Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Size: 6.5 x 52 Box Pressed Toro
Today we take a look at the Protocol Confidential Informant.
Thanks to Alexander Gougher at Cigars International for the samples.
Production: Limited (5,000 cigars)
10 Count Bundles
Cubariqueño Announces Protocol ‘Confidential Informant’ in a joint venture with Cigars International.
They have been released to the Cigars International Super Stores. You need to reach out to a friend that lives near the locations and snag a favor. A friend of a friend will work too.
There might be a plan in place to release the cigar online at CI. No date set yet.
This is a sleek, smooth beautiful stick. A crisp box press. A wrapper that is the hue of caramel. No seams visible and only a few minor veins. The triple cap is spot on. The cigar is perfectly distributed without soft or hard spots. Plus, a simple straight forward classy cigar band.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Huge amounts of floral descend upon my nose. Plus, white pepper, milk chocolate, malt, lots of cedar, café au lait, some barnyard, very creamy, vanilla, nutty, summer melon, and buttered popcorn.
The cold draw presents flavors of caramel, milk chocolate, creaminess, white pepper, cedar, floral notes, fruit, malt, and barnyard.
The resistance of the draw is on the money so no need for my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool.
The cigar starts with a bang…Big creamy notes along with that subtle white pepper. A touch of milk chocolate, malt, and earthy tobacco elements.
Very smooth and relaxing. Not one of those cigars that smacks you in the puss from the get go. It is soothing and calmative. Mellow and subtle. So far, a perfect morning cigar blend.
Speaking of mellow and subtle…this ever happen to you? You’re in the hospital and the doc decides you need a catheter up your schmekel. You expect a male nurse to do the nasty. But, instead, a gorgeous young nurse practitioner along with 2 other young blondes studying and following the nurse practitioner around are there and you got more tubes and wires in and on your body than a 1958 IBM computer so you can’t move…And then she tells you to relax. It’s all you can do to not smother yourself with your pillow. Has this ever happened to you? Me neither.
I’ve only had these sticks for a little more than 2 weeks. I’m under pressure I’ve imposed upon myself to get a review out there while the cigars are still available…even though they may appear at CI sometime in 2020. Therefore, I’m working more on potential than where the blend is at during this early stage of home humidor aging.
Strength is barely medium. A little light in the loafers for my taste. But it’s early so I should shut the fuck up.
A bit of complexity is at hand. No real transitions at this early point. The finish is nice…leaving a lovely taste of sweet and spicy doused by vanilla ice cream.
The burn is hanging in there…unusual for me as I have earned the ire of the Cosmic Muffin when it comes to box pressed sticks burning normally.
The blend is slowly improving. Flavors move from nuanced and subtle to more pronounced and effective. The white pepper is perfectly balanced for this mild smoke.
And…I jinxed it. The burn is going wonky on me and needs some touch ups.
As I near the end of the first third, the strength remains the same. It’s missing the punch I like from a cigar blend. As the spiciness is in the background, I expected the strength of the tobacco to give the experience a kick in the arse. The blend, most certainly, is not going to become stronger with age.
Despite the lack of kick, the Protocol Confidential Informant is a tasty morsel. I believe complexity will come with time as it is somewhat devoid of it after just 2+ weeks of humi time.
My palate is working overtime to discern some real character but the cigar is lacking. I smoked one a few days after receipt and it seemed to show off more potential than it does now.
The cap is beginning to disintegrate on me.
If you’re a Connie man, then this is your baby. While not technically wrapped in Connecticut tobacco, it has those very mild characteristics.
I have lots of friends who love the Connie experience. I’m just not one of them…so this is about taste rather than an objective opinion.
I’m flummoxed trying to decide what the potential of this cigar possesses. I would hope with the proper aging, the flavors will become more influential. But right now, I’m only experiencing a mild cigar with some pleasant flavor notes.
I get my first real hint of complexity at this point. It was actually quite a leap. What a difference a few minutes can make. The creaminess is joined by some lemon citrus. The caramel adds a nice dimension. But it weighs more heavily on the sweeter side than the savory side. I see this as unbalanced for my palate.
The malt has been ever present giving the cigar a little heft. The chocolate is gone and so is the coffee. In fact, the first thing that comes to mind is a lemon meringue pie.
Fortunately, it appears that the flavor profile is not linear. The second third is where the blend begins to kick into gear. Spiciness ramps up some…giving the blend a little oomph it was missing in the first third.
Man, I’m hung over from Christmas yesterday. Hope you all had a lovely time. Charlotte bought me a new Hipshot bridge for my bass, a new winter coat, and two Russian hookers. She knows me.
The burn has not improved. Still a pain in the ass.
The ash is so delicate that it is on a mission to find my naughty bits every chance it gets. I don the Kevlar and hope for the best.
It is going to be 57 degrees here in Milwaukee today. It sets an all time high for around the last 150 years. I expect God will punish us by late January with blistering snow blizzards. I mean, what’s a year in Wisconsin without me or Charlotte not falling on black ice and ending up in the ER? I enjoy making the siren noise with my voice during the ambulance ride. They give me a Tootsie Roll Pop every time. I prefer a heavy pain killer but whatcha’ gonna do?
The Protocol Confidential Informant is so much tastier now. It is coming together beautifully. Flavors are bold for the first time. And the strength has morphed from mild to a solid medium. With the right humi time, I guarantee the cigar will start this way. I know this because I am Yogurt. I have the Power of the Schwartz.
Savory finally enters the picture. Notes of mild steak sauce, a general oak smokiness, the maltiness is joined up with some hop notes, and the tobacco is now singing to me.
Oy. The cap is disgusting. I try very hard not to disgust you with photos of saliva dripping caps but this one doesn’t like old man spit and is disassembling.
My Kevlar takes one for the boys. Ha. Take that, you evil cigar you.
I successfully clip a bit off the cap to disrupt your dry heaves when looking at my next photo.
A bit of nicotine enters.
The cigar does a turnaround and finds its complexity waning. It is now more linear. Too bad. The cigar is confused.
Based upon the futile act of predicting this blend’s potential, I find it might not be up to snuff for my palate. In the very limited info available for this blend, it does not mention the strength. It should have.
Thankfully, for a boutique blend, it isn’t expensive. If this was released as a $13 stick, I would be raining hell upon it.
The biggest impression I get is that really well aged tobacco was not used in this blend. You can always tell when a stick has been pampered with extreme aging. I truly dig Protocol. I think they are hugely consistent and produce great cigars. This ain’t one of them.
Now, CI designed the packaging which is uber cool. I laughed out loud when I opened the package. Truly unique. But I always worry when the packaging of a cigar is over the top as in this case. Remember the CAO Sopranos initial release? Those boxes that looked like shot up car trunks went for a bunch on eBay. But the cigar was shit.
Flavors have not reached a level that impresses my palate…and yes, I know more time is needed. But like most of you, you can tell the potential of a cigar when you first try one…we all do that so we can project how much humi time we should allow before we light up again.
For me, I need a stronger blend. The Protocol Confidential Informant is just too mild.
I believe 4 months of humidor time could fix all my complaints. The stick may still be mild but I’m guessing the flavor profile will be much more pronounced and interesting.
After this review, I expect Alex Gougher of CI to hire a couple guys with Hamas to visit me at 3am.
I find it amusing that this mild blend is now kicking out a bunch of nicotine.
The cigar, at this writing, is still available at the CI Super Stores in PA. Will be interesting to see if it is put into general release in 2020. Ives and Cancel of Protocol know what they have here. Hopefully, they can tweak it some before a broad release.
And now for something completely different:
It was my 25th birthday in February 1975. I was in London. Curved Air’s start of their British and European tour was to begin the following night in London for 20,000 fans.
To celebrate, my band mates and the members of the band Renaissance, took me to the famous Marquee Club. It is sort of the English version of the Whisky A’ Go Go. And it was right off Piccadilly Circus.
I had no idea who was playing that night. It turned out to be no one special. Figures. But I was surrounded by 25 of my friends so it was all good.
As soon as we got there, drummer Stewart Copeland handed over some writing paper. It was a letter to him from a friend at UC Berkeley where Stew spent a couple years. The letter was written on blotter paper. And the friend dosed the entire letter in his own mad scientist formula of LSD.
Stew ripped off a small piece the size of a dime and handed it to me. I took it and placed it on my tongue. Stew and Sonja insisted I down a giant 20 oz. beer right afterwards. And since I don’t drink, I got shit faced immediately.
We went into the room where the band played and within 15 minutes, I was flying on a magic carpet ride. I looked over at Sonja, who had her arms around me, and tried to speak but couldn’t.
She smiled the smile of the Cheshire Cat. She put her arm in mine and walked me out into the lobby where we found a bench to sit on.
Time no longer had meaning. We sat on that bench for hours. It seemed like minutes. The evening had come to an end. People were filing out and leaving. The 25 friends, who included the two bands, walked over to us. They heard what Stew had done to me and were laughing hard and doing tricks with their faces and hands to freak me out. They had not had their dose yet. I was hallucinating like a mother fucker.
Stew handed out the medication. Everyone took a piece. I told them they had no idea what was about to happen to them and they laughed at me. (I would have the last laugh).
We ambled outside with Sonja guiding me. Piccadilly Circus was crowded with night crawlers at 1am. Trying to get a few taxis to take us back to my flat was impossible. So, I let out a guttural yell, “TAXI!!!!” and I was heard from the other side of the Circus and came to our location. We all piled into 3 taxis.
Sonja and I were the only ones in our taxi that were heavily medicated. There were 4 others still trying to fuck with me and laughing…I kept pleading with them to stop…but even in my delirium, I knew that they had no idea what was in store for them.
It took about 15 minutes and we were home. We all went through the door while I heard voices asking, “What’s going on? Where am I?”
I laughed. I was already 4 hours into my journey and theirs was just beginning.
It was past 2am.
I sat in the living room staring at a freaky poster on the wall. I watched as the poster melted and took on odd shapes. I laughed hard.
A chick, who lied and said she had taken acid many times, walked into the living room where I sat alone. She had tears in her eyes. She asked me if it was always like this?
I replied, “No. It’s not usually this good.”
She ran screaming down the hall.
This huge group of people was dazed and confused and all having a good time…except for this chick who bragged she had done plenty of acid, but in truth, had never done it….so she began to bum out a small group of young men who became her caretakers.
And then I got stomach cramps. I didn’t know if they were real. And then a moment of clarity hit me and I ran for the bathroom. My flat was a basement flat in a several hundred-year-old building. No heat. And it was winter.
The bathroom was tiny and I could see my breath as I sat on the toilet.
This is something you never want to do….take a dump while high on acid. All my senses were concentrated on my asshole. I became my asshole.
But I made it through and ended up feeling much better and returned to the group.
Turns out, the misguided chick had left the flat to get some air in the frigid winter night. She was out there for a bit and began to freak out even more; so, she decided she better get back inside. Turns out, she had locked herself out and no one could hear her knock.
She stood out there for an hour and when someone finally went looking for her, they discovered her in a heap on the front door mat. She was brought in where she proceeded to vomit and cry.
She was bumming everyone out. I walked away.
The inside of that flat was like a circus with everyone doing something different to entertain themselves. Sonja found a lemon in the kitchen and spent several hours “walking her lemon.” My good buddy, Skip, accompanied her to keep her safe.
We were up all night. People began to file out around daybreak, heading to their homes. And hopefully, some sleep.
I managed to crawl into bed and slept….but with some amazing dreams.
Both Curved Air and Renaissance were to open in London that night. CA was made up of hardened Hippies. What’s a little acid? No biggie. In fact, Stew and Sonja smoked hash all day long extending the acid trip.
Meanwhile, the Renaissance boys couldn’t take it and had to cancel their gig.
And I got blamed for their cancellation. Not Stew. Me.
Management was furious. But then management was named Copeland so naturally I took the fall.
Annie Haslam, their lead singer, did not do drugs and was not at my birthday party.
She held me personally responsible and from that day forward, never spoke to me again. As we had the same manager, there were times I saw her in the hallways. I would say hi and she would turn her head and ignore me.
That was the last time I did acid. It was a great time and seemed like a good idea to go out on a good note.
We played beautifully that night with 3 encores.
The boys of Renaissance spent that night in bed…whimpering.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS