Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cigar Blender Interview: Riste Buc of Jas Sum Kral Cigars

post by Nick Radke



Riste Buc is a new name and face in the blending world but not in the cigar realm. Many of us have gotten to know Riste in the social media world. Riste, who can sometimes be controversial, is a familiar face in many fb smoke groups, online forums, etc. etc. There is one thing that is for sure and that is that Riste is a knowledgeable and outstanding BOTL. He has a cigar coming out that he blended and gave us the time to learn more about it and himself as well as his company!

Background/Bio
I’m 33 Years old first generation born in the USA. My parents came to the United States 34 years ago looking for better opportunities in life.  Right now I work for the Government as an IT Security and Virtual Enterprise Sr. Also I’m the Vice President of a Non for Profit Urban Grow House to help grow vegetables and other items for people living in low income areas. Also I’m in process on filing a patent for the shipping industry for the Medical Marijuana industry, and just released an App I’ve been working on since March of 2015. Plus I decided to start a cigar company with my free time! J     
I started smoking cigars back in 1999, and when I say cigars I mean the 5 pack philly blunts and such other bullshit. It wasn’t until I got a Romeo Juliet and an H.Upmann from my uncle, and that’s when I was hooked. 


*Tell us about the Jas Sum Kral cigarJSK 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.

*Where is the JSK available to buy?

Right now JSK first release will be available to purchase on www.jassumkral.com  I’m working on setting up B&M accounts for my core line coming out in 2016.

*Jas Sum Kral, where does this name originate from?
 Jas Sum Kral comes from the Macedonia Language which translates into “I Am a King!”

*What made you decide to get involved in the cigar industry?
 Passion; I could end the question just with that one word but I wanted to create my own blend, if people like it cool, if not fuck it I have more cigars to add to the walk in to enjoy.

*Who or What has helped you with this cigar and or preparation for its release?
I would say my wife first, for understanding and letting me go out and follow a dream of mine.  A couple others that helped me a lot are Scott de la Pena from Hermosa Cigars, who introduced me to Noel Rojas.  That right there set everything in place for me.  The previous factory was just out to get my money and call it a day.
Noel told me if your serious come on down we can blend; I said, “Cool, I’ll see you in 2 months.”


*Have you learned anything during this process about cigars that you previously did not know?
I learned the culture and passion in person. Books and internet don’t do it justice. I would recommend everyone who loves cigars to go down and take a trip and see how the whole thing is done.

*How long has it taken to make this dream happen? Start to Finish?
 2 years easy.  I started out by getting all my paperwork in order and making sure everything was legally setup.

*What spirit would you recommend as a pairing with the Jas Sum Kral Cigar?
 Im a cognac and scotch guy, but I really like a good Stout Beer with a JSK, or a nice Balvenie scotch.

*Research shows that you occasionally make your own Wine and Moonshine, what got you started doing this? What is your best?
 The art of making something yourself, the craft and labor that goes into something, and to be able to say it’s yours. I’ve watched my family make moonshine and wine since I was a kid. I just upgraded my wine barrel to a 59gallon French Oak medium grain. My favorite is my shine. Who wouldn’t want to spend 18 hours to all weekend cooking a liquid made from scratch.  Old Macedonia saying, “There is nothing better than to offer a guest in your home, homemade alcohol.”  I just added a cigar to it!

*Rumor has it that you have an extensive cigar humidor…. What is your: A) Favorite/go to cigar? B) Most coveted Cigar C) Most Expensive Cigar? 
Some say it’s extensive. My favorite go to cigar is a Bolivar Royal Corona.

Most Coveted Cigar… Hmmm I have a couple.  The Cuban Davidoffs are nice.
But I would say the pre embargo sealed boxes, and the Holy Grail of custom rolls from Avelino Lara when he left Cohiba and started Graycliff in the Bahamas. I still have 1 left from the originals that came in a plastic Ziploc, back when he sold them in a table in the lobby.
Most expensive I would say would be the $4000 dollar box of Davidoffs I cracked open earlier this year on my patio.

*Cuban Cigars obviously have the most famous reputation, why?  
The whole concept the media plays, saying you can’t get them here and they are illegal. Cubans are great cigars to me. They started the whole cigar industry and trade. Things that are tacky is seeing current brands trying to copy the old Cuban art and labels. Be original. In my opinion, they are great investments if you have done your research! J

 

*What are other regions that you would say offer the same or better quality? Why? 

Dominican Republic and Nicaragua offer great fuller flavors. Padron said it himself, Jalapa in the Mountains in Nicaragua is the closest, if not better soil then the Pinar del Rio Province in Cuba. Watching the soil change from driving from Esteli to Jalapa is amazing. You go from a dark black rich soil in Esteli that slowly transfers in the 2 hours trip to a dark red soil.  I created a cigar in Esteli, and I’m perfectly fine smoking my cigar everyday up to three times a day. I’ve thought about selling everything in my walkin just so I can stock it with bandless blends I do.


*With so many manufacturers in the industry today, how will you prosper when so many others have failed?
You know honestly that does scare me but I live one way. If you’re going to do something, put your nuts on the chopping block. Either you’ll lose it all, or you’ll prosper.

*How have you focused on Quality?
 Quality is a big thing for me. I hate seeing people smoke shitty construction cigars.  Looking like a fish gasping for air at the cigar shop.  When meeting Noel I knew his factory was a place I could call home. His Production Floor Manager, Ronel, is amazing with checking on the tobacco and inspecting every cigar being rolled. We are all in it for quality and not quantity.

*The recent trend today is stronger cigars, what trends do you think are next?
Well with the recent releases you see more are going back into the mild category.

*What are your concerns with the anti-smoking efforts in the US?

Just like anything else, the government wants a cut of everything.  Don’t get me started, I could be here for days talking about this.

*How should a newcomer to cigars discover his or her tastes?
Best advice I can tell a new comer…. Smoke every fucking cigar on the shelf. That is the only way you’re going to know what you like. Once you have a cigar you really like.. Do some research and see what’s in it.

*New App? Tell us about it? How can we download it? 
With the whole FDA, Embargo and rumors of Facebook might be cracking down on cigar sales inside groups, I was thinking there should be an app for people to go to in the future. To be able to sell and trade cigars with people across the world.  Also with the Embargo coming to a lift, I wanted to come out with something that will help USA travelers to Cuba spot the tell signs of fakes. Saving money from not buying a fake cigar just paid for the app.
Just released phase one which is already under process for new development and design.  I’m going to have Nuzil Hakim the master mind behind all the JSK design from the website to the band, redesign the flow and layout to bring a class to the app.  I can’t really discuss phase two of the plan because it’s under development, but it will close the technology gap that is in the cigar industry. From Manufacturer’s to Shop and to the Consumer. 
Search in iTunes for  “My Pocket Puro

*Final thought?

Fuck I need a cigar after this!!