Cubariqueño Cigar Co. partners Bill Ives and Juan Cancel are both law enforcement officers, so it is not surprising when the names of their cigars all feature a law and order theme: the brand gets is name from the word that means “an official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state” while the Themis gets its name from the Titaness of law and order in Greek mythology.

Continuing this trend, the newest release from Cubariqueño is named Official Misconduct, which is defined as an “improper and/or illegal act by a public official which violate his/her duty to follow the law and act on behalf of the public good.” The new line was released on May 12 at the company’s third-anniversary party and consists of only one vitola so far, a 6 x 50 toro priced at $9.89 and packaged in boxes of 10.

Blend-wise, the Official Misconduct incorporates an Ecuadorian habano wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder as well as filler tobaccos hailing from both the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua. As with all of the Protocol releases, the Official Misconduct is rolled at the La Zona Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and the cigar started shipping to retailers on May 15.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Protocol Official Misconduct
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $9.89 (Boxes of 10, $98.90)
  • Release Date: May 12, 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Protocol Official Misconduct is covered in a rustic milk chocolate wrapper that features numerous bumps as well as multiple viens running up and down the length. There is a noticeable amount of oil present and the wrapper is sandpaper rough to the touch. The aroma from the foot is a combination of cocoa nibs, coffee beans, earth, leather, grass and black pepper, while the cold draw is full of strong barnyard, varnish, dark chocolate, earth, peanuts, anise, espresso and some significant spice on my tongue.

Starting out, the first third of the Protocol Official Misconduct is full of both strong black pepper on the retrohale as well as some extremely aggressive spice on my tongue, both of which do their best to overwhelm any other flavors that may be present. Having said that, I can still taste a few other notes, among them a strong peanut flavor at the forefront, followed by leather, bitter espresso, cedar and earth. There is a very small amount of sweetness present—albeit relegated to the retorhale—but it is just not strong enough to overtake the aforementioned black pepper that is still biting into the profile. Smoke production is well above average so far and both the burn and draw are performing very nicely through the first third. Strength-wise, the Official Misconduct has no trouble getting out of the mild category by the end of the first third, ending up just shy of medium by the time the first third comes to an end.

Thankfully, the profile of Protocol Official Misconduct begins to even out around the start of the second third, with both the black pepper and the spice receding noticeably. The dominant flavor also shifts a bit, from a creamy nutty flavor to more of a leather note, while earth, bitter chocolate, barnyard, hay, anise, nutmeg and cedar bring up the rear. As the pepper and spice recede, the minor sweetness from the first third continues to build, ending up becoming distinct enough that I can identify it as a honey note. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw continue to be fine, and the smoke production has actually picked up noticeably as well off of the foot. Not surprisingly, the strength has increased noticeably, easy passing the medium mark by the end of the second third.

Although the profile of the Protocol Official Misconduct changes very little in the in the final third, that is not a bad thing at all, as it has the same dominant leather flavor taking the top spot followed by other notes of earth, nuts, cedar, citrus, hay and barnyard. The honey sweetness is a bit stronger as well, while the black pepper and spice that were so overwhelming in the first third are a faint memory. The strength continues to build as the cigar burns down—ultimately reaching a point just below the full mark—and both the burn and draw give me no problems until the end of the cigar when I put it down with about an inch left.

Final Notes

  • As if the name was interesting enough, the word “Guilty” is printed on the backside of the main band.
  • While the draw was a bit loose on two of the three samples, the first cigar I smoked was noticeably underfilled and featured easily the worst draw I have had in a cigar in quite some time.
  • Not surprisingly, that one sample was easily the worst of the three in other ways as well, with so much of spice and black pepper assaulting both the palate and the retrohale that it was hard at times to actually taste actual flavors.
  • Editor’s Note: There was about a 20-point difference between the score of that sample and the other two.
  • There was also a new size of the company’s Probable Cause line released at the same anniversary party where the Official Misconduct debuted, a 5 5/8 x 46 corona gorda priced at $9.79 that is packaged in boxes of 10.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 32 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Protocol Official Misconduct, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. has them in stock while Famous Smoke Shop has them on preorder.
78 Overall Score

I enjoyed the first cigar I smoked from Protocol and was looking forward to seeing what the Official Misconduct brought to the table. While I found the first third of the new line a little hard to get through, the final two thirds rewarded me with a flavorful, nicely balanced profile that was much more pleasing on the palate. Yes, I liked this cigar more than the final score indicates—due to the first sample, which was most likely an outlier—and while not near as complex as the Themis, the Official Misconduct is a good blend in its own right, especially if you like a punch of spice and black pepper at the start of your smokes.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.