Information about this line from Kaizad Hansotia is sparse and conflicting. Cigars International says it has a Costa Rican wrapper surrounding a blend of Honduran, Dominican and Jamaican filler. The Ghurka site says its a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, a Costa Rican binder, and Dominican filler. I guess I'll go with the manufacturer, because this wrapper neither looks nor tastes like the Costa Rican maduros I've sampled.
Hansotia is the maker of the Ghurka line of cigars. He bought the Ghurka brand name for 143 dollars in the late 80's from an obviously struggling company in Goa, India. The brand fought its way to the top through the boom years and today claims many fans who are willing to pay top dollar for Hansotia's boutique stogies.
The band says "A Century of Tradition" but it's not a century of cigar making. He comes from a tradition of watch making, which is perhaps why all the Hansotia cigars are packaged so elegantly. The boxes of some of the Gurkhas are works of art all on their own. Even the low to moderately priced cigars have very nicely designed bands that make the cigars appear far more dear than they are.
It isn't clear exactly who makes the Signature 101, but Toraño is a likely suspect. The blend is reportedly Hansotia's personal favorite, hence the "signature" moniker. But this is one of those mysterious cigars that refuses to be categorized, no matter how I try. Even the size is an enigma: at 6 x 50 it's a toro, but it calls itself a robusto. Trust in nothing but your own senses here. The truth is in the smokin'.
Prelight it smells like a well-tended old boot. It starts out with some harshness that lessens and evens out after an inch or so. This is a dry tasting maduro, lip smackingly tart. The wrapper burns unevenly and requires a touch up now and again. The draw is excellent with plenty of spicy smoke. The primary flavors are earth and char; a good smoke to clear a room with. I'd read this was a medium bodied stick, but once again the information is wrong– this is a full bodied cigar, akin to the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Maduro without the funkiness. The ash is flaky, and aside from the uneven burn the construction is good.
All in all, it's a good cigar. Not my favorite flavor profile, but a quality cigar nevertheless.