|Senor Solomon Natural|
Senor Solomon Cigars represent a unique type of cigar offering – namely producing Kosher for Passover cigars The brand was founded by Gershon (Gregory) Aizenman and Don “Kiki” Berger. You might be thinking, “a Kosher for Passover – it must be gimmicky. However for many Jews around Passover time, Kosher certification is must when it comes to everyday life. As Aizenman explains in a recent press release, “…at Passover Jews are, by Biblical law, required not to have in their possession fermented or leavened grains and, according to Eastern European custom, this injunction extends to beans such as soy, red, peanuts, rice, and the like.” Senor Solomon Cigars carry a KSA (Kosher Supervision of America) kosher certification to ensure the cigars meet these restrictions. An added benefit is that the strict standards that go into making a Kosher cigar will yield a high quality product that can smoked year round – even when Kosher standards are not required. In the end, the big question is how well does the Senor Solomon smoke? After sampling one of the Senor Solomon Natural, the answer is that this is a very good cigar.
We’ve taken the following text from the press release – this does an excellent job at documenting the standards and practices that are carried out during the Kosher process.
meet higher standards than regular cigars in order to have the kosher
certification. The rabbi supervises the production from leaf through
pilon (fermentation). The box is sealed and shipped; it is supervised
through all steps of manufacturing to make sure there is no
The end product
is 100 per cent tobacco with no additives, only the naturally
occurring aromas and flavors of the pure tobacco leaf. The
differences between regular cigars and these kosher cigars include:
- The tobacco leaves must be grown
and stored according to kosher law.
- The glue used must be from tree
sap, not a flour (which is a grain) and water composition.
- Rollers of kosher cigars are not
allowed to bring any food or beverage to the worktable, and the
entire work area is inspected for compilation with kosher rules.
In addition, some standard practices,that most cigars allow, are not allowed such as:
The outer leaves cannot be cooked
in other substances to give it color, smell and texture. Some
cigars are cooked in coffee or alcohol (which is a grain product),
which is not kosher.
To enhance flavor oils are often
used in other cigars some of which are animal by-products (which
are not kosher), to enhance consistency, flavor, color of the ash
and the evenness of the burn.
Fillers and binders, such as
wheat and rye grass to enhance the flavor, are often used in
cigars, which these kosher cigars do not use.
In the rolling process, rollers
of non-kosher cigars may use sprays which may contain alcohol or
other non-kosher ingredients
In addition, Senor Solomon demonstrates giveback from the cigar industry. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cigars go to a school for children with emotional and learning disabilities.
The Senor Solomon comes in two blends – a natural and a maduro. In this assessment, we will take a look at the Senor Solomon Natural.
There wasn’t a lot documented on the origins of the tobaccos. We do know that cuban-seed tobacco is used in making the Senor Solomon Natural.
The Senor Solomon Natural comes in four frontmarks. The line is currently geared toward large ring gauge cigar enthusiasts.
Churchill: 7 x 54
Corona Gorda: 6 1/2 x 54
Robusto: 5 x 54
Torpedo: 5 x 54
For this assessment, I sampled the Torpedo vitola of the Senor Solomon Natural. The Senor Solomon Natural has a light medium-colored wrapper. The wrapper is slightly toothy and has a bumpy feel. There are some visible veins and wrapper seams. While the wrapper does have a rugged look, the cigar is of good construction throughout.
There are two bands on the cigar. The top band is mostly blue and gold in color. There is a synagogue front and center on the band. Over the image is text “Senor” in gold font. Under the image is the text Solomon also in gold font. All of the text has a Hebrew-style font to it. On the footer is a second band, indicating the KSA Kosher certification.
|The footer band indicates the KSA Kosher Certification|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
While it is usual protocol for me to opt for a straight cut, with a torpedo cigar, this is always default choice. After completing my cut through the torpedo tip, I commenced with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes yielded a combination of pepper and chocolate. Overall, I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw, so it was on to firing up my Senor Solomon Natural and seeing what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Senor Solomon Naturals started out with a healthy dose of black pepper. I was caught off guard by this particular pepper blast as it definitely was reminiscent of a “Garcia pepper blast”. The pepper settled down and notes of natural tobacco sweetness and coffee surfaced. The pepper took on more of a form of a baker’s spice. For the first half of the smoke of the Senor Solomon Natural, no particular flavor stood out over the others.
By the second half of the smoke of the Senor Solomon Natural, the coffee notes dissipated and it was the natural tobacco sweetness and baker’s spice that dominated the flavor profile. These two notes formed an interesting fusion – resulting in a very unique flavor.
As the Senor Solomon Natural moves into the last third, the spice notes took center stage. The spice moved back more toward the black pepper flavor that started this cigar. The cigar definitely had a spicy finish, but it was not a harsh finish. The nub was cool in temperature, but more on the softer side when touched.
Burn and Draw
As I mentioned when I did the inspection of the cigar, the Senor Solomon Natural was a well-made cigar. The construction attributes of burn and draw reflect this. The burn remained very sharp from start to finish while smoking the Senor Solomon Natural. It produced a nice tight white ash throughout the smoke. The burn temperature was ideal. I did find the burn to be a little slow of the Senor Solomon Natural, but it did not have any adverse effects in terms of the cigar getting harsh.
|Razor sharp burn of the Senor Solomon Natural|
Normally, I am not a fan of torpedo or perfecto vitolas because I feel they produce an inferior draw. In the case of the Senor Solomon Natural, there were no issues with the draw here. It definitely provided a great draw from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength profile, the Senor Solomon Natural started out on the mild side. As the cigar smoking experience progressed the strength of this cigar did increase. By the 25 percent mark, it progressed to mild to medium in strength, and by the midway point, the Senor Solomon Natural crossed into medium strength.
The depth of the flavor notes takes on a similar pattern. Taking the pepper blast out of the equation (which seemed medium-bodied), the flavor profile starts out mild to medium in terms of body. The flavors progress to medium-bodied by the midway point. There is great balance between the strength and body as neither attribute overshadows the other.
There was a lot of old school qualities with the Senor Solomon Natural. The press release mentioned there was an effort to make Senor Solomon cigars smoke like an old Cuban cigars – and I can definitely see it with this cigar. Recently, I had a chance to view cigar making operations first-hand of traditional premium hand-made cigars. After reading about the practices for a cigar to become Kosher certified, I have really come to appreciate what the Senor Solomon cigars need to go through to get to market. This does result in a higher price point ($12-$17 SRP), but given there are extra practices on top of an already handmade process, I can understand this. We don’t factor price into a final assessment rating, but this is something the end consumer should still be aware of.
Overall, a well-made cigar with good flavors. I would not hesitate recommending this cigar to a new cigar enthusiast. I also think that experienced cigar enthusiasts, looking for something on the mild to medium side side. I also would smoke this cigar again.
Strength: Mild (Start) progresses to Medium (at midpoint)
Body: Mild to Medium (Start) progresses to Medium (at midpoint)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Senor Solomon Cigars. The request was initiated by Senor Solomon Cigars to myself
(Cigar Coop) to provide an assessment. Cigar Coop is appreciative for
the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.