Cigar Review – 601 Black Rabito
A lot has changed for EO Brands Inc. since the release of the 601 Black back in 2006. For starters, the blend itself was discontinued in 2010 when Rocky Patel picked up brand distribution and became part owner of EO, before both Eddie Ortega and Erik Espinosa left the company to form independent ventures earlier this year. Just last week, Rocky ended his involvement with the company, leaving the future of EO Brands seeming quite uncertain at this point. That being said, the 601 Black (Ecuador Connecticut) was a pretty popular smoke in its heyday, and we recently uncovered a batch that had been resting in our humidor for a couple of years. The cigar contains a blend of aged Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos beneath an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, and was produced at My Father Cigars in Esteli under the supervision of Don Pepin. Since I pretty much never turn down the chance to sample Mr. Garcia’s wares, I figured I’d torch one up for old time’s sake in today’s review.
The 601 Black Rabito wore a smooth, yet slightly mottled Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a super-solid triple cap up top, punctuated by a tiny pigtail. As far as construction goes, everything seemed up to par, and after snipping the pigtail pre-light draws gave off a creamy, sweet, and nutty taste.
Upon lighting, the initial flavor profile of this stick was pretty standard for a Connecticut-wrapped stogie, with just a little extra black pepper on the finish. For the first few puffs especially, this cigar reminded me quite a bit of our own Kensington Connecticut Reserve by Alec Bradley. The burn was off to a straight start, and about an inch and a half into the smoke, a caramel sweetness began to emerge, followed by a cream note that kind of overpowered the peppery spice that had dominated the intro.
The second 3rd of the Rabito opened up with major notes of wheat and cream, and by now the black pepper undertones from earlier had transitioned into a lingering, zesty baking spice. As I puffed through this portion I began to pick up notes of grass and nuts as the profile grew a bit more complex. We were still burning straight and clean, and the solid white ashes had hung on for about two inches at a time before dropping off.
Just as I burned into the final third, the smoke became very mellow and smooth with silky notes of coffee, and just a hint of anise joining the fray. For the remainder of the smoke, this stogie remained balanced and tasty as I gradually took it down to the nub.
The 601 Black Rabito proved to be an extremely smooth and easily enjoyable cigar. I credit this partially to the extra aging this particular stick had undergone, but mainly to the careful crafting of the blend. While not intense, this stogie was definitely much richer than most Connecticut wraps I’ve sampled, with cool, clean, and interesting flavors popping up all the way through. Pair that profile with a razor-sharp burn and you’ve got a great summer-time smoke on your hands, perfect to enjoy while sipping an ice cold, hoppy ale. I think the 601 Black is a cigar that would appeal to a lot of smokers, both newbies and veterans alike because of its easily read flavors and ultra-smooth performance, and today I’m giving it a grade of B+. If you happen to be in our neck of the woods, you just might see me puffing on one of these sticks at a barbeque in the near future.