601 Green Habano Oscuro Guest Cigar Review
Here at Casas Fumando we are always open to guest reviews, and this most recent guest review has come to use from Jeff Oda in Seattle. Jeff has been a long time reader and probably the most active reader/commenter on our site for some time. Over the last few years Jeremy and I have had contact contact with the guy, traded sticks, and even pulled off a few beer trades. Recently he popped up in a guest review of the cigar that I created when I was in Nicaragua at the Drew Estate Cigar Safari last year and then again with an excellent review of Nomad’s Vagabond. Please show him some love! – Tony
The 601 Green Label was introduced by EO Brands in 2007, joining the Red Label Habano, the Blue Label Box Pressed Maduro, and the since discontinued Black Label Connecticut in the 601 line, but for some reason, none of them have ever been reviewed here at Casas Fumando. The 601 La Bomba was to follow, and you can read Daniel “Where the hell is that guy?” Temos’ take on the La Bomba Atom here. After the break-up of the company, the 601 brand was retained by Erik Espinosa, along with the Murcielago and Mi Barrio lines. The 601 lines were originally blended and manufactured by Don Pepin Garcia, but are now being produced at Espinosa’s La Zona factory. From what I have been able to glean, the blend has never changed at any point in its history. The 601 Green Label comes in five sizes: Corona 5×42, Tronco 5×52, La Fuerza 5-1/2x 54, La Punta (Perfecto) 5-1/2×52, and Trabuco 6-1/8x 58.
So how does the 601 Green stack up? To the Bat Cave!
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
Size: Tronco 5×52 robusto
Smoking time: 1 hour thirty-five minutes
Pairing: Silver City Brewery Fat Scotch Ale
Pre-light: The 601 Green Label Tronco sports an oily and very dark chocolate brown wrapper with even darker, almost black, splotches. This one has one medium sized vein and a couple of finer ones. It is triple capped and firmly and evenly packed for the most part, although it does feel a little softer near the foot. The wrapper gives off a somewhat sour barnyard scent, while the foot adds a peppery touch. The cold draw shows off some sweet spice, tobacco, and a touch of cocoa.
First third: The cigar lights up easily and evenly with my el cheapo single flame torch, and displays medium bodied flavors of pepper, coffee/cocoa, wood somewhere between oak and hickory, and earth, with just a touch of sweetness. On the retrohale, the pepper and wood are the main components. A little further in, the earth and wood begin to dominate. The ash is a little flaky and doesn’t appear to be very solid, but the burn line is sharp, albeit wavy. The pepper then begins to wane on the entry, but is still quite noticeable on the retrohale. Nearing the end of this third, bitter coffee and charred wood note have made an appearance.
Middle third: The body of the 601 Green Label has now actually gotten lighter, and the texture has become smoother, although by no means creamy. The charred flavors have died back and coffee and light cocoa have made a return, along with the pepper. The burn line has vacillated between wildly wavy and almost straight without any touch-ups. The oakiness remains, but is not as strong as previously, and earthiness lingers behind.
Final third: The body of the 601 Green Label is back up again, but the pepper has once again faded back, along with the cocoa. A bit of sweet spice has shown up, and the wood has turned to a more cedary note. After 95 minutes, it’s time to lay it down to a peaceful ending. Overall, the construction was very good despite the screwy ash and I never felt very much of a nicotine kick with this one – the beer probably had more of an effect on me.
Final thoughts: This particular stick was a very difficult one to review. To provide full disclosure, I have smoked a good twenty or so of these over the past few years (and I know that both Tony and Jeremy are big fans), and the flavors I got with this one were simply not the same as I can recall with just about any of the others I have had. The others have overwhelmingly been more full bodied and big on the coffee and cocoa, with the pepper and sweetness being a constant presence. The bitter flavors I got were something I had not experienced before. Therefore, I would have to categorize this one as an anomaly, something of a dud, if you will. Even at that, it was not terrible, just a bit of a disappointment, given my expectations. That is something to be expected every so often with a man-made, hand-made product, so with the perspective of my past experiences with this cigar, it will certainly not deter me from purchasing more of these, nor should anyone who leans toward the deeper part of the flavor spectrum. In fact, over the past few days, I have had another from the same batch that had been sitting in my humidor for the past nine or so months, as well as one I got just a few weeks ago, and both were as good as I recall. As many great philosophers of the past have said, “Shit happens”.
Pairing: The Fat Scotch Ale from Silver City Brewery in Bremerton, Washington is, well, a Scotch style ale with a large load of sweet malt flavors, along with dark fruits, a bit of booziness – 9.2% ABV – and a lightly bitter finish. Normally, I think this would have been a terrific match with the 601 Green Label, had the cigar been its usual self, but the bitterness from both parties turned out to be a bit overwhelming for my taste. As it was, this particular cigar would probably have gone better with a nice port, or even a sweetened coffee drink.