The Senor Solomon Maduro is one of two cigar blends made by Senor Solomon Cigars. The company was founded by Gershon (Gregory) Aizenman and Don “Kiki” Berger. What are unique about Senor Solomon Cigars are that the cigars are actually Kosher certified. For many Jews (and not just around Passover time), Kosher certification is must when it comes to everyday life. For the case of Senor Solomon cigars, the Kosher certification plays a role in how the cigars are made. Recently, I gave the Senor Solomon Maduro a smoke, and found this to be a high quality product that delivers an outstanding smoking experience.
In terms of the need for a Kosher cigar, Aizenman explained this when the Senor Solomon line was launched:
“…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.”
To ensure that cigars meet Kosher standards, Senor Solomon Cigars carry a KSA (Kosher Supervision of America) certification. It was also explained to me that 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 during times of the year when Kosher standards are not required. We’ve taken the following text from the original press release – this does an excellent job at documenting the standards and practices that are carried out during the Kosher process in regards to the making of the Senor Solomon cigar line.
The Senor Solomon Kosher cigars must 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 contamination.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
The company Senor Solomon is also active in giveback to 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.
In addition to the Senor Solomon Maduro, there is also another blend, the Senor Solomon Natural. Today, we will focus on the maduro offering and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In the press release, the following information was disclosed about the blend for the Senor Solomon Maduro:
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano
Binder: Habano 2000
Filler: Sun-grown Cuban Seed Habano
The Senor Solomon Maduro is available in two sizes. The line is currently geared toward large ring gauge cigar enthusiasts.
Torpedo: 6 x 54
Corona Gorda: 6 1/2 x 64
For my smoking experience of the Senor Solomon Maduro, I smoked the large Corona Gorda vitola. The Brazilian Habano Maduro wrapper has a lighter colored coffee bean color to it. The wrapper itself is one I would categorize as oily. There are visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The cigar itself has a nice natural barnyard aroma to it.
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.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience of the Senor Solomon Maduro, I went with a straight cut to remove the rather large cap from the cigar. I then moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw yielded a combination of coffee, wood, and some cherry sweetness. Overall, I considered this to be a nice pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band, light up the Senor Solomon Maduro and see what the overall experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Senor Solomon Maduro provided a mix of coffee, black pepper, and cream. There was no dominant flavor early on. As the smoking experience moved through the first third of the Senor Solomon Maduro, the coffee flavors morphed into more of a rich chocolate flavor.
As the Senor Solomon Maduro entered the second third the pepper notes changed to more of a baker’s spice. The chocolate notes receded slightly, but there still was no dominant flavor.
In the second half, I detected some earth notes. The earth notes and chocolate notes and moved in and out as a primary flavor – while the baker’s spice remained constant as a primary flavor. Toward the very end of the Senor Solomon Maduro, the flavor got very spicy – and there was some harshness. The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
I was impressed with the construction of the Senor Solomon Maduro. The excellent construction to this cigar was reflected in the burn and draw. For such a big ring gauge cigar, I was very impressed how well the Senor Solomon Maduro scored in terms of these attributes.
The burn line to the Senor Solomon Maduro remained straight from start to finish – requiring very few touch-ups. The salt and pepper colored ash was firm with little flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature both were ideal.
The draw was outstanding as well. This made the Senor Solomon Maduro a very enjoyable smoking experience.
Strength and Body
From a nicotine perspective, the Senor Solomon Maduro starts off medium strength. As the cigar progresses through the first third, there is a definite up-tick in strength – and it does sneak up on you. By the second third, I assessed the Senor Solomon Maduro as being medium to full strength. This strength levels stays in this range throughout the remainder of the smoking experience.
Overall, the Senor Solomon Maduro’s flavors have some nice depth to them. I assessed this cigar to be a medium to full-bodied smoke. When looking at strength versus body, the body definitely has an edge in the first third, but the gap closed for the remainder of the cigar – providing some good balance.
The blend for the Senor Solomon Maduro works extremely well for the large ring gauge. While large ring gauge cigars tend to be a very contemporary thing, I found the Senor Solomon Maduro smokes more like a classic maduro. I was also amazed how well the construction was on this large ring gauge cigar. The extra care of meeting the Kosher standards definitely pays off on this blend.
I’ve seen the price point to these cigars is in the $14 to $17 range. While we don’t factor price into our assessment rating or score, we mention this for informational purposes. I’d recommend this to a novice cigar enthusiast looking to graduate to something more on the medium to full strength side. I’d also recommend this to an experienced cigar enthusiast as one will appreciate the classic maduro qualities. In any case, even if someone does not like a big ring gauge, I’d still encourage them to try this. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I’d smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full (Medium 1st third)
Body: Medium to Full
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.