If you’re a cigar smoker and you’re on Facebook or Instagram you must have seen or heard about the Jas Sum Kral brand, owned by Riste Riatevski. His first release, the Red Knight, took the internet by storm and not without a reason as that cigar is amazing. I reviewed the Jas Sum Kral Red Knight lancero last year, that means it was done with my old scoring system without a final verdict and last february I reviewed a maduro version, with a Mexican San Andrew wrapper that was made for the Minnesota Herf Connection and that one scored a decent 90. I already have a review drafted for the Red Knight toro and without saying too much, that one scored considerably higher than the Maduro and will be a contender for the Cigarguideblog Top 25 of 2017. Besides the Red Knight Jas Sum Kral has two more regular production cigar, the Zlatno Sonce and the CRNA NOK which means something in Macedonian but I haven’t mastered that language yet. Besides these three regular productions Riste also released a limited edition A size, 2 cigars in a coffin, called Seljak. A review of that cigar and of the CRNA NOK will also be published later this year.
Now I hate Connecticut Shade cigars with a passion and this Zlatno Sonce has an Ecuadorean Connecticut wrapper over an undisclosed binder and a filler that has some ligero, some corojo and some undisclosed other tobacco. At the Jas Sum Kral group on Facebook I expressed my hate for Connecticut Shade but everybody who smoked it raved about it and Riste was kind enough to send me a few samples so I could try them out for myself. Just like all the other blends, this cigar is made by Tabacalera New Order of the Ages, the factory of Noel Rojas, in Esteli, Nicaragua. Since I liked Riste’s two previous blends and liked all cigars from Tabacalera NOA that I smoked I hope that this 5×50 robusto can change my opinion about Connecticut Shade wrappers and you’ll find out if you keep reading, or scroll straight to the end of the review if you’re too lazy to read the whole review or too curious to wait my final verdict.
When I take the cigar out of the cellophane the closed foot is the first thing that I notice and I love closed foot cigars, there’s something about the look that makes the cigar so much more appealing. The next thing I notice is the quite strong aroma, that is deeper and stronger than most Connecticut Shade cigars, no hint of ammonia, just raw tobacco and wood, a bit like a walk though the forest in the summer after a rainfall but then with added tobacco. The construction is flawless, but that’s what I expect from Tabacalera NOA, where Noel Rojas stepped away from the classic male female rolling teams where the male bunches and the female applies the wrappers to a full female team and one male to put the cigar in the presses per 8 female couples, a very innovative move in the traditional cigar industry. The wrapper itself isn’t the most beautiful wrapper, but for a Connecticut Shade its good looking with just one big vein at the top of the cigar and a few sparkles from the minerals that the wrapper soaked up from the soil. And then the ring, I love the ring on the Red Knight and CRNA NOK, the ring on this Zlatno Sonce is exactly the same ring, designed by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim, but then white with golden print. So much detail yet without being too busy, it’s a piece of art.
I cut the cigar with my xikar double guillotine cutter. The cold draw is loose while I taste some raisin and pepper. Completely against my principles I used a torch to light the cigar and I taste a mild bitter coffee flavor with cedar and some spices. After a few puffs I also taste some sweetness but also that typical Connecticut Shade mustiness but just a little bit on the background. After a centimeter I taste mostly sugar with some cedar and a little licorice. The flavors are medium full and subtle. After a third I taste spices, nutmeg and cinnamon with a little bit of sweetness that is best described as chocolate sweetness. Halfway I also taste some salt and the typical Connecticut Shade flavor is gone. Towards the final third the cigar picks up in strength and I taste autumn leaves.
The smoke is full and thick with a good draw that is just a tiny bit too lose but still within reasonable margins. The ash is white and firm. The burn is great, almost completely straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? This is the best Connecticut Shade on the market.