"Not your father's Connecticut" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days. For a long time, a Connecticut Shade wrapper was indicative of a milder, mellower cigar, and many veteran cigar smokers viewed it as a sign of an entry-level cigar. In the past 10 years or so, the medium-full range has been the primary focus for most consumers, and therefore has been the first priority for manufacturers, old or new. About 3 years ago, this started to change, as manufacturers started creating blends using the wrapper with the aim for a more medium-bodied, full flavored experience. Now, many blenders are viewing this wrapper as a challenge, and are stepping up to the plate to put their own spin on it.
The Protocol Themis from Cubariqueño their first entry into the Connecticut market, and it does not disappoint.
Brand: Protocol Themis
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Factory: La Zona
Cigars smoked for review: 2
Cigars for review provided by: Cubariqueño Cigar Company
Note: For this review I used Cigar Federation's rating system
The Protocol Themis has a bright, slightly unevenly colored Connecticut shade-grown wrapper, which is smoothly applied, with moderate veining, topped with a striking brass colored gold band. The color of the band is reminiscent of brass shelled ammunition, fitting right in with Protocol’s law enforcement inspired theme. It’s a well rolled cigar, which is packed with tobacco, and has a heft in the hand. The wrapper smells of sweet honey and lightly of dry hay, while the foot smells sweet, and brings damp hay to mind.
First third: First light starts with honey and rich cream, with a dry white pepper spice. The finish is long, and dries the palate with a spicy white pepper note. The smoke is plentiful, and the draw is just about perfect. After a few draws, I start to notice the flavors of savory mushroom appearing on the retrohale. I’m a bit surprised by the strength, as it falls somewhere between medium-minus and medium, rather than being closer to the medium-minus mark.
An inch in, the cream has picked up, which transitions to bitter hay/paper flavor, and then quickly turns to a white pepper spice on the finish, which is still intensely spicy, but fades to a delicate spice for a long finish. The retrohale at this point is actually the opposite of the flavors on the palate. It starts off spicy, and finishes with sweet cream and savory mushrooms.
Second Third: The rich cream on the palate intensifies to a sweetened cream flavor, while the bitterness of the hay/paper flavor subsides, leaving behind a sweeter version of the dry hay. The honey flavor that came out of the gate has faded far into the background at this point, and the retrohale remains a spicy white pepper, with a savory mushroom finish.
Final Third: The honey sweetness makes it’s return as something closer to graham crackers, adding into the sweet cream and hay flavors. The peppery finish is transitioning towards a sweeter finish with notes of graham crackers. At this point, the retrohale is still as spicy as it was before, but is taking on some of the sweet cream notes, in addition to the mushroom notes, which intensify in the final third.
To my palate, this cigar hits what I see as the primary goal for Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars over the last few years. The body and flavors are approachable for a newer cigar smoker, or even as new smokers first cigar, but there is enough flavor and complexity that even seasoned smokers will be able to fully appreciate this cigar. While I thought it was going to be more of a breakfast cigar for me, I could easily see lighting one of these almost any time of day.
Tripp's Rating: 93 AKA “Box Split”