The Gurkha Cigar Group can always be counted on to release new blends with eye-catching packaging, and with at least three new releases, 2015 was no exception.
First up, a Nicaraguan addition to their successful Cellar Reserve line — the Platinum Cellar Reserve. Next, the Cask Blend, which is presented with all the mystery typical of Gurkha: the blend is entirely “proprietary,” which means the provenance of the tobaccos is entirely undisclosed. And saving the best for last, the Heritage blend.
I smoked the Cellar Reserve Platinum in the “Hedonism” size, a 6 x 58 figurado with a neatly pasted pig-tail cap. The Platinum is a Nicaraguan/Dominican Criollo blend with a semi-glossy Brazilian maduro wrapper that contrasts nicely with a broad silver band that contains all the usual fine print gibberish: Batch Number, Blend Strength (98.0%, whatever that means), etc., all of which is merely for the sake of appearance. Nobody actually reads that stuff, aside from a few cigar-obsessed neurotics… right? The point is that it looks good. But how does it smoke?
Pretty well, actually. On the construction side, the Cellar Reserve Platinum draws well and burns evenly. It’s a woody cigar that draws on the strengths of Nicaraguan tobacco, if the dry pucker on the palate and the pepper on the nose are any indication. The wrapper contributes some coffee notes, and as the cigar settles it delivers roasted nuts. I found the “Hedonism” to be a bit harsh at times, but maybe my style of hedonism is wimpier than most. A good if not stellar smoke.
According to the band, the Cask Blend is “Only For the Gurkha Cigar Connoisseur.” The band also says that this is a pre-release sample and that the release date is classified. And then in the fine print it says, “Item: Released.” Man, I love this stuff. And there’s no information available about the blend, which makes my job even easier. So all I can do is light it up.
There appear to be only two sizes made, both large perfectos. The Cask Blend I smoked looks looks very similar to the “Hedonism” Platinum above, except for a slightly oilier wrapper and the absence of a pig-tail cap. It draws well and produces a huge volume of smoke. The wrapper is slightly reluctant to burn in sync with the rest of the cigar, resulting in an irregular and slightly troublesome burn. Otherwise it exhibits good construction values.
Gurkha advertises the Cask Blend as mild to medium in body, but I thought it was a bit heavier than that, at least in terms of smoke texture. It’s an earthy cigar with a good dose of pepper in the first stage. An oaky aroma gradually evolves into leather with a touch of cognac. There is a sweetness to the smoke which is very pleasant without being cloying. An enjoyable cigar, but you’ll probably want to ensure proper ventilation in your smoking environment.
The Gurkha Heritage is made in far more sizes than the other two, but all are large formats. The one I smoked was the 6 1/2 x 50 Toro, which is presented in a cedar sheath. The band is surprisingly reticent, with only a slightly mangled sentence about the history of the Gurkha name to its credit. At least the information is appropriate for a “Heritage” themed cigar. The wrapper on this cigar is an Ecuadorian rosado habano leaf, complemented by a Nicaraguan binder, and fillers from the DR (piloto cubano), Nicaragua, and Pennsylvania.
The Heritage boasts a colorado maduro wrapper with a slight sheen. The head and cap are neat and clean. The Toro has an easy draw, but the burn is a little uneven. The base flavor is earthy and the aroma is fairly complex: woody with some dried fruit. In the later stages the aroma becomes a bit more leathery. I enjoyed this cigar quite a bit. If pressed to select the best of the three Gurkhas reviewed here, I would award the laurels to the Heritage.
All of these cigars are in the comfortably affordable $8-9 USD range, which is a little more reasonable than some of Gurkha’s other cigars. Just in case you’re not the Sultan of Brunei, that is.