Wrapper: Aged Brazilian Arapiraca Colorado
Filler: Habano Esteli, Paraguay, Ligero Habano Jalapa
Size: 7 x 60
Today we take a look at the Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet.
Thanks to H&S owner Fouad Kashouty for the samples.
From the Hiram & Solomon web site:
“Records dating as far back as the mid 1800’s describe the pre-meeting tradition where cigars were distributed to the Brethren so that they could enjoy a smoke during or after a gathering.
“This custom is considered a time for Brethren to relax, exchange ideas, and enjoy the simplicity and fellowship that is the very essence of Brotherhood.
“This is what Hiram & Solomon Cigars is all about. One of our guiding principles is to bring Mason brothers together in the harmony of a good cigar.
“As my fellow Brethren and I would enjoy our cigars together, the discussion would eventually lead to the same realization: there was no kind of accessible cigar on the market for Freemason smokers that carried the square and compass, nor any other Masonic Emblem. Upon coming to this conclusion, the topic of the conversation shifted into countless private meetings. The symposium consisted of talk concerning the possibility of creating, not only a Masonic themed cigar, but a quality cigar that would not just physically represent Freemasons all over the world, but contain within it a quality that could match the caliber of excellence that the Brethren themselves contain. The dream of creating and proudly possessing such a cigar was never extinguished in WB Ed Kashouty’s heart, a past master of Mariners Lodge #150 in Barnegat NJ.
“Our only hope is that creation of this cigar will bring positive experiences to all types of people all over the world. Perhaps it will bring Brethren closer together as they bond over smoke after a meeting. Maybe it will bring a non-brother a drive to learn about Freemasonry and its history. Perchance our experience inspires someone else to follow their dream and never give up. At the very least, we can rest assured that we have provided a tasty, quality cigar that can appeal to everyone’s palate and represent Freemasons all over the world with pride.”
Cigar Aficionado says the redwood tree sized cigar is the wave of the future. I have seen firsthand at my local B&M patrons smoking the biggest cigar they could stuff in their puss. But then these are also right out of the walk in humidor, right out of the cello…and they tend to be La Gloria Cubana, Punch, and other catalog blends that can’t possibly taste good being so green. And then I see these guys put half the cigar down and leave.
It must be a penis comparison thing. I’m using my minor in psychology on this one.
The wrapper is hickory/caramel/pecan in color. Lots of small veins but seamless. Beautifully applied flat triple cap. Smooth as glass.
The first sample I smoked had a big gap in the filler in the bottom third of the cigar. This stick has a similar condition. And I can feel a plug near the cap and one midway down the shaft.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell beautifully exotic floral notes, a major dose of caramel, foamy cream, hot cocoa, espresso, cedar, red pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell barnyard, strong black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, (Pepper makes me sneeze 3 times quickly), caramel, cedar, very creamy, and some nice milk chocolate.
The cold draw presents flavors of cream, molasses, cedar, barnyard, black pepper, chocolate, a variety of malts, and baking spices.
I ream the plug about 1-1/2” below the cap and the draw is now clear. I can’t stress enough the value of the PerfecDraw cigar poker. No. You didn’t make your own tool that is anything like this device. You may think you have…but you haven’t. It is a lifesaver when it comes to smoking cigars at today’s prices. Each tool is hand machined. It is too small for most CNC machines to cut…thereby making the tool a very labor intensive device to manufacture. Use promo code Katman for 15% off.
Okie doke. I lit ‘er up. Let’s see where she goes from here…
First up is a dalliance with malt, cedar, caramel, chocolate, coffee with cream, and hay.
I’ve let the sticks marinate in my humidor, without the cellos, for two months. Hopefully, it is sufficient for a mammoth stick like the Veiled Prophet…if nothing else, potential should be impressive.
The draw is perfect. Huge plumes of smoke surround me like my son in law lobbed a smoke grenade at me. Sammy the cat boogies.
The tricky thing about reviewing a new cigar is timing. You want to get as much as possible from the blend to really give the reader a great understanding of an excellent blend…but that takes time in the humidor. I can count on one hand, over the thousands of reviews I’ve written, the number of cigars that were ready to review any sooner than 2 weeks after receipt.
But with a ginormous stick like this 7 x 60, it usually takes many months of patience to derive the intended plan of the blender. But by then, you are reviewing a cigar that may no longer be for sale or not relevant. So there is a conundrum.
Sure there are guys that can smoke a fresh cigar straight from the cello and enjoy it. And then there are the people who read me, and others, that realize time is a friend to good blends. And the inimitable flavors of leather, wood, and earth are not the “be all to end all.”
Strength is mild. Flavors are too. I’m not being smacked in the frontal lobes by an assault on my palate. As I feared, the Veiled Prophet needs to warm up…meaning that somewhere down the pipe, the cigar blend will blossom. Either this is the way the cigar is intended to present itself; or it needs additional humidor time. Two months may not cut it…even for just getting a good sense of potential.
Right off the bat, I have burn issues. Nothing major. But torch to foot is required.
Kashouty makes some fine blends. My favorite so far is the Master Mason. Followed by Fellow Craft. Both reviewed here.
A cigar this large makes it impossible to allow it to hang from my mouth while I type Mickey Spillane style.
I read a couple reviews of the Veiled Prophet. And since its release, it has only gotten 3-4 reviews. One reason is the price. This is almost Davidoff territory. The other is the obvious old school requirement of long humidor time.
I read one review that said the writer had to put the cigar down because it was too strong. I read another, that like me, said it is starting at the very mild/medium strength. Go figure.
I’m killing time waiting for a bevy of flavors to really entice my palate…but right now, there is little to rave about. I’m doing this first thing in the morning….clean palate.
An uptick of flavors kicks in. Little teasers of caramel, chocolate, malt, cream, and a funky fruitiness. The black pepper is rising to the occasion. Need my spice.
Things are picking up but this is not what I had hoped for. I expected to be taken on a magic carpet ride from the start. I’m tough on expensive cigars. The Veiled Prophet should impress from the get go because a $16 stick has certain expectations.
This could easily be a 2.5-3 hour cigar that will force me to take breaks so this does not become a 15,000 word dissertation. Don’t want to add the unnecessary “fluff.”
I don’t mind waiting. I found two TV shows I haven’t seen that are on AXSTV. One is a Santana concert from 2016 and the other is a Clapton San Diego concert from 2007.
Strength remains at mild/medium.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
Bummer, dudes. The first third was a disaster. I want to give H&S the benefit of the doubt as they do make fine blends…so I will proclaim, unknowingly, that this cigar needs 6 months of humidor time….not two.
The cigar is totally failing to impress.
And the construction is average, at best. Under filled at points, a big plug, and pain in the ass char line issues that need regular attention. I had similar issues with the first Veiled Prophet I smoked.
The sweeter factors of this blend begin to display themselves. A nice caramel, chocolate covered raspberry candy, sweet malt, candied lemon peel, and a touch of honey.
I absolutely know the following will occur…the second third will start to pick up. By the halfway point, we will see some real improvement. And the last third will be a real winner; fucking up my brain pan something awful trying to figure out how to rate the stick.
Cigar Aficionado is full of shit. There is no wave approaching that will have all of us smoking 8 x 80 cigars from now on. Like most of you, I prefer the smaller sizes…the Robusto, Corona Gorda, and even a normal sized Toro.
Transitions begin. Some complexity arrives. The finish magically transforms itself into a nice long train ride.
Strength hits a nice medium intensity.
Flavors keep improving.
My prediction is happening just as proscribed. The cigar is beginning to strut its stuff now…finally. Thank you baby Jesus.
Now we’re talking. I’m nearly to the halfway point and the blend is approaching what it will taste like 4 months from now.
Big pet peeve. I can’t think of a single reviewer that lets you in on how long he allowed the cigar to rest before reviewing it. Is this some sort of secret? It gives the reader no sense of time. This is a major faux pas and panders to readers.
How will the reader know what stage the blend is at in its maturation process that only comes from breathing big deep breaths in your humidor next to your other cigars?
Halfway point arrives after one hour 25 minutes.
The Veiled Prophet is on track now. Yes I can tell the future…I have ESPN.
The burn line is such a mess. A $16 cigar should have been constructed better than this.
Well another one bites the dust. Your Uncle Katman is now burning a bridge with another manufacturer. It’s a shame. But Fouad Kashouty told me several times that he expects me to strictly tell the truth…regardless of the outcome. So I follow orders to a tee; especially since I’m half German.
The blend is very smooth and balanced now. It is still not a barnstormer…but very pleasant. I wish it were stronger though. I prefer a kick in the arse.
And all the spiciness is gone. It leaves a hole in the blend.
Malts are nice. Café latte appears out of nowhere. The raspberry jell inside those little pockets of chocolate are a real treat to the palate. The caramel soars now. Graham cracker shows up for the first time. The cinnamon and nutmeg disappear. Creaminess has hit the big time and coats the other flavors perfectly. Cedar is also prominent. Sorry…no leather, earth or wood.
Smoke time is 2 hours 15 minutes. I hope you appreciate what I’m doing for you. Smoking a less than stellar cigar for 3 hours just so I can write my opinion is a chore. I’m old and frail and could fall, break a hip, and die.
Damn. I really had hoped to write a rave review about the Veiled Prophet. Instead, it appears to be a warning beacon to stay away from planet LV-426.
Blam. Red pepper is in assault mode. My eyes water and my nose runs. This is great.
This last third is what the Veiled Prophet should taste like from the start given the correct amount of humi time. Still, it worries me that there aren’t more reviews of this cigar. Writers don’t like to burn bridges. Me? It just falls into my lap. Most manufacturers hate me. Not all…but most. I don’t care. I refuse to censor my reaction. Damn the torpedoes. Kills me that Tom Petty was only 66 when he died. A friend of a friend just died at 65. Damn.
It will be impossible to ignore the never ending char line issues. For $16, there should be a razor sharp burn line from start to finish.
Strength makes its leap to medium/full.
The blend now exhibits traits that are found in fine premium blends. A strong complex nature along with some nice transitions.
Minutes later, strength is a potent full. This must be what the other reviewer was referring to…
Great flavors are in place at last. What to do…how do you rate a cigar like this? Oy.
The lack of reviews must come from the need for required extended humidor time.
I have one more stick. I will let it rest and return to this review in 4 months.
Nicotine kicks in and wipes my memory clean.
The Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet is now a beautiful thing. Took 2 hours to get here, but it did arrive.
I could shit can my review and not publish. And I can wait 4 months and try again. I might consider this if the cigar were of normal size. But I’m not going through another 3 hour review that actually takes me over 4 hours to write, photograph, and publish.
Caramel, graham cracker, malts, coffee, chocolate, raspberry, lemon citrus, red pepper, cedar, lots of creaminess, nuts, and a nice savory element that gives the blend a meaty exposure.
The last inch becomes harsh and bitter. I guess I’m done.
RATING: 80 for the first two thirds. 91 for the last third.
And now for something completely different:
My downfall as the fixer….
The band had finished its second album, at the famous Island Studio in London…and since Miles Copeland was a cheap bastard, he picked an untried producer to ride herd on the biggest egos on the planet. Now, the guy had a distinguished career as an engineer, but goose eggs as a producer. And the band ran all over him.. Once, he was almost brought to tears because Darryl Way, the band leader, violinist and keys player yelled at him….because Darryl wasn’t getting his way.
I was the mediator of the group and we all know what happens to that guy. And it did.
Two camps sprung up…Mick, the guitarist, and Darryl. Then there was Sonja, the singer, and Stewart Copeland, the drummer. I was in between trying to make the peace. Both camps were constantly at odds with each other. I was looking out for myself. I finally hit the big time and I didn’t want to see it get flushed down the toilet over band squabbles.
Stew was a very good drummer but had no constraints. He was like Keith Moon and just soloed away during every song. I have cassettes of unreleased music with evidence of Copeland’s lack of control. But of course, we were all so young.
On stage, this was torture, because while Darryl and Mick were upfront trading lead riffs, Stewart was on some other planet soloing in all sorts of weird time signatures causing the boys up front to lose where “1” was.
That forced me hit quarter notes hard and heavy so they would know where the hell they were. Quarter notes mean 1-2-3-4 in a single bar. The backbone of rock n roll.
It made me crazy to be an accomplished bassist playing quarter notes while Stew behaved like he was the star of the band. And this band was a very progressive band with lots of intricate chordal changes. Not a 1-4-5 blues band. Darryl was a trained classical musician and our music reflected his training and love.
During the close of recording of the Midnight Wire album, Jose Feliciano showed up for a couple nights and added his own style to our English progressive recordings. The only time his style meshed with ours was my tune: “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley, but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.” Really, no bullshit. That was the name of the tune and of course, it was heavily bass oriented. I got to show off. The band hated it.
It was so intricate that they couldn’t figure it out. It was all American jazz fusion…the exact reason they hired me. So they went to the booth and sulked. My tune became a bass solo with Feliciano playing guitar and legendary Brazilian percussionist, Paulhino De Costa playing every percussion instrument he had in his kit bag. And Stew was right on point. I tried teaching Sonja the two sentence lyrics but she didn’t have the range or the ability to hit the strange time signature or manage the scat-like approach to the tune…so we had our only instrumental on the album.
RCA had a big “Listening Party” in order to debut the release of the album.
It was a scene right out of “Spinal Tap.” The record was played on a continual loop throughout the party and each time Yucca Valley played, I could hear mutterings of, “What the fuck is that?”
My heart sank. Feliciano liked it so much that he bought licensing rights…but I waited and it never showed up on any of his albums.
RCA’s reaction to our album was a disaster. And not just because of “Yucca Valley.”
Behind closed doors, Copeland and his henchmen figured out a new plan. They brought in two American hot shot producer brothers that had just finished producing Clapton’s latest album: “461 Ocean Boulevard.”
In Amsterdam, they came to watch us perform and we got word that we better go meet them at their hotel one afternoon. I went by myself because no one was interested. I felt it was very important but the band had no interest.
So I sat in their hotel room and listened to these two fuck heads tear the album apart…just ripped it.
And to my face, they told me my bass playing sucked. They said the vocals sucked. They said the arrangements sucked. They said the violin playing sucked. They said the guitar playing was out of place. Holy Bat Shit!
I raced back to our hotel and with my eyes as big as saucers, I told the band we are in big trouble. They just laughed at me while drinking beer and smoking dope.
The plan was to re-record the album but something needed to be fixed. The two camps were called for a meeting. I was not invited. They blamed each other for the album failure. And guess what? Yep. I got the phone call. I was gone. The album problems were laid right at the foot of the bassist. LOL.
They hired a session bassist to fill in the tracks. But when I listened to the finished album, I heard my bass playing on 75% of the tracks. So I wasn’t the problem. And I’ve never been paid royalties as, to this day, they refuse to admit they used my tracks.
The new album had no soul and was listless and sterile. No excitement, no verve. It was considered by the critics as the end of the band. And this band had a long life time. I believe they put out 14 albums. I was on 4.
There I was, stranded in England without a gig. It was so humiliating when the musical mags and rags started reporting that I had left the band because of differences inside the band. But I called these rags and told them the truth and they printed it. The band came down hard on me for doing this. I didn’t care. They fired me without any severance and I was dead broke 6000 miles from home with my girlfriend and her little girl.
The roadies took pity on me and delivered half of the equipment stored in the management’s warehouse so I could sell it and have money. Management made no stink over this. These were their best roadies and the roadies got in the face of Miles Copeland and shamed him for doing what he did to me. So I sold everything and finally had some money in the bank.
I spent another 6 months playing with several well-known English bands but it just didn’t click with me and I decided to go home with my tail between my legs.
The upside? I still get player royalties. Woo Hoo. Fuckers!
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS