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Cigar Review | Protocol Nightstick


” We wanted to follow up the extraordinarily successful Protocol K9 with something special for the Cigar Dojo community! We wanted the Dojo Nation to have a very memorable cigar experience, so we blended this beauty especially with them in mind! I hope you guys enjoy the Night Stick as much as we do; We actually love it and am sad that it will not be a regular-production cigar. I made myself a few extra because I know they are going to sell out fast!

– Juan Cancel, co-owner of Cubariqueno Cigar Co
A  med dark brown wrapper with a slight sheen on this  6 1/2 x 54 Toro Gordo. A show band with a hand seemingly waiving a nightstick towards you.

Cigar Dojo enthusiasts and stick connoisseurs alike swarmed and claimed all 500 Limited Edition bundles of 10 from Famous Smoke Shop. Both online and at an in -store release party.

Priced at $89.99 per 10ct bundle, the Protocol Nightstcick is comprised of an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper. The 6 1/2 x 54 Toro Gordo boasts both binder and fillers fron Nicaragua, including fillers from Condega and Jalapa. The Nightstick was manufactured at the La Zona factory in Nicaragua.


The Pre-Light

On Point is exactly how this cigar hits the eye. It is very inviting and makes you want to smoke it immediately. My patience was certainly tested early on, as I really wanted to see what the hype was all about. I tend to let any newer cigar rest awhile before lighting up as a rule. But, I had also heard from a few folks that the cigar needed a little time. Needless to say, I also had a few people rave about it. The quintessential yet cliche, “One person’s trash” ideal was ultra present in this case. The good part of course, is that I get to find out for my damn self!

Packed well and firm with a slight spring to it, this officer’s club is triple capped with tiny veinage along the wrapper. Is veinage an actual word? If not, you gon learn today! on the wrapper I’m getting an almost sour musk and faint leather. the foot is blessing me with chocolate, a raisin or fig like nuance and cardboard. Honestly, the cold draw is lack luster and not providing any real previews to the ProDojo Show. A generic baccy and that same cardboard from the aroma test are all that I can detect.

Packed well and firm with a slight spring to it, this officer's club is triple capped with tiny veinage along the wrapper.

First Third | Walking The Beat

Initial puffs from the Protocol NightStick were earthy and mineral driven with a hint of bitter cocoa. Already, I’m getting the impression that this cigar is carrying youth but has potential if the contents are allowed time to blend and marry. However, we are only a few puffs in so before I jump on the bandwagon, let’s see what comes.

It started slow but midway thru the first third, the spice picked up bringing the flavor along with it. There was a nice combination of caramel and raisin, parallel to a generic leather (pleather). The potent spice was a cinnamon and black pepper tandem coated with a touch of brown sugar.

This 6 1/2 x 54 Toro Gordo , boasting it's original band with a hand holding a nightstick is burning seamlessly for the first few puffs.

“Damn, Damn, Damn!” My 5 to 7 minute flavor explosion was short lived by burn and draw issues. The cigar kept dying on me and the burn/mascara line suffered right along with it. As I sit and pray for a revival, the room is filling with aromas of charred oak and leather.

Second Third | Ping Pong Smoke

Starting off with the coining of a new phrase: “Ping Pong Smoke”, the flavors of the Nightstick are going back and forth. Although this isn’t a new occurrence, this is the first time I named it. LOL! Basically, on one puff, I want to throw the cigar across the room into a wall. On other puffs, I want to rub the cigar against my chest and talk dirty to it. Actual flavors are consistent with the 1st third when they are on the good side of the ping pong table. At this point, it’s less of me talking dirty to it and more of the cigar just doing me dirty.

Ther burnline and flavors took a major hit as the cigar progressed. The ash was flaky from constant re-lighting.

I’m reassured of my original assessment and in agreement with a few of my fellow smokers that this collab definitely needs a moment to get right. It might even be really good by my next birthday. Ughh! It went out completely by the half way point after fighting with it and numerous re-lights.

Final Third | Go With Your Gut

Ther burnline and flavors took a major hit as the cigar progressed. The ash was flaky from constant re-lighting.

Lesson of the day is to trust your instincts. It got you this far in life. I literally re-lit this Nightstick at least 8 times. In any other case I would have tossed this cigar along time ago, but for the sake of this review, I kept fighting. Of course, the constant relighting, puffing and correcting destroyed any chance of getting back to the tasteful yet brief moment in the first third. And although the cigar isn’t getting ample time to heat up it is a complete sponge at this point. So soft to be exact that my fingers are imprinted in the cigar itself.

 Although the cigar isn't getting ample time to heat up it is a complete sponge at this point.  So soft to be exact that my fingers are imprinted in the cigar itself.

The closing flavors are wood and pepper balanced out by sheer frustration and disappointment. For the record this was my first experience with protocol and I have 2 more of these for later review, which I’m hoping and assuming will be better experiences. I try not to judge cigars on the first attempt but I also like to share my initial experiences with the Family.

Since my bout with the ProDojo collab, I was blessed with a regular production Protocol and I was very impressed and satisfied. This negative experience will not tarnish the image of either company in my eyes. Hell, I’m not even mad at the cigar because I will certainly be smoking it again once I feel it has had a decent amount of time in the humidor. I’m no expert or Cervantes, but my thought is that this NOT a blend issue but a time thing.

Thank you again for taking the time and sharing this experience with me. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback. Stay smoking and keep trying new things. Don’t be afraid to wander outside of your usual lane and be willing to give cigars that didn’t move you a second chance. There are many variables at play when it comes to what you can and cannot taste. On that note, I say Cheers and Salute to my Family of the Leaf!

Cigar Review | Aireyys “African Roots”

The words luxury, class, dapper and sophistication are a few that come to mind when talking about Mike Edwards and the Aireyys brand. The terms strong, determined, driven, hustle and Champion have been added to my description of what I see in this Brother today.

Some of us know Mike as the man behind the first Black owned cigar company in the UK. Many of us know him as the triumphant athlete posing with his cigar after being selected to rep Nigeria in the commonwealth games in Australia. Personally, I have a more simple memory of Mike. As a member of a huge Bearded Brotherhood and community (BeardedVillains), I remember getting messages from his company regarding beard oils and grooming products.

Fast forward to now and this Brother strikes me as more of a Global Ambassador. He is a fine example of how Beardos and Black Men are changing perceptions in different arenas.

A milk chocolate colored cigar with the Aireyys horseshoe logo on the light metallic copper colored band. Paired with some bourbon and chocolate pomegranates.

Today’s arena involves cigars and the craze of the “Monthly Subscrption Box.” Mike has partnered up with Brian from Privada Cigar Club to bring his exclusive UK stogies to the special members of this club. Let’s get into this experience I had with the “African Roots”. This is one of three cigars being offered from Aireyys.

A milk chocolate colored cigar with the Aireyys horseshoe logo on the light metallic copper colored band. Paired with some bourbon and chocolate pomegranates.

Pre-Light

The Roots has a rustic appeal visually. It is adorned with a light milk chocolate colored African Cameroon wrapper. There is a slight sheen and there are visible veins and seams. I cannot find the seam(s) in the rugged crown at the head of this cigar. There is a small crater in the foot with some leaf stem protruding, creating a sharp prickly texture.

I’m getting light tobacco and a good dose of a sweet musky aroma on the wrapper and foot. Also, on the foot, there is some wood, chocolate and a cross between bran muffin and bran cereal. Sorta like raisin bran without the raisins.

On the cold draw i got dry woodiness, oat cereal, hay and a very very light roast coffee.

First Third | Bran Muffins are Healthy?

A milk chocolate colored cigar with the Aireyys horseshoe logo on the light metallic copper colored band. Paired with some bourbon and chocolate pomegranates.

The initial puffs are very smooth and nutty with little blasts of that pencil shaving mineral character that plays with my nerves in many cigars. There is a trait in this cigar that has extended from the cold draw and I’m happy about it. Bran Muffin! My mind is like, “Yeah, it’s a muffin…but it’s a nutritionally packed muffin!” The smoke is smooth and thick with a heavy richness to it, even though this is mild experience so far. Also, the not so noticeable spice is like a secret stowaway on this ride. Through the nose, I can literally taste dirt and that is NOT an unwelcome earthiness.

The flavors are significantly muted towards the middle of the first third. Nothing is really standing out, which is a bummer considering how we started. I have been having some issues with the burn line and the rate of combustion. Nutty mineral is all that’s going on at this point.

Second Third | Searching for my Roots

A milk chocolate colored cigar with the Aireyys horseshoe logo on the light metallic copper colored band. Paired with some bourbon and chocolate pomegranates.

Although my ash was a bit flaky, it held on until right before the end of the first third. Unfortunately, I’m still not getting any real flavor transitions. The cigar is still very minerally and almost metallic at this point. I’m not getting the nuttiness anymore and I almost feel like my little battle with the pufferation rate could be a factor. The only other nuance fighting to be relevant is that bran muffin that i was starting to savor. But, it is being trumped by soil and metal. Ugh!!!

Alas, a little further into the third I was greeted by some citrus and toasted bread. However, its no match for the flavors that have been running the show. We still have thick clouds and a minimal amount of spice in the background. The ash and burn line haven’t been perfect but they require no corrective action. I have been looking for some sweetness to balance out the earthy mineral dominance but its only in the retro and at a peek-a-boo pace.

Final Third | Victory Lap or Nah?

A milk chocolate colored cigar with the Aireyys horseshoe logo on the light metallic copper colored band. Paired with some bourbon and chocolate pomegranates.

OK honestly, I almost didn’t make it to the final lap with the African Roots. The dancing around of citrus and the introduction of some light cream and burnt caramel kept me optimistic. Even with the consistently pleasant aroma, the toasty bread really needed an assist to coincide with with the sharp metallic earthy notes that have been dominating.

I can almost promise that this cigar will be a hit with some smokers in my circle but I can say respectfully, it wasn’t my jam. Especially at around $15 a stick. With the struggles to get the flavors I thought would move me, I will say this cigar ended on a higher note than predicted. Closing notes include warm toasty bread, white pepper, overpowering metallic mineral, a slight cream and some nuttiness. These are all obviously flavors that can work if balanced properly. With that being said, I have another that I’ll try a little later on. It’ll be paired properly with a good coffee on the redo.

Thanks again guys for taking the time to share my experience with the Aireyys “African Roots”. Although this wasn’t my favorite cigar, it’s one that I am proud of on many levels. Cheers to Brian “Privada” and Mike Edwards for bringing this level of dopeness to smokers worldwide!!!

Cigar Review | Patina Habano

Patina cigars are made at Mombacho Cigars S.A.’s Casa Favilli factory in Nicaragua. Creator and owner of the Patina brand Mo Maali, is also the National Sales Manager for the Mombacho brand. The Patina cigars are also the first time Casa Favilli used tobaccos from outside of Nicaragua.

The med plus to full Patina Habano has an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, and Nicaraguan and Pennsylvanian binders and fillers.

The med plus to full Patina Habano has an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, and Nicaraguan and Pennsylvanian binders and fillers. Also, they come packed in 16ct boxes, commemorating the number of steps on the stairway at Casa Favilli.

“When we flew down to Nicaragua to meet with the factories we had an idea of what we were looking for, but not necessarily a specific factory in mind. After we met with Mombacho, it became clear early on that ours and Mombacho’s visions and values were very similar…We wanted more than a factory that could produce us a cigar, we wanted to be a part of a family, and that sums up the relationship between Patina and Mombacho.”

This Patina Habano is sheer perfection to the eye. First off, its incredibly smooth, seamless and oily with a med dark leathery sheen. There is also a double cap and very tiny veins adorning the wrapper.

This Patina Habano is sheer perfection to the eye. First off, its incredibly smooth, seamless and oily with a med dark leathery sheen. There is also a double cap and very tiny veins adorning the wrapper. And again, I cannot find a seam here! absolutely Stunning!!!

The Aroma coming from the wrapper smells like chocolate covered socks, but socks right after you take your shoes off. To any new readers, don’t fret, these are good aromas in cigar language, LOL! The foot gives off chocolate covered nuts, wood and musky soil. The cold draw was medium firm with tones of hay, tea and wood. A far cry from the rich potent aromas on the wrapper and foot.

This Patina Habano is sheer perfection to the eye. First off, its incredibly smooth, seamless and oily with a med dark leathery sheen. There is also a double cap and very tiny veins adorning the wrapper.

First Third: How You Doin’!!!

Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m in love…I think. I’m immediately hit with a powerful yet balanced blast of spicy black pepper, sweet red pepper and woody nuttiness. I’m experiencing old leather, raisin and baking spice thru the nose on the retrohale. What an amazing start to the Patina Habano, with a perfect draw and an admirable cloud output. The smoke is not as thick as it feels but it is raging off of the foot.

Later on in the 1st third, I notice a slight metallic mineral flavor that isn’t off putting in this case because it’s balanced by the initial flavors. Also, there is a refreshing cream flavor floating around on the palate as well as the retrohale. I couldn’t have scripted a better introduction to a cigar.

I'm immediately hit with a powerful yet balanced blast of spicy black pepper, sweet red pepper and woody nuttiness. I'm experiencing old leather, raisin and baking spice thru the nose on the retrohale. What an amazing start to the Patina Habano,

Second Third: Habano Love

Just as I thought the spice factor had warn out it’s welcome, it came charging back at my palate and nostrils in the form of a black and white pepper grenade. A creamy cedar is leading the flavor parade at this point and the woody finish lingers on my tongue quite a bit. At the half way point, I start getting blessed with a hint of a dark cherry licorice like sweetness and some subtle warm baked bread nuances. I guess it’s also fair to say that the strength has reached full because I’m getting a head buzz!

A creamy cedar is leading the flavor parade at this point and the woody finish lingers on my tongue quite a bit. At the half way point, I start getting blessed with a hint of a dark cherry licorice like sweetness and some subtle warm baked bread nuances.

Final Third: Best Blind Date Ever.

Cedar, leather and cream are the contributing factors opening up the Patina Habano finale. Also, the flavor of white pepper is noticeable but not the spiciness of it. we’re at a smooth level of bonding at this point. However, I am still getting satisfying blasts of dried fruit and citrus in the nose. Before I reached nub territory, I clipped the head again to open the cigar back up a bit. I guess drooling over your cigar from sheer bliss will inevitably cause a little tar build up, LOL! This alleviated any bitterness from ruining our night together. I Put the cigar down in the ash tray for the final time with semi sweet creamy cedar coating my palate.

Cedar, leather and cream are the contributing factors opening up the Patina Habano finale. Also, the flavor of white pepper is noticeable but not the spiciness of it.

I can’t help but to reiterate how beautfully made this cigar is. It’s quite possible that I stared at it for at least 20min, admiring it’s craftsmanship. After thinking, I realize that Casa Favilli only puts out works of art, considering the Mombacho line. I’m on the verge of diving into both brands as I’ve sampled 1 from each, including this one. But, I can honestly say that I am looking forward to the experience!

I’d like to give a special S/O to my Brothers Shad Bates from Janus Tobak and Mike aka @EmojiStogies for providing all the Patina and Mombacho cigars in my humidor. I would also like to Thank you guys for taking the time to share another cigar adventure with me.

Don’t forget to register on iROBUSTO.com for up to date info, reviews and giveaways. Be sure to leave comments and feedback on these reviews so I can share your thoughts and opinion on the cigars I review.

CHEERS & SALUTE

Cigar Review | Emperor’s Cut: Natural Pleasurer

I became aware of the Emperor’s Cut brand after seeing them frequent my Instagram timeline and stories. Then I became intrigued with the look of both the cigar itself, and the simplistic elegance of the band. Later, I had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Willis, who handles Sales, Advertising & Marketing, Social Media and Business Development. He is also one of the founding Members.

Emperor's Cut

Our Story, Our Brand

This is a labor of love! Seeing people receive our product so well, has been a true Honor.” – Greg  Willis 

Greg explains how there were many obstacles while trying to get things going early on. FDA rules, finding the key people to work with, paired with all the stigma that comes with being a newcomer in the cigar game, were a few of the challenges faced. After some time, a Dream, some strategic planning and partnering along with plenty of financial investing, the Emperors Cut place in the game is being well established.

“Finding the best cigar is a never ending story. We’re focused on consistency at a great price point. we want to be a stable with our customers, not a fly by night cigar brand.” – Greg Willis

“The Players”

  • Darnell Streat – Is the Managing Partner and “Our Leader.” His background is in Business and Supply Chain.
  • Maurice Holland – Handles the Customer Outreach and Concierge Program.
  • Gregg Hurt – Handles Sales and Logistics and has an extensive background in international Logistics.
  • Robert Howard, MD, JD – Handles the Legal Affairs.
  • Greg Willis – Handles Sales, Advertising & Marketing, Social Media and Business Development with an extensive background in these fields.
  • Themille Bush – Handles Business Development and is a significant driver to the strategic partnerships and sales.

All are founding members with the exclusion of Themille Bush who joined the team later on.

“The Beauty of having so many experienced palates is that we could articulate clearly what we wanted to accomplish in a stick, and got it right with a few iterations.” – M. Holland (The Louisiana Weekly Newspaper, Aug 6, 2018)

“Natural Pleasures”

This 6.5″ x 52mm cigar is a finely rolled work of art with tiny veins and a leathery Snickers bar colored wrapper. It looks like a double cap and is firmly rolled with the slightest give to it. The foot is packed, while still showing some airflow.

This Nicaraguan puro is emitting an aged tobacco aroma from the wrapper with light soil, tobacco and cocoa powder on the foot.

The cold draw with a woody pencil shaving and a slight brown sugar on the palate.

The Emperors Cut is a dark brown leathery work of art, with seamless construction and a solid burn.

1st Third- Hello Emperor

The light medium draw creates ample opportunity to capture plenty of tasteful clouds. I am greeted with a delicate mix of brown sugar and black pepper anchored by an earthy, woodsy component.

The retrohale is generous with a prominent cedar followed by vanilla and a cinnamon/brown sugar nuance. (Note- At the 1in. mark, the spices of the cinnamon and pepper are slightly muted but still enjoyable.) The burn is perfect with a firm white ash showing off the craftsmanship.

2nd Third- Look at that Ashhh!

The Emperors Cut has a perfect burn with a solid white ash. Impressive construction.

A little roasted coffee and leather began to join the party but the original flavors are still at play. The cedar and brown sugar are trading places as if they were playing a game of leap frog. They take turns owning the spotlight while the earthy, mineral like flavors began to increase their presence as well.

While all these notes are doing their thing, a cream flavor is holding it down in the background. As far as the retrohale, some white pepper is noted as opposed to the white pepper and the leather is present in the nose as well. The finish is lasting longer and the strength is getting into the heavier side of medium.

Final Third- The Emperor Shows His Power

The Emperors cut has performed with grace. You can't help but to gaze at the simple yet elegant band as you take this smokey journey.

We’re getting to the muscle now, as the strength hits that med+ to full realm. A bitter espresso and what I’m gonna call a licorice note have stormed the party, demanding their respect. The minerally earth and cedar wood are still present. There are hints of molasses and a strong white pepper on the retrohale.

A common practice for me when smoking stronger cigars, is to clip the cap a 2nd time. Especially with Nicaraguan cigars, this removes the tar build up from the head. Doing this alleviates the bitterness and opens the cigar back up to it’s intended flavors.

And WOW! After clipping the cap, the bitterness was alleviated in a good way. I started getting a zesty citrus, followed by the cream and white pepper which aslo translated well on the retrohale. The leather at this point, comes and goes with various puffs. What a pleasurable surprise this cigar has been!

The Emperor's Cut Finale

“Emperors Cut is a lifestyle brand, synonymous with good times. The smoker defines the good time; we just want to be the stick that they know augments their fun!” -Maurice Holland (The Louisiana Weekly Newspaper, Aug 6, 2018)

I truly enjoyed this cigar from beginning to end. I was impressed with not only the taste, but the design of the cigar itself. This company also stands as a shining example of Elite African American owned boutique brands making waves in the extremely insular cigar business. I highly recommend giving this cigar a look. I’m certainly glad my curious nature led me to this experience.

Cheers to you all and thank you for sharing this cigar smoking experience with me. I’ll see you all again real soon.