601 Black (Connecticut) Robusto Cigar
Sometimes all it takes is one look at a cigar to know you’re in for a real treat. Such was my experience with this offering from Don Pepin Garcia, creator of such other highly-rated brands as the eponymous Don Pepin Garcia, Tatuaje, and Cabaiguan, by way of Eddie Ortega of United Tobacco. This robusto exudes all the visual hallmarks of a well-constructed cigar, from head to foot.
Its Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf sports some fine veins, the consistently tight body glowing an evenly matted, creamy coffee tone. A rich tobacco smell greets me when put to the sniff-test. The cap clips off cleanly, and although my pre-lit draw is almost too easy, the flavor is of pleasant black pepper and sweet tobacco. I fire up, and am rewarded with a large plume of somewhat dry smoke, which becomes slightly sweet and markedly creamier, then rounds out into a solid foundation of well-aged tobacco with notes of leather and black pepper by the middle of the first third.
By the third or fourth puff, the draw has tightened up considerably to create ideal resistance. Leather dominates the aroma for the first two thirds of the smoke, interchanging with sweet notes of butter and nuts, with the body and aroma kicking up a notch in strength toward cedar at the end of the second third. From there the flavor profile remains consistent through the un-bitter end. The ash is a very light, aluminum grey, although not consistently firm. As a result, it tends to fall off instead of creating solid little nuggets of ashtray-food. The burn line was not perfect, but never required correction, and by final third had evened out.
To conclude, I’m impressed with the elegance and understated complexity of this cigar, rating it an overall 8.8. To drink, I savored a cold glass of agua and a hot cup of Peruvian coffee, not because these were exceptional pairs mind you, because I’m writing this from work. I’m guessing that my boss wouldn’t be to happy with me if I had my druthers, which would be an equally elegant red wine, perhaps a heavily fruited Bordeaux blend or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Final Score: 8.8