Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Today we take a look at the Stolen Throne Call to Arms.
Samples were provided by Stolen Throne Cigars.
Limited regular production.
According to Cigar Federation:
“Stolen Throne launched last year and quickly become the fastest growing and most popular new brand in the industry! They’ve been working tirelessly with master blender Noel Rojas in Texas to create cigars that are truly phenomenal! (If you’ve smoked one, you understand how insanely good they are!)
“Expect notes of Milk Chocolate, red pepper flakes, sweet cream, raw honey, tanned leather, toasted almonds. (And that’s just in the first third of the cigar!) We also detected flavors of espresso beans, black tea, caramel, vanilla, white peppercorns, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The finish lingers for several minutes adding more sugary sweetness and creaminess.”
Lee Marsh and JR Cannon started Stolen Throne in 2019
SIZES AND PRICING:
Corona 6 x 46 $10.50
Robusto 5 x 50 $10.00
The first thing that grabs me is the oiliness from the wrapper in the light. It oozes like Jed Clampett’s farm. Or a beautiful rusty brown glazed doughnut. The triple cap is effortless. And there is a partially closed foot.
This will be my third Call to Arms. The stick has a nice heavy feel to it and there is some squeeze distributed evenly. The cigar band is simple and classy. No billboards to see here folks, keep moving please…
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Aromas are genteel…floral, milk chocolate, malt, black pepper, red pepper, dried fruit, vanilla ice cream, cedar, hot cinnamon, and some barnyard.
The cold draw presents flavors of caramel and cream, black and red pepper, milk chocolate, cedar, nutty, and vanilla.
I read the Ezra Zion fellas’ PR description last night while smoking my 2nd stick; that description usually describes each new blend as the best thing since sliced bread. I take it with a grain of salt as I’ve tasted some of those bunker busting blends and they didn’t live up to the hype.
But in this case, I found flavors in their description I could taste easily. The one item that stood out was a nicely placed background flavor of honey.
Here we go…
Before I start, I had a delay in getting back to the keyboard. I got my flu shot and had a reaction I’ve never experienced. The chills, fever, headache, sore throat, etc. It happened in the early evening and by 10pm or so, I was beginning to panic as I kept taking my temp and it just kept going up. I thought, fuck. I have Covid again. By midnight, my temp began to go down. I checked the handout I was given at the doc’s office and all my symptoms were cohesive with what 23% of flu shot recipients experience. Not sure why I reacted but I was definitely not well for a couple days. I’m fine now.
Can’t do a review without some whining…got it out of the way early.
First blast is terrific.
Red and black pepper goes down my throat and up my nose.
But there is an immediate hint of complexity.
One thing I noticed that must be an inconsistent trait for this cigar’s construction…is that sometimes it burns evenly, and other times it runs for the hills. The latter is in play at this moment. Bummer. Last night’s Corona had no issues.
A cigar tastes so much better if it is the first one of the day. While I enjoyed last night’s Call to Arms, this morning’s is better. Less crispy palate.
I noticed last night that I had intermittent musty elements that would come and go. Same thing is happening with the Robusto. Subtle, but there.
I must touch up the char line.
Smoky sonovabitch. I like it.
A nice savory v. sweet balance is forming. Transitions are somewhat muted by the high power of the peppers and hot cinnamon driving the boat.
The finish is mostly spiciness with some creaminess.
As I near the second third, I notice I’ve only been smoking this cigar for ten minutes or so. Slow down big fella.
The pressure must have been immense on Lee Marsh and JD Cannon to come up with a spectacular second outing after the big splash of Crook of the Crown.
Call to Arms doesn’t usurp the Crook from its lofty high bar, but it does show the same passion in blending. As well as the boys running up and down halls screaming, “It’s gotta be as good or better than the Crook!!!!!” Understandable. I would be doing the same thing.
This is a subtler blend than the Crook. While the Crook bitch slapped you with a dead mackerel, the Call to Arms is granular and smooth.
The granular appeal is made by the spiciness of the blend. Not a pepper bomb, thank goodness; but it does not allow for you to ignore it.
The sweet honey is in the background now. It joins with the other sweets such as chocolate, dried fruit, creaminess, and vanilla to become an ice cream parlor sundae.
I’m in the smacking my lips mode as complexity increases forcing my tongue and mouth to do calisthenics by grabbing every morsel of delight. I did the same thing in rock n roll…all the chicks bought into it.
Individual flavors become second to the overall whole of its parts. The blend is coming together as a nicely balanced cigar.
A sip of water and the finish explodes with flotsam and jetsam of the aforementioned flavors. Nice.
The burn is a little fakakta. I’m going to be done with this cigar in a total of 40 minutes. The Corona took its time and was a 75-minute pleasure.
On the savory side, we have some grilled steak, chili powder, a soupçon of onion, and jet-black coffee.
The sophomore entry to the Stolen Throne line is a good cigar. Is it better than the Crown? No. Two different animals. And probably not fair to compare.
The point is that they are moving forward in the right direction.
The gentle complexity is the soul of this blend. Flavors dart in and out but the nuances and subtle notes know their place and support the entire program.
The second half finds its sweet spot. The character of the cigar ups the ante.
Strength has been a not out of place medium/full.
Morphing becomes its new identity. Each puff brings something new to the table.
If the first half was anything like the second half…but it was more of a tease for good things to come.
The second third ends after only 25 minutes smoke time.
The flavor profile flattens out a bit. Savory and sweet are there but no longer make a big splash.
Strength hits full.
Nicotine arrives. I’m doing the hokey pokey.
The spiciness returns in force. The black pepper is all consuming and mutes the nicer flavors. The complexity keeps it afloat.
Going to the kids’ place for Halloween. I am having plastic surgery this week and will be going as a younger man.
I’m still enjoying the cigar as it begins to peter out.
The balance underperformed…but the complexity of the whole saves it from being run of the mill.
I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to use as a roach clip. By the way, the path from foot to cap was flawless and did not require attention from the tool.
I’m relieved that Marsh and Cannon made a comparable blend to the Crook of the Crown in its quality. You get thrown into the boutique spotlight and it’s a long way down. This was a lateral move in blending. Different but good. Yet, that’s all they needed to do. Therefore, this blend is a success for the company.
My only request from the boys is that they don’t get talked into making a mild/medium Connecticut. It won’t go well.
The cigar is done at 43 minutes. Should have been longer. Still, I enjoyed it.
I look forward to their next release.
And now for something completely different:
Curved Air…Continued…my introduction into the world of musician egos…
I have completely run out of memory bank. I have written thousands of reviews in which at least half had rock n roll stories. I spent nearly 13 years in the professional end of the music business. Despite that short time, I remain a lifelong bassist. And now I’m an alta kaker.
So, I must repeat stories that old-time readers have read at least once. My apologies to them.
I had just joined the precursor to Curved Air. CA had been dead for two years. Darryl Way, the leader and violinist/keys player was plucked from his group ‘Wolf’ by Miles Copeland III and talked into becoming one of the many acts on his roster. Copeland made his bones with Wishbone Ash, Caravan, Renaissance, Climax Blues Band, and many other bands were on his roster. He would go on later to manage The Go-Go’s. And The Police, of course.
Miles promised to build a band around Darryl. When I auditioned, the guitarist Mick and the drummer, Miles’ brother Stewart had already been picked.
The intent was to be an original band with a bluesier feel than the classical progressive sound of CA. So, we had auditions for singers. It was a fucking circus.
And then Butch Hatcher walked in.
Here was another American that was a dead double for a young Duane Allman. And who played in the Southern rock band, Flatrock. This guy was a character.
We only did one gig with Butch…who was an old carny performer that could spew fire from his mouth. Which is how we ended the gig.
Word got to Darryl that Decca Records wanted their commitment finalized with Curved Air. One last album was due Decca.
The original members of CA went into a meeting and the resolution was a live album. No new songs would need to be written. It could be recorded in just two nights in concert. Some time spent in the studio to mix and produce it. And voila, it was done.
We rehearsed at Miles’ home in St. John’s Wood. Down the street from Abbey Road Studio. Stewart lived just a few doors down from the place and we’d sit on his stoop, smoking herb, while watching tourists trying to get the Beatles crosswalk pic get run over by overanxious Brits.
At the end of one rehearsal, Darryl sprang it on us. This band would have to take a two-month hiatus because Curved Air needed to do a 6-8 week tour and finish a live album.
Then he looked at me and said, “Kohn. You will be the bassist.”
I did a double take.
The original four members and me. And I did not know a single Curved Air song. Two weeks before the first gig, we rehearsed. What a disaster. These guys knew the songs backwards and forwards. Me? I had to take copious notes on my sheet music. We’d play a song, and someone would say, “OK. Let’s move on.” We weren’t playing blues changes. These were classical musicians who wrote very complex chordal changes and so I spent days in front of my record player learning the songs on my own.
We did the tour and got tremendous feedback and everywhere we played they went nuts over us. It surprised everyone in the band and those associated with the band.
So, another meeting was called. Instead of going out and getting paid 50 pounds per night with Stark Naked, why not reform the band and go back out as CA?
After playing arenas for the first time, I was in.
The guitarist/keys/co-leader Francis Monkman was not asked to join. He and Darryl always butted heads due to huge egos.
And neither was drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa asked to join up. Flo’s mother was the second richest woman in Britain. She came from the long line of Pilkington glass family. So, Flo attended Eton and spoke very slowly like Alfred Hitchcock. To accentuate his speaking style, he preferred Valium as his drug of choice. Every time he spoke, we took a nap. Out of all the CA members, Flo became my best friend. For such a wealthy guy, he was very down to earth. I guess the Valium contributed.
So now, Darryl’s new band became Curved Air with Sonja Kristina.
Butch had to be fired. He and I had become friends. A solid guy and loads of fun.
This was sprung on me at a rehearsal before Butch got there. Darryl was all ego and a big coward. Before a plan could be devised on how to let Butch go, Butch walked in.
I looked at Darryl and he said nothing. The leader of our band didn’t have the balls to fire Butch.
Someone complained we needed an extension cord. Stew said he had a good one at home. Butch volunteered to go get it.
He started to walk out, and I urgently looked at Darryl who was ignoring me. He was going to let Butch go on an errand and bring back an extension cord and then fire him. How can you do that to someone?
Just as Butch was about to leave, I stopped him. I said, “Butch, don’t go. Because when you get back we’re going to can your ass.”
Butch froze in a daze.
It was explained to him why this had to be done. I felt the humiliation. This whole thing was so ham handed. But then we were all in our mid 20’s and dumb.
Finally, Darryl got involved. I was the only one to hug Butch and I kept in touch with him while he shacked up with some chick in the record business who got him a new band and a record deal.
To this day, Darryl’s behavior exemplifies the type of man he was. He treated me no better when they fired me over 2 years into me being a member of the band. All political. It had nothing to do with my playing. He had become jealous of me and the attention my playing was getting. He was the STAR! Not me. All I had done was play well on the live album and got a lot of slaps on the back for that. This infuriated Darryl.
I was ashamed of how he treated Butch. And a little over two years later, he dumped me without any severance and laid me low in a foreign country. And he could care less.
During the current revival tour, Darryl departed the band after around a year. Sonja told me that his nerves couldn’t take it. And if you go to YouTube and watch some of the reunion tour videos with him in it, he looks miserable.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS