Protocol Probable Cause Lancero by Cubariqueño Cigar Company

The Protocol Probable Cause Lancero is the first-line extension to Cubariqueño Cigar Company’s Protocol Probable Cause line. The Probable Cause was launched as in 2015 and was the sophomore release to Cubariqueño Cigar Company. Probable Cause introduced a San Andres Maduro offering into Cubariqueño Cigar Company’s portfolio. It is a blend and size particularly close to Cubariqueño co-founder Juan Cancel as it brings together his favorite cigar wrapper (San Andres) and his favorite size (Lancero). This past May, the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero had a soft-launch at Berkeley Humidor in New Jersey with a formal launch planned for the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero. I found the lancero format to be an excellent representation of the blend.

In terms of the roll-out of the Probable Cause Lancero, Cubariqueño took a similar approach in 2016 when it decided to increase its first-line extension, the Protocol Habano blend. At that time, the company released the Protocol Lancero with a May 2016 soft launch at Berkeley Humidor in New Jersey followed by a formal launch planned the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The Protocol Probable Cause features a San Andres Mexican Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan tobaccos. As with all Cubariqueño releases, the Probable Cause is made at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona SA)

Vitolas Available

The new lancero becomes the third vitola in the Protocol Probable Cause line. Originally Protocol Probable Cause was launched in one rounded size (robusto) and one box-press size (churchill). The lancero is another box-press offering.

The lancero is a 7 1/2 x 38 vitola. While box-pressed lanceros are not uncommon, there are very few 38 ring gauge box-pressed ones out in the market (most are 40 ring gauge). La Zona has also produced a 38 ring gauge box press with the 601 La Bomba Warhead III by Espinosa Cigars

The Protocol Probable Cause is offered in ten-count boxes. The lancero was recently launched in soft pack bundles.

Lancero: 7 1/2 38 (Box Pressed)
Robusto: 5 x 52
Churchill: 6 1/2 x 48 (Box Pressed)

Bundle of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero


The San Andres Maduro wrapper of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero has a chocolate brown color. Upon closer examination, there was some darker mottling present on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper had a thin layer of oil on it. While there were some thin visible veins, the wrapper seams are well hidden. The box-press has a Cuban soft-press style.

There are two bands on the Protocol. Each has a very modern-styled look to it. The primary band has a silver-colored designed background with dark gray trim. Prominently on the band are two interlocking modern-looking “P”s (one is dark gray, one is red – both have a “shadowing effect”). The text “PROTOCOL” is placed on the gray “P”. To the left of the “P” is the text “HANDMADE in charcoal-colored font while to the right is the text “LA ZONA” – also in charcoal-colored font. The remainder of the band has dark gray trim. On the far right of the band is the text “C.I.A.” (The last name initials of co-founders Juan Cancel, Bill Ives, and Bill Agathis) in white font positioned in landscape mode.

Just below the primary band is a secondary band. This is a thin band that is also silver in color with dark gray and silver trim. On that silver background is the text “PROBABLE CAUSE” is in silver font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As is pretty much the default for a lancero, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of chocolate, earth, and Maduro sweetness (what I consider to be a cross between dried fruit and natural tobacco). Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be excellent. At this point, I was ready to light up the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero and see what the smoking experience would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero delivered notes of chocolate, dried fruit, earth, and cedar. The chocolate and dried fruit became the primary flavors early on while the cedar and earth became secondary notes. Throughout the first third, the chocolate and dried fruit alternated in intensity. Later in the first third, a slight black pepper note surfaced in the background. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced an additional layer of black pepper with a slight cedar note mixed in.

During the second third, the earth notes made their way into the forefront. The chocolate and dried fruit notes receded into the background. Just past the midway point, the cedar and pepper notes increased in intensity. Toward the end of the second third, these notes closed into the forefront.

The last third saw the Probable Cause Lancero have an earthy profile with some notes of cedar and pepper occasionally prominent.  There still were touches of chocolate and fruit sweetness in the background. This is the way the cigar experience of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The Protocol Probable Cause Lancero scored very nicely with it came to burn and draw. The burn path remained straight from start to finish while the burn line remained sharp. In terms of the amount of touch-ups needed, I found the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero did not require an excessive amount. The resulting ash had a light gray ash that was on the firm side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.

Burn of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero

The draw also performed quite well. It had a touch of resistance which surprised me considering many box press cigars tend to be more on the open side. This made the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero an enjoyable cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

In terms of both strength and body, I found the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero to have a little more kick than the other two sizes in the line. The Protocol Probable Cause started out on the lower end of medium to full for both strength and body. There is a gradual increase in intensity in both attributes. I found the strength increased a little more rapidly. However, by the end of the smoking experience, I found both the strength and body to still be in the medium to full range.

When it came to strength versus body, I found both attributes started out evenly balanced early on. Toward the second half, I did find the strength had a slight edge over the body.

Final Thoughts

While Cancel has made known his love of both San Andres wrappers and lanceros, those who have followed me closely know I can be quite critical of both. At the same time, I felt Cubariqueño did quite well with a lancero size of the Protocol as well as the San Andres wrapped Protocol Probable Cause – therefore I was quite intrigued with what the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero could do. The good news is the Probable Cause Lancero comes through with flying colors. For the most part, this cigar is going to keep true to the flavor profile of the Probable Cause line. When compared to the other vitolas, I found the lancero to be a little bolder in terms of strength and body. I also found a touch more sweetness with the lancero.

The Protocol Probable Cause is a cigar I would recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast. At the same time, it’s nice cigar for a novice to move into a profile that is in the “medium to full” range. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again – and it’s one that’s box worthy.


Key Flavors: Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Earth, Cedar, Black Pepper
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium+
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Good


Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
Score: 92


News: Cubariqueño Cigar Company Announces Protocol Probable Cause Lancero
Price: $10.50
Source: Cubariqueño Cigar Company
Brand Reference Cubariqueño Cigar Company