Protocol Cigars showed off the third cigar in their Lawmen series at the PCA 2021 trade show – Bass Reeves. Protocol Bass Reeves comes after 2019’s Sir Robert Peel and 2020’s Elliot Ness. Like others in the Lawmen series before it, Protocol Bass Reeves, comes in both natural and maduro wrapper options. The Lawmen Series is a more classic and traditional approach for Protocol Cigars than their typical colorful and flashy designs. The Lawmen Series is an homage to the men and women of law enforcement. We reviewed the maduro version last month, the Protocol Bass Reeves Natural is what we will be looking at today.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
Bass Reeves was one of history’s first Black Deputy U.S. Marshals. During his career in law enforcement in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory, Reeves made over 3,000 arrests. He was sworn in as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in 1875. Bass Reeves was also the inspiration for The Lone Ranger and Protocol has incorporated come of that into the design of the packaging. The white horse and silver coin are there because the Lone Ranger’s horse was named silver.
Protocol Bass Reeves comes in only one vitola, a 6 x 52 box-pressed toro. It is sold in boxes of 10 that sell for $119.50. The cigars are made at A.J. Fernandez’s San Lotano Factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua. The blend for the Natural uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, and the Maduro uses a Nicaraguan Dark Habano wrapper. Both have Nicaraguan binder and fillers.
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Sumatra
Factory: La Zona
Blender: Juan Cancel, Hector Alfonso Sr.
Number of reviewers: 5 – Sean F. (fullermaine) Matt Cade (CadeTNCC) James H. (Keikan Jim) Joseph S. (Bearded Bastard) Lauren S. (Lauren S.)
Age: 6 Months
Release Date: July 2021
Contributed by: Protocol Cigars
Initial Impressions – Protocol Bass Reeves Natural (Pre Release)
“The box-pressed cigar features an attractive medium brown shade wrapper leaf, minimal veins, and there is just the right amount of give when squeezed between two fingers.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“A sweet cedar note comes off of the foot along with a deeper earthy tone as well.” –Lauren S. (Lauren S.)
“There is just the slightest touch of unsalted almond on the cold draw. Upon torching the foot of the cigar, a very crisp, black pepper spice comes through loud and clear through the nose while the draw’s profile can best be described early on as coffee and subtle earth. To be honest, that full-strength pepper is so dominant that I had to really focus hard to pick up on any other flavors here in the early goings. Once things settle in around the one-inch mark, the spice downshifts ever so slightly allowing the coffee note to become defined more clearly and it is joined by just a hint of mineral. Construction so far is great all around.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“First light presents a near-perfect draw sweet cream and toffee, wood and a slightly hot red pepper retro-hale. Beautiful! As this cigar settles in, it becomes very smooth with the cream and toffee settling a bit with the wood (oak/cedar) moving forward. retro has smoothed out completely with just maybe a hint of white pepper.” –James H. (Keikan Jim)
“The cedar has begun to fade and earth has taken over. Slightly minerally earth, along with leather and oaky wood notes have moved this blend into a more medium strength. The slightest hint of a smoked pepper has also snuck in on the retrohale.” –Lauren S. (Lauren S.)
“In the second third, the mineral begins to present itself via the retrohale as well as becoming a more and more dominant flavor on the draw. While the draw’s coffee and earthy notes are still present although lessened, pencil shavings and unsalted popcorn have now joined the party. Surprisingly all of these flavors are working rather well together at this point. Construction continues to impress in all areas.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“The final third is very much the same as the second. Wood and earth dominate with a smooth retro. There is a slight char on the finish but it doesn’t detract too much from the experience.” –James H. (Keikan Jim)
“Once again, the black pepper notes don’t go away. The oak notes on the front end return to finish out this cigar.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)
Overall Impressions – Protocol Bass Reeves Natural (Pre Release)
“When I cut the cigar and saw multiple stems I was worried but the draw was excellent. A good mouthful of smoke each puff and an easy inhale.” –Lauren S. (Lauren S.)
“Had a few touch-ups, a bit of unevenness.” –Joseph S. (Bearded Bastard)
“A very veiny wrapper that doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment. A bit spongy in spots.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 93
“A very bland cigar. The black pepper notes linger throughout this cigar. Does have some subtle notes of dirt, grass, and oak. Not a cigar I’d go out of my way to find.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)
“This cigar’s journey is a tale of three sections as each had its own distinct flavor profiles which are admirable from a blending standpoint, to say the least. When you combine that vast array of flavors with great overall construction the end result is an enjoyable cigar that I would happily smoke again. Although if you ask me to sum up this stogie just one word I’d have to say it’s “interesting” above all other descriptors. But that’s not a negative by any means, I’ll take an unusual cigar over a boring cigar any day of the week. ” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“I would smoke this cigar every day. I think that pretty much describes my experience in a few words. Lovely!” –James H. (Keikan Jim)
“The flavors seemed to stay pretty consistent throughout, a good pepper hit but not too overpowering. Very enjoyable.” –Joseph S. (Bearded Bastard)
“I enjoyed the transition from a light sweet cedar start to more medium earth and leather to the slightly fuller smokey pepper ending. To me, this would be a great mid-morning cigar to get your taste buds kicked into gear. I couldn’t ask for much more from the burn or the construction and will absolutely revisit this blend in the future.” –Lauren S. (Lauren S.)”
Smoking Time (in minutes): 85
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.