Back in June of 2016, I did a rough cut review of the Hiram Solomon Entered Apprentice cigar. i enjoyed that cigar and it delivered some interesting flavor notes. Back then, Fouad Kashouty and his business partner, Nasir George Dakrat were doing well and with their line and were making them in the Dominican Republic. Well things have changed a bit for Hiram Solomon since that review. I met up up with Fouad at this years IPCPR and he informed me they have left the Dominican factory and partnered with the Plasencia Family in Nicaragua. The new relationship has turned things for the better as Hiram Solomon has access to more variety of leaf and the resources of the highly experienced Plasencia Torcedors. To top en that, Fouad noted that the partnership has allowed him to lower the price of their whole line of cigars.
Starting today and running through the holiday season, I will be re-reviewing the Hiram Solomon line and comparing the Plasencia variety to the previous line. The first up is the Entered Apprentice, the first step in becoming a Free Mason. In case this is the first time you have read anything about Hiram Solomon cigars, you should know that founders are part of the Free Masons, a fraternal organization that does some amazing charitable work, not the lest of which is the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Every cigar sold results in a portion of the profit going to the charity.
The Hiram Solomon Entered Apprentice
The Hiram Solomon Entered Apprentice is one of a number of cigars in the company’s portfolio, each named for stages or degrees in the ranks of Free Masonary. Being the “first degree” the Entered Apprentice is blended to introduce a new cigar smoker to the brotherhood and sisterhood of the leaf. Faud describes the updated Entered Apprentice as follows:
“We did change on the blend and we do believe that we improve on it . I personally name it the Connecticut Miracle ( I have a story behind it lol ) It is surely not a boring Connecticut at all we put a kick to it in an effort to introduce mild cigar smokers to the next level Exactly the same way the Entered Apprentice degree ( first degree in the initiation process) is created to prepare the new candidate for his next level .”
The bold Connecticut blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Connecticut shade talanga
- Binder – Connecticut shade talanga
- Filler – Habano, Ometepe, Pennsylvania, and Paraguay
Did you note that last filler leaf – Paraguay? When was the last time you saw that in a blend. Yep that is what you get when you work with a company like Plasencia.
There are now 4 vitolas for the Entered Apprentice
- Robusto – 5 x 50
- Toro – 6 x 52
- Gavel – 5 x 60
- Gran Toro – 6 x 60
The MSRP ranges from $8.50 to $10.00 USD
For this review I sampled the Entered Apprentice Toro, which I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press
The wrapper on the Entered Apprentice is a darker than normal Connecticut shade – bordering more on medium tan in color. It is silky smooth and you will find it hard to find the seams on it. The cigar is tightly packed, solid in the hand, and has a nice weight to it. It is finished with a simple cap.
Like the original EA, there are two band that adorn the cigar, The primary band uses a black, blue, and silver motif with the Free Masons symbol in the center but unlike the original it has the words “Hiram & Solomon” printed in silver on aback background underneath. The footer band has been upgrade too, instead of just stating “EA”, it now states “Entered Apprentice” in silver on a black background.
Running the shaft along the nose I pick up a sweet spicy fermented wrapper while the foot lets off aromas of fresh-cut hay, pepper, and fruit. Definitely a little more fragrant than the original.
I chose to use a punch to open up the cap this time and the cold draw offered a restriction to my liking, and gentle pepper and earth set of notes.
Well, so far the Plasencia variety of the Entered Apprentice is enticing me for sure. So let’s get her fired up and see what it has to offer.
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper and oak start the journey
- Cinnamon sweetness enters early
- Decent volume of smoke already
- White ash develops resting on solid char line
- A mineral note enters about an inch in
- Dry leather follows
- Increased sweetness moves in near the end of the first third
- Sweet beer nut aroma
- Excellent ash quality
- Orange zest enters as it gets close to the second third
- Cedar joins the mix adding the delight
- Ash fell an inch before the band – solid!
- Well centered slightly pointed burn cone
- Medium volume of smoke so far
- Cedar is becoming more pronounced with a subtle cinnamon spice and touch of coffee
- Spice is increasing through the second half
- Smoke volume opened up with a creamy texture to it
- Peppery spice builds into the final third – this is where you learn about bolder cigars
- Subtle fruit note in the background
- Mild to Medium in strength
- Total Smoking Time was a terrific one hour and twenty minutes
Overall, the re-tweaked Entered Apprentice is by far, steps above the original when it comes to flavor. The burn was just as pristine. With a lower price point these cigars are now in the average wheel house for the consumer and remember a portion of proceeds helps the charity.