Some Gurkhas

Ninja smoke

The folks at the Gurkha Cigar Group were kind enough to send me a few single cigars late last year, and I’m just now getting around to offering my partially considered opinion. I don’t normally review single sticks because there are so many extrinsic factors that can affect a single smoking experience, but these are not particularly subtle cigars so I’m going to take a chance.

Just in case, take these quick reviews with a small block of sodium chloride.

Ninja

Gurkha’s Ninja (in the robusto and torpedo sizes) was named one of the best bargain cigars of 2011 by Cigar Aficionado.

Which reminds me — look soon for Marvin’s new publication, Cheap Cigar Aficionado, featuring an interview with a guy named Jack on his 10-foot aluminum rowboat. Jack sheds no light on Chateau Lafite or Cohiba Behikes in that article, but he has a lot of interesting things to say about Consuegras and nightcrawlers.

Ninja

Anyway. Ninja features an oily black Brazilian maduro wrapper, a Dominican binder, Nicaraguan filler, and a 5 dollar pricetag.

I was expecting the Ninja to sneak up on me, but it’s not so much stealthy as it is slightly eccentric. The smoke is smooth, full bodied, and sweet, and there’s lots of it. The base flavors are woody and earthy, but what distinguishes the cigar is its unusual aroma: a maple syrupy sweetness ┬ácombined with the scent of a just-extinguished candle. Carbonized sugar, sulfur, and melted wax. It’s not an unpleasant cigar, but rather odd. (I bet it’s also good for keeping the mosquitoes at bay. I’ll have to ask Jack if that’s the case.)

125th Anniversary

To celebrate Gurkha’s quasquicentennial Anniversary the company released this blend in three formulations: two 6 x 60 XOs (gordos), one in Maduro and the other Connecticut shade, and ┬áthis 6 x 52 toro with a Corojo wrapper. Don’t ask me how the company determined 1887 to be the year that got the ball rolling. As far as I know, the Gurkha Rifles were formed in 1815, so another anniversary opportunity is rapidly approaching.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Maduro XO with a Brazilian wrapper was rated 94 by CA and was awarded ninth place in the Top 25 for 2013. Which is probably why they sent me the Corojo Toro, for which I thank them very kindly. The wrapper variety is the only info I have on blend composition.

This Anniversary toro is fine looking cigar with a supple colorado claro wrapper and a triple-wound cap. The draw is excellent and the smoke volume plentiful. It starts out creamy sweet and gradually turns earthy, picking up black pepper along the way. The aroma is oaky with a touch of vanilla. The overall taste is complex and worthy of an Anniversary cigar, as is the asking price: around $13 USD.

Evil

It’s better than bad, it’s evil. This is branding and marketing stuff, so don’t look for logical consistency here. Gurkha is keeping stride with the whole death-metal/goth theme prevalent in cigar branding, and Evil is the natural consequence. This blend features a Brazilian mata fina wrapper, a Dominican binder, and a Nicaraguan core. I smoked the robusto, or most of one anyway.

Gurkha Evil

The Evil toro is rustic in appearance, and its demeanor is no less refined. The phrase “pure strength” appears on the band, which is ample warning. It opens up with a friendly greeting, like a used car salesman sidling up to the bar: deceptively smooth though immediately pungent.

The base flavors are earthy with a humus-like mushroom quality. The flavors quickly get more serious as leather settles in for the ride and a dose of spicy cayenne tags along. By the mid-point it has become a little too abrasive for me to enjoy, but I can see how lovers of big-time Hondurans might get a bang out of this one. It reminds me a little of the Camacho corojo, and it’s priced in the same general vicinity: around $7 USD.

About these ads

6 comments on “Some Gurkhas

  1. jjo says:

    Another great, amusing and informative write up, Tom.

    I haven’t had many Gurkhas, but have not been overly impressed with them, to say the least. With the overwhelming number of lines, perhaps that is to be expected.

    As to the 125th Anniversary, perhaps it’s a nod to Billy Fish, the intrepid Gurkha in “The Man Who Would Be King”, which was published in 1888? Who knows what lurks in the mind of Mr. Hansotia?

    I will say, that although I could do without many of the Gurkhas I’ve tried, mostly due to construction issues, I would definitely smoke the Evil again, although “better than bad” in my aged mind is “so-so”. Definitely the best Gurkha I’ve had so far; way better than so-so.. I just wish that they would use something other than Super Glue on their Kraft Paper labels.

    • cigarfan says:

      One Gurkha I was really surprised by was the Seduction. I didn’t think much of them at first, but they age really well. After six or nine months I was wishing I had a few more boxes.

      As a brand they seem to be trying to please everyone, which might not be the best game plan. On the other hand, with so many lines they’re bound to please some people some of the time.

      • jjo says:

        I agree. I had a Seduction (in 60RG, no less) at the wedding of my friend”s daughter, and based on the flavors, I would have no problem recommending it, had the wrapper not completely fallen apart in the final third. Construction seems to be a major problem with this brand, since this was not the first time this has happened to me spanning different Gurkha lines.

        This has been said many times before, and it certainly does not apply to Gurkha exclusively, but when you try to make a product that everyone will like, you will end up with something that no one will love.

        That being said, I have heard some pretty good things about their offshoot, East India Trading Company. Have you had any of their lines?

  2. cigarfan says:

    That’s funny, I’ve never had a Seduction come unravelled. (I’m talking about the cigar, of course. Unless you really want to hear about the failures of my youth, and you can’t possibly be that bored.)

    But to answer your question, I think I’ve just smoked one — the Wicked Indie, which wasn’t bad, if I recall. But it’s been a while. I have a few of their Rogue cigars in that line to smoke and I’ll let you know.

    And sorry for the delayed response… I’m not getting email notifications again for some reason.

    • jjo says:

      LOL re: the Seduction – been there, done that. No stories or explanations needed… please. ;) I have no idea what conditions the cigars were stored under prior to the event, so there’s that.

  3. […] Around the Blogs: Cigar Inspector inspects a Cuban Davidoff No. 1. Keepers of the Flame fires up some Gurkhas. Stogie Review reviews the Fratello. Stogie Fresh smokes the Room 101 Master […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s