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Cigar Review – 601 Blue Label Robusto

About a year ago, before I’d really started smoking cigars, I “rescued” a few empty 601 boxes from our garbage can. Shortly after getting those boxes, I looked up the brand and it sounded like everything I wanted in a smoke—spicy, bold, and intense with a bunch of equally interesting wrapper shades. In particular, I’d had my eye on the Maduro-wrapped Blue Label, and yesterday I was lucky enough to smoke the Robusto size.

The first thing I noticed about this stogie was the wrapper—that thing looked awesome. It was oily and had some fine veins and a somewhat mottled appearance, which let me know right off the bat that it wasn’t dyed or painted. It was almost seamlessly applied, and the filler underneath was uniformly packed throughout the length of the stick. After clipping the cap with a Xikar VX, I got pre-light notes of dark chocolate and black pepper.

The foot lit quickly with a double torch and I immediately began puffing away. Now, I’ve heard terms like “Pepin spice blast” and “Pepin spice kick” being thrown around forever, but I never knew what that really meant until I took a few puffs of the 601 Blue Label Robusto—that thing was intense. The black pepper exploded as soon as the smoke hit my palate, and cascading behind were notes of cocoa, wood, and a little bit of sweetness.

In the next third, the pepper became a little bit more manageable and the cocoa melded with a bready flavor. A few extremely slow retrohales revealed a little bit more sweetness, along with some woody caramel. From this point on, the smoke stayed relatively consistent, though the pepper had a brief resurgence as I got to the last inch and a half or so.

Some reviewers will bash a smoke if it lacks complexity. While the 601 Blue Label Robusto wasn’t the most complex smoke I’ve ever had, all of its flavors were solid and recognizable, and there was none of that harsh, metallic aftertaste that some maduro-wrapped cigars unfortunately have. I’d rather have a smoke that’s consistently stays in a good place than one that constantly changes and goes nowhere.

I recommend this cigar to anybody who appreciates a balanced powerhouse with a little bit of a sweet side. I have another one of these in my humidor and I’m definitely going to smoke it as soon as possible. A word of advice, though—smoke this one after a meal and with a big glass of water, because the nicotine could overwhelm even those with a high tolerance.