Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight” by Jas Sum Kral Cigars
One of the newest boutique cigars hitting humidors is gaining popularity and doing it at a rapid pace. The Jas Sum Kral, or JSK for short, was created late last year by Riste Riatevski, founder of Jas Sum Kral Cigars. Riatevski is more widely known as Riste “Buc” in several online cigar groups and pages. You may have seen or met him in some of them. If so, you’ve most likely heard of his Jas Sum Kral cigar by now or you might have even had the pleasure of smoking it. He is very active in these groups, hanging out and socializing with the community as well as giving interviews. He claims to speak his mind when giving his opinions on subject matters. Apparently, Riatevski doesn’t hold back his thoughts and sugar-coat the conversation, but still remains popular among friends and fans alike.
To give a little background on the cigar is to give a little background on its creator. Riatevski and his family have a Macedonian bloodline. Jas Sum Kral is a Macedonian phrase that translates to “I am a King.” There were several names for the cigar Riatevski went through, including “The Amish,” a nickname some of his friends gave him, before settling with Jas Sum Kral. Riatevski is not a newcomer to the world of blending. Although it is not marketed, in addition to the Jas Sum Kral cigar, he makes his own wine and moonshine for personal use that he enjoys sharing with family and friends. Finally, products are created from ideas. Like the idea of the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight,” the first of its new “family” line of vitolas, Riatevski was the first of his family to be born in the U.S.A.
Having a strong passion for cigars, Riatevski had the idea in his head to create his own cigar line for a while. When the timing was right for him, he got started on this project. Through Scott De La Pena of Hermosa Cigars, he met Master Blender and the owner of Guayacan Cigars, Noel Rojas. They had discussed the idea of creating a cigar which led to Riatevski visiting Noel Rojas at his factory, New Order of the Ages, in Nicaragua. Before Riatevski even located his hotel, he went straight to the factory and got to work with Rojas creating blends. By that same night they had found a blend that they were both satisfied with and which would become the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight.” Riatevski decided to start out with 5,000 of these cigars.
The pre-release cigars went out to special friends and fans of Riatevski to test smoke and was quickly liked. The first production release Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight” cigars, which Riatevski dubbed “Boutique as Fuck,” went for sale only on Riatevski’s website in 5-count bundles or 15-count boxes. These first production release cigars didn’t last long on the website before they were sold out. Riatevski has since blended four new vitolas of Jas Sum Kral and plans on shipping them to select retailers in the U.S.A. as well as Germany, Sweden, Holland, and Macedonia. The first of these new production cigar vitolas are being planned for shipment in late March 2016. These four new sizes will be a 5×50, 7×47, 6×44, and a 7×38. The 5×50 and the 7×47 are planned to be the first of these new releases.
Let’s take a closer look at the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight”:
It is available in only one vitola: a 6×52 Toro, which is a pretty popular size among cigar enthusiasts. Riatevski made the right call with the sizing of this cigar.
The wrapper leaf consists of Ecuadorian Habano Light Clario tobacco while the binder is made up of half Mexican San Andres and half Jalapa Seco leaves which blanket the Nicaraguan Puro filler tobaccos of Corojo ’99, Esteli; Viso, Jalapa; and Ligero, Esteli Seco.
The price range is between $11-$12 per cigar.
“Quality is a big thing for me. I hate seeing people smoke shitty construction cigars….
We are all in it for quality and not quantity.” Riste Riatevski
“JSK at first was just an idea and something I wanted to do for years. I mean, what guy doesn’t want his own cigar, but honestly JSK is a cigar I wanted to showcase rich flavors and complex depth when smoked. To me a cigar should never be boring and one-dimensional. In my mind, if I was going to ask you to smoke a JSK and set aside an hour or two, I would want you to enjoy your time.” – Riste Riatevski
After sitting and resting in the humidor for several months I decided it was about time to pull the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight” out for a review. I may be a little late with it, but I wanted to give the cigar plenty of humi time. The Ecuadorian Habano Light Clario wrapper looks exceptionally beautiful with its chocolate-brown color. The construction is simply amazing. The seams around the cigar are very tight with minimal vein appearance. The moderate oils are shining brightly from the surface of the leaf. The single cap is tightly rolled up into a nice pigtail style while the foot of the stick is enclosed by the extended wrapper leaf. I was not able to get a smell of the tobacco from the foot due to this, but it does not alter my excitement to put a flame to the foot of the cigar. The feel of the wrapper when my fingers slide up and down the leaf is very smooth with the veins scarcely noticed. The cigar is hard when squeezed with just the slightest bit of give in it. The smells coming off of the wrapper are of wood and sweet tobacco. The band around the cigar is very ornately decorated with a maroon colored shield on the front with the golden letters JSK inscribed inside of it. The J and S are intertwined into each other with the J on top and the S on the bottom while the K is to the right in a larger font. Above the shield is a golden 5-point crown. Below the shield is a darker hued maroon ribbon-style rectangle with the words “Jas Sum Kral” inscribed inside of it in white lettering. Flanking the shield on either side are two golden lions standing on their hind legs with their front paws up appearing to be a boxer. Where the band comes together, the edge is golden with the same JSK insignia that is in the shield stamped into the golden edge of the band. The rest of the band is very catchy with decorations in maroon, gold, black, and white colors. I decided to twist the pigtail cap off of the cigar. The cold draw is bringing some nice tones of sweet tobacco, dried fruit, leather, and wood. Because of some loose tobacco and a little bit of a tight draw, I cut the edge of the cap with a straight cut. Once that was done there were only a couple of small pieces of loose tobacco that fell. The draw is a little better, too. I’m now ready to light up the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight.”
Upon toasting and lighting, I’m initially getting some cinnamon with a slight spice along with some cedar and wood. Several puffs into it there are notes of leather accompanying the initial flavors. The draw is perfect with no resistance, bringing just the right amount of smoke to the palette. Their isn’t a lot of smoke coming off of the burning foot, but enough to get an aroma. The smoke has a burnt cedar scent to it. About halfway through the first third the cinnamon has left the profile bringing the leather as the prominent flavor with the wood and cedar in the background. There is still a slight spice in the profile. The smoke on the palate is chewy and thick. The ash is a nice white on black hue and growing nicely as the cigar burns. Coming closer to the end of the first third I’m beginning to get a meaty flavor. There is just a slight burn on the retro-hale, with notes of wood and leather. The ash finally lost its battle with gravity at the end of the initial part of the cigar. The starting third of the stick had a burn time of 30 minutes. The burn line began a little jagged, but turned out mostly even as this beginning third came to a close.
The start of the second third of the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight” has a flavor profile of leather, wood, and a meaty tang to it. The cedar is very slight in the back of the palette. The slight spice has now disappeared. So far the experience has been a good balance between medium to full-bodied and medium to full strength throughout. The construction is holding up very well with no issues whatsoever. Their have been no touch-ups required for this cigar. The draw is still spot on, bringing a good balance to the flavor profile. By the time the halfway point of the stick has been reached, the cedar has evacuated itself from the cigar. The ash fell once again just past this halfway mark. The smoke has a nice creamy finish to it. The leather and meaty flavors are still in front with the wood moving into the back of the palate. Burning closer to the end of the middle part of the cigar, I’m beginning to get a slight nutmeg flavor. The retro-hale has the same profile as it did in the first portion of the smoking experience. The burn line is still slightly uneven, but it is not affecting the cigar. The ash has a mostly white hue with some darker spots on it. The mid-section of the stick had a burn time of 40 minutes.
The beginning of the final third has a nice ash hanging on to the foot. The flavors are leather, meat, and slight wood in the back of the palate with some slight nutmeg. Just as the final period started, the ash lost its grip again. The cigar still has a great balance of flavors as well as in body and strength. It is also still in the medium to full range at this point. The burn line is starting to even itself out now. About halfway through this final portion, the meat is beginning to take over the leather, leaving the wood still lingering in the background with the nutmeg. The retro-hale has not changed throughout the smoke with a scent of wood, leather, and a slight burn to the nostrils, but not overbearing. It seems the leather and the meaty tang are going back and forth for the lead flavor after the halfway point in this final third. The wood and nutmeg are still background players in the game. Burning closer to the end of the cigar, the wood is making a comeback bringing itself close behind the leather and meaty flavors while the nutmeg is still in the background. The burn line has evened itself out perfectly at this point. The final third had a burn time of 35 minutes.
I give the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight” cigar a score of 92. It was an amazing cigar to smoke. The construction was fantastic, the flavors were very tasty and plentiful, the draw was perfect for the flavors, and the strength and body were very well-balanced. It was a purely enjoyable experience for the 1 hour and 45 minutes it took to smoke. Throughout the cigar, I found it to be a medium to full-bodied and a medium to full strength. I savored the cinnamon, slight spice, cedar, leather, wood, meat, nutmeg, and creaminess that was present in the profile. I’m very happy that I made the decision to make a box purchase of the Jas Sum Kral “Red Knight” and I look forward to trying the new sizes when they are available. Riatevski has really hit the nail on the head with this superior blend. I would highly recommend making box purchases of this cigar. Although, at the time of this review the website is still currently sold out you, can visit jassumkral.com for more information on its availability or you can email Riatevski directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries. Till next time, my friends.