Back in May of 2015, a small boutique cigar company created a wave in the US market with the release of their inaugural blend, the Protocol. This company was the Cubariqueno Cigar Company founded by Bill Ives, Juan Cancel and Bill Agathis. The company partnered with Erik Espinosa and the La Zona cigar factory to produce their blends. The Protocol was met with rave reviews and propelled the Cubariqueno cigar company to a path of success.
The original Protocol was released in two vitolas, a 6 x 52 Toro and a 5 5/8 x 46 Corona Gorda at the 2015 IPCPR in New Orleans. In 2016,the company released the Probable Cause at the 2016 IPCPR in Las Vegas which we reviewed a few months ago. Riding the wave of success they also released a 7.5 x 38 Lancero version of the original Protocol in October of 2016 ,which is the subject of today’s review.
The Protocol blend is described as:
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
- Filler: Nicaragua
The lancero was slightly tweaked to account for the size but the company notes that the core is the same and still has what Cubariqueno describes as a “quadruple ligero” filler from Nicaragua.
As noted above the Protocol is aviable now in 3 vitolas:
- Toro – 6 x 52 (MSRP $9.89)
- Corona Gorda – 5 5/8 x 46 (MSRP $9.79)
- Lancero – 7.5 x 38 (MSRP $10.50)
Even though this review is on the Lancero, I have had the pleasure of sampling the other two vitolas in the line and will note some comparisons later.
The Cubariqueno Protocol Lancero is a beautifully wrapped cigar with medium brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch and practically veinless. It is finished with a well applied triple cap. A bright blue, grey, and white band adorns the shaft with an intertwined letter “P” in the center and the word Protocol printed along the outer P. A small secondary band is placed below the primary noting it as a production from the La Zona giving due credit to Erik Espinosa and his factory in Nicaragua.
Running the cigar along the nose I picked up a Sweet hay on the foot and not much along the barrel. The aroma was indicative of a properly aged cigar before hitting the shelf. The cigar had a nice weight to it and was solid from foot to cap.
Once the cap was sliced off, the cold draw offered notes of earth and light citrus with just a hint of black pepper. The draw was perfect with just a bit of restriction. The other vitolas has a similar profile during the pre-light experience with a little less citrus.
So far the introduction to the Protocol Lancero was pleasant and to my liking.
It was time to toast it up and start the journey.
Cigar Review Notes
- Ouch! That hint of pre-light pepper hits right on ignition. That caught me by surprise.
- Laying in the background of the pepper is a subtle cocoa butter note that soothes the palate
- A salt and pepper ash develops on top of a thin char line
- Once the nasal get accustomed to the pepper, things settle down after an inch of burn
- Full volume of smoke
- Citrus builds quite well as the pepper recedes to the back
- Savory component comes in
- For some reason I am thinking about Peking orange glazed duck at this moment – it’s that good!
- Burn is pristine as the burn line glows to keep it straight
- Sweetness enters completing the early profile
- Ash falls after inch and half
- Pepper shifts to the front again and then slides back offering a dry cocoa powder and fading citrus
- Spice and pepper increase in the second third
- The spice is predominant in the profile near end of the second third
- Spice fades back and sweetness enters again – I love the movement of flavor notes
- Coffee bean enters in the final third
- Spice moves back
- Lots of transitions
- Touch of nut enters near the end and then savory notes come back in and linger nicely on the palate through the finish to the nub
- Medium to Full Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes of absolute pleasure
Overall, the Cubariqueno Protocol Lancero was an outstanding specimen of a cigar, that had amazing flavor transitions and a perfect burn. This is a lancero that I highly recommend, and even if you are a new cigar smoker, you should try this cigar to expand your palate. As far as the other vitolas in the line I will note the core of the cigar was similar, keeping with the earth, pepper, nut, coffee, and cocoa notes. The Toro actually offered a touch of anise deep in the second third while the Corona Gorda seemed to offer a bit more chocolate to start and there was maple syrup and fruit components near the beginning of the second third.
As you know, Stogie Press does not put number ratings on our reviews, but if we were, the Cubariqueno Protocol Lancero would easily place in the mid 90’s.
I look forward the next creation from Cubariqueno as they certainly have knack for blending and of course they are partnered with one of the best factories with Erik Espinosa. Only time will tell.