer night while tossing out Black Cats now and again and save the others for aging potential and preparedness for next year’s fourth.
- Camacho Liberty 2020 is the 19th cigar in the Liberty Series.
- Liberty Series cigars are released just prior to Independence Day each year, featuring American themes and values prominently, becoming known as the unofficial cigar of the 4th of July.
- Flavor: Medium-plus
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Wet concrete
- Bright peppercorn
- Smoke Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Saison | Brats | Kentucky straight bourbon | Medium-roast coffee
- Purchase Recommendation: 3-pack
- Very long smoking time
- Balanced above all else
- Bright, atypical flavor profile through first half
- Three to four touchups per cigar
- Draw was a bit loose on some samples
- Stark contras between first and second halves, being dark and bitter in the latter