“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully” – I Timothy I:8
Can The Cubariqueño Guys Do It Again?
I had the privilege to spend a little time with the guys from “Cubariqueño Cigars” during IPCPR 2017. It was my first time into the show and as overwhelming as it can be for a newbie, I was made to feel like home hanging out with Bill Ives and Juan Cancel.
A relatively new small cigar company to the industry, Bill and Juan have succeeded in bringing all hits to the cigar world (Protocol and Probable Cause). The anticipation of the newest addition, the “Themis” was great for me. I’m more of a medium to full cigar smoker but I’m always looking for that Connecticut cigar that can give me a little more lightness without sacrificing flavor. I’m a bit cautious with a new Connecticut cigar as I’ve been disappointed many times. Wanting a flavourful cigar with a lighter profile can be difficult. There are many that are good cigars but lack the complexity and flavor that will hold my attention throughout the smoking experience. I wondered what these guys had created and was very happy when Juan graciously handed me my first “Themis” to try.
The “Themis” is a good looking cigar and you can see the influence of La Zona in the ribbon adorning the foot of the cigar. It is a simple yet classic look and adds just enough bling to the cigar to make one take notice just a little more.
I enjoyed the cigar while at the IPCPR but experienced a few “odd” tastes at first upon the light. Knowing that my palette was not at its best there (cigar overload) I was happy to take another home for this review. I’ve been waiting until I had a fresh palette and some nice sunshine in order to enjoy this smoke on the backyard deck (my favorite place to imbibe). So, wait no longer folks – here’s the “Queen Of Cigars” review of the “Lady of Justice”!
Both Juan and Bill are admittedly full strength cigar smokers, so the addition of a Connecticut to their line was surprising and exciting news. Juan Cancel sat down with me for a few minutes at IPCPR to tell me the story of the “Themis” and how it came to be. These guys are smart. They know their palettes and instead of just trying to come up with a decent Connecticut by themselves, they brought in their managing partner, William Agathis, to consult and help blend the Lady.
With the release of their new coffee line to go with their cigars, this was the right time to bring a Connecticut Shade into the fold and they did it right by getting another blender who is more of a Connecticut expert. The name of the cigar keeps with their law enforcement roots and pays homage to Lady Justice with the name “Themis”, the Titan God of Law and Order. The cigar was once again made at the Erik Espinosa factory, La Zona, in Esteli’, Nicaragua. With the help of La Zona’s own Hector Alfonso, Sr., the boys did a soft roll out of the cigar in May of 2017 with the “official” release being at IPCPR.
The cigar is a nice golden brown and is rich looking for a Connecticut. The label is an attractive gold and black and keeps with the “P” for their Protocol brand. As stated earlier, the gold ribbon at the foot of the cigar adds a nice classy touch to an already good looking cigar.
The construction is solid and smooth. The wrapper looks fragile but sturdy. The ring gauge, 52, is nice. Just big enough to be substantial but not clumsy for a lady smoker who might feel out of place with a big ole’ 56 or 60 ring gauge in their hands.
Wrapper: Ecuador Wrapper
Vitola: 5 x 52 Robusto ($9.69/stick) 10 per box
6 x 52 Toro ($9.89/stick) 10 per box
Touted as a “medium body with full flavor”
Draw and Light
I recently lost my beloved punch so I have been relegated to a Palio Cutter. It’s new so the cut is sharp and crisp. The cap is well constructed so the cut was easy and didn’t leave any frayed edges or unraveling of wrapper leaf.
The cigar has a nice smell and flavor on the dry draw. I expected cedar and hay which I did experience but there was an added coffee nuance that surprised me. Incidentally, I was drinking my morning coffee with this cigar so I was pretty happy to get that from the unlit cigar.
The filler was solid but not packed which alluded to a nice easy smoke without a lot of drawing work but a long enough smoke that I would be satisfied when I was done.
The “Themis” lit easily and the edges had a nice even burn right out of the gate.
I first noticed an abundance of nice white smoke on the first puffs. It was immediately full of flavor and creamy. The “Themis” that I smoked at IPCPR gave me a bitter taste right out of the gate before settling down and I was expecting the same. Obviously some time in the humidor took that away and I was pleasantly surprised by this new experience. I don’t know if the French Roast coffee I was drinking had anything to do with it but I certainly tasted coffee and it was like French Roast when I first started smoking this cigar.
There is a hint of the expected cedar but it is overshadowed by the creaminess and coffee flavor. I love my coffee with a lot of creamer so this was right up my alley. Add a dash of caramel and this is a flavor bomb right away. The ash was gray and stayed true to the creaminess with a creamy color insterspersed in the gray and black.
Going into the main event of the “Themis” I was wondering if the flavor would hold or fade out. What I experienced instead was an increase in creaminess and a nice smoothness that emerged with a taste of butter toffee mixing in. I finally understand the full flavor with a medium body description of this cigar. It’s a smooth cigar with a little bit of a bite.
The cigar continues to burn nicely and the burn line is even without retouch. The earlier described “delicate” wrapper is doing well and remaining intact. As I first observed, the cigar is not tough to smoke but provides for a slower smoke if one chooses to do so. Just right for a morning wakey wakey cigar!
The ash held nicely but tapped very easily. Not much to work at here. Just the flavors to sit back and enjoy so far.
Again I wondered if the flavors would start to die out as I went into the last third of the smoking experience. I was not disappointed to find out that this was not the case. It wasn’t until I got to the nub (yes, I nubbed it) before the flavors were dying out a bit. Until then, there wasn’t a lot of change in the flavor profile but heck, I wasn’t really wanting to move away from what I had been enjoying before reaching this point.
The only increase was in the caramel which came forward a bit more at this point. The creaminess and smoothness remained. The 6 x 52 Robusto certainly gave me enough to enjoy and it allowed me to finish my coffee with it in perfect union. I wasn’t left wanting more, but I was left wanting to buy some of these cigars to add to my Connecticut repertoire.
If you are looking for a Connecticut cigar that holds your attention, the “Themis” is definitely a cigar you should try. It isn’t spicey or peppery but it will get you awake and make you take notice. The mix of cedar, cream, coffee, caramel and butter toffee makes for a delicious blend. It’s like taking your favorite flavored coffee blend and making it into a cigar. It was unexpectedly smooth yet full flavored. In my opinion the best pairing is coffee (check out Layne’s for Protocol coffee) but I’m sure that a nice evening liquore would also pair nicely.
Overall Rating – 91
This was an unexpected win for me. I am a gal fan of the “Room 101 Payback” and “Espinosa Crema” in the Connecticut line of cigars so the “Protocol Themis” was up against some tough competition for me. However, it did not disappoint in the least and it definitely is going to be added to my very small list of Connecticut favorites. I graded complexity high but in the category of Connecticuts for comparison.
This cigar has enough flavor to not only be a morning / breakfast stick but also a night stick (ha, ha, get the LEO reference there – nightstick). I could see myself enjoying this as a last cigar of the night. Whether you want to wake up or fall asleep, the Themis is fully flavored enough to get the engine going in the morning but not so strong as to knock your socks off before going to bed at night.
Yes, brothers and sisters of the leaf, the Cubariqueño Guys did it again! Another winner from the Protocol Line!
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