I started things off with the Gurkha Ninja. This cigar produced a crazy amount of smoke. If I had to stop at a red light, I couldn’t see it turn green. Thick, smokey cigars like the Ninja tend to give a good creamy mouthfeel, but the Ninja was quite light on the palate. The main flavors, mild to medium, were of cedar and salt. Yes, salt. I can’t say it was a favorite. It seemed quite dry, despite having plenty of water on hand. All I could think about was Pink Himalayan Salt, and I could only hope the other commuters behind me were able to see my brake lights through the smoke.The interesting thing about the Gurkha Shaggy Maduro is that is was pretty much the opposite of the Ninja. It lacked the copious smoke, but the Shaggy Maduro had the thick creamy texture that I was expecting from the Ninja. The Shaggy Maduro came with a medium amount of coffee and chocolate flavors. I felt the flavor profile was light and out of balance in comparison to the creamy mouthfeel. The cigar is known for its foot where the first inch of the cigar is left without the wrapper leaf. This gives you an appreciation to how much flavor is coming from the eight year old Dominican Maduro wrapper. If the cigar had a bold enough flavor profile, it would be a great cigar. Imagine eating a spoon full of peanut butter. You can feel all that peanut butter in your mouth, but it tastes like water. Yeah. Let down. The Shaggy Maduro isn’t that bad, but it is pretty close. The Rogue Bamboozled is part of Gurkha’s East India Trading line, and is a box pressed toro gordo. Big size, but I also had a lot of time on my hand when I smoked it. It found it enjoyable, for the most part, with a lot of tobacco and leather flavors. It was stronger than the previous Gurkhas, which was also nice. However, it packs a near-$10 price tag, and I can think of a lot of other cigars I’d rather smoke for that price. The nice part is that this is one that was included as a sample, so I didn’t actually have to pay for it. There wasn’t anything that I could say bad about the Rogue, but there isn’t a whole lot of good about it either. The flavor was good, the burn would tend to correct itself if it got wavy. It’s just a decent cigar at an indecent price. I’d rather pick up an excellent cigar and leave this one on the shelf if you know what I mean. Finally coming with a true budget-friendly cigar, the Prize Fighter runs around $2, even for the massive 6 x 60 XO that was included as a sample. But, you do get what you pay for. I found the Prize Fighter to be a very loosely packed cigar, like it was missing at least one leaf of tobacco. Indeed, I’ve found one person that has suggested it’s a mixed filler, but have found no official word either way. The flavor profile was very mild. They’re was a floral quality about it, but might have been because I was pulling weeds at the same time. It really was a suitable yard-gar. Something to smoke when you’re busy doing something else. It would also be good for someone that not familiar to cigars and would likely waste something more expensive. For $2, though, there are very few cigars that are as good, so it might be worth keeping a couple of these around. Did I just become a member of the Gurkha Nation? Well, maybe not, but the Cellar Reserve was an excellent cigar. Even my wife noticed that it looked quite oily, and she was right, it even felt like it had been rolled in olive oil. The cigar was rich and flavorful with sweet and savory notes of pepper, citrus, earth, chocolate and more. There was a lot of flavors to be found and I found it to be a remarkable cigar and worthy of the $10 price tag that comes with it. The Dominican filler was aged 15 years before being rolled. I’m not so sure about the age of the Criollo 98 wrapper, but it certainly is very oily. Heck it’s borderline greasy. The 5×58 “Double Robusto” they call Solara burned for nearly two hours. The burn never got hot and I’d say it even got cooler as I got close to the end. It never burned perfectly straight, but it also never required any touching up either.
So, perhaps I won’t bag on Gurkhas so hardly from here on out. There are some good ones to be found, and, of course, there are some people that find Gurkha cigars to be the end-all-be-all. In the past, I had found the Gurkha Ghost to be a favorite, and most “un-like” others I have had from the brand. I’ll definitely be adding the Cellar Reserve to the list as well. See, as I’m learning, that’s the thing about Gurkha cigars. Yes, they tend to be expensive (as you can hear me rant about price this whole time), but they do use some great tobaccos. Most of these cigars feature tobaccos that have been aged longer than what you might find on the shelf nearby. The unfortunate part is that the blending of some of the rare and aged tobaccos often leaves a lot to be desired. I’m glad, at least, to say that I’ve found at least one, if not two, new Gurkha cigars that I could enjoy.