Thank you for stopping by! I’m Garrett Johnson — founder, operator, and content contributor of Smooth Draw Cigars. We are your number one source for hard to find boutique cigars, in-depth reviews, and cigar industry news. Happy smoking!
Cigar Specs and Brand
- Vitola: Toro
- Length: 6
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Strength: Full
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Before the Smoke
The wrapper of the cigar is very smooth and oily. Triple capped with flawless construction. Smells of barnyard and hay (typically when I get a barn smell out of the pre-light, it almost always turns to a rich cedar smell when lit.
On the cold draw, it’s very sweet, with notes of hay and macadamia nut. Now typically speaking, I’m not a fan of a very easy draw, I like a little give but not too much. On the other hand, I don’t like to work for it either like I’m drinking a thick milkshake (looking at you Braum’s). That being said, the draw was right on the money.
As soon as I took the first couple draws, there was black pepper and basil right away. At first, it was an absolute pepper bomb and I thought I was about to have to buckle up. Then after about five or six draws it mellowed out which allowed more cedar and nuttiness to be present on the palate. On the retro-hale, there’s minimal bitterness that you would get out of slightly burnt toast. Which by all means is not off-putting.
The initial spices I was picking up has now turned into a mildly spiced beef Jerky. I say that because when you first take the draw there are baking spices, but when you release the smoke from your mouth there are hints of sea salt. Shortly after, floral starts to set in. The best way I can describe floral is; try to imagine if a rose tasted as it smelled. You would think black pepper and sweet floral is an odd mix but typically when I smoke a medium to full bodied cigar, they always go hand in hand.
Spices are back in full swing, yet nothing overpowering. Just enough to bite the back of the tongue. Floral is still present, but now with more cedar on the backend. The saltiness I was getting earlier has evolved into more of a copper/metallic finish. The nuttiness and cedar were just enough to blend with the spices.
Final Duration: 2:08
Conclusion: This cigar is a medium-full body. Would pair well with a peaty scotch, bourbon, or an expresso. The Protocol is probably the closest thing you can get to a Cuban Bolivar Belicosos Finos due to its rich spices and floral essence. It brings value to the American consumer (who typically likes fuller bodied cigars) and to the European consumer (Who are known to enjoy lighter spices and heavy floral notes). I believe it takes the best of both worlds and blends them together to make an extremely rewarding cigar.