Protocol Official Misconduct Toro

I’ve been waiting 9 months. Nine long months. No, no, no…it’s not a new, bouncing bundle of joy, I’ve hit my quota, thank you. I’m talking about cool weather, or at least weather not considered so hot that the area around your underwear becomes a tropical microclimate. Ah, the September Solstice. Fall. I sense the eye rolling as you’re thinking, “what is up with this guy and the weather?” Fair enough, but as I gush over the promise of cool, crisp evenings, Friday night high school football and changing leaves, I pledge not to mention those popular lattes made from orange gourdes and spice. You know, sold at the place with the big green mermaid.

Enjoying or reviewing a cigar on a cool, Fall evening/morning is something I look forward to, so to kick off our first Fall review we turn to the guys over at Cubariqueno, LLC aka Protocol Cigars. Five years ago, in 2015, four self-professed “cigar nerds” checked one of the boxes on their dream list: create their own cigar brand. Five years and four lines later, the quartet can check another box: create a cigar brand that people really, really dig. While the lead team is made up of Juan Cancel, Bill Ives, Kevin Keithan and Bill Agathis, it’s the two former police officers, Cancel and Ives, that are the face of the franchise.

The Thin Blue Line and rule of law themes are manifested in their brand name, Protocol, and in their lines: Protocol, Probable Cause, Themis and Official Misconduct. One of the worst kept secrets is that all of Protocol’s cigars get blending and production help from Hector Alfonso Sr. and, one of our favorite blenders, Erik Espinosa and his La Zona factory in Estelí. After three successful lines, in 2018 Protocol launched Official Misconduct, a cigar some claim to be one of their milder sticks, but with the same tobaccos (different blend composition) as one of their previous cigars.

This will be our first Protocol smoke, so we’re hopeful all the buzz and social paparazzi surrounding their first three lines is justified. Largely unremarkable in appearance, the soft, oily, caramel-colored wrapper doesn’t disappoint. While nice and firm overall, there are some spongy areas especially down around the foot. The Ecuadorian skin is rife with leather, but with subtle floral and chocolatey essences. Conversely, the foot is all about chocolate with maybe just a hint of graham cracker. The cold draw is effortless and plummy leaving behind a raisinesque finish.

The bold, opening profile is as smooth as glass with woody notes in the nose and intonations of cream, oak, leather and cashews on the retrohale. The draw is deliciously savory as is the long, nutty finish. There’s a generous amount of black coffee and black pepper on the palate as our toro settles into a spicy oak and nutty persona. Complexity drops off midway but kicks back in with more body and spice in late transitions that feature cedar foundations with a flavor wheel that includes notes of dark roast coffee, caramel, nuts, earth and black pepper.

There was a noticeable, albeit momentary, paper-like aftertaste midway and a shallow runner emerged late requiring one correction. Combustion is solid overall and while it can hold a 1” ash at times, the ash is weak and prone to tumbling. She’s a fast burner for a toro (1:29), so pay attention or she’ll flame out. Overall, this is a bold cigar with a smoky disposition and while there’s a lot to like initially, late profiles offer nothing unique and it becomes harsh with ~2” remaining. I’d have a hard time parting with $10+ for the Official Misconduct, but I’d definitely keep a few around to pair with a non-peaty Scotch. – In Fumo Pax!

Recommendation: 5 Packer

Did you Know: Two of Protocol Cigars’ quartet of owners, Juan Cancel and Bill Ives, are former police officers.

  • Profile: Med-Full
  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length / Ring: 6″ x 50
  • Purchased: Online
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Production: La Zona S.A.
  • Blade: Xikar Xi1
  • Fire: Colibri Firebird
  • Price:$10.90 [Box $109]
  • Humidor Age: 1.5 mo.
  • Box: 10
  • Other Vitolas: Corona Gorda [5 5/8″x46]


Smoke Time: 1:29
: Effortless
Construction: Overall firm, but spongy in places; oily; lumpy; minimal veins; almost seamless; caramel appearance; soft to the touch; hold 1″ ash; good smoke producer.

  • WrapperLeather, floral, hint of chocolate
  • Foot – Heavy chocolate, hint of graham cracker
  • Cold Draw – Plummy, raisins

Tasting Notes:

  • Initial: Savory draw and profile with woody notes in nose; retro notes of cream, cashews and oak with hints of leather; long, nutty finish; black pepper and black coffee notes on palate; bold and smooth; settles into spicy, nutty core with lots of oak; spice level rising.
  • Transition: Still savory, but less complex; intermittent bitter, papery aftertaste; draw is more leathery with a mild nuttiness; nutty retro with notes of black pepper and earth; bold finish of black coffee and wood.
  • Transition: Cedar core with next-level spice; body lightens a bit with more complexity; retro features residual nuttiness with hints of caramel and cocoa; strong finish of dark chocolate and oak; getting harsh with 2″ remaining; smoky persona.

Complexity: Very Good
Balance: Very Good
Touch ups1
Combustion: Very Good
Weaknesses: Mediocre flavor palette; intermittent paper-like aftertaste
Recommendation: 5 Packer

Recommendation scale:

  1. Go-to
  2. Boxworthy
  3. 5 packer
  4. Yard ‘gar
  5. NR [No Recommendation]

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