As we noted in previous articles on Hiram & Solomon, they moved operations to the Plasencia factory in Nicaragua this year and worked with Master Blender David Blanco from Blanco Cigars to update the blend. That move has been paying pretty big dividends for the company as the cost of production has decreased and that decrease has been passed through to the consumers. Another benefit of the move was the quality of tobacco they have access to. As this will be the second re-do of a Hiram & Solomon cigar since they moved I can certainly say the tobacco source made a difference.
Today we will take a look at the Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man that was manufactured at the Plasencia factory. I refer you to the review we did on the original for comparison. The complete line of Plasencia based Hiram & Solomon cigars were presented at this years IPCPR. I talked to Fouad Kashouty co-owner of Hiram & Solomon cigars at the show and more recently on the Rare Scotch and Cigars cruise in November where he explained how grateful he was to Plasencia family.
He noted that the company was started to sell cigars to raise money for the Masonic Lodge charities and what was a part-time activity has turned into a full-time job. The company continues to donate a percentage of the proceeds to this day.
To start with, it should be noted that the blend for the Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man has been re-blended to add more fullness and flavor, it is described as:
- Wrapper – Indonesian Sumatra
- Binder – Indonesia
- Filler – Brazilian Arapiraca, Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe and Dominican
Just the filler alone should peak your interest.
There has also been a change in the available vitolas, the company eliminated the Churchill and added a Toro and Gran Toro to the line up. The available vitolas are now listed as:
- Robusto (5 x 52) MSRP $8.75
- Toro (6 x 54) MSRP $9:25
- Torpedo (6 x 52) MSRP $10.00
- Gran Toro (6 x 60) MSRP $10:50
So how does the new Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man perform? Follow along as we break it down.
The Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man is a beautiful looking cigar with its medium tan, Indonesian Sumatra wrapper, that has some faint marbling, minimal veins, and a light tooth. It is finished with a well applied double cap. The cigar is solid throughout with no soft spots.
The cigar is adorned with an upgraded band from the original, but keeps the Purple, Black and Silver motif. The Masons logo is centered but the phrase “2B1ASK1” has been moved under the logo. The words “Hiram & Solomon” have also been moved to the bottom of the front of the band in silver print on a black background. This is important to understand if you pick these up so you know the difference between the original and the updated blend.
As far as the nose is concerned, the barrel has a sweet spice aroma to it which I i fully expected form the Indonesian Sumatra leaf and the foot exuded fresh-cut hay and earth.
For this review I sampled the Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man Toro. I used a punch to open this up and the cold draw delivered sweet and earthy notes with a warm red pepper coating on the palate.
With the preliminaries complete this is showing early signs of being a fine smoking experience. Stay with me as I fire it and take a Traveling Man journey.
Cigar Review Notes
- Smooth start with notes of sweet coffee latte
- Dry leather follows the coffee
- Solid light grey ash has developed resting on a sharp, thin char line
- Rich cedar notes appear after an inch of burn
- Delightful natural tobacco sweetness enters
- Pristine burn
- Woody and spice aroma
- Ash gently fell end of first third
- Flat but Centered burn cone
- Cocoa powder joins in the second third
- Followed by a bolder coffee note
- A gentle baking Spice joins the profile
- Sweet, delicious cream enters as it is moving into the final third
- Peppery Spice opens up
- Medium Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
Overall, the revamped Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man was an outstanding smoking experience. The journey was stoked with balanced flavor transitions and the burn was pristine and error free. This new blend is uniquely different from the original. It was a much smoother smoke with the pepper only appearing near the end. It fits my palate perfectly and I highly recommend adding it to your rotation to take a break from the heavily pepper laden smokes you may be smoking. This would pair very nicely with a cafe cubano or even a cafe mocha and if you choose a libation I would suggest a nice cordial or well aged rum.
Point Deductions: (-1) Flat Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Pristine Burn Cone