Hiram & Solomon Grand Architect Gran Toro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan Seco Habano (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan (2 types of Ligero from Estelí & Jalapa), Paraguay
Size: 6 x 60 Gran Toro
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $10.83-$13.10 Depends on the online cigar store


I received samples from Hiram & Solomon Cigars back in early April of this year. They have gotten 5 months of naked humidor time.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
Released at July 2019 IPCPR
From the Hiram & Solomon website:
“A blend of carefully selected Aged Tobacco featuring a smooth, satiny, coffee bean brown Corojo Wrapper.

“Medium to full body cigar with a Rustic aroma, light citrus and cinnamon spice that changes to a sweet cedar and leather notes That switches at the last third to some Vanilla, light spice and coffee.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5 x 50 $11.14
Toro 6 x 52 $10.39
Gran Toro 6 x 60 $10.83

APPEARANCE:
This is a well constructed cigar. Solid to the core. Minimum of veinage interfering with the flow, seams are invisible, and the triple cap is applied by professionals. Feels a bit hard but I’ve already punched the cap and the flow is just fine. The cigar band is a bit different than most H&S blends. It has a big, gorgeous Mason’s insignia held by a hand with geometric gold lines emanating from the source.
I remember that my dad was a Mason when I was a kid and teen. One day, he asked if I knew what the ‘G’ stood for? I looked at him with the eyes of Bart Simpson and said, “Duh.” It wasn’t a mystery for even a 10-year-old kid. Still, I remember he was very active with the organization for some time.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
First up is a congregation of baking spices. Then, followed by a light milk chocolate, cinnamon, creaminess, malt, lemon citrus, caramel apple, licorice, cedar, barnyard, and cinnamon.

The cold draw presents flavors of cinnamon, baking spices, red pepper, Almond Roca, milk chocolate, vanilla creaminess, black licorice, citrus, cedar, and espresso.
The draw is spot on, so I put aside my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool.

FIRST THIRD:
It starts off with a very creamy, macadamia nuttiness. In step, we have some notes of Hawaiian sweet bread, café au lait, lots of maltiness, cinnamon hard candy, a touch of licorice in the background, a light charred steak component, black pepper, cedar, and salted caramel. Nice start.

There was an immediate intro to its complexity that I’m betting will grow as I continue. Also, a nice balance of the aforementioned flavors. Nothing screams over the other voices. The finish is delicious with a bakery aroma/flavor. A good cut of meat charred perfectly with that maddening delicious aroma of the outdoors and mesquite. The blend is quite dense very early on. A good sign.

The burn is glacial in its progress. A nice slow roll. Very smooth on this old palate. A nice even keeled medium strength.

I smoked one 2-3 months in and I’m glad I waited for the 5-month mark to review it…a different cigar; for the better.

My first sip of water and I get a vodka martini with a twist surprise. I can taste the burn of the alcohol on my lips and the tartness of the lemon on my tongue.

It switches directions on a dime. Milk chocolate layered on top of vanilla ice cream…with those chopped bits of macadamia. This is a real treat.

While it seems that the direction of the blend is mostly sweet tarts, the baking spices and charred meat level the playing field so a nice balance is rounding third and ready to steal home.

Nothing is out of place or attempting to steal the thunder of the overall character of this beautifully blended cigar. This is what I expect from a cigar in this price range…in fact, it is what I expect when I see a $25 cigar. This is complexity at its finest. I am truly impressed. The Hiram & Solomon catalog is as varied as a candy aisle. All are good but some are spectacular. The Grand Architect falls into the latter category.

I reviewed the Hiram & Solomon Curamus back in June and it blew my socks off. But then so does the Grand Architect and I’ve only smoked less than two inches.

I love subtle complex cigar blends. Don’t need no stinkin’ flavor bomb to please me. In this case, the previously described flavors merely prop up the blender’s genius in using the right tobacco to bring a summer solstice to a sophisticated smoker. In fact, sophistication can be left at the door for this baby. I don’t care what level of experience you have, there is no way you can avoid the gifts of manna that this cigar brings to your palate. I’m plotzing.

I’m feeling nostalgic so I have The Beatles channel playing on Pandora. The 1960’s, as a teen, was a magical period in music. Imagine the anticipation of hearing a new Beatles album will be released soon. Or listening to Led Zep’s first album for the first time…or Jimi, Janis, and C,S,N,&Y. Not to mention The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield.

The Grand Architect has me in a very mellow place that allows my nerves to stand at parade rest. Great cigar. Can’t wait to hit the sweet spot.

The cinnamon darts about reciting Shakespeare: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?” Yes. I am having an acid flashback. Good cigar.

“Suspicious Minds” by Elvis is playing. I loved bassist Mike Leech in the live version. Man, he was ahead of his time. He was one of my many influences. He just rips it in the song’s outro.

SECOND THIRD:
This was a wonderful 40 minutes.
Strength hits medium/full.

A blossoming approach is now in full gear. The parameters are now wide open and cherubs fly out of the fiery foot. All those subtle flavors are laser focused. Each in its own bowling lane screaming pay attention to me!
Can this be the sweet spot? Seems early. Will have to wait and see.

Black pepper arrives in a chariot. It whips the horses into submission. It generates speed and acceleration of the entire character of the blend. We are in Bozo Crazy mode. Stand back if you don’t want to get run over.

The organic growth of this cigar has been phenomenal. It never looks back. It seeks its blender’s intent like that crazed ferret that attacked me years ago. Although, I doubt the Grand Architect will leave any marks. Or the need for the rabies series injections.

While flavors are now shooting signal flares into my palate, the balance has only improved. Nothing makes a daring move for the fences. The profile just hammers away like trapped miners seeking freedom.

I cannot add any conceptualization of new flavors. The flavor profile seems canonized. Sentries are posted.

Just made me remember how I got into trouble with the Queen’s soldiers at Windsor Castle in 1975. I lived, for a while, a mile down the road from the castle in the town of Datchet. A soldier walked away from his post to perform his due diligence and I sneaked into his sentry box. My girlfriend took the photos. I got caught and shit hit the fan. I wasn’t arrested but I got a stern talking to. Now, if this happened during these tumultuous times, I would have been shot.

The creaminess trumps the spiciness. The citrus tarts up the baking spices. The chocolate harmonizes with the espresso. The nuttiness rambles on while the charred steak provides the right bite. Pontefract Cakes give it an intensity that coats my mouth while the cinnamon puts up its dukes.

The blend is so smooth that I’m turning into a puddle of gefilte fish.
After over an hour, the halfway point arrives in all its glory. Waving the flag of victory to its submissive foes.

Once again, I am stunned by the hubris some manufacturers show when they find a donkey turd of a blend and ask you to shell out $12 for it. They have no shame. Here is a cigar in the same price corral and it towers over the wannabes.

The sweet spot is in place and my heart slows to 12 beats per minute. Fouad Kashouty…you are Superman. Lawdy, lawdy Miss Clawdy.
I take a few minutes to sit back and just take it all in. Typing can wait…

LAST THIRD:
This experience is close to perfection.
The stick is at full tilt strength. Nicotine is flying by in formation. I don’t care. The cigar has put me into a trance of seamless happiness.
I’m now in the Cone of Silence. What? I can’t hear you.

As a teen, I had a part time gig as a delivery boy for a film company in Long Beach. My job was to transport cans of film to Hollywood studios. One day, I was on Sunset Blvd when the Rolls Royce in front of me came to a sudden stop. My 1971 Datsun station wagon smacked right into the back of that car.

I got out. So did the driver of the Rolls. We looked at the damage. My front end was crumpled. The Rolls didn’t have a scratch. And then out of the back seat, Lucille Ball stepped out and came over to see what was going on.

My jaw dropped. Even though it probably wasn’t my fault I hit her car…I started apologizing profusely. Lucy was very nice to me. She saw my front end and that no damage occurred on her ride, she handed me two $100 bills. She waggled a well-manicured finger at me, smiled, got back into the Rolls…and off they went. Everyone was honking. My dad was not pleased with me when I got home.

The Grand Architect is causing my boxers to flap in the wind. If it becomes any more intense, my merkin will pale and die.

The pace of the transitions is trying to break the sound barrier. The finish is so ginormous that my palate screams it is drowning.

It is now flavor bomb time. I did not expect this. It’s a big fatty. The tobacco splurges beyond its own train of thought leaving me in the dust.
Every single flavor I have described is now atop Mt. Fuji bellowing to the heavens.

I cannot come up with a single criticism. The construction has been perfect. The char line in sync. No harshness or heat. I feel like I should become a Buddhist. Or join Mossad.

The cigar is over two hours in its burn. What a lovely way to spend a morning.

Regardless of your scholarly imagination and exposure to good cigars, the Hiram & Solomon Grand Architect is a stick no one should miss.

RATING: 98



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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