Back in March, Protocol Cigars announced its first exclusive limited release of 2022. The Protocol Hard Coal Detective, HCD for short is a collaboration with Breaker Cigars out of Shamokin, Pennsylvania.
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.
When we do these great projects we try to capture as much of the spirit of the shop we are releasing the cigar through as possible. The Hard Coal Detective is no exception.Juan Cancel, founder and co-owner Protocol Cigars
Breaker Cigars is named after a coal breaker, which is a coal processing plant which breaks coal into various useful sizes and also removes impurities from the coal. Shamokin is in one of the largest coal regions in Pennsylvania and is a coal mining town. Breaker Cigars’ logo is that of a coal miner smoking a cigar. Coal is in the blood of this shop and town, and that’s how the two companies developed the Hard Coal Detective.
The cigars come packed in 10 count bundles that use coal colored paper with an MSRP of $9.20 per single cigar or $92.00 per bundle. Hard Coal Detective comes in just one size, a 6×52 toro. Only 250 bundles were made and will not be released again. Like all Protocol Cigars, it was blended and rolled at La Zona Cigar Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The blend uses an Ecuadorian Rosado Oscuro wrapper, Jalapa, Nicaragua binder, and Esteli, Nicaragua filler.
We are all very excited about this project. Like the majority of our limited edition releases, we like to do them with smaller brick and mortar cigar shops. We are a small company that enjoys doing exclusive projects with smaller shops that would usually not have cigar companies doing exclusive releases for them. It’s is great to give them something special!Kevin Keithan co-owner Protocl Cigars
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado Oscuro
Factory: La Zona
Blender: Hector Alfonso Sr.
Number of reviewers: 5 – Jai P. (Jai) Chris M. (Chris) Angel M. (Angel) Joseph S. (Bearded Bastard) Randy B. (randobush)
Age: 3 Months
Release Date: April 2022
Contributed by: Protocol Cigars
Initial Impressions – Protocol Hard Coal Detective
“Medium brown in color with minimal veins it has tight visible seems. The cigar appears to be a large triple cap and it has a slight muted oily sheen. A little on the bumpy side.” –Angel M. (Angel)
“Roasted coffee beans, potting soil, barnyard. Barnyard is more at the foot, while down the length is very earthy.” –Randy B. (randobush)
“So far in the first third appears to be a fairly mild cigar. Pretty straightforward sweet tobacco and vanilla, no pepper spice that I can pick up. Creamy smoke output and plenty of smoke, the smoke is cool in temperature. So far, the cigars promising and enjoyable.” –Angel M. (Angel)
“Sweet, citrus laced cedar, smooth, earthy cocoa with a fair amount of black pepper and cayenne off the light. The spice mellows fairly quick, allowing a big, creamy natural tobacco to come through.” –Chris M. (Chris)
“Burn is razor-sharp, and is holding at 2” going into the 2nd third. Not a ton of transition, but a cayenne is coming in on the tongue, and retro now. This is an exciting development. The mouthfeel and smoke output are great. The finish remains at a medium plus. And just like that, I’m getting molasses & black coffee, and dark plum.” –Randy B. (randobush)
“Nutty, mineral with a meaty mouth feel.” –Joseph S. (Bearded Bastard)
“Lemon was added to the mix of flavors m, but it became a dry smoke.” –Jai P. (Jai)
“Ash still holding at 3” in, going into the final third. A soft sweet nougat, with a savory cayenne, and some baking spice, make for a nice finish, with black pepper coming in at the end. Finish is now long, midway through final third. The ash did not fall until I told it to fall. You heard that correctly.” –Randy B. (randobush)
Overall Impressions – Protocol Hard Coal Detective
“The draw is open but just a slight bit of resistance, making for an easy smoke, with each drawl you get plenty of smoke. If not for it going out multiple times I would say the draw was very good.” –Angel M. (Angel)
“An occasional minor touch up was needed. Other than that the burn was pretty steady.” –Chris M. (Chris)
“Smoked down without having to think about it too often. Good smoke output throughout.” –Chris M. (Chris)
Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 90
“An interesting flavor combination of red pepper and raw pumpkin finishes with lemon on the back of the throat.” –Jai P. (Jai)
“This one had a big start, and very quick drop. There wasn’t anything offensive about the flavors, but they all were quite plain past the initial flavor blast. The strength quickly passed the body as well, and was a bit much by the end.” –Chris M. (Chris)
“Overall, this was a good cigar, it started off better than it finished however. The flavors went from sweet tobacco and vanilla changing to a harsher sweet tobacco with the vanilla going away. The only other flavor transition I picked up was in the final third it gained a coffee and cedar taste. Had it not been for the issues of construction and the multiple relites it would have been much more enjoyable. I would definitely try this cigar again hoping for better performance as the flavors were decent.” –Angel M. (Angel)
“Great combo of flavors and I like the meaty mouth feel. Real good cigar.” –Joseph S. (Bearded Bastard)
“Really enjoyed this cigar and would smoke it again. Flavors, retrohale, draw, burn, construction, finish, smoke output….alll on point!” –Randy B. (randobush)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 76
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.