Cigar Review: Stolen Throne’s War Council

When I heard that Stolen Throne Cigars was coming out with another LE/Cigar Federation Exclusive, I was a bit hesitant. Cigar Federation has, in the past, not been the greatest to place to order from. In fact, when Stolen Throne’s last LE/Cigar Federation exclusive came out and didn’t break into the 9’s, I laid the blame solely at the feet of Cigar Federation’s shipping practices. This time around, I can say that Cigar Federation shipped with a Boveda and they arrived well-packed and ready to smoke. 

The Stolen Throne War Council is a skinny toro that features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper or Nicaraguan and undisclosed binder and fillers. With the backlog of cigars that I had/have to review, it took me a few months to finally get to these. It was difficult not to tear into them and smoke them, because everything that I’ve smoked from Stolen Throne has been “fire,” as the kids say.

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Skinny Toro
SIZE:   6″ x 46

ORIGIN:   Nicaragua
FACTORY:   Flor de San Luis (Esteli, Nicaragua)

WRAPPER:   Ecuadorian Habano
BINDER:   Nicaraguan/Undisclosed
FILLER:   Nicaraguan/Undisclosed

STRENGTH:   Medium

SOURCE:   
Cigar Federation

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
The Garage

WHEN:   
Dec 18 @Midday

DRINKS:   
Bottled Water

WEATHER:   
Cold with a chance of colder

WHAT’S ON:   
The gentle hum of the heater.

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Limited

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  August, 2021

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Bundles of 20
Production Totals:  1895 total cigars produced

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o  Skinny Toro  (6″ x 46)

BAND DESIGN

The band for the War Council follows the Stolen Throne tradition of being nothing like the other bands. However, the band does share some similarities to previous Stolen Throne cigars. The white background echoes the white background of the Oath Taker. The main logo is a coat of arms feature an escutcheon (shield) that is reminiscent of the escutcheon found on the Call to Arms. There, however, is where the similarities end. Two swords and medieval knights helmet adorn the shield. In the middle of the escutcheon is a skull, with “Stolen Throne War Council” in a banner underneath. Back and red accents go around the band.

Honestly, it’s probably the sharpest of all of Stolen Throne’s bands, so far. I may just be a sucker for the medieval vibe the band is putting out.

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is rough to the touch and just a bit toothy. It’s a gorgeous shade of milk chocolate. The cap appears to be expertly applied and only one of the three War Councils that I smoked for this review had a foot that wasn’t completely closed. Something that most likely happened during storage.

AROMA
Notes of tobacco and cedar come from the wrapper. The closed foot reveals hints of chocolate, nuts, fruit, and a floral note so subtle that I almost missed it.

COLD DRAW
The punch, coupled with the closed foot makes for a very tight cold draw. However, I am picking up notes of baking spices, chocolate, and sort of sweet tart note that I love. The sweet tart-esque note may just be citrus but it reminds me of sweet tarts the more I smell it.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Les Fines Lames Punch Bracelet®
Fire:  Xikar Tactical 1
Immediately from the light I get notes of wood and sweetness. It’s not overpowering to begin with. Even the bite from the red pepper on the retrohale isn’t too overpowering. As it begins to calm down, a creamy nuttiness begins to come into focus.

SMOKE
Copious amounts of creamy smoke fill the air and coat my palate in a satisfying way.

FIRST THIRD
>> Cedar, Baking Spices, Red Pepper

There is a subtle sweetness lurking in the background. Cedar, baking spices, marshmallow, and a bite of red pepper on the retrohale. The War Council begins very smooth, even with the bite from the retrohale. Coffee with a hint of chocolate floats underneath it all. The ash is grey with beautiful streaks of black running through it. The ash could be more compact, but it’s not overly flakey. The burn line is razor sharp. There is a meatiness to the War Council and a subtle sweetness that compliments the savory component. This is very good. Every time that I think I’ve found all of the tasting notes, I’m proved wrong. Sweet cream and cedar effortlessly dance with baking spices and red pepper. There is a creamy, nutty, and almost mushroom-esque note that lingers on the finish. The ash falls to the ashtray and holds its shape.

SECOND THIRD
>> Dark Chocolate, Citrus, White Pepper

The second third of the War Council begins with a nice blast of citrus. Something I’ve been waiting for ever since i detected it on the cold draw. The citrus note adds some much needed brightness to the profile. The burn and ash are near perfect, with just the slightest of waves. The draw starts to become a bit tight and there is a little bit of tarring at the cap. This happened on both cigars that I used the Les Fines Lames Punch Bracelet® on. I used a straight cut on the third and there was no tarring, so it will not affect the score. Dark chocolate, espresso, citrus and a touch of floral are dominating the middle third. White pepper on the retrohale. The War Council is impressive thus far.

FINAL THIRD
>> Chocolate, Nougat, Baking Spices

My lone complaint is the amount of tar that is starting to build up where the War Council is punched. This was remedied with the straight cut. The citrus has long since faded but it’s replaced with the marshmallow from the first third and hot chocolate. Maybe it’s just the cold getting to me? Charred wood and toast follow. The smoke has remained creamy throughout each third. So has a deep umami flavor. Baking spices on the retrohale. Absolutely delicious. Creamy nougat adds its voice to the choir of flavors. Wood and chocolate. Chocolate and wood. So. Damned. Good.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION
If I had to sum up the flavor profile of the War Council in a word it would be unctuous. There creamy smoke, coupled with the deep and rich umami are the yin to the yang of subtle sweetness and citrus found throughout the War Council. Each third flows effortlessly into the next. They are different and unique from the previous, but incorporate flavors found in previous thirds.

BURN EXPERIENCE
I have zero complaints, save the tarring from using a punch. The little bit of flaking on the ash and a bit of waviness of the burn line were nothing more than a slight irritation during the journey with the War Council.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.78 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.50 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
7.10 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.50 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

BEAT THAT WAR DRUM.

The War Council has declared war on sub-par cigars. I mean, it really has. This may be my favorite Stolen Throne release to date. I remember saying that the Oath Taker would have been my favorite if not for the burn and construction issues. The War Council had none of those…though I would recommend a straight cut. The War Council is a complex, yet nuanced, cigar experience that will keep you interested and entertained from light to finish. A medium strength but full-flavor cigar experience that shouldn’t be missed. 

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  9.38 / 10.0

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