601 Blue Maduro Robusto Cigar
Here’s a square-pressed Maduro from 601 Master Blender José ‘Pepin’ Garcia, by way of United Tobacco. This cigar’s dark, oily wrapper is so toothy that Ray Charles could probably read it. There are some moderate veins, par for the Maduro course, and the gold and blue band looks especially regal against the dark chocolate wrapper. I find myself eminently impressed with its class.
At a sniff, I find a barnyard smell with some sweetness. The body is solid with some slight give, indicating that it’s well constructed with proper humidity. The head is enclosed neatly with a triple cap that obliges me with a clean cut, revealing an earthy prelight taste through an easy draw. The box press feels comfortable in my mouth. Toasting and lighting takes a little effort, but once lit I am rewarded with aromatic clouds of sweet, creamy, smoke.
The flavor profile initially consists of sweet cocoa and coffee. Settling into the first half inch, the cocoa sweetness matures into rich, dark chocolate. The burn, while not perfect, requires no correction. By the end of the first third notes of leather have developed, balancing the chocolate and coffee flavors in a complex, medium to full-bodied smoke. The ash is a firm, granite gray, though it hangs precariously at about 1 inch.
After 1 and 2/3 inches, I find that the initial sweetness has returned and is trading call-and-response choruses with some spice. Further into the second third the complexity deepens, and I find the smoke becoming ever-stronger.
As I begin the final third, I’m having some trouble getting the band off. In fact, the warmth of the cherry seems to have no effect on the band’s gum, did they seal this thing with epoxy? A serious crescendo in strength has made this a full-bodied smoke, though it retains its complexity. After finally setting it down, four nuggets of ash, < 1″ of stogie, and a beaming Hayward are the only evidence it ever existed. An excellent cigar, rated 9.2 overall.
Final Score: 9.2