Received with great anticipation and a bit of fanfare, the Protocol Cigars Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) cigar is newest addition to the Protocol Cigars core line portfolio. This is the fifth Protocol Core Line release. It was announced in September 2020 and hit the Stogie Press lounge a couple of months ago. After an early summer rest in my humidor, the Cyber Crimes Unit was ready to go on a journey and show me what it has to offer.
Keeping with the company’s law enforcement theme, the Protocol Cyber Crimes Unit is done to honor those that protect the world from cyber criminals. The mission of the CCU Investigation squads are to conduct and assist in investigations where computers, networks, telecommunication devices, and other technological instruments are the vehicle or target for the commission of criminal acts against network resources critical to the function of corporate or government entities.
The Protocol Cyber Crimes Unit pays homage to co-owner Kevin Keithan and his day job. Kevin works in internet security. In the September press release, Juan Cancel said:
“Kevin is a great addition to Protocol Cigars. Ever since Kevin has stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight, we wanted to do a special Protocol Cigar line in his honor. I can’t think of anything more fitting than the Protocol Cyber Crimes Unit.”
The Protocol Cyber Crimes Unit is manufactured at the La Zona Cigar Factory in beautiful Esteli, Nicaragua under the watchful eye of Erik Espinosa.
The Protocol Cyber Crimes Unit has a blend described as:
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Rosado Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
The Protocol CCU is expressed in a single (6.5 x 48) Boxed Pressed Short Churchill vitola and is packaged in 10-count boxes similar to the rest of the Protocol Core Line. MSRP has been set at $10.50 per cigar and a box costing $105.00.
Before I get into the review, I have to compliment Kevin and Juan for the design of the box. With its bright lime green colors inviting you over, how can you not be attracted to this sitting on a humidor shelf?
For this review, I sampled three Protocol Cigars Crimes Unit cigars which I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Protocol Cigars Cyber Crimes Unit is cloaked in a smooth medium brown wrapper with a slight red tinge to it and a slight oily sheen. It has just a few veins running through the box pressed vitola. The cigar is packed well and feels firm to the touch with just the right give for a box pressed cigar. An expertly applied triple cap finishes the construction.
There are three bands that brand the Cyber Crimes Unit. The Primary band uses the standard Protocol logo design, this time with green highlights. The secondary band placed just below uses the same black, green and silver motif as the primary and declares this as the “CYBER CRIMES UNIT“. Finally a lime green footer band finishes the presentation.
As I ran the Protocol Cigars Cyber Crimes Unit under the nose, I detected a a distinctly pungent fermented leaf note along the barrel while the foot offered an inviting spicy fruit.
Slicing the cap straight across the shoulder of the cigar, I proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that I found to be just fine in restriction while gracing the palate with notes of light pepper, nut and fruit. This is a good one to cold puff a bit more and just savor before firing it up.
Using my double flame torch I warmed the foot to a even orange glow and drew in the first flavorful puffs of smoke that pleased the palate just as well as the cold draw. Follow along as I burn the Protocol Cigars Cyber Crimes Unit to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Right off the first lit puffs, I am presented with an array of notes including white pepper, floral, and a hint of cedar
- The draw is smooth and delivers a full volume of thick creamy smoke
- Black tea notes entice the palate
- Nut aroma wafts off the foot
- White ash forms on top of a wavy burn line
- Spice notes fill in the early profile
- Ash fell in small chunk revealing a flat burn but centered burn cone
- Light cocoa notes join the mix
- Spice and sweetness enter moving into the second third
- Slight off burn develops that requires a touch up midway
- Aroma shifts to a sweet cedar note
- Distinctive increase in spice
- Cocoa remerges near the end of the second third
- Nut enters in the final with a lingering spice
- Burns hot to the touch
- Medium Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 30 minutes
The Protocol Cigars Cyber Crimes Unit started with a delicious array of flavors right off the first puff including notes of white pepper, floral, and a hint of cedar al delivered through a full volume of smoke. The pepper was not harsh and the retro-hale was smooth and pleasant. I especially enjoyed the black tea notes early in the burn as it is a rare note for me. I found the flavors to be well balanced and as they transitioned it kept my interested throughout the journey. I also enjoyed the return of the cocoa notes deep in the second third and the ever growing spice. From a construction perspective, it had an early wave that eventually grew into an off burn that required a touch up to get it back on track and it had a flat burn cone when the ash dropped early. With the pleasant flavors and aromas I feel this is worth picking a fiver and I rate this a 90.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Touch Up Required; (-1) Flat Burn Cone