Monday, September 8, 2008

601 Habano Oscuro La Punta

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Everything about United Tobacco's 601 Habano Oscuro says quality. Starting with the appearance of it's beautifully constructed perfecto, called "La Punta" or the point. The cap was neatly applied without any wrinkles or excess glue. The pointy tip of the cigar was not frayed even after being handled and shipped from the retailer. The wrapper showed no heavy veins and was tightly rolled with no imperfections. The cigar feels solid and packed with tobacco.

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The wrapper, as stated in it's name, is a Habano Oscuro from Nicaragua. I learned from a well written article from "Doc" (David Diaz) of Stogie Fresh along with Jose Blanco (National Director of Sales for La Aurora) that Oscuro wrapper leaves are taken from the uppermost part of the tobacco plant called the corona. These leaves have been exposed to the maximum amount of sunlight and so end up darker, thicker, richer and more flavorful. Unlike maduro leaves which go through a longer fermentation time at very high temperatures, oscuro leaves go through a shorter fermentation time at lower temperatures. After fermentation, oscuro leaves are aged causing the leaves to turn darker, sometimes appearing totally black. The process by which a leaf is fermented determines whether it is a maduro or an oscuro.

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The 601 Habano Oscuro wrapper is dark brown with black mottling throughout. It's toothy and feels slightly coarse to the touch. The scent of the wrapper is earthy with notes of dark chocolate and the small opening at the foot is the same but also smells spicy.

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I had to clip the cap generously to get a satisfactory draw. The flavor on the pre-light draw was spicy with hints of dark chocolate and raisins. The cigar lit easily and the draw began to open up once the ash began developing. The draw was then free and clear but still had some limitations as to how far you could pull on it.

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The flavors initially were dark mocha, black pepper along with a tangy flavor reminiscent of Nicaraguan Corojo. I also detected a slight cinnamon spice and roasted nuts. The cigar lacked sweetness but it miraculously never crossed over the line into bitter. The flavors were smooth and blended very well. Rich leather makes it's presence after the one inch mark. The body of the smoke was medium to full. (I think my limited draw kept me from generating heavy smoke because otherwise it would probably be full bodied all the way.) The flavor intensity was definitely full. The peppery spice left a nice tingle in my mouth and on my lips but was not overwhelming in any way. You get nice strong Corojo and black coffee flavors in the second third and rich leather and spice in the last third. The finish on this cigar is long and satisfying.

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The quality of the tobacco is incredible. Even though the cigar felt like it was burning hot at the half way point, the flavors never got harsh or bitter. Lesser cigars would have me cringing with it's bitterness if it ever got too warm. This cigar just kept delivering fantastic flavor with each draw. The ash is beautiful and maintained it's shape well. It was mostly salt with just a sprinkling of pepper. The burn line was sharp and even.

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The quality of this cigar even continued in it's attractive cigar band. The paper used was heavy and the decoration was very elegant with lots of gold accents and many attractive emblems adorning it.

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But the best part of all this is the price. I got these cigars for $7.85 a stick. Hello? It's made by Don Pepin Garcia. It's well made. It tastes great. It burns great. It looks expensive. It is worth every penny of that price. Would I recommend this cigar? Hell yeah!!! If you don't want to pay a premium for a perfecto then get the corona for $4.92. I deem this cigar a masterpiece.



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1 comment:

Barry said...

I love the dupont lighter in the photographs!