I am a huge Gurkha fan. I would never pay $750 for a smoke, though. Before you totaly discount the brand you should try a Ninja, Cellar Reserve, A Shaggy, or even the Evil. Prices range from the Evil being the cheaper stick to the Cellar Reserve being the highest at around $12. Since Guy mentioned the Tatuaje brand, I have to admit, I to am a huge Black petite lancero fan. Pete needs to get those boxes shipped out.
Review: Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve
Let me tell you right off the bat. I did NOT pay $750 (which just happens to be the MSRP) for this cigar. In fact, I did not pay any money at all for it.
Now, that is not to say that I got it for free (in fact, the rules of the site prohibit that).
Here is the story. As you may or may not know, I have a list of cigars on the site that I would love to get my hands on to review. Well, one day about 2 weeks ago, I got an email from an Army Medic who served in Iraq telling me that he had a Gurkha HMR that he was willing to trade out, and that he could not get a hold of a lot of the limited Tats and other sticks that he wanted to try (that have been on this site). Well, I have quite a few of those, and I figured it would be a win-win situation for both of us; he gets some sticks he would not otherwise get a hold of, I get to review a stick that not very many people have seen, never mind smoke, and I get to help out a soldier in the process.
So, we made the trade, and that is how I got a hold of a $750 cigar to review.
Limited to less than 75 boxes a year, these cigars are made with 1 year old Connecticut Maduro Wrapper and 12 year old Dominican Binder and Filler, then infused with an entire bottle of Louis XIII Cognac (per box).
This is not the only cognac infused cigar from Gurkha, there is also the Grand Reserve (about $20) and the Royal Reserve (about $30), both of which use inferior cognac, apparently.
Enough chitchat, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve
- Factory: Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Size: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $750 (Box of 20, $15,000.00)
The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was that the glass tube was quite a bit thicker on this stick then, say, the Grand Reserve (which I will be comparing it too), and that the wax on the tube was green instead of gold. When putting them side by side, the HMR is a bit bigger and has a MUCH darker wrapper (to be expected of a Maduro wrapper, of course, but it was a VERY dark wrapper), and seems to be rolled quite a bit better as well.
I was expecting a blast of cognac smell when I opened the tube, but was disappointed when all I smelled was tobacco (with a bit of cognac). The stick was well rolled and slightly spongy when squeezed, and the wrapper smelled a bit like chocolate and leather (and cognac, of course).
It punched easily, and, on lighting, the first few puffs tasted like toasted nuts, a little pepper, and a sweet taste (cognac?) that was present, but not overpowering at all. I expected a change in taste after that, but alas, was disappointed that the flavors stayed pretty much the same for the first third, pretty boring really.
During the second third of the cigar, a little more pepper was present, along with some chocolate notes, (and cognac of course). At the end of the second third, though, the stick started turning bitter, and not in a “this tastes like bitter chocolate/espresso/coffee” way, more like a “this tastes a little like hot tea brewed about 20 minutes longer then it needed to be” way.
The last third was where this cigar REALLY fell apart. I wish I could say that it pulled it out in the end, but that was just not the case. There was no more flavors of chocolate, no more cognac, no more tobacco, no more pepper. Instead, the bitter, sour taste actually increased to the point that it was almost unsmokable. It was almost a taste like old, wet cardboard; a very odd and annoying taste that made me want to chuck the last of the stick into a garbage disposal. I still nubbed it (after all, I figured out it was about $20 a puff), but it was a REAL struggle.
- I was expecting to be overwhelmed with the taste of cognac after reading about this cigar and how it was infused, and while I DID taste some of it, it was not near as present as I thought it would be. Sad to say, but a taste of cognac would have been preferable to what I ended up with.
- The band on this cigar is exactly the same as every Gurkha I have seen. Honestly, you would think that for a cigar that costs this much, they would use a different (better?) band, but alas, that is not the case.
- Final Smoking time on this stick was 1 hour and 57 minutes.
- Draw was great, but the burn was just ok. I had to touch it up a few times but nothing major.
The Bottom Line: This stick would have been an ok $6 stick. As it is, I would call it overpriced, overhyped, boring, bitter crap. Not exactly a surprise, but I was really hoping that it would shock me. The only redeeming quality of this cigar was that it stood up for the final photo without falling over.
Final Score: 55