The 601 Serie is handmade in Esteli, Nicaragua by Pepin Garcia. The Black banded 601 is an exquisite blend of aged Nicaraguan tobaccos topped with a beautifully rich and oily Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. Don't be mislead by the wrapper, this is a far richer and more full bodied cigar than you expect.
Of the 601 series to date, the "Black" is the only one not using a Nicaraguan wrapper, but the Connecticut leaf they picked for this one is silky smooth. As usual the construction is excellent and the stick is pretty firmly packed. A slight hay scent is noticeable on the wrapper, becoming more earthy at the foot.
The well detailed gold and black band contrasts well with the wrapper. A clean clip and a cold draw exhibits good air flow and a taste of cumin or spice on the lips.
The 601 lights easily after toasting and the burn line is even and tight. A light gray ash is produced along with a pleasant sweet aromatic smoke.
Like most Pepin cigars, the first flavor is of pepper, then it tones right down to wood, toasted nuts and coffee. The "Black" is the mildest of the 601 series as the Connecticut wrapper takes the body and strength down a notch. Still, this is stronger than most Connecticut wrapped cigars.
That woody flavor becomes more dominant through the second third with notes of nuts and butter interweaving. The strength ticks up a notch here in the middle and the taste of cedar appears in the final third with a reprise of some pepper. The flavors continue through to the end pretty much unchanged.
The 601 Black has a perfect balance of strength and flavor, and while not complex (in the flavor development) is rich, consistent and rewarding.