This story begins a bit differently, not with a first meting with the owner nor a first try of his cigars, it actually begins in a cigar group on Facebook called Cigar Social Club. The year was 2015, I had only been smoking cigars for a little bit more than a year. At the time I was working at Mellgrens Fine Tobacco and was eager to learn more about cigars. As anyone trying to learn, you join all types of forums to snap up as much information, tips and friendships as you can get. But this group was different, it was US based as most things surrounding cigars are. The attitude of the members was a bit different from what I was used to here in Europe. I wasn’t met with that positive and embracing attitude I was used to, at the time I was 19, smoking cigars and trying to learn the ins and outs of the industry. But I was met with degradering words, calling me out for being young, not taking me seriously and being made fun off.
Your thinking I should probably just have left the group, well I’m a person who don’t really give up that easily when it comes to things I like. So I stuck around, no matter how hard and painful the experience was in the group, I still had some people there backing me up. Riste Riatevski was one of them, and it was during this year he started his own cigar brand called Jas Sum Kral. He got the help from another member of the group called Nuzli Hakiim, to do the design of the logo and the bands, even though they lived on two opposites of the world and had never even met each other. Riste in USA and Nuzli in Singapore, they worked together for a couple of years.
Riste coming from Macedonia, of course named the brand in Macedonian. The name being Jas Sum Kral which translates to I Am King. So only fitting that the first line got the name Red Knight. At first it was only available in a Toro size at launch, but later on it got three added sizes, a Lancero, a Lonsdale and a Robusto. The cigars were made by Noel Rojas Sabatier in Nicaragua, and everyone that got their hands on the cigars absolutely loved them. Maybe not Riste so much, since he didn’t come from the tobacco business. Being an outsider it was frowned upon from other members of the cigar industry and hard core consumers. But Riste gave zero fucks what others thought, and still do till this day pretty much, as hes been a disrupter of the industry ever since.
2016 rolls around the corner and the production has been ramped up, the brand was finally available in Europe. A friend of mine here in Sweden got his hands on a couple of the cigars and gave me his last one, and yeah I loved it. Later that year I got a package in the mail from another friend of mine called Hans (also one of the few people backing me up in the CSC group) in the Netherlands, he has a cigar shop (@illestcigarsprovider on Instagram) and he had just gotten in Jas Sum Kral to his shop. He provided me with the first ones for me to review. I had just started to do reviews, and at this time I had only done 10 reviews. Yes I was really new to all of this, but he believed in me. So of course I did reviews on all 4 sizes and posted them, hoping it would get some traction. Holding my fingers hoping someone would import the brand to Sweden, as I really wanted to enjoy more of them. And I didn’t have to wait long before that happened.
2017 rolls around, Jas Sum Kral releases two new lines Zlatno Sonce & Crna Nok (I have no clue what it means but I’m sure its something regal). I smoke them and I absolutely love the Zlatno Sonce, the Crna Nok wasn’t really my type of cigar, but hey someone like that darker style of cigar.
And in September of that same year we finally get to meet, as he has sorted out a Swedish importer (Kind Cigars). He came to our lounge to do a event, where we got to smoke the Red Knight line. Riste and I also got the opportunity to send a message to all the haters we had gotten over the years, especially to the CSC group.
In 2018 I didn’t try any new Jas Sum Kral but in 2019, Riste came back to do another event, this time introducing two new lines, Tyrannical Buc Connecticut and Maduro. I wasn’t a super big fan of these blends sadly. We also got a few more releases Kralot, Toothpick 2.0 and Nuggs (well Nuggs wasn’t introduced in Sweden because it contains CBD).
2020 was a really good year for Jas Sum Kral, they released real bangers in terms of cigars. First of all the Fuck the FDA Toro, damn it really elevated the brand in my eyes it really brought out something new, not only in terms of really going against the flow of the industry but also in an awesome blend. But then we got an exclusive release for Sweden called Söta Kakor Habano, a cigar that really reminded me of gingerbread. During that year I got an pre-release of the Maduro version that later got a released in 2021. Both versions were on my Top 25 cigars list of 2020.
I know this post has mostly consisted of photos, but I think the visual aid helps a lot when trying to convey a message. Riste and I have been good friends now for a 6 years, and we keep in contact often, mostly to bug him about information. But he truly is a great guy, and has a real passion for what he makes, and especially when it comes to putting out loads of photos of meat and grilled stuff on social media. Talk about being an influencer, influencing us all to eat a lot of good food, no but I really do love his entusiasm for the community, even though he is pretty controversial in the eyes of the beholders.
Jas Sum Kral has other lines like Toothpick 2.0 (mixed filler), some different store exclusives and probably something else I’m missing, but the best way to find out is to follow them on social media or checking their website here.
I also got told we will get a new wave of Limited Releases for Sweden and some stores in the USA this year. Next year for Asia and the UK. Don’t know anything about them so can’t add any more info, but keep an Tyrannical Eye on social media for those releases. Instagram click here.
If you want to check out all my reviews of Jas Sum Kral click here.
Jas Sum Kral don’t only make cigar, they also badass wooden signs and other random merchandise, mostly for the US, but I’m sure you can get some if you ask rude enough 😉 and don’t forget to smoke JSK and get the #jskvirus.
Cigars that I’ve had from the brand:
- Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Robusto
- Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro
- Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale
- Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lancero
- Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Robusto
- Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Toro
- Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok Robusto
- Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok Toro
- Jas Sum Kral Kralot Robusto Extra
- Jas Sum Kral Tyrannical Buc Connecticut Generosos 40
- Jas Sum Kral Tyrannical Buc Connecticut Magnum 48
- Jas Sum Kral Tyrannical Buc Connecticut Dobles 50
- Jas Sum Kral Tyrannical Buc Broadleaf Maduro Generosos 40
- Jas Sum Kral Tyrannical Buc Broadleaf Maduro Magnum 48
- Jas Sum Kral Tyrannical Buc Broadleaf Maduro Dobles 50
- Jas Sum Kral Toothpick 2.0 Habano Robusto
- Jas Sum Kral Toothpick 2.0 Maduro Robusto
- Jas Sum Kral Nuggs 20MG Robusto
- Jas Sum Kral Fuck The FDA Toro
- Jas Sum Kral Söta Kakor Habano Limited Edition Sweden 2020
- Jas Sum Kral Söta Kakor Maduro Limited Edition Sweden 2021
See you in the next “My Journey With:“.
/ Cigar Reviewer André Dias
P.S. Clarification I’m just telling my story with the brand, my own opinions and experiences, we don’t have any deals between us, I’m not paid by them and I don’t have any contracts with them. I’m just a consumer and fan of the brand. As you’ll see with my other “My Journey With:” posts that will come in the future.