Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Quadruple Ligero from Jalapa & Esteli)
Size: 5.625 x 46 “Corona Gorda”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $9.79 MSRP







Today we take a look at the Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company.
I received a single sample in my subscription to the Cigar Federation Cigar of the Month Club’s December package.

I’d like to preface this review with some amazing accounts. I’ve been in contact with Drew, Eric, and Bobby Newman. The three brothers that own J.C. Newman Cigar Company. Long story short, Julius Newman turned out to be my grandfather’s best friend. And the Newman’s confirmed this. Both men were from Hungary. Both men lived in Cleveland.

I met Julius when I was a young lad during my grandfather’s visits to California from Cleveland. I remember Julius. He was like my second grandfather. I have so many wonderful memories of both men. When they took walks, they let me hang with them, and while being under 10 years old, I was given a cigar to put in my mouth while they smoked theirs. I find this to be an amazing story. What are the odds? My grandpa passed in 1979. But I bet he is smiling a big raucous smile right this moment. I bet Julius is too. I wonder how long he waited for me to figure this out. LOL.

I got an email from Drew this morning and he is sending me two books. The first is a biography of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. called “Cigar Family, a 100 Year Journey in the Cigar Industry.” Written by Drew’s dad. And the second is a very rare autobiography by Julius Newman called “Smoke Dreams.” Only 10 copies are left and they decided that I’m close enough to being family to send me one. This is one of the most generous and kindest gifts I’ve ever gotten.

The Newman family with a painting of Julius in the background:

My grandfather, grandmother, and my father as a little boy. Circa 1927.

Factory: La Zona; Estelí, Nicaragua (Erik Espinosa)
Released May, 2015.
The press release says both sizes will be in the $7 range. Far from it. Both are in the $10 range. What happened?
Retailer page shows 26 B & M’s.

Blend received a 90 from Cigar Snob Magazine. When I visit the online magazine, there is nothing mentioned about this cigar.
This is a joint venture: Juan Cancel and Bill Ives. No dummies them, Cancel and Ives approached Erik Espinosa and managed to get their cigars produced at the La Zona, factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

According to
“2,500 cigars are being made in each size for the initial launch, and more could be made depending on the success of the project. The duo is also considering other sizes and different blends for future projects.”

Both sizes will be offered in 20-count boxes as well as ten-count soft packs.
The company’s name pays homage to Ives’ Cuban descent and Cancel’s Puerto Rican descent, as the word Cubariqueño is a blending of the two heritages.

The Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company is a very nice looking stick. Seams are tight. Nary a single vein. A flawless triple cap.
The oily brown wrapper has a reddish hue. And the wrapper is exceedingly smooth.
I like the “new construction” look to the cigar band. Every structural steel outfit in the world uses this kind of 3-D font for their logos. The white background has small striations that give it a very classy appearance. And the secondary band is cool but you nearly need a magnifying glass to read it.


Corona Gorda: 5.625 x 46 $9.79 MSRP
Toro: 6 x 52 $9.89 MSRP

From the shaft, I smell strong floral notes, spice, allspice, espresso, barnyard, and baking cocoa.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark bittersweet chocolate, spice, barnyard, floral notes, cinnamon, yeasty rolls, and allspice.
The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate, spice, oak, generic sweetness, cinnamon, and espresso.

I go back to my Katman approach to torching the foot. Lighting only the outside perimeter of the wrapper starting at a sixteenth of an inch and gradually increasing the burn to one eighth of an inch; thereby allowing the cigar to burn inwards towards the center instead of the other way around. I find I have much better luck with wayward burns using this method. But it takes patience; which I do not possess, to be able to hold the lighter like a laser while slowly turning the cigar.
The draw is perfect.
Billows of smoke fill the room. A wallop of red pepper smashes into my palate like a proton in the Hadron Collider.


More complex flavors: Chocolate, malts, coffee, cinnamon rolls, lemon citrus, creaminess, cedar, dried fruit, and other flavors so nuanced and subtle that the initial complexity hides them from me. I shall figure them out.

I wasn’t expecting this. Complex right out of the gate. Nice balance. And a long chewy finish. Of course, the corona gorda is one of my favorite sizes. It just seems that flavors are so much more intense. I’ve yet to smoke a 6 x 60 Gordo that has anything near the flavor intensity of a corona.

There is a mixed fruit element that I couldn’t describe earlier. It is very subtle. I can taste berries, summer fruit like peaches and apricots, and red grapes. Lot of lip smacking to discover those flavors. Only try this at home if you are a professional.

The burn line is dead nuts perfect. I turned my back on a sure thing because using the Katman method of burning the outside perimeter of the wrapper’s foot feels eternally laborious and time consuming.
But then one is rewarded with a perfect char line.

The Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company is a helluva achievement for two guys just starting out. Juan Cancel and Bill Ives struck gold with the Protocol. Kudos my brotha’s.
Transitions. Plenty of them.

Flavors change their lineup: Spice, caramel, peat, chocolate, malts (Chocolate Malt, Crystal/Caramel Malt, Peated Malt, Munich Malt, and Honey Malt (See Malt Chart), creaminess, fruit, honeysuckle, espresso, nuts, lemon citrus, cedar, and cinnamon.
The strength hits medium/full just about from the start of the smoke.

Smoke time is 20 minutes.
Flavors don’t let up. They keep pounding away. This little stick is like Rodan vs. Mothra



The Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company is a truly satisfying blend. This is my type of cigar experience.
Strength moves up to full body. Yeah, baby.

Thankfully, the cigar is packed solid and therefore; a slow smoke. I was concerned it might be a 20 minute review never having tried this cigar before. My fears have been allayed.
I hit the halfway point. Smoke time is 30 minutes.
The spice, creaminess, chocolate and malts make for a perfect Superfecta. (Had to look that one up).


This cigar is fucking killing me. I’ve got wood at a massive 3.8746” long. Not bad for being Jewish. Of course, what they don’t tell you about us Jews is that it may not be Gentile long but it is 4” in diameter. HA! How do you think they invented the bath stopper? Some of us even pierce them. See photo below. Charlotte likes to pull me around the bedroom using the chain. Good times.


The Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company is going to receive a very nice rating.
The transitions are all you expect in a high premium blend. It would have been nice if they stuck to the early publicized $7 range but even at $10, this is a good bargain for this quality.

Cigar Federation is the only online store I can find that sells this cigar. You can buy 5 packs and 20 count packs in the Corona Gorda size. In the Toro size, you can buy singles, 5 packs and 20 count packs. I’d love to have a box of these. Both in Corona Gorda and Toro.

There is way too much glue on the main cigar band and I must cut it off with an X-Acto blade cutting the wrapper in the process. Drat!
With 2-1/4” to go, the full body soars to full+++body.


The red hot spice is burning my tongue like cinnamon candies.
The entire line up of flavors burst into flames and lightning bolts come streaming from the foot.
Once again, I wish I was writing this review 50 years from now when they have invented Taste-O-Vision. I wish you could taste what I taste. This is a super marvelous blend.

I should have said Fuck it and just ripped the main cigar band off and the hell with the photos. The wrapper is suffering but on only one side. I’m able to glue the errant wrapper and fingers crossed.

Smoke time is 45 minutes.
The Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company has become a bona fide flavor bomb.


I could kick myself for cutting the cigar band. Even with gluing the wrapper, it has caused some major burn issues.
This cigar is masterfully blended. Every puff displays the passion that Juan Cancel and Bill Ives put into developing the blend.

This is a must purchase. After my review hits the newsstands, there should be a run on these cigars so I respectfully direct you to buy as many of the Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company you can afford. Who knows how long before CF is out and backordered?

With my CF 10% discount promo code (fedhead614), the three Toros came to $26.70.

The Protocol by Cubariqueño Cigar Company finishes without any harshness or bitterness. And is as cool as a cuke.
Get yourself some.



And now for something completely different:
Early 1980’s.

Remember Punk?
Remember L.A. Punk?
I do.
Remember the band “FEAR?”
The lead singer’s name was Lee Ving.


I had a couple of friends that were big time radio D.J’s in L.A.
They used to drag me with them when they interviewed rock stars for their shows.
One day, Jimmy, asked me to drive him to Hollywood to interview Lee Ving. We picked him up at the corner of Hollywood & Vine.
He got into my 1971 Datsun station wagon.
I asked Jimmy, “Now where?”

Lee Ving said to just drive around and do the interview in the car.
So Jimmy and Lee Ving sat in the back of my little station wagon. Jimmy turned the tape recorder on and the interview began.
We drove around Hollywood for two full hours.

Now FEAR had a scary rep. They were the kings of L.A. Punk. They were insane on stage.
Lee Ving was their lead singer. And he was twice as crazy as the rest of the band.


I was afraid he’d start tearing apart the inside of my car. I was sweatin’ it.

Now this guy was the funniest guy I had ever heard. Jimmy had to keep telling me to shut up while they recorded the interview because I was laughing so hard.
This guy was as normal as apple pie and it was all an act.

From there, we went to John Doe’s and Exene Cervenka’s house. They were the band “X.”
We all went in. It stunk to high heaven. They were major pigs.
Plates of two week old food were just lying around everywhere. Everything in the house was in disarray.
Jimmy interviewed Exene and John.

Even Lee Ving couldn’t stand it and said, “Phil. Let’s go outside and smoke a joint.”
We sat on the stoop and lit up. Lee just got funnier. And then I brought out some coke. Lee’s eyes lit up. We did some. I found myself actually rolling on the steps in front of the house from laughing. I couldn’t breathe.

Lee Ving loved me for “getting him.”
We sat there for an hour til Jimmy came out.

We then drove to the Whisky A Go Go. Lee knew the owner and we were allowed in. We sat at the bar. Just the four of us. We smoked. We drank. We tooted.

The next day, I woke up with my sides bruised from laughing so hard.
I never reported this story. I watched a special on the Hollywood recording studio “Sound City” last night and they showed FEAR recording. This made me remember.

I wish I had a photo of Punk’s biggest star driving around in the back seat of my shitty old Datsun while I chauffeured him and Jimmy.

My band, The Attitude, who had a hit with a remake of “Hound Dog,” and the flip side of the single made it onto the CD “The Godfathers of L.A. Punk.” You can still buy this CD from most online stores.
The skinny good looking guy playing bass is me.

The early 80’s was a lot of fun.



The Attitude: (Me on the right playing bass)
Attitude Protection Status


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5 replies

  1. “The Attitude: (Me on the right playing bass)”

    I had a shirt just like that in the ’80s. The stripes were green. My new girlfriend told me to never wear it again, so I wore it more frequently. The end.

  2. You had me at “Hadron Collider”. This sounds like a great cigar!

  3. Thanks for the review brother. I enjoyed reading it. The cigars are also available online at and the latest 90 rating is in this months Cigar Snob magazine. Not sure how there Internet site works. But Juan & I truly appreciate the rating from a true cigar smoker. All the best.

    ~ Bill Ives

  4. Bill and I thank you for taking the time to review our cigar. We know you have a vast amount of great cigars on the market to choose from. Thanks for taking a shot at us. The review and rating is extensive and well written. 95 is actually our highest rating yet. The reason for the price discrepancy from the press release until now was that was out release price. We decided to take a hit up front just to get the product out there. The second production run is more fairly priced. It was always our goal to offer our fellow cigar smoker a great cigar under $10. I hope that clarifies your question. Thanks again.

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