Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the 601 Blue Maduro in the Short Churchill size. This is a cigar we have assessed several times in the past, most recently back in June 2013 in the Robusto size.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: San Lotano
Short Churchill: 6 1/2 x 50
In 2016, Espinosa Cigars introduced a new line extension to its 601 Blue Maduro line in the form of a 6 1/2 x 50 Short Churchill. The 601 brand is one that has a long history. The brand was originally conceived when Espinosa Cigars owner Erik Espinosa was partnered with Eddie Ortega at EO Brands. In 2012, Espinosa and Ortega dissolved EO Brands and separate the lines. At the time of the split, the brands of EO was divided between Espinosa and Ortega with Espinosa getting the 601 brand. This included the 601 Blue Maduro. Over the past few years, the Short Churchill has been a popular size in the Espinosa portfolio. With the 601 Blue Maduro being one of the more popular lines in the Espinosa portfolio, it made sense to bring the Short Churchill into the line. Today we take a closer look at that Short Churchill size in the 601 Blue Maduro line.
When Espinosa Cigars was formed, the company established the small La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua to handle its production. Realizing the need to have more production capacity, the company turned to AJ.Fernandez, who had just acquired a new factory north of Estelí in Ocotal which he named San Lotano. Espinosa was able to secure space in that factory to handle some of its production. The company made the decision to move most of 601 production up to that factory, including the 601 Blue Maduro.
The 601 Blue Maduro consists of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Like the rest of the 601 Blue Maduro line, the Short Churchill comes in a box-pressed size. The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes.
The flavor profile of the 601 Blue Maduro Short Churchill started out with notes of mocha (a fusion of coffee and chocolate), “maduro sweetness” (a fusion of dried fruit and natural tobacco), black pepper, cedar, and earth. Early on the maduro sweetness and mocha were the primary notes. During the second half, the cigar transitioned to more of a profile consisting of black coffee and earth notes with the maduro sweetness, pepper, and cedar playing more of a complementary role. During the smoking experience, there was a layer of black pepper on the retro-hale. The flavors started out medium-bodied before progressing to medium to full in the second half. As for the strength level, this cigar had enough depth to qualify as medium to full throughout the smoking experience.
The 601 Blue Maduro is a line that has been around for over a decade and it continues to be one of the foundations of the Espinosa Cigars portfolio. This cigar certainly doesn’t miss a beat in the Short Churchill format. It’s going to deliver a bold, well-balanced cigar with classic maduro flavors. It’s a cigar I probably would steer to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one that garners box worthy consideration in my book.
Key Flavors: Mocha, Maduro Sweetness, Earth, Black Pepper, Cedar
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium to Ful
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (Second Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
Previous Assessment: 601 Blue Label Maduro
News: Espinosa Cigars Unveiling Major Expansion of 601 Brand
Source: Purchased, Espinosa Cigars
Brand Reference: 601
Photo Credit: Cigar Coop