The 601 Black is coming back.

Espinosa Premium Cigars has announced plans to bring its version of a full flavored Connecticut back to stores in January, though a limited amount will be previewed during the company’s upcoming La Zona Palooza virtual event in mid-November. Attendees who purchase one of the three event packages will receive the cigar to smoke ahead of its retail release.

According to Hector Alfonso Sr., the company’s director of operations, the new 601 Black will feature an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler. He said that it’s not as mild as the company’s Crema line, as it offers a more flavorful profile than typical Connecticut-wrapped cigars.

It will be offered in a 6 x 52 toro vitola, with production handled at the La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Pricing is still being finalized, as are production numbers. Alfonso added that the plans are to make the 601 Black an annual limited production that comes out every January.

The 601 Black dates back over a decade to EO Brands, the company jointly owned by Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega. It has been discontinued in 2010, though the blend re-emerged under the name Evil Clown early in 2012 as a store exclusive for West Coast Cigars in San Jose, Calif.

In 2016, Espinosa Premium Cigars did an overhaul of the 601 brand, adding a number of new lines and bringing black the 601 Black, though production was very limited and done largely to get the cigar onto the market amidst the looming FDA regulation of the premium cigar industry. While some of those cigars can still be found, the 601 Black line has not been in regular production since 2016, said Alfonso.

Update (Jan. 26, 2021) — The company clarified that a small batch of the 601 Black began shipping after La Zona Palooza in November, with the total amount said to be less than 50 packs of five cigars. These began shipping in December, ahead of the previously announced schedule. The company has since noted that it will be giving the 601 Black a wider release with updated packaging—namely, boxes–towards late March or early April.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.