Back in February of this year, Protocol Cigars announced a new limited edition cigar aimed to celebrate their second annual Pool Party: Protocol Pool Party 2. This is a sequel to the 2020 original Protocol Pool Party (PPP). Like most other Protocol cigars, it is rolled at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Protocol Pool Party Year 2 marks the company’s barber pole cigar, meaning is has two wrapper woven together that resemble a barber pole. The Protocol Pool Party 2 or PPPY2 for short, comes in one size, a 6×52 toro with a rabito on the head. The two wrappers are Mexican San Andreas Maduro and Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade.
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.
The Protocol Pool Party Year 2 is not actually for sale, they were given out to the first 250 attendees of the Protocol Pool Party Event that was help in July. While there is no MSRP attached to the bundles of 10, the entry for the event went for $200. It also included SWAG, gators, and food and drinks.
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas, Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Factory: La Zona
Blender: Juan Cancel, Hector Alfonso Sr., Erik Espinosa
Number of reviewers: 5 – Sean F. (fullermaine) Matt Cade (CadeTNCC) Kevin A. (Kevin A.) Vance T. (Vance) Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
Age: 1 Month
Release Date: July 2021
Contributed by: Protocol Cigars
“This barber pole reminded me of a Justin’s peanut butter cup in color because their milk chocolate is darker than others. Looking at the cap it’s very well constructed with a short pigtail that seems to look like it could hold up well in shipping. This Toro is wrapped without any lifting of edges from the 2 different wrappers spiraling down, however it does have a noticeable soft spot an inch off the foot.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
“The aroma from the foot has hints of barnyard, cedar, peanuts and raisins. while the wrapper itself is primarily earth and natural tobacco. Prelight seems a little tight, with hints of cedar and walnuts.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“After gently tearing off the twisted cap, I don’t pick up on much of anything from the cold draw. Upon ignition, there’s a very dry black pepper note detected through the nose. The draw flavors consist of earth and just a slight sense of black coffee. Smoke production is impressive early on and the aroma pouring off the cigar is highly enjoyable. At around the one inch mark, a crisp cedar joins the pepper via the retrohale and a light toast appears on the draw. The burn line also started to grow uneven at this point so I touched it up with my small, single flame lighter and that seemed to do the trick… for now.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“The cigar starts off with quite a bit of black pepper spice, along with raisins, roasted nuts and espresso. As it transitions to the darker wrapper, the pepper and raisins are still there, and the espresso transitions to a bitter dark chocolate. Smoke output is moderate, and the draw is still very tight, requiring multiple puffs to get enough smoke in the mouth to detect the various notes. I gave the cigar a quick poke with my Perfect Draw tool, and the draw opened up slightly. Burn is wonky at about the one inch point. Not enough for a touchup, but close. Ash is light gray and on the flaky side. Strength and body are both in the medium full range.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“The 2nd third starts out on much better footing. The burn line almost fully resolved itself after my first ash, but by the midway point was wonky again. The profile is finally starting to open up and develop. Sweet cream, cocoa and cinnamon are the stars of the show at the top of the third, and by the midway mark I’m getting an incredible coconut cream. Unfortunately I finally had to give in and touch up the burn line toward the end of the third. The draw continues to be solid.” –Vance T. (Vance)
“At the beginning of the second third the cigar goes out on me and I’m forced to dump the ash and relight (I also clip the head of the cigar for the first time, having initially just torn off the twisted cap). Once the cigar is burning once again, a mineral component arises through the nose to join that black pepper and cedar. Draw flavors remain the same with earth and black French Roast coffee. A little before the halfway mark the overall strength jumps up into medium-full territory. I pour a large glass of reasonably priced (okay cheap) Cabernet Sauvignon in the hopes that it will bring out some of that sweetness that was hinted at when smelling the foot of the cigar earlier but no luck there… Before the second third is complete the cigar goes out on me again.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“Getting into the final third, the spiciness, chocolate and coffee notes have faded to the background. There are notes of dry grass, earth and a little bit of leather in the final part of the cigar. Burn has once again gone awry but again straightened without the need for a touchup. Draw has remained decent throughout, but still a little to tight for my liking.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“I will note that this barber pole wrapper has not failed once where as other parts have. Rounding into the last 3rd, 1175 is burning well & notes of slight black pepper, wood & charcoal dust that would woft in the air after opening a bag of briquettes. Now it’s starting to really burn hot & I had to leave 1.5 inches in the ashtray.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
“The draw was good throughout the smoking experience.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“Even burn off and on. Touch ups are needed. The grey-white ash flowers out making this a messy smoke.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)
“The cigar’s overall construction was not ideal with an uneven burn line and several occasions where the cigar failed to stay lit.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 89
“A messy ash comes with this cigar. Overall, an enjoyable smoke from beginning to end. Notes of nuttiness, hickory, sugar, and spice round this stick out. A cigar I’d want in my humidor.” –Sean F. (fullermaine)
“The inconsistent burn issues really hurt this cigar. I’m fine with occasionally touching up an uneven burn line but the fact that the cigar completely extinguished on me twice was a bummer. Having said that, when it worked, this aesthetically attractive cigar featured a nice medley of flavors through the nose and a consistent draw that gradually grew in strength throughout the smoking experience.” –Matt Cade (CadeTNCC)
“I am a huge fan of barber pole cigars. I really like how they transition through flavor profiles as they burn through the different types of wrapper leaf. This one had an initial transition from light to dark, and then really didn’t do anything else through the smoking experience. The flavors weren’t bad, there just wasn’t a variety throughout the experience, and the multiple transitions present in many barber poles was missing here. I would still like a revisit. Not a bad cigar, just not at the top of my list of favorite barber poles.” –Kevin A. (Kevin A.)
“This was likely the most challenging overall rating I’ve had to give since joining the team. The middle third was simply one of the best 30 minutes of cigar I’ve smoked this year. The unique, potent, balanced flavors were playing in perfect harmony and every puff somehow seemed to improve upon its predecessor. Unfortunately the first and final third underwhelmed. They certainly weren’t bad, just subtle to the point of unnoticeable. So, would I smoke this again? 100% yes. In fact I’m dying to know: was the middle third an anomaly? Was the burn line issue a one-off? If there’s even the slimmest chance I could experience, for a full 90 minutes, what I experienced at the halfway transition mark, I’d dedicate an entire shelf in my cabinet to these beauties.” –Vance T. (Vance)
“Would I smoke this again, most likely not. To many burn and construction issues. Also, having to let this cigar sit for 2 days to before smoking isn’t that great either.” –Allison T. (The Yoga Ash)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 78
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.