BNB Cigars turns 15!

The one thing I regret about my years of living in Pa is that I did not
know or get to meet Vince Hill and visit BNB Cigars. The beauty of social
media is that it allows us to connect with people much easier. Vince has
been a great supporter of the Cigar Hawk brand, blog, and we have
developed a friendship via social media. Hopefully we get to hang out
one day soon and enjoy some smokes together. I could not be any
happier to see this event to celebrate 15 years in business. For those that
don’t know, Vince and BNB Cigars are hands down one of the best shops
for everything boutique in the cigar world.
I wish I could make it there for the
event because I know it will be amazing. Anytime Juan Cancel shows up
to an event, it’s a party of a different level. “Ain’t no party like a Protocol
Congratulations on 15 years and Cheers to many more!!

Message from Vince:
Starting tomorrow Friday 6/21/2019!!!! BnB Cigars is celebrating our 15th Anniversary
with a weekend packed with great events with some of our best friends
in the industry. 

Friday June 21st starting at 4 PM we welcome Erik Espinosa from
Espinosa Cigars and the owner of the La Zona Cigar Factory in Esteli,
Nicaragua along with Juan Cancel and the Protocol Cigar Gang for a
night of fun and great cigars. Great deals on all La Zona made cigars. 

Saturday June 22nd we welcome back our good friend James Brown
owner of the Oveja Negra Factory and blender of Black Label Trading
Company and Black Works Studio Cigars for an exclusive Blending
Seminar from 12-3 PM and a BLTC/ BWS Event starting at 3PM. James
produces some of the most sought after boutique cigars on the market
including our very own Flor de Cesar brand. This is a chance to get
some great cigars never available before ( NBK Lizard King and
Santa Muerte Barrio Santo) and ones that won’t be available again
including Factory Exclusives you can only get at the factory in Nicaragua. Also making a special one time return is the BLTC Redemption which
hasn’t been available in 3 plus years.

Sunday June 23rd we welcome back our good friends from RoMa Craft
Tobac for another great event featuring Danny Vazquez in his first
appearance at BnB. Our RoMa events are always a great time and a
chance for you to enjoy great deals on some of the best cigars available.
Our inventory of RoMa Craft cigars is second to none and we have a
large amount of their CroMagnon line which is going to be in short
supply until the beginning of next year. We will have some great raffles
on tons of RoMa swag and HTF cigars.

This is a don’t miss Weekend of events, great food, beer and raffles at
every event!!


Cubariqueño Cigar Co. announces the release of the Protocol Official Misconduct. The cigars are being produced at Erik Espinosa’s LaZona Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Protocol Official Misconduct will be available in a 6×50 format in boxes of 10. The name continues with the Protocol theme of Law & Law Enforcement as owners Bill Ives and Juan Cancel are police officers & Bill Agathis an attorney.

The blend consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers from Esteli / Jalapa. Kevin Keithan, National Sales Manager stated, cigars are being classified as medium plus in strength. Initial release will be at Cubariqueno’s 3 Year Anniversary event on May 12th at the Holiday Inn located in Clinton, New Jersey through Berkeley Humidor and pre-sales will also be available through initially. Cigars will begin to ship to retailers May 15th and head to the 2018 IPCPR this summer. Cubariqueno also announces a line extension in the Probable Cause line. Keithan stated that Cubariqueno has added a Corona Gorda measuring 5 5/8 x 46 to their portfolio. Those cigars will also be made available in boxes of 10 at the Anniversary event and will also ship to retailers on May 15th.

Official Misconduct Pricing –

MSRP- $98.90 per 10 count box

Probable Cause Corona Gorda Pricing-

MSRP- $97.90 per 10 count box

Probable Cause Lancero

Cubariqueno Cigar Company recently held a soft release of the newly added Themis, and the Probable Cause Lancero in May. Unfortunately I was out of town and could not attend the event but I was able to meet up with Juan Cancel and discuss the new releases. He was nice enough to allow me to try them before their official IPCPR release.

If you aren’t familiar with Cubariqueno Cigars, Juan Cancel or Bill Ives,you owe it to yourself to check them out. They released the Protocol, followed by the Probable Cause and now the Themis joins the ranks. The Protocol was released in a lancero version and it was Cigar Federations Cigar of the Year, and for good reason. With the success of that cigar, it only made sense to follow it up with a lancero version of the Probable Cause.

Cubariqueno is making a big name for themselves in a relatively short amount of time. Making their debut at IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans and working with Erik Espinosa and the La Zona Factory, they have come out swinging and it looks like they have no intention of slowing down.

I reviewed the Themis yesterday and I looked forward to the Probable Cause all night. It is a beautiful, warm, sunny day here in NE Pa and a perfect day to get outside and review a cigar. So let’s jump in here and see what we got.

Probable Cause Lancero

Blend Profile:

Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Factory: La Zona Esteli, Nicaragua

Size: 7 1/2 x 38 Box Pressed (Also available in 5 x 52 Robusto and 6 1/2 x 48 Churchill Box Pressed)



Right away the Red, Silver and Black logo and dual bands catch your eye and really work with the rustic look of the cigar. A nice medium brown maduro wrapper contrasts nicely with the artwork of the bands. There are some small veins, and tight seams throughout. You notice the box press on the slender, long body. This is a 38 ring gauge which is not often seen in a lancero. Most of the lanceros I have are a 40 ring gauge so this is a bit different. Overall, I really like the look of this stick. It has an open foot and a rounded cap.

20170611_104204-01[1] 20170611_104213-01[1]


The cigar is firm with no soft spots. I pick up notes of barnyard, dry hay, earth, light notes of chocolate and black pepper from the barrel and foot. I used a straight cut to open things up. The draw is nice with a slight resistance. I pick up earth, hay, and cedar from the cold draw.


1st Third: Once I get the foot nice and toasted, the initial draw reveals sweet cedar wood, some grassy notes, black pepper and chocolate notes. The first 1/4 inch is all about trying to process the many complex flavors I am picking up. It is a combo of sweet cedar wood, spice and sweetness. It is much like the larger sizes but dare I say…even better? The draw is open with the right amount of resistance, the burn is even, and the ash is holding on nicely. I am getting a nice amount of smoke from this cigar. I pick up notes of dried fruit about mid-way through the first third. There is a nice amount of pepper on the retro-hale. I am really enjoying this smoke so far.


2nd Third: As I move into the halfway mark, the pepper tones down but still lingers in the retro-hale. I pick up more of earthy notes mixed with a nice charred wood and that subtle sweetness that hangs around. This is a complex blend that really shines in this vitola. The blend stays consistent with the first third but a few notes change place from time to time coming to the forefront and then falling back. It makes it tough to put this cigar down because it is really good.


Last Third: More of the same notes make their way into the final third of this cigar. It is still mostly cedar wood, earth, some spice and dried fruit. I pick up a hint of chocolate from time to time along with some grassy notes. As I come to the end of this cigar, I am really enjoying it as much as when I first lit it. I nub this one after 1 hour 45 minutes.


Final Thoughts: I have been a fan of the Probable Cause since it was released and I have smoked both the Churchill and Robusto sizes a few times. This lancero edges them out for me because it really showcases the flavors of this blend and it works very well in this vitola. I was curious about the smaller ring gauge (38) and the cigars performance but that was a non-factor. This cigar was on cruise control with no touch ups, a nice open draw, and even burn lines. This cigar is complex, consistent, and delicious. It ended as a more medium-full strength, full bodied cigar. Tons of flavors that remained throughout the entire cigar but enough changes that keep you coming back to it. I would recommend this for anyone that wants to move into a more med/full experience but I think even the most experienced smoker would find this cigar highly enjoyable. Juan told me this was his new favorite cigar and I can see why. Sorry Juan but I am afraid a lot of people are going to buy this in bunches so you can’t keep them all for yourself.



**Note** I did not originally rate this cigar at the time of this review. I started the rating process later in the week and thought it was only right to come back and rate this since it is a 2017 release and I want to score it. 6/18/2017


Appearance / Construction: A really rustic, good looking lancero. The bands and artwork work very well against the wrapper and the construction was solid. I score this almost perfect at 19/20.

Performance: From start to finish this cigar was on cruise control. No issues at all with the draw or burn. No touch-ups were needed and the smaller ring gauge was a non issue. You can see by the pics that the burn got slightly wavy but not really enough to matter. I score this a 24/25.

Flavor: This is where the lancero version of this cigar really stands out for me. The flavors are just bursting as you move through this stick. Complex, rich and smooth. I don’t see how this cigar gets better. Perfect score of 25/25.

Overall Experience: I enjoyed this cigar as much or more than the original Protocol lancero and I wondered if I would. This cigar really stands out from the rest, for me anyway. Not to take anything away from the others because they are great. La Zona is doing some amazing things. I really enjoyed my time with this stick. I score this 29/30.

Final Rating: 97

100 – 97: A class of it’s own. Top of the summit.

I hope that you enjoyed this review. Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, reviews, etc here. I want to thank Juan Cancel for allowing me the opportunity to check out this great cigar before the official release. All I can say is, when these are available to you, Grab ‘Em by the P! These guys are making some amazing cigars!

Until next time friends, long ashes and full glasses! Peace.



Themis…Lady of Justice

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Juan Cancel of Cubariqueno Cigar Company last weekend at Famous Smoke Shop. It’s always great talking with the people that bring these great cigars to the market and find out some of the back story behind it.

William Agathis is the third man behind the brand and they set out to make a blend that was more to his liking, true to his Greek heritage, and his taste. Preferring a milder strength and having a more delicate palate, he went to work with Hector Alfonso Sr at the La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The outcome was the Themis. From ancient Greek mythology, she was the second wife of Zeus and is described as the “Lady of Good Consel”. You will notice the Lady of Justice symbol on the logo. Keeping true to the Law Enforcement theme that started with the Protocol (Juan and Bill both work in law enforcement), the Themis comes to the market at IPCPR 2017.

Protocol_Themis_by_Cubariqueno-Cigar-Company (1)

Juan told me they wanted a cigar that appealed to a larger number of people, because they are repeatedly asked if they have anything in the mild to medium range. Until now, the answer was no. If you have had the Protocol or Probable Cause you know this is true. I am not typically a Connecticut fan. Not to say that I haven’t enjoyed them or dislike them in anyway, I just typically smoke darker cigars. I always keep an open mind about any cigar and this was no different. So let’s jump in to this one and see how it turned out.

Protocol Themis:

Blend Profile:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan

Orgin: La Zona, Esteli, Nicaragua

Size: 5 x 52 Robusto (Also available in 6 x 52 Toro)


The look of this cigar is just really appealing. The medium tan color of the cigar really works well with the Gold foil bands and the orange silk foot band. The color combos really work perfectly with this cigar. The cigar has some medium veins, open foot, and a rounded triple cap to finish things off. I really like the look of this cigar.

20170609_114741-01[1] 20170609_114758-01[1]


I pick up notes of barnyard, leather, and cocoa from the open foot. From the barrel I get more barnyard, mostly dry hay, and earth. The cigar is light but feels firm throughout with no soft spots. I used a V-cutter and the cold draw reveals a nice open, airy draw. I pick up notes of earth, hay, and roasted nuts.


1st Third: Once I get the foot nice and toasted, I get a nice big pepper blast right out the gate. Juan told me about it and even with advanced notice, I did not expect that from this cigar. Being a big pepper and spice fan, this was a great treat. I also picked up some earthy, nutty, and woodsy notes but overall the pepper takes the forefront. I am getting a ton of creamy smoke from this cigar. About 1/4 inch in, the pepper is there but really tones down and becomes a nice, smooth mild-medium strength, full flavored cigar.


2nd Third: As I move into the second third, the transition into more of a woodsy, grassy profile starts to take shape. Not full on but it’s subtle and it’s a nice change. The grassy note flirts with an almost mint like taste. Like if you burned a mint leaf from a plant. Hard to explain but that’s what I got. The pepper note still lingers but blends very well with the other flavors. I pick up some cocoa at times and it just adds to the mix. This is a very complex Connecticut and I am having a hard time letting it rest. It keeps pulling me back to it to discover new notes. Performance is on complete cruise control. Draw is open and great, nice, even, slow burn, tons of smoke and the ash is holding like a champ.



Last Third: Closing in on the final third it transitions into a silky smooth, creamy blend that is more of a mild-medium strength but bursting with flavors. The pepper has really toned down and taken a back seat to the roasted nuts, cocoa/coffee, and sweet cedar wood. I am really amazed at how complex this cigar is and how well the notes just flow from one to the next.


Final Thoughts: This review was a bit different because Juan and I talked about the cigar almost a week before me trying it. He was absolutely right about it. This is a mild-medium, full bodied Connecticut that has that Protocol punch to it. Like I said before, I am not a big Connecticut smoker but I will have these in my humidor. I see myself enjoying these as a first cigar of the day with a cup of coffee or at an event as a great, light after dinner stick. I was a little concerned about loosing what I love so much about the Protocol and Probable Cause when I heard about them doing a Conni, but rest assure, it does not lack that Protocol kick. I am really amazed at how complex this cigar is and how well the notes just flow from one to the next. Nothing is out of place and the blend just works. Great flavor profile, great performance, great smoke. Very well done gents!

This cigar is great for new smokers or those that prefer a milder cigar, but it is complex enough for even full bodied smokers to enjoy. Yet another winner from Cubariqueno Cigar Company. The Themis completes the trifecta for sure!

**Note** I did not originally rate this cigar at the time of this review. I started the rating process later in the week and thought it was only right to come back and rate this since it is a 2017 release and I want to score it.  6/18/2017


Appearance / Construction: This is a beautiful cigar. The gold band really tie this cigar together and make for a great presentation. It is close to perfect. I score this a 19/20.

Performance: This cigar was on cruise control after I lit it. Slightly wavy burn but no touch-ups required and a nice open draw. I score this a 24/25.

Flavor: For a Connecticut to really get my attention and hold it there, it has to be a special cigar. This was complex, flavorful, full bodied, smooth and really just a great stick. I score this a 24/25.

Overall Experience: From the moment I set it up to take pics, this cigar really stood out. Once I got it lit and settled in a bit, it really began to show me what it was all about. Juan said it was a Connecticut with the Protocol flare and it was every bit of that. Certainly not your standard and I am happy to see a few really good Connecticut smokes hitting the market. I score this a 29/30.

Final Rating: 96 

96 – 94: Excellent cigar. In the hunt but just missing the top level. Worthy of more than a single for sure.

Total time was 1 hour 20 minutes. I paired this with water as I always do with a first time cigar. I see this cigar pairing well with coffee in the am or with a nice wine after dinner.

Speaking of coffee. If you like pairing coffee and cigars, then you will want to check this out!

Cubariqueño Cigar Company is excited to announce the release of three Protocol branded coffees in partnership with Layne Coffee Co. The Protocol Azul, Protocol Rojo, and Protocol Oro have all been methodically crafted to be paired with each prospective cigar. Cubariqueño Cigar Company teamed up with Layne Coffee Co., which is a ”small batch” specialty coffee roaster, because of their focus on quality and consistency. Working hand in hand with Layne Coffee Co., Cubariqueño cupped countless coffees in order to bring an experience which would enhance and complement each Protocol cigar. Each coffee uses highly rated specialty beans and is sourced from respected growers all over the world.


I want to thank Juan Cancel for allowing me to check out this cigar prior to their release and for always helping me spread the word of the blog. I always enjoy getting to hang out with you when I get the chance. We have to do some more Smoked Juleps and cigars soon. Can’t wait to review the Probable Cause Lancero next!

I hope that you enjoyed this review. I really enjoyed this cigar and I hope that you will check it out. Please feel free to share this on your social media pages. As always, I encourage comments, thoughts, or questions. Until next time friends, long ashes and full glasses. Peace!