Stolen Throne has quickly become one of my favorite cigars. Their LE and annual release cigars are ones that I always try to get my hands on, though I did miss the Argos release this year. Released in November of last year, the Three Kingdoms is the third regular production cigar from Stolen Throne, next to the Crook of the Crown and the Call to Arms. It features a Habano Oscuro wrapper, over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Blended with Noel Rojas, the Three Kingdoms is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while.
SIZE: 6″ x 52
FACTORY: Flor de San Luis (Esteli, Nicaragua)
WRAPPER: Nicaragua Habano Oscuro
STRENGTH: Medium-full to Full
Oxford Cigar Company
February 25 @1pm
Ice Mountain bottled water
21°/12°….65° in garage
HOW MANY CIGARS SMOKED:
RELEASE TYPE Regular Production
ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE November 2021
Typical Box Size: Bundles of 20
Production Totals: Unknown
o Toro (6″ x 52)
o Robusto (5″ x 50)
The color scheme of the Three Kingdoms matches that of another Stolen Throne release, the Crook of the Crown: Black and red with white accents. Three crowns are divided by three swords on the front of the band, while III Kingdoms is prominently displayed in the middle. The outside of the band is white and features the Stolen Throne logo. Honestly, this might be my favorite band of Stolen Throne’s regular production cigars.
The Habano Oscuro wrapper is smooth to the touch and appears to be beautifully constructed. The semi-closed foot is flawless. The box pressed toro is a work of art. The first two that I smoked, had very few veins and one visible seam. The last one I smoked for this review had a few more visible veins but was beautiful nonetheless.
Notes of cedar and tobacco waft from the wrapper. The foot gives off the same two notes but throws in a nice hint of raisin.
The draw feels perfect, which is concerning given that most of the foot is closed. However, it does allow me to pick up a fruity/sweet note, a hint of floral, and just a touch of chocolate. The flavors coming from the cold draw are very subtle, but easily distinguishable.
Spicy and sweet off the initial light. It’s good. Very good! Coffee, baking spices, salted nuts all linger on the finish. Black pepper on the retrohale. There is a sweetness that cuts through all of these initial blasts of flavor, and it is spectacular.
The smoke is creamy and coats my palate in an extremely satisfying way. While at rest, the Three Kingdoms slows down the smoke production quite a bit. To me, that’s a sign that it’s going to burn slow. We shall see.
>> Chocolate, Fruit, Black Pepper
Chocolate and a hint of fruit. That’s how the first third starts after the initial light. There’s an nice cedar note weaving through the others. Black pepper dominates the retrohale. A saltiness lingers on palate. Sweet cream and fruit, with just a hint of coffee. These flavors are bold but not without nuance. The burn was razor sharp on two of the three smoked. The last one I smoked (and took pictures for, seemed to burn a bit wonky all the way through). As for the ash, it is grey with black streaks. It’s a tad bit flakey and doesn’t appear sturdy at all. We’ll see how long the ash holds on for. The cedar note is really coming through now, followed by a chocolate note. The sweet cream and fruit lingers still on my palate. Black pepper stings the nostrils as a spiciness begins to tickle my throat. As the first third winds down, the flavors begin to soften. Not to say they were harsh, but they are definitely mellowing. The chocolate note is deepening to more of a coffee flavor. The sweetness is still there, but more fruit and less cream. I deposit the ash in the tray and it holds its shape. Unfortunately, it has caused the burn to become wonky.
>> Vanilla, Toasted Nuts, Baking Spices
Mocha and baking spices begin the middle third. There’s a hint of toasted nuts, too. It conjures up images of being at a coffee shop. The fruit note from the beginning third is strong and lingers on my palate. Spiced cake is the best way that I can describe it. The burn self-corrected (on the first two) and the ash is a carbon copy of the first third. There is a hint of vanilla that is starting to come through. Baking spices on the retrohale. The Three Kingdoms is a complex masterpiece so far. Each flavor builds on the others. The only complaints, thus far, is the ash isn’t as compact as I’d like; and each time I have ashed, the burn gets wonky. The final Three Kingdoms smoked, unfortunately saw the Habano Oscuro wrapper crack. In fact, I had to touch-up one side after my second ash. Chocolate, coffee, cedar, vanilla, a hint of fruit, baking spices, and just a little saltiness have made this middle third exceptional.
>> Cedar, Baking Spices, White Pepper
I must note, that up to this point, I have not needed even a sip of water. The smoke has been creamy and the flavors so amazing that I didn’t feel the need. Vanilla, cedar, and baking spices begin the final third. The retrohale is a lovely white pepper that gives the Three Kingdoms some of the “oomph” from the first third. Salted peanuts and milk chocolate have entered the chat. The cedar note is still dominant, but it is backed up by a chorus of wonderful supporting flavors: chocolate, salted nuts, sweet cream, baking spices, and fruit. All of these come and go at different intervals. Complex. Nuanced. Tasty. The smoke has been creamy throughout, and the final third is no different. Espresso comes through with a little bit of charred wood. The sweetness is akin to marshmallow. The burn is less than straight, but with flavors like this, who cares?!
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
The flavors are vibrant and rich through the entirety of the Three Kingdoms. Each note compliments the last. Nuanced flavors come through with striking clarity. There is a depth and richness found in each third that makes the Three Kingdoms a masterpiece.
Here is where the Three Kingdoms loses the plot. The burn goes from straight, to wonky, to uneven, to straight, to one of the cigars requiring a touch-up. The Habano Oscuro wrapper is delicate. On the day it cracked it was a balmy 60° outside and not overly humid. Annoying at the least and disappointing at best.
0.70 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.50 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.70 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.50 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
This isn’t the first time that I’ve liked a cigar more than how I score it, and it probably won’t be the last. If I was going on flavor alone, this is easily a 9.6. In fact, if you take the burn and wrapper issues out, that’s where Three Kingdoms scores. If we’re being honest, only pompous reviewers, like myself, really notice burn issues and count off for them. But reaching an 8.9 with burn issues that included a touch-up and a cracked wrapper should tell you all you need to know about the Three Kingdoms. This is a cigar you should have in your humidor, as the flavors it delivers are nothing short of fantastic. This is my favorite Stolen Throne cigar to date.