Bite Size Review: Hiram & Solomon Master Mason
I’ll admit it, we’re a little late getting around to this one which for us is an oxymoron, seeing as how impatient we typically are. They say good things come to those who wait, well, stick a fork in us – we’re done. What can I say, it’s not easy sailing through a veritable sea of cigar choices these days. It’s a seemingly endless trend really: new boutique cigar makers are magically appearing on the premium cigar radar every year. But as we’ve warned prior, only the cream rises to the top. It’s true, only a few will find a niche or cult following and eek out just enough of a market to hang with the big boy brands. One brand building such a buzz is Hiram & Solomon (H&S).
Founded by Masonic Brethren, WB Fouad Kashouty and Brother George Dakrat, H&S have quietly, but effectively, gained momentum in the boutique market. Longtime cigar lovers, Kashouty and Dakrat longed for a Masonic-themed cigar that not only encapsulated their love of premium cigars, but also one that honored global Freemasonry crafted around the very principles symbolized by the iconic Compass and Square; virtue, wisdom of conduct and strength.
In keeping with their foundation in charity work, H&S extends this tradition by donating a portion of the profits from the sale of their cigars to both Masonic and non-Masonic charities. Now featuring 6 lines, including the Master Mason, H&S has found something unique and many cigar smokers, and critics, are taking note.
Our Master Mason has been lounging for eight and a half long months, but she still retains a silky coat of oil. As dark as molasses with a mottled appearance, this big, seamless Gran Toro also features some lumpiness and is firm throughout. Chocolate fudge dominates outer aromas and at the risk of some head shaking, eye rolling and maybe an “uh, boy” or two, my first thought after running my nose over the oscuro wrapper was ‘funnel cake.’ Yeah, like you get at the fair. I’ve enjoyed the best draws using a punch on larger ring gauge cigars and the effortless draw from the Master Mason proved this was the right call.
The initial profile features a supple, leathery nucleus and creamy texture complemented by a medley of toasted almonds, baking spice, and toasty hints of caramel and coffee on the retro and finish respectively. Notes of black pepper and a light spice feature in transitions as does tangy oak and wood profiles. This big Gran Toro is delicious, so puff at will as she likes to be smoked.
Combustion overall was excellent highlighted by prodigious smoke production, but an intermittent wavy char would come and go. The Master Mason took me on a very enjoyable ride from start to finish defined by an overall warm character, a well-balanced and tasty blend and a wish that I had more on hand. :)> – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: H&S cigars were initially produced in the Dominican Republic, but are now crafted in Nicaragua by the Plasencia family.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Gran Toro
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 60
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Habano Maduro Oscuro
- Binder: Indonesian Sumatra
- Filler: Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, Ligero Habano Estelí
- Blade: Xikar Punch
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $11.00
- Humidor Age: 8.5 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Gavel [5″x60], Robusto [5.5″x50], Toro [6″x52]
Smoke Time: 1:37
Construction: Triple cap; oily; firm throughout; mottled, dark molasses appearance; seamless; minimal veins; lumpy; holds tight, 1″ ash.
- Wrapper – Funnel cake
- Foot – Fudge, hints of mint
- Cold Draw – Citrus, prune bouquet
- Initial: Creamy texture with a sweet, nutty draw; lots of toasted almonds, baking spice and leathery highlights; toasty with hints of caramel on retro; long, toasty finish with hints of black pepper; ultra smooth; finishes with more coffee notes.
- Transition: Tangy oak core; light spice in the nose; retains some nuttiness; finish still toasty but adding in a cedar kick; sweet oats on palate, draw and retro; black pepper returns.
- Transition: A core of wood and baked oats; more oats and black coffee on finish; light cedar notes; whiffs of baking spice on retro.
Touch ups: N/A
Combustion: Very good
- Boxworthy / Go-to
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]