Some thoughts on the 601 Habano Oscuro Tronco and beyond
I decided to smoke one of those cigars last night. It had been a long time since I'd had a 601 Habano Oscuro (a.k.a. "601 Green"). After last night's affair with this marvelous cigar, I've added the 601 Habano Oscuro Tronco (5" x 52) to my all-time favorite cigars list. From start to finish, this cigar chugged along dense with dark, chewy, complex flavors. It's really a cigar you have to experience yourself to fully appreciate. I'd also place it among Don Pepin Garcia's best cigars. I also concluded that each cigar Pepin creates is like a song. They all have a common thread stylistically, yet each blend is totally unique in its own rite. I don't think the cigar business has seen such a prolific pair of hands in quite some time, if ever.
That said, I really didn't plan on getting into a cigar review today. Instead, I wanted to point out something that crossed my mind last night as I was relaxing with my cigar. I was thinking that the 601 brand is going to be around for a very long time. Then I started to think about the company who produces them, E/O Brands. I think E/O is a good example of the kind of cigar producer with whom the current and next generation of cigar smokers are now beginning to align themselves.
I'm reminded of what happened in the movie business when independent filmmakers began producing more popular movies than the big studios, giving us edgy directors like Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez for starters.
This similar trend in the cigar business may be attributed to "directors" like Pete Johnson (Tatuaje), and more recently, Dion Giolito with his Illusione cigars. Moreover, I think Sam Leccia (nub, Cain) can also be counted among those "indies" who's stars have also risen.
Some other companies to consider are Alec Bradley, who's been free-rolling since releasing their highly-acclaimed Tempus cigars a couple of years ago. I also feel that Drew Estate's time has come in the traditional-blend cigar market. They've been working their Liga Privada No.9 cigars line slowly and steadily, and it's earned a well-deserved place among the finer limited editions.
So, is this the beginning of the end of the established, BIG cigar company brands? Will more new cigar smokers opt for the more unique rather than the conventional? Will brands like Macanudo, Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, et. al., eventually be forced to fold up their tents? Certainly some interesting questions to consider, and I welcome your comments.
~ Gary Korb