Cigar Review 

Cigar Review: Protocol Probable Cause Lancero


In 2015 two police officers, Juan Cancel and Bill Ives, revealed the industry’s newest cigar brand: Cubariqueno!

Launched nationally at the 2015 IPCPR trade show in New Orleans, Cubariqueno was created by two police officers, Juan Cancel & Bill Ives. The La Zona cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua is the chosen location where all Cubariqueno blends are created under the watchful eye of Erik Espinosa.

Cubariqueno’s freshman release is the protocol. Originally a single blend release, the Protocol Lineup now consists of 3 blends: Protocol, Protocol Probable Cause, and Protocol Themis.

The name “Protocol” actually has a pretty funny story behind it which founder Juan Cancel shared with us in our interview with him and Bill Ives this past IPCPR. Juan and Bill, who both serve on the Police Force, would always get together in the evenings for cigars and rum and good conversation. One evening, they ran out of their favorite rum, (Ron Zacapa XO), and Bill said to Juan “How could you run out of rum? It’s PROTOCOL to keep that stuff on hand!” And so, a brand was born!

Today we will be reviewing Cubariqueno’s strongest blend to date: the Protocol Probable Cause! And, because it is both one of my favorite vitolas and the latest addition to the lineup, we will be reviewing the Lancero!

Vitola: Lancero (7.5” x 38)

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Manufacturer: La Zona Cigar Factory

Pre Light: As I always do, I use a straight cut to remove the cap of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero, which clips easily without any damage to the cigar. The cold draw provides some typical Maduro notes of earth, pepper, and cocoa.

First Third: The Protocol Probable Cause Lancero starts off with a rich amount of black pepper which coats the palate and can even be felt a bit in the back of your throat. Right off the bat, you know this thing is going to be a powerhouse! The first third also provides woody notes and hints of cinnamon with a leathery note on the finish. The retrohale during the first third is both woody and spicy as one might anticipate. The Protocol Probable Cause Lancero provides a ton of smoke during the first third and maintains excellent draw and construction which is impressive, especially for a lancero! The cigar stands at a full-bodied, full-strength smoke during the first third and there are no indications of it mellowing out!

Second Third: The Protocol Probable Cause Lancero begins to develop a more complex flavor profile during the second third with notes of espresso entering the profile and the leather note becoming more prominent. Additionally, there is a bit of sweetness on the finish to balance out the rich, spicy, and perhaps slightly bitter notes which dominate the profile. The retrohale during the second third of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero remains spicy but also provides some notes of toffee, which adds a delightful dimension to the profile. Nothing changes in terms of strength, body or construction during the second third as it remains a powerhouse with excellent construction.

Final Third: To my surprise, the final third of the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero actually mellows out a bit and instead of changing, the flavors marry together and the cigar ends with a beautiful, rich, and smoky overall profile. At the end, the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero remained full-bodied and full-flavored even though the strength did tone down a hair towards the end.

Bill Ives and Juan Cancel were not kidding when they said this cigar was a powerhouse, it started off with a punch of pepper with plenty of strength behind it and didn’t back down until the very end. What I especially enjoyed about the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero were the balance in flavors and impeccable construction.

I would have been plenty happy to find such a full bodied cigar with great balance in flavor and I would have been equally as happy to find such a tasty lancero with great draw and construction, so to find both of these qualities in this cigar makes it a truly outstanding cigar in my book.


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