Since Cubariqueño Cigar Company launched in 2015, the company has slowly built a solid line of regular production offerings. Concurrently the company has also launched a series of small batch limited edition cigars. 2019 would be a year where Cubariqueño would release four such offerings. These four releases included Protocol John Doe Series, Protocol Jane Doe Series, Protocol Nightstick, and Protocol Confidential Informant. Since its inception, for the most part, Cubariqueño cigars have had a theme of law enforcement, and the 2019 releases have carried on with this theme. Today, we take a closer look at one of those offerings, the Protocol Confidential Informant. It’s a cigar that was exclusively released to Cigars International’s retail stores.
A confidential informant is an individual who provides useful and creditable informant to law enforcement. Sometimes the onfidential informant is known as a “CI.” Coincidentally, “CI” is also the acronym that is used for Cigars International, the retailer that carries the Protocol Confidential Informant. Typically recordings are made of the information provided by Confidential Informants. While it’s usually a digital recording these days, there was a time these recordings were put on video cassettes. The Protocol Confidential Informant cigars are packaged in a bundle that has a design of a videocassette. The bundle slides into a sleeve resembling the sleeves used on video cassettes.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Protocol Confidential Informant and see what this cigar proffers to the aficionado.
Blend and Origin
The Protocol Confidential Informant utilizes an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Production is handled at the La Zona factory, the manufacturing partner of Cubariqueño.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: La Zona
The Protocol Confidential Informant was released in one size – a 6 1/2 x 52 Box-Pressed Toro. The bundles are packaged in ten-count bundles. A total of 500 bundles were made available.
However, th packaging of the Protocol Confidential Informant lists the vitola as a 6 1/2 x 52 Box-Pressed Belicoso.
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Protocol Confidential Informant has a caramel color to it with a light sheen of oil. The wrapper is relatively smooth with some visible veins and thin wrapper seams. The cigar itself has a square-press design to it.
The band of the Protocol Confidential Informant is mostly black with a thick gray stripe on the lower portion. A black and gray Protocol “P” logo sits on the upper portion. On the lower portion of the band is the text “CI EXCLUSIVE” in black font.
A straight cut was used to commence the experience of the Protocol Confidential Informant. Once the cap was clipped, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The dry draw delivered a mix of earth, natural tobacco sweetness, and a slight floral note. To me, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Protocol Confidential Informant and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Protocol Confidential Informant delivered notes of milk chocolate and natural tobacco. In the background were notes of cedar, citrus, and black pepper. By the midpoint of the first third, the natural tobacco displaced the milk chocolate as the primary note. There was more in the way of sweetness of the natural tobacco. Meanwhile, there was a sharp layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
The second third of the Protocol Confidential Informant saw the natural tobacco notes remain in the forefront. There was a little more in the way of bitterness emerging with the natural tobacco. The milk chocolate, cedar, citrus, and black pepper were now joined by notes of classic wood. During this stage, the wood notes increased in intensity while the milk chocolate decreased in intensity. By the latter stage of this smoke, the wood notes joined the natural tobacco in the forefront while the milk chocolate dissipated.
The last third didn’t see much change. The natural tobacco and wood notes were primary. The cedar, citrus, and black pepper remained in the background – with the pepper notes having a slight edge by this point. This is the way the Protocol Confidential Informant came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While for the most part the Protocol Confidential Informant had a straight burn path and relatively straight burn line, this was a cigar that did require more frequent touch-ups to do so. The resulting ash was silver-gray with some dark speckling in it. This was an ash that was on the firmer side. As for the burn temperature, it was ideal. I did find this cigar burned a little fast – clocking in about a 65 minute average for smoking time. The quicker burn rate resulted in nothing more than a shorter smoke time.
The draw to the Protocol Confidential Informant was open, but not loose. This most likely contributed to the quicker smoker time for this cigar. The Protocol Confidential Informant also produced an abundant layer of smoke.
Strength and Body
The Protocol Confidential Informant is a cigar that delivered medium strength from start to finish. On the other hand, there are some deep flavors on this cigar making this a full-bodied experience. The body definitely maintained an edge over the strength. There was a slight bit of variance in the intensity levels along the way, but overall the Protocol Confidential Informant remained medium strength and full-bodied.
When it comes to the Protocol Confidential Informant, I consider it a tale of two cigars. The first half was quite enjoyable, but the second half was more ordinary. I found there to be a lot of nice flavors on the tongue, but the peppery retro-hale was a bit overwhelming on this blend – especially in the second half. When I look at Cubariqueño Cigar Company, this is a company that has delivered some home runs across its core-line. These core lines have given the company a solid foundation. However, when it comes to the small batch limited market, I’m not seeing the same caliber of products from the company. In the case of the Confidential Informant, it’s not a bad cigar, but not at the level of the core lines. This is a cigar I still would recommend to a seasoned cigar enthusiast – and it’s one I would buy and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Wood, Milk Chocolate, Cedar, Citrus, Black Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Value: Buy One
News: Cubariqueño Cigar Company Announces Protocol Confidential Informant
Source: Cubariqueño Cigar Company
Brand Reference: Cubariqueño Cigar Company
Photo/Image Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted