The 25 Best Cigars of the Year 2009
601 Box Press Maduro Toro
This is the first time a 601 cigar has appeared on our Top 25 list. The brand comes from United Tobacco, a small company founded in 2003 by old friends Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega. The two came to the cigar industry by different routes: Espinosa became enamored with cigars while delivering them via UPS in Miami; Ortega married (and later divorced) a cigarmaker's daughter. In August 2003 they formed their own cigar company, and after an unsuccessful start they found their way by having cigars made for them by José "Pepin" Garcia. While their brands remain small in quantity they have scored very well in Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider blind tastings, starting with scores in the high 80s and now with scores in the 90s. The 601 Box Press Maduro Toro is beautiful, with Garcia's trademark triple-seam cap construction. It's a smoke that has heavy, chewy, complex flavors loaded with notes of dark-roasted coffee, nuts and sweet cocoa. In short, the 601 Box Press Maduro Toro is both gorgeous and delicious.