Distinguished Ruffians

Protocol 5 Families

Protocol 5 Families

Pennsylvania, Monday, September 14th 2020

Protocol is proud and excited to present a very special limited edition cigar called the 5 Families. This cigar is special because it marks the company’s first ever 6X60 cigar size. It is a project that is giving homage to the fundamentals of the company. The 5 families is a project to showcase consumer based cigar clubs. Protocol has chosen 5 Cigar Clubs that support the company and has again partnered with Famous Smoke Shop to release the cigar. 

Fat Ash was founded in 2014 by Dax Single and Brad Weidenhammer, but later rebranded in 2016 where they brought in David Papp. Fat Ash has over 2,700 members on their facebook group page. Protocol created a Fat Ash Cigar for them in 2018, which has grown to become a yearly release, with the latest installment being Fat Ash Year 3 in 2020. 

Smokehouse Gorillas was founded in 2017 by Al LaPeter. They have 1,300 members on their facebook group page. They consider themselves a HERFing Community. Protocol Cigars have done Smokehouse Gorilla events with the club in the past and maintains a great relationship with them. 

Distinguished Ruffians was founded in 2014 by Mitch Rockwell. Distinguished Ruffians have over 10,000 members nationwide and with 15 chapters, they are the largest Cigar Club in this project. Learn more about them at https://distinguishedruffian.com/

BOTL PA Chapter, Brothers Of The Leaf is a term we have all heard before and it is a testament to the brotherhood that is shared for the love of cigars. The BOTL movement has chapters in every state. The BOTL PA Chapter was founded in 2017 by Rick Riley. They have grown to over 1,700 members. 

Last but not least is the Sheepdog Cigar Club, founded in 2018 by Brian Peck. It is the youngest cigar club in this project, they have about 200 members and a facebook group. Sheepdog Cigar Club is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3). Sheepdog Cigar Club brings six distinct groups of people together (Police, Fire, EMS, Dispatch, Corrections, and Military).  However, Sheepdog Cigar Club members share two things in common, a passion for the fine art of hand rolled cigars and a dedication to public service. Sheepdog Cigar Club raises funds and collects essential supplies to support local Police & Fire K-9s Units. Learn more about Sheepdog Cigar Club and how to help out K-9 units at https://sheepdogcigarclub.org/ 

The 5 Families will go on sale on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 at Famous Smoke Shop from Protocol 5 Families1pm to 5pm, located at 90 Mort Drive, Easton, PA 18040. The event will be held outdoors with the Leaf Cigar Bar and Restaurant working at a 50% Capacity as per PA CDC/DOH Covid 19 regulations. There are 100 ten count bundles available. The blend is a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler. This vitola marks the company’s first ever 6X60 size. They will come in 10 count paper bundles with an MSRP of $99.99. The initial 100 bundles will be available at the time of the event. If there are any left, they will go on sale via Famous Smoke Shop: telephone 610-559-8800 starting Sunday, 10/04. Part of the proceeds of this event will go to Cigars for Warriors. While the FDA has put an end to cigar companies donating cigars to this incredible organizations, they have no say in monetary support. To learn more about Cigars for Warriors or to make a donation, please visit https://www.cigarsforwarriors.org/

“We are excited to do something special for these 5 cigar clubs that support us!” said founder and owner Juan Cancel. Kevin Keithan, owner added; “For this special project we wanted to do a special vitola. Everyone has been asking us for a 6X60 offering… so here they go, but they will go fast!” Nicole Patoki, General Manager of Famous Smoke Shop explained; “We are so happy to be teaming up with Protocol Cigars once again, along with these 5 phenomenal Cigar Clubs in support of Cigars for Warriors!” 

5 Families:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaragua 

Filler: Nicaragua 

Vitola: 6X60

MSRP: $99.99

La Sirena’s Original

La Sirena Original

So who knows about the La Sirena line? Yeah, me either (well maybe you did know about them but I didn’t). I’m not even sure how I got one but since it was something different I thought it would be good material for a review. Started in 2009 by “Arielle Ditkowich after a successful collaboration with Nestor Miranda and Miami Cigars & Co. Today La Sirena continues to be requested at many tobacconists nationwide rolled and sourced by Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory (La Sirena -Original), Plasencia’s El Paraiso factory in Honduras (La Sirena LT), La Aurora Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic (Merlion & Merlion Maduro) and Quesada’s MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic (Oceano) and more recently the Aniversario Especial 10th Anniversary limited edition vitola by Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos S.A. de C.V., Casa Turrent’s factory in San Andrés, Mexico.  La Sirena brand cigars are distributed nationwide and available at over 300 retail stores. The La Sirena is blended with a rare Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper and one of the three ligero leaf fillers utilizes Erik Espinosa’s “magic leaf”, which adds a layer of creamy complexity.” It boasts some pretty big factories for their manufacturing, let’s see how it holds up.

The wrapper has the color of tanned leather in color, there is noticeable veining and a slight oily finish. The seams are tight and the cigar has a fair amount of pliability when pressed between the fingers. It has the smell of fresh earth, dried fruit and a touch of brackish notes. This could be a subconscious smell caused by the name but I swear it’s there. The cap cuts easy enough causing no damage to the body. The cold draw is very easy with sweat dried fruit, bit of raisin and maybe anise. Again could be caused by the name, but it reminds me of sangria. Not saying it tastes like sangria its just what it makes me think of.

In the first half I picked up flavors of roasted nuts and toast. I had to re-light it a few times to keep combustion which is a bit of bummer but it could be due to it being over humidified however, it’s been in my humidor for 6 months and everything else out of it has smoked fine so, I don’t think that was the issue. The burn was fairly even and there was plenty of smoke. The draw offered little resistance making it easy to smoke.

In the second have the burn was much better and only required re-lighting twice. The flavors became more spicy on the finish. The flavor of nut is still there and a lovely creamy flavor. While the burn is a touch wonky there is loads of smoke production.

While the annoyance of re-lighting was there I did still enjoy smoking the cigar. I liked the draw and the full smoke production. The flavor is easy enough for anyone to not be overwhelmed by but still complex enough to enjoy. If you see it I would say give it a try and see what you think. Because of the burn problem I’m going to give it another try when I find them again and then update this article to reflect any new findings.

Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro

Binder – Nicaraguan Criollo

Filler – Nicaraguan Jalapa & Condega

Price: $7.50 – $8.00 depending on vitola

Website: Lasirena.com

Rating: 4.1 out of 5 pints (This rating will also be updated after smoking additional cigars.)

Henry Clay War Hawk

Henry Clay War Hawk

How can you talk about the Heanry Clay War Hawk and not talk a bit about US history. Henry Clay (1777-1852) was a pivotal person in America and American expansion. Clay was a Distinguished political leader (and obviously a Ruffian) whose influence extended across both houses of Congress and to the White House. Clay had come to the House as a War Hawk, a leader who vocally pushed his government to confront the British over its conscription of American seamen. In part due to Clay’s political pressure, the United States went to war with Britain in the War of 1812. The conflict proved crucial in forging a lasting American independence from England.

One of America’s most noted statesmen in American history, he was also known as “The Great Pacificator” and had the ability to arrange compromises that resolved three disputes between the states and prevented a civil war.  He ran unsuccessfully for President three times and lived in Lexington, Kentucky on his estate, known as Ashland.

During the end of the 19th centur one of the more popular premium brands of cigars was the Henry Clay Cigar.  Originally manufactured by Julian Alvarez in Havana and dating from the 1840s it is one of the oldest original Cuban brands.

In 1888, Alvarez sold his interest to Henry Clay and Bock & Co., Ltd., a British company, (Romeo y Henry Clay Bock y Ca Manuel Garcias Diaz y Garcia) that was part of the Tobacco Trust which is ironic given Clay’s dislike for the British empire.

The brand died out around the time of the Great Depression but in the late 1990s, the brand was restored and is now manufactured by Tabacalera de Garcia, in the Dominican Republic as well as Flor de Copán factory in Honduras.  The label on the box shows the original Henry Clay factory in Havana. But enough history lessons on to the cigar.

The look of the War has is a golden brown with a sneaky hint of green if the light hits it right. There is some light veining and some toothiness to it. The seams are nearly invisible and the body has ample give when pressed between the fingers. Although the wrapper leaf is thin it has great plasticity and does not crack easily.

The smell reminds me of damp earth with light spices and a lingering sweetness. The cold draw is easy with notes of nuts, cream and the earth that was found from the smell. The cap cuts easily causing no structural issues.

The first half is a mix of cream and spice at the same time with hints of charred wood and black pepper on the finish. I pick up a nice cinnamon spice on the retro also. The finish is long and the cigar produces plenty of bread like light weighted smoke. the burn is even and the ash holds tight until closing to break it off.

For the second half the pepper moves a bit more to the front but the creaminess remains and to me is the most dominating part of the cigar. Most intriguing to me is the subtle taste and definite aroma of cedar that adds to the smoothness of this cigar. The smoke production never fails to satisfy and the burn line requires no touch ups for the duration of the experience.

For my first time smoking this cigar I am very impressed in quality and overall flavor especially considering its economical pricing. I was gifted this cigar by one of the DR Brothers and look forward to finding more. I would place this cigar in the medium category but rich in flavor. If you have the opportunity to grab some I would highly recommend picking up several, you will not be disappointed. In 1898, Rudyard Kipling stated in his poem The Betrothed that: “There’s calm in a Henry Clay”. Not sure if he was referring to the man himself or the cigar but it applies equally to both.

Wrapper – Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder – Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler – Honduras

Price: $7.50 – $8.00 depending on vitola

Website: Altadisusa.com

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints