Tabacalera Noa

Noel Rojas, Esteli, Nicaragua

Guayacan Maduro Robusto

In 2013 Noel Rojas, blender and owner of Guayacan and of the Tabacalera New Order of the Ages factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, showcased his Guayacan Maduro at the IPCPR trade show but the cigar never got released due to inconsistency in the tobacco. A year later, July 2014, he showcased it again in a slightly different blend with Nicaraguan tobacco and a Mexican San Andres wrapper and that cigar did hit the market. The cigar were made at the Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa factory, owned by Rojas back then before he moved on to his new factory after leaving the distribution deal with House of Emilio too. I met Noel in person in Esteli in May 2015 and his cigars are available on the Dutch market because of my involvement. I reviewed the Guayacan Habano earlier this year and I also reviewed some private labels made by Noel Rojas for others like the Kilo made for Barry Stein and Jas Sum Kral made for Riste Riatevski.


Before I got Noel a distribution deal in The Netherlands with my then (and now previous) employer Noel send me a few boxes of cigars as a sampler, most of which I handed out to my employer and some of our regular customers to get their impression but of course I kept a few for myself and in hindsight I should have kept more. The cigar that I’m smoking is a 5×50 robusto that comes wrapped in cellophane. Once I get the cigar out of the cellophane I see a beautiful almost very dark wrapper with a very fine tooth and my mouth starts to water as my brain thinks of a chocolate bar. There are no big veins visible. The construction feels good and the cigar has a pretty triple cap. The ring is also a piece of art, the edge of the paper is printed in a bright and beautiful gold, there is a black backdrop with a golden crown on top and a red banner with the brand name beneath the crown and a smaller red banner with ‘by Noel Rojas” at the bottom. In between there is a scenic picture of a tobacco barn and a tobacco field underneath a beaming sun. The cigar has a mild sweet aroma mixed with wood, I don’t smell any ammonia.


I punched the cigar and find the cold draw to be great. I taste dry raisin with pepper. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame. Instantly I taste coffee. It’s not a bitter coffee but a nice coffee with spices. Soon after chocolate joins the spiced coffee. The flavors are very dry, guess I need to drink a lot of water with this cigar. The flavors remind me of autumn.


After a third I taste wood, autumn leaves and a tiny bit of cocoa. The cigar still gives me a dry mouth. Halfway the cocoa changes into a flavor that reminds me of chocolate paste that you use on a slice of bread. There is also a little sweetness from the Maduro wrapper and warm spices. On the background I also taste some macadamia nuts. After two thirds the chocolate changes back to cocoa powder with the leaves and some spices. There is a nice pepper in the aftertaste without becoming to overpowering. At the final puffs I taste some nuts again with a strong pepper.


The draw is great, close to perfect. The smoke is medium thick and I would have liked to see thicker smoke and more of it. The burn is sharp and leaves a white ash. The ash is firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with a decent amount of evolution and a good balance.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like it but I like the Habano better.

Score: 92

92

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Categories: Guayacan, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Xiphos NR Habano

In my previous reviews of Xiphos I explained that the brand is made in two countries, and in the review of the Nicaraguan made Xiphos Maduro I promised to review the other Nicaraguan blend, the Xiphos Habano too. Well, here it is, a review of the Xiphos NR Habano Robusto.


The cigar is made with aged Nicaraguan filler, an Indonesian binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Only the wrapper is different from the Maduro, so if you really want to see what difference a wrapper makes, get both of these cigars and smoke them back to back. I have done this with a Studio Tobac cigar, two identical cigar and a skilled roller only changed the wrapper, it makes a huge difference.


The ring on this 5×54 robusto is exactly the same as on the other Xiphos made in Nicaragua, black with red and silver, only the text on the secondary band is different. The latte colored wrapper is smooth and mild oily. The cigar feels good, no soft spots and the cap is nice.  The aroma is quite strong and definitely a stable aroma.


I cut the cigar. I taste a fruity and peppery flavor is the cold draw, blackberry, and the only time I ever tasted that before in a cigar was in the original release of the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic. After lighting the cigar with a simple soft flame I taste a sweet toast with the blackberries I tasted in the cold draw. The toast turns to cedar yet the blackberry flavor remains and I like it. Halfway the cigar gets stronger, more spicy and the blackberry mellows out. The spice mellows out again.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. This cigar is medium bodied at most, smooth and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they will become more widely available so I can easily get more.

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa, Xiphos | Tags: , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman

Jas Sum Kral owner has his own two day cigar festival every year, Ristefari, and for the inaugural 2017 edition he decided to make a limited edition of his Red Knight cigar in a Salomon shape, called to soloman. Only 1000 of the cigars were made, 100 boxes of 10, and they were only for sale during Ristefari with a MSRP of $12. And I got two of them now, a gift from Riste.


When these 7×58 cigars were made, Riste still had his cigars made at Tabacalera NOA, owned by Noel Rojas. That partnership has sailed, Jas Sum Kral is now made in the small factory of Roniel Aragon, a previous employer of Noel Rojas who ventured out on his own. As for this vitola, Jas Sum Kral made it again but in a variation of the Zlatno Sonce blend for Ristefari 2018 and I reviewed the cigar last month.


I am not a fan of big ring gauges but in a shape like this I don’t oppose it. I mean, one of my favorite cigars is actually shaped like this. The wrapper is a tad darker than what I’m used to from Jas Sum Kral, it goes towards a dark chocolate color and it has a mild leathery look. The construction feels great, the shape is beautiful. The aroma is quite mild, woody and a bit soapy.


After cutting the cigar I taste a spicy peppery flavor with a perfect resistance. After lighting it’s pepper and coffee, earthy flavors. There is also a cane-sugar tasting sweetness. The sugar is getting stronger with cedar and pepper as support flavors. Secretly the cigar gains strength and I taste something that reminds me a bit of carrots. It’s not exactly carrot but it is similar. I tasted this a few times before in cigars, and I like it. The sweetness remains, the carrot disappears, it’s now a wooden flavor with some green leafy herbs, a little cinnamon and pepper. Little passed the midway point it’s oak with pepper and spicy green herbs, the sweetness is gone. The pepper grows and becomes dominant in the final third, it blows all other flavors away.


The draw is great, the ash is light in color, a little frayed and with clear rings. The burn is good. The smoke is medium thick, grayish and medium of volume. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That wouldn’t be possible.

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto

So far I have reviewed three different Xiphos cigars, an American boutique brand, all those three cigars were all made in Costa Rica. But Xiphos offeres more than just Costa Rican cigars, there are two Nicaraguan cigars in their portfolio too, both made at Tabacalera Noa from master blender Noel Rojas. The Xiphos NR comes in a Habano and in a Maduro wrapper and both lines come in three sizes, a 5×52 robusto, a 6×52 toro and a 6×60 gordo.


Both lines share the filler, well aged Nicaraguan tobacco and the binder, which is Indonesian, but the wrapper is different. Either an Ecuadorian Habano or a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. I have both cigars but today I’ll be focussing on the maduro. I will review the Habano too at a later time though.


The wrapper is dark and has even darker smears and spots. I see one thick vein on the back, about an inch and a half long. While the rings on the Costa Rican made cigars are silver and blue, which is a very Greek color scheme, the Nicaraguan made cigars have a blue and silver ring with red lettering in the same Greek style as the Costa Rica ones. The secondary ring is black with red outlines and red lettering saying maduro in a classic Greek font. The cigar has a dark smell of charcoal and manure. The cigar is well shaped, triple capped with a nice quite flat head.


I sliced a thin cap off with a Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste pepper and sultanas. After lighting I taste a full coffee flavor with wood and nutmeg. After a few puffs I taste a chalky vanilla sweetness with leather and cumin. Soon some toast turns up too. After a third I start to taste some pepper too. Halfway I taste pepper and chocolate with a little vanilla and toast. In the final third I taste the toast again but with a strong pepper.


The draw is great, the white ash is dense and firm. The smoke is white and quite thick and plentiful. The burn is good. The cigar is smooth, it starts medium bodied but grows to become full bodied and full flavored. There’s plenty of evolution in this cigar too. The smoke time is an hour and a forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If they were available in The Netherlands I would get a box. I even grabbed my nub tool to enjoy this cigar as long as possible.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa, Xiphos | Tags: , , , , ,

Guayacan Habano Corona

Years ago, on one of my yearly vacations to Florida, I was invited to visit Nestor Miranda & Jason Wood, whom I met at several Intertabac trade shows. I dropped by the office and met Barry Stein, a former cigar blogger turned cigar industry professional (like me) as the multimedia guy for Miami Cigar & Co. and we developed a friendship. Barry left the company and decided to re-release his own cigar brand he was working on before he joined Miami Cigar & Co. named Kilo. I read about this on Barry’s Facebook I think March or April of 2015 so I send Barry a message asking him who’s making it. Barry’s reply was “since I haven’t announced it yet, I won’t tell but its made in Esteli” to which I reply “That’s why I’m asking, I’ll be there soon and hopefully I can mooch some as they won’t be available in The Netherlands”. So after promising I wouldn’t disclose the factory before Barry did it himself he said it was Noel Rojas, whom I never heard of by that time but Barry praised him for his blending skills. Barry got me in touch with Noel and after a few calls and text messages we made an appointment in Esteli during my stay there where Noel handed me a bundle of Kilo and Barry asked me to send pictures of the cigars with rings as he had seen the rings and smoked the cigar but never seen them together. Call me a geek, but I think it’s cool to see the finalized product before the brand owner sees it. By the way, by the time you’re reading this: Barry is now working for 2 guys smoke shop and the cigar authority and has sold the Kilo name.


So I meet up with Noel, he shows me his factory Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa, which is now his old factory as he built a new one with his business partner called Tabacalera New Order of the Ages aka NOA, we go to dinner at Restaurant Cohifer in downtown Esteli and we talk about the possibilities for Noel’s brands in The Netherlands and Belgium. Ofcourse I was only an employee so I couldn’t say yes or no there and then, I had to consult with my employer and Noel said he would send us a bunch of samplers. A few weeks later a huge box shows up from the USA and inside I found a few boxes of cigars made by Noel, some Guayacan, some Sabor de Esteli and some test blends just for fun. I had a few to my employer, hand a few to friends and kept a few for myself. Everybody agreed, good cigars, value for money so to cut a long story short: Noel’s brands are now distributed in The Netherlands but unfortunately I don’t work for that employer anymore so I can’t get them at a discounted price. The cigar I’m reviewing today is the Guayacan Habano corona, a 6×42 long cigar made from a Ecuadorean Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder (’98 Aganorsa Corojo) and Nicaraguan fillers. I promise, later this year I will also review the Guayacan Maduro, Sabor de Esteli, Kilo, Jas Sum Kral and previously I reviewed the Jas Sum Kral Maduro that are also made by Tabacalera Noa.


The cigar looks great, long and lean, with a wrapper that is colored like dark oak wood. The ring is colorful, printed on thick paper and not with a straight edge. The edge of the paper is printed in a bright and beautiful gold, which is one of the hardest things to print as I’ve been told by people from Vrijdag Printing in Eindhoven (NL), one of the premier cigar ring printers in the world, there is a black backdrop with a golden crown on top and a red banner with the brand name beneath the crown and a smaller red banner with ‘by Noel Rojas” at the bottom. In between there is a scenic picture of a tobacco barn and a tobacco field underneath a beaming sun. The construction feels great and you can see that Noel learned the trade in his home country of Cuba, which he fled on a raft in 2007, because of the beautiful triple cap. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma, medium strong, without the ammonia. Since it’s a smaller ring cigar I decided to cut instead of punch and the pre light draw aka cold draw is great. I taste some cedar and plenty of spice and pepper. I light the cigar with my soft flame and taste a medium strong coffee with a little spice and some pepper in the aftertaste. After two puffs the pepper gets strong but there’s also a bit of sweetness.


After a centimeter I taste some milky chocolate with pepper and a little caramel, it’s mild creamy. Slowly but surely the pepper is replaced with some oak and green spices. Every few puffs I taste the chocolate again. Right before the two third mark I taste some nutmeg too. The chili peppers make a comeback too. The oak is still the base flavor and the flavors are all well balanced. After two thirds there is also a little mixed nuts flavor with a tiny bit of salt. There is a strong peppery flavor on my lips for a while. The nutty flavor is hardly noticeable anymore, oak is back as the base. At the end I taste a mild mint flavor in the aftertaste.


The draw is just simply great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is medium plus thick and with a decent amount. The ask is salt and pepper colored, it’s quite firm too. The burn is straight, no touch ups. This cigar is medium full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, they are available in the Netherlands now and once I’m out I’ll get some more.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Guayacan, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Kralot Toro (pre-release)

I have known Riste, the owner of Jas Sum Kral, for years and even got him his first international distribution deal outside of the USA. Last month he came over to Europe for a two day event in The Netherlands, a few events in Sweden and the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund, Germany. During his days in The Netherlands I was his host and designated driver, a video of that trip can be seen here.


While he was here Riste handed me a handful of the 2018 release, the Kralot, but of course with pre-release rings. Now for fair scoring I rate the official artwork, made by Nuzli Hakiim, and not the simple pre-release ring. As far as I know it’s a Nicaraguan puro made at the Tabacalera Noa factory from Noel Rojas, a factory which never let me down.


The artwork now is simple, but the JSK Lion will be on the ring with added details, it will be the bomb. The wrapper is evenly dark, almost black, and it feels like very fine sanding paper. The construction is flawless, evenly packed, great triple cap and a closed foot. The cigar has a very strong, smoky aroma, not as strong as the Kentucky Fire Cured or Pappy van Winkle by Drew Estate but it reminds me of those cigars.


I decided to cut the cigar using my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is great and spicy. After lighting I taste a smokey barbecue flavor, a bit sour but strong and spicy, with a sweet finish. The strong smokey barbecue flavor mellows out quickly and some vanilla fights it’s way to the surface.  After a third I taste a carrot like flavor, which I love, with spices and sweetness. The barbecue returns with a nice honey sweetness and vanilla, well balanced and sweet. The final third starts out a little spicier, with a little pepper on my tongue. The pepper grows to a strong pepper, overpowering until I have to put the cigar out because I’m burning my fingers.


The draw is perfect, the smoke is full, I get plenty of smoke but it’s not a super thick one. The ash is almost white, a beautiful contrast with the dark wrapper, and its dense and firm. The burn is beautiful and straight. The cigar starts full bodied and full flavored but mellows out to a medium full blend. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt, can’t wait till they get released.

Score: 95
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your reviewer and Riste Riatevski (Jas Sum Kral)

Categories: 95, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro

I knew Riste, the man behind Jas Sum Kral, from Facebook and when he released his first batch of the Jas Sum Kral Red Knight, just in a toro size back then, he send a few to Hans van de Witteboer, the owner of Piet van Kuyk Cigars in Eindhoven with the instruction to give me one the next time I visited Hans’s shop. So my next visit as a salesman Hans gave me the cigar and it blew me away, what an amazing cigar. I talked to my boss about this, he didn’t like the story on the Jas Sum Kral website and wasn’t even close to being interested in importing and distributing the cigars. I did though, so once Riste decided to do some line extensions I calculated the fixed prices for The Netherlands based upon his export prices, pre-sold 40+ boxes in just 5 shops and went back to my employer who then quickly made a deal with Riste.


Now I won’t bother you with the story on the name of the cigar, how it was blended, as this cigar has had so much buzz on social media that everybody will probably know it and if not, google is your best friend. And all the social media buzz is well deserved considering all the ‘top 10/25’ lists of 2016 as Jas Sum Kral is mentioned in a lot of them which is quite remarkable for such a new and small brand, thats not being sold in a lot of shops yet, but if the FDA doesn’t screw the cigar industry up that will change, mark my words and it his slipstream other cigars rolled by Noel Rojas in his Tabacalera NOA in Esteli, like Ohana and Prendelo will follow. Now I don’t mention Rojas his own brands Rojas Reserva, Guayacan and Sabor de Esteli because they already have a wider spread in location. Even though the cigars are rolled at Tabacalera NOA, Riste blended the Jas Sum Kral himself.


When I release the 6×52 toro from the cellophane coat I feel a leathery Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that has a few veins and some sparkling from minerals. The construction feels great and the cigar has a close foot and a very pretty pigtail, this shows some skills from the rollers at the NOA factory. The ring, designed by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim is a piece of art, burgundy with gold, very detailed with lions and lots of small decorations.  When you think of it, the cigars are blended by a Macedonian American, rolled by a Cuban that has a company in Nicaragua and the ring is designed by a Singaporean, this cigar is the epiphany of globalization. The aroma is medium strong and has a little charred wood mixed with manure smell.


Because of the pigtail I decided to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine considering the closed foot and I taste mild black tea and a stronger pepper flavor. Once I lit the cigar I taste some leather with blueberry and pepper, with a little fresh aftertaste. After a few puffs I taste some spices with the berries and the fresh aftertaste. After half an inch i taste a little more pepper with toast, some sweetness and a little spice. After an inch i taste more toasted bread with some cinnamon. I get a dry feeling in the back of my throat and still a bit berry and pepper. Then the berry changes into creamy chocolate. After a third I taste cedar with toast, pepper, chocolate and herbs with the creamy chocolate as the strongest. Halfway it’s chocolate with pepper and herbs. Slowly some spices show up again. The chocolate disappears and I taste cedar with spices and pepper, the flavor is amazing. The pepper is gaining strength but the background cedar and spices are still amazing.


The draw is good, just a little bit tight but all within margins. The smoke could be a little thicker but there is enough smoke. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is as straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored, well balanced with a lot of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not complain if this was the only cigar I was allowed to smoke for the rest of my life.

Score: 95
95

Categories: 95, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok Toro

I am fluent in two languages, Dutch and English, I can manage myself in German and I can handle most of the Spanish cigar names like Antiguedad, Sobremesa, Guayacan, Mi Querida and other Spanish names but leave it to that Riste Riatevski guy to mess that up by naming his cigars in Macedonian. Now Jas Sum Kral is doable and his first blend that was released has an English name (Red Knight, see a review of the lancero here), then he came out with a limited edition for a herf in Minnesota that was just called the maduro (review here), so far so good. But then he started messing with everybody out there and decided to call his Connecticut Shade cigar the Zlatno Sonce (review here), a limited edition coffin with 2 A sized cigars the Da Cebak (review next month) and this Connecticut Broadleaf one the Crna Nok, which to me sounds like something Mr. Worf, the Klingon from Star Trek, would say right before battle.


I fell in love with Jas Sum Kral the minute I smoked my first Red Knight toro, a cigar that I will review later this year, I promise and met Riste at Intertaback 2016 after being Facebook friends for a long time and helping him to get his cigars distributed in The Netherlands. Riste send me a package with some Zlatno Sonce, Crna Nok and a coffin Da Cebak and I promised to review them. This cigar, just like all other Jas Sum Kral cigars, except the Da Cebak, is blended by Riste and made at Noel Rojas’ factory Tabacalera NOA, which is becoming one of my favorite factories in Nicaragua. The cigar has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over a Mexican binder and a filler that has some ligero and piloto cubana corojo amongst others. On www.jassumkral.com the description says “while this cigar is smooth as fuck, I can feel the nicotine” so I my anticipation of this cigar is high.


I love the ring, as I have said in my previous Jas Sum Kral reviews, the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim did an awesome job. The only thing changed for this Crna Nok is the background color, where the Red Knight has some red in it, this ring is completely black with the golden logo and details, so very well designed and printed, beautiful ring. The cigar has a closed foot, a detail I love and it fits with the rustic, toothy dark and leathery wrapper that has a few sparkles of minerals in the leave. The construction feels good and that closed foot gives it some bonus points. The cigar has a strong charcoal smell, like its been fire cured, but mixed with dark chocolate and fresh toast.


I couldn’t find my punch so I grabbed my xikar cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste pepper, raisin and some spices. After lighting it with my Ronson lighter I taste coffee with cedar and nutmeg. After a few puffs I also taste honey. After half an inch i taste toasted wood with pepper and honey. I also taste some licorice a few puffs later and the cigar is very dry, I will probably drink a lot of water during this review. After an inch I taste that toasty, smoky wood with pepper and a faint chocolate. Every few puffs I taste some sweetness and a little lemon too. The final third starts with charred wood, sweetness, some pepper and a little lemon. The charred flavor is getting stronger but balanced well with the lemon.


The smoke is thick and full and the draw is fabulous. The ash is frayed but firm and salt & pepper colored. The burn is a little off but not so bad that it needs correcting. This medium full to full bodied cigar is smooth indeed, but still full flavored and with plenty of evolution and a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would, great cigar!

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Kilo Toro

Yes I know, almost exactly 2 years ago I reviewed this cigar too, so lets call this a redux. I wanted to review this cigar with my 100 point scoring system before they were all gone so this was my last chance. Here’s the story, years ago I met Barry Stein when he worked for Miami Cigar & Co when I went to visit Nestor Miranda and Jason Wood at the office and we stayed in touch, actually, everytime I went to Miami Barry and I made time to smoke a stick or two so when I saw him post on Facebook that he was brining back his brand that he was working on before he joined Miami Cigar & Co I asked for more information.


All Barry said that the cigar was being made in Esteli, a town I would visit soon after the conversation and after a little push Barry told me who made the cigars but I had to promise not to tell before he publicly announced it. It was Noel Rojas, back in his old factory Aromas de Jalapa, nowadays Noel works from Tabacalera NOA and Barry was kind enough to get me Noel’s contact information. This all led to the introduction of the Rojas, Sabor de Esteli and Guayacan brands in The Netherlands 18 months later but that’s a side step. I visited Noel at the factory and he gave me a bundle of the Kilo Toro and Barry asked me for pictures because he had not seen the complete cigars with the rings.


Now I can’t tell you anything about the blend as I simply don’t know, but I can tell you all about the looks. The cigar looks cool, the wrapper is has a deep dark brown color with a light oily shine and no noticeable veins, the construction feels great and you can see Noel’s Cuban heritage with the triple cap. The cigar ring is one of the best i’ve seen, high glossy paper, pitch black with a thick golden outline that really pops, white chemistry drawings and KILO in golden letters. On the back you will find the United Cigars logo, think Route 66 with 3 white stars in blue and the classic American red & white stripes. The aroma is great, deep and it reminds me of the rolling tobacco my father used to smoke when I was a kid and before his health made him stop. There is absolutely no acidic aroma at all, no ammonia, nothing.


I decided to punch the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a little raisin with a little spice and honey. I lit the cigar with a soft flame as usual. I taste coffee with some leather and jalapeño pepper. On my lips I taste a very mild honey. After a few puffs I taste pepper, a mixture of spices and some honey with a leathery aftertaste. After a centimeter I taste some cedar too.

After a third I taste some pepper, some cedar, some honey and a little cocoa. Halfway the cigar gets a little bitter on the tip of my tongue and I taste some spices, a little nutmeg, a little cinnamon, and also a little citrus. The flavors are quite dry, I need to drink a lot of water with this cigar. The cigar also gets a little peppery again. Near the end I also taste some freshness and the pepper is gone. There is also a mild nutty flavor


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is too, thick, plentiful and white. The ash is firm, dense and light colored. The burn is a bit crooked though but not too bad, so I don’t need to correct. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and 50 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible as Barry has sold the rights to the name and the cigar has been discontinued.

Score: 94

94

Categories: 94, Kilo, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Robusto

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.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa

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