Coming up on seven years in business, Protocol Cigars is a small company that has built quite a collection of offerings. At the time of this review, it includes eleven blends in its core Iines and nearly 20 limited edition offerings. The limited edition offerings include single store releases and event cigars. Over the past few years, Protocol’s annual Pool Party has become a signature event. What started out as a backyard event has now grown into an organized annual gathering. In 2020, the company started including a bundle of event-only cigars as a part of the event ticket. 2021 saw the company release of the second exclusive cigar for the event, the Protocol Pool Party Year 2. What’s significant about the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar is that it is Protocol’s first barber-pole cigar. Today we take a closer look a the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar.
Below is a full list of the Protocol limited releases.
- Guadalupe (2017 – Berkeley Humidor)
- Protocol K9 (2018 – Famous Smoke Shop)
- Protocol John Doe Series (2019 – Berkeley Humidor)
- Protocol Night Stick (2019 – Famous Smoke Shop)
- Protocol Jane Doe Series (2019 – Berkeley Humidor)
- Protocol Confidential Informant (2019 -Cigars International)
- Protocol John Doe Series 2.0 (2020 -Omerta Cigar Company)
- Protocol Pool Party Year 1 (2020 Protocol Pool Party Event Cigar)
- Protocol 5 Families (2020- Famous Smoke Event Cigar)
- Protocol Jane Doe Series 2.0 (2020 -Smoke Inn)
- Protocol Paddy Wagon (2020 -Caravan Cigar Company)
- Protocol Coppers (2021 -Vintage Cigar Lounge)
- Protocol Cigars J Train (2021 – Caravan Cigar Company)
- Protocol Taser (2021 – Smoke Inn)
- Protocol The Law (2021 – Omertà Cigar Company)
- Protocol Pool Party Year 2 (2021 Protocol Pool Party Event Cigar)
- Protocol John Doe Series 3.0 (2021 Omertà Cigar Company)
- Protocol Battle Borne Cigar (2021 -Caravan Cigar Company)
- Protocol Jane Doe Series 3.0 (2021 – The Royal Leaf)
- Protocol Hard Coal Detective (2022 – Breaker Cigars)
Without further ado, let’s break down the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The barber-pole of the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 consists of two wrappers used on Protocol core lines. This includes an Ecuadorian Connecticut (used on Protocol Themis) and San Andres Mexican (used on the Protocol Probable Cause). The remainder of the blend consists of all Nicaraguan tobaccos. Production is handled out of the La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut/San Andres Mexican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: La Zona S.A.
The Protocol Pool Party Year 2 is offered in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro featuring a “Rabito” style pig-tail cap. The Rabito cap has been used on several offerings from Espinosa Cigars. As for packaging, the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 is packaged in ten-count craft paper bundles.
The Mexican wrapper used on the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar had a coffee-bean color with a slight amount of oil on it. As for the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, it had a classic light brown color to it. There were some visible veins across the surface of the wrappers. Both wrappers also had a slight toothiness to them. As mentioned the cigar has a short, thick pig-tail to it.
The band to the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 is aqua with the center part of the band having the look of the water of an outdoor pool. On the band is the text “PROTOCOL POOL PARTY 2”. The “2” is in a large white font. The “P” in each of the words is a Protocol logo in green, blue, and red respectively. The remainder of the text is in a white font.
As opposed to pulling the tail off of the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar, a straight cut was used to remove the cap and tail simultaneously. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of herb and coffee and was probably the most unique pre-light draw I have had on a La Zona cigar. At this point, it was time to light up the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar delivered notes of coffee, herb, musty wood, and cream. As the cigar moved through the early phases, some mixed pepper notes emerged. There was no dominant note early, but by the midway point of the first third, the coffee and herb notes as the primary notes. The wood, cream, and pepper settled in the background. The coffee and herb notes alternated in intensity with the coffee having a slight edge. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of pepper on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar, the coffee and herb notes continued to alternate in intensity. As the cigar progressed through the second third, the herb notes started to have the edge over the coffee. In the background, the cream notes diminished and had dissipated by the midway point. The wood and pepper remained in the background, and the pepper notes started to increase.
By the last third, the herb notes were now primary. The coffee notes fell into a more secondary role. The pepper notes were more prominent as far as the background notes went. There also still were some musty wood notes present. This is the way the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the burn of the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar maintained a straight burn line and straight burn path, the cigar needed frequent touch-ups to do so. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color to it. This was an ash that was on the firm side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar was open, but not loose. While normally I prefer a more resistance on the draw, this didn’t have any negative impact on the smoking experience.
Strength and Draw
The Protocol Pool Party Year 2 cigar has some firepower to it. This is a cigar that started out on the upper end of medium to full for strength and body. By the midway point, both attributes progressed into full territory. In terms of strength versus body, the strength maintained a slight edge over the body.
I’ve been somewhat critical of some of the Protocol limited editions in the past, but when it comes to the Protocol Pool Party 2, this is what I would expect from an event-only cigar. It smokes completely different than anything I have had from La Zona factory. Flavor-wise, I found this cigar also delivered very nicely. This also might be one of the boldest barber-pole cigars I have smoked to date. In the end, given this cigar is on the stronger side, I’d recommend this to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and be very happy to get a bundle of these at an event.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Herb, Musty Wood, Cream, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: n/a (included with event bundle)
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop