When describing how cigars are made, it is said, “There is the right way, the wrong way, and then there is the Cuban way.” However, when you talk about the Gurkha brand of cigars and their founder Kaizad Hansotia, a new way to describe premium blended tobacco comes to mind – extravagant! Gurkha has never been a company to shy away from their limited release and rare tobacco products with outstanding, artistic, and sometimes flamboyant packaging. Some would say that the Gurkha style sometimes gets in the way of being able to produce a really good smoke. So when I was asked to smoke a cigar that was made by this group, I was prepared to be underwhelmed and to simply have less money in my pocket as a result.
The Gurkha Cellar Reserve Story –
Starting with a 15-year-old Criollo 98 wrapper, the Cellar Reserve then one-upped itself with a combination of other well-aged binder leaves and a blend of several well-aged 15-year-old filler tobaccos. Packaged in a box that is designed to look like a crate of wine, the cigar was released as a Brick & Mortar exclusive at the 2011 IPCPR and has been a hard cigar to find ever since, due to is very limited availability.
Name: Gurkha Cellar Reserve
Produced by: Gurkha Cigar Group, Inc.
Country: Dominican Republic
Factory: Cuevas Factory
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
Binder: Dominican Republic
Ring Gauge: 58
Length: 6 Inches
The cigar’s wrapper was rich and oily and had a very pungent scent. When I inhaled the plume, a deep, rich coffee aroma overtook all of my senses, and I eagerly chewed off the smartly wrapped pig tail. I chewed on the taste morsel of tobacco and tried to read the small print on the overly large cigar band that covered almost half of the cigar’s length. I gave up and sparked up the smoke.
I noticed that the cigar resembled the Drew Estate Liga “Dirty Rat” Pervade – not as fat, but a little longer. The cigar had been perfectly humidified, which resulted in just the right amount of give as I checked it for loose spots. It was expertly rolled, and I puffed on the smoke with a big cheese-eating grin. Gurkha has really outdone themselves with the selection of tobaccos for this habano.
The burn was even and there was just a small amount of ash left in the tray. The stogie smoldered slowly, yet never quite went out. The cigar seemed a little hot between my fingers, but that could be just because I was enjoying the small smoke cloud around my head.
There is a lot of intense taste that comes with this cigar – plenty of rich tones that are spicy and full of a tart sweetness that lies nicely on the palate. Just like the slowness of the burn, the taste slowly built across and up into my head. Then the Cellar Reserve’s flavors really started to kick in at the last third of the cigar with lots of deep, resonating, woody flavor that filled my lips and palate.
The last third of this smoldering stogie became extremely bitter. The burnt wood flavor really came on strong, and I was overwhelmed by the taste. The spice became very pronounced, and I had to put it down after the bombardment of the flavor.
The Gurkha Cellar Reserve is a very good-looking cigar at first glance, and it has all the fixings that make up what a really great cigar should be all about. However, at times there are way too much of those good things that get in the way. The stogie tries very hard to be a super, stupendous, sensational smoke, but the overabundance of flavor overtakes the final enjoyment of the cigar. I like to feel euphoric after smoking a cigar, not like I just blew my head off with an atom bomb. To really enjoy this cigar I would definitely want to age it maybe another 6 to 12 months just to allow the flavors to mellow a bit.
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