Any ardent cigar enthusiast spending time on social media and following cigars would recognize the names Bill Ives and Juan Cancel. Since launching Cubariqueño Cigar Co. at the 2015 IPCPR trade show, the two police officers have become the face of lifestyle marketing in the craft cigar space. Between the music video-esque parties and constant engagement in the community of cigar smokers, they have given life and personality to the Protocol brand. From the Themis (the Greek goddess divine law and order) to Official Misconduct and Probable Cause, law references have always supported the theme of the Protocol brand—now entering its milestone fifth anniversary.
When the announcement came just before the 2019 IPCPR trade show that the team would be debuting Sir Robert Peel, it was a fitting way to create the next chapter of the Protocol story. While serving two terms as prime minister to the United Kingdom, amongst several other political titles, Sir Robert Peel is credited as the father of modern policing.
Sir Robert Peel Natural Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 52 (Toro)
- Price: $11.95 (MSRP)
Sir Robert Peel debuted at the 2019 IPCPR trade show in a single box-pressed toro vitola with two wrapper variations: Ecuadorian Rosado and Pennsylvania Broadleaf. According to Ives and Cancel, the project was originally intended to be offered only in a natural wrapper, but after smoking a maduro-wrapped version of the cigar that the La Zona factory had blended by mistake, the decision was made to bring both iterations to market at launch.
The packaging divergence is apparent upon the initial look of the box of this new Protocol. The cigars are packaged in brown wooden boxes that are more ornately shaped than conventional Protocol cigars, drawing the look of the bookcases of a statesman. Embossed in gold lettering is the name “Sir Robert Peel” over the notorious Protocol “P” in the form of a medallion, displayed in the top center of the box’s lid. This is flanked by three coins on either side, with a simple banner underneath, stating the company name, “Cubariqueño Cigar Co.” The inside panel boasts the full photo from where the bust on the band originated—Sir Robert Peel standing in his office, at his desk, with a backdrop of his bookshelves behind him.
The cigar is adorned with a double band and finished with a gold ribbon about its foot. The primary band is cream colored with a gold inlay that boasts a gold circle with the bust in the center; below it there is a name plate that states “Sir Robert Peel.” Above it is the Protocol “P” embossed in all gold. This overlaps the secondary band, which is all maroon with gold lettering showing a reoccurring “C” for the company name and the date “1892,” which was the year that Robert Peel established the London Metropolitan Police Force.
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The cigar is draped in a golden brown wrapper with a dusty, matte-finished look to it. The gold and maroon banding sets off the same colors in the wrapper to reveal a deep mahogany hue beneath the golden Ecuadorian tobacco leaf. The primary stem of the wrapper leaf is barely noticeable and only the faintest web of veins covers this virtually flawless leaf. Finished with a mild box pressing and nearly imperceivable cap seams, the rollers at La Zona crafted this cigar as artfully as it was designed and blended.
The unlit cigar smells of a musty barn with notes of sweet cedar and cherry wood. The foot has strong cabinet spices like that of sweet cinnamon and a touch of fresh-cut cedar that is bright and aromatic. Upon opening the head with a straight cut, more of the cinnamon and fresh wood flavors emanate, with a sweet floral character like that of rose buds and a sharp note of anise. The draw is just slightly snug, creating, in my personal opinion, a virtually perfect resistance.
The initial flavor after lighting is dominated by pronounced cedar, roasted walnuts, and medium-roasted coffee beans. The baking spices that were found in the pre-light aromas are not apparent. In terms of smoke production, it is good but not profuse. The cigar comes in at medium-minus in body and holds a consistent yet slightly wavy burn line that yields a solid, dense inch of ash.
It is just past the one-inch mark when baking spices and a dark chocolate note make their appearances in the flavor profile, intertwining with the already established flavors of wood and coffee. The cigar becomes a full-flavored experience against the medium body. A faint remanence of the anise that I picked up in the pre-light has now entered into the menagerie of flavors, in no way detracting from the other contributing components. All of these flavors are in good balance of each other and are detectable each on their own. These flavors are maintained for the first half of the cigar, building in intensity at a slow and steady pace.
As the cigar progresses, the fresh-cut cedar develops into more of a white oak that reminds me of an afternoon spent smoking a brisket. The strength of the cigar is now taking form halfway through, as I can feel the nicotine as a medium, euphoric sensation. The coffee and dark chocolate have now evolved into a milk chocolate note, highlighting a creamy texture that was not as apparent in the first half. Meanwhile, roasted walnuts, baking spices, and milk chocolate become the dominant matrix of flavor in the final third.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely. Likely with a rich brown ale or a porter as an accompanying component to the pairing. The full flavor delivery, complexity, and transitions alone make this a cigar that I will look forward to revisiting with frequency. Combine all of that with the price point, and this is a cigar that can be smoked morning or night on a daily basis.
- While a few minor touch-ups were needed, the cigar never went out and the construction maintained the preferably snug draw all the way through the experience.
- The slightly snug construction helped to keep the heat low while smoking, lending to the consistent flavor delivery until the end. This made for an easy cigar to keep you interested all the way to the nub.
- Flavor: Medium / Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- White Pepper
- Baking spices
- Milk chocolate
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Brown ale | Scotch | Medium-roast coffee (with cream)
- Purchase Recommendation: Box purchase (or more)
- Extremely vibrant flavor profile
- Variety of flavors that develop through various transitions
- Virtually perfect draw
- Missed opportunity to differentiate the more sophisticated experience as a separate line from Cubariqueño (i.e. a non-Protocol offering)
- Multiple touchups
- Cracked wrappers on some samples