Cigar Line Analysis: Cubariqueño Protocol Probable Cause

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Line Analysis: Cubariqueño Protocol Probable Cause

Our Line Analysis articles allow us to compare the differences we found across the various vitolas and talk about which one each of us liked the best and why. These articles aren’t meant to go over the same content in the individual vitola reviews as you can just click on the links to each review below to read them in full.

The Cubariqueño Protocol Probable Cause line was released in July of 2016 and is a follow up to the original Protocol line which was released in 2015. The Probable Cause line has two vitolas, the Robusto (5×52 – $9.69) and the Churchill (6.5×48 – $9.89). The cigars come out of the La Zona factory in Nicaragua and are blended by Hector Alfonso. The blend consists of a Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and filler.


 Aaron Loomis


 Jiunn Liu

Aaron’s Thoughts:

As is typical, the pre-light experience was pretty similar between these two vitolas. A did get a bit of a sweeter aroma from the foot of the Churchill. Getting into the smoking experience, they both started off with wood, earthiness and pepper. The Toro had some cream and sweetness which the Robusto didn’t seem to produce. The pepper seemed to hang around longer for the Robusto while the Churchill exhibited some char. The Robusto strength level in the first third was slightly above medium while the Churchill was right at medium.

In the second third, the Robusto wood note transitioned to cedar early on while the wood note of the Churchill transitioned to oak fairly late in the third. Later in the third, the Robusto’s cedar did transition to oak. The Robusto continued on with the earthiness and had moments of toastiness and bitterness. The Churchill maintained its profile of earthiness, char and cream and added some minerality. The biggest gap at this point between the two vitolas is that the Churchill maintained its strength level at medium while the Robusto had bumped up to medium-full.

In the final third, both vitolas maintained their profile for the most part. The Robusto did heat up at times which changed how the bitterness or toastiness were presented. The Churchill was continually changing in the ratios of the earthiness and charred oak which really kept things interesting. The Churchill bumped up in strength to slightly above medium while the Robusto kept its strength profile at medium-full.

The Robusto’s burn was slightly less wavy than the Churchill, but neither were a concern and ash retention was similar for both. I prefered the draw on the Churchill as the Robusto was pretty snug the entire way.

The progression of flavor was similar for both cigars as the first third was the best and the second and final thirds were both a level down from the first. To me, the Robusto seemed to carry more strength, and whether it’s related to the draw or not, some bitterness. I found the Toro to have a better balance of flavors and strength along with a better flavor profile overall. With the Churchill only being 20 cents more than the Robusto, for my money, I’d go with the Churchill for the longer smoking experience along with the better balance and flavors. For those that like a little more strength though, the Robusto might be their choice.

Jiunn’s Thoughts:

Bill and Juan of Cubariqueño have quickly captured especially the social media cigar audience by storm with their freshman release of the Protocol. Smoking and enjoying through quite a few vitolas of that line (the Corona Gorda being a personal favorite), the guys had quite big shoes to fill in their sophomore release of the Probable Cause. Sporting a Mexican San Andres wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers and binder, I had hopeful expectations. Given the large number of cigar companies utilizing this wrapper, the big question for me was, could the guys create a Mexican San Andres that is truly a notch above the sea of San Andres already on the market? In an effort to answer this question, I will discuss the two vitolas in four aspects; pre-light experience, taste profile, construction and overall recommendation.

The pre-light experience of both the Robusto and Churchill were very similar. Both had an eye pleasing Mexican San Andres wrapper that showed a lively maduro wrapper with tooth. Bunch and roll was well done, cap applied in a neat fashion, veins well pressed and seams tight. The nosing experience for both vitolas showed good depth in earthiness and spice. Therefore, this is a tie. But the real discussion is in regards to how the vitolas smoked.

When reviewing my flavor notes, both vitolas hit similar depths in earth (dirt), wood, chocolate, spice and cream. The difference is, the Churchill had greater depth of sweetness in chocolate and cream, whereas the Robusto was more of a generic dry cocoa. In regards to a dirt type of earth, the Churchill was a bit chewy in nature, providing a damp earthiness, whereas the Robusto was more of a dry and slightly gritty earthiness. Both had the same level of spice in the sense that it was not overpowering, instead, more of a layered manner. Strength told the same story such that both were medium in nature. Quite a difference in body as the Churchill’s body was medium-full, providing a greater mouthfeel in a chewy manner. Lastly, the Churchill provided a more flavorful finish, long and lingering such that I didn’t want to take additional draws at times to continue the great after taste.

In regards to the construction of burn and draw, the Churchill was the winner. The Churchill’s burn was nothing short of amazing, providing rock solid ash marks and an even burn. The Robusto on the other hand failed to have the wrapper burn in unison, requiring two touch ups. Both the Churchill and Robusto had issues with the draw, being too tight. Perhaps the box press is the culprit on the tightness.

The clear cut winner here is the Churchill. The Churchill exemplified greater depth in body and mouthfeel, flavor intensities and cohesiveness. Although I still enjoyed the flavor profile of the Robusto, the Churchill offered greater depth in sweetness in combination of the spice and wood all wrapped up in a chewy smoke. Although neither vitola was all that great in regards to construction, the Churchill’s better performance in burn edged out the Robusto. For my money, I’ll have to hands down give it to the Churchill.

Aaron’s Choice:


Jiunn’s Choice:


VitolaPre-LightFirst ThirdSecond ThirdFinal ThirdBurnDrawOverallScoreCost/Point
RobustoVery GoodGoodAverageAverageVery GoodGoodAverage5.80$1.67
ChurchillGoodVery GoodGoodGoodGoodVery GoodGood7.20$1.37
VitolaPre-LightFirst ThirdSecond ThirdFinal ThirdBurnDrawOverallScoreCost/Point
RobustoVery GoodGoodGoodGoodAverageAverageGood6.33$1.53
ChurchillVery GoodGoodVery GoodVery GoodAmazingAverageVery Good7.73$1.28

To view the full review for the Robusto, click here.

To view the full review for the Churchill, click here.

Cigar Line Analysis: Cubariqueño Protocol Probable Cause

Aaron LoomisCigar Line Analysis: Cubariqueño Protocol Probable Cause

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