Back in early 2014 I visited Nicaragua and on my way back I spend a week in Florida, a few days in Miami and a few days in Orlando. In Miami I visited Miami Cigar & Co to hang out with Barry Stein and after work we went to a cigar bar downtown. Barry introduced me to Juan Lopez from Gurkha Cigars, a brand that just came to the Dutch market. Since I was working in the industry Juan asked me what my expectations were for Gurkha on th Dutch market and I told him that the prices were insane, three times MSRP and I showed him the prices on a Dutch webshop (prices are fixed, set by the distributer). That was something that said distributer did with all of his brands, he marked it up crazy thinking the end consumer was stupid and would buy it anyway. I have to say, he learned from his mistakes and his prices are now up to par. But it shocked Juan, so he invited me to come over to the office the next day.
I called my employer what to do, I mean, I was there on vacation and I wasn’t about the steal a brand from a competitor, especially not a brand I’m not a big fan off, but we decided that I should hear them out and let them know that if they weren’t happy with their distributer we would be open for talks. The Gurkha offices don’t look anything special from outside, just a boring office building but once you enter, wow, especially their lounge with bar in colonial style blows your mind, and the hidden room with all the blends is a nice feature too. Juan hooked me up with a nice backpack, that I still use, a Gurkha knife that has fallen to pieces after I forgot to take it out of my pocket while doing laundry and a whole lot of cigars. I had smoked several Gurkha’s before and I was, and still am, reluctant to light them due to previous experiences. But heck, here we go, maybe it surprises me.
Now this cigar, 6×54, is made on the Dominican Republic by a factory called Tabacos Don Leoncio, a factory I had never heard of before. I don’t know what else they produce, so I have no idea. And that’s also the problem with Gurkha, they have so many different factories make their cigars that it’s hard to find DNA in their lines. The blend consists of Brazilian, Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobacco, an Ecuadorean Habano binder and a Cubra Habano wrapper from Brazil. The wrapper had a mild reddish shine to it but looks a bit bumpy. The construction is good and it has, what it looks like, a quadruple cap but that could just be an error from the roller. The ring is typically Gurkha with a drawing of a Gurkha, a black banner with white letters saying the name of the company and a lot of gold, detailed decorations and of course “by K. Hansotia”. The aroma is mild to medium strong and has a mild acidic barnyard smell to it. So far its all good, lets hope the cigar tastes as good as it looks and especially the ring.
I punched the cigar and the cold draw is a little on the tight side. I taste a little floral raisin with a little bite. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. The first puff is cedar with some pepper but with a weird milky chocolate flavor. Soon it changes to rotting leaves with a little chocolate. The chocolate gets stronger after a third. Halfway I taste some honey, that cheap milky chocolate and some bitter spices and pepper. Near the two thirds mark I taste some cedar again.
The smoke is medium thick but I get a decent amount of it. The draw is good, not great but still good. The burn is a bit off. The ash is dark but firm. This is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is about an hour and 45 minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? No! This cigar confirmed my previous experiences with Gurkha.