Gurkha. Seriously. You can either love or hate them, I personally am on the fence. When you mention the name Gurkha, what comes to mind? To me its inconsistency, bad burns, shitty quality. It also can mean high end, good quality, perfect burns and great flavors. The most amazing aspect of those thoughts is that they can all be found in the same box of cigars, that’s just how Gurkha works. For example, I once had a box of Gurkha Beauty Solomon. Nice cigar, decent flavors although on the milder side. Out of the box of 10, 7 were damn good, one was super peppery and spicy, one fell apart, and the last one tasted like a combo of hobo’s ass and rotten grapefruit, now how exactly you manage that all into one box is pretty amazing, maybe that is why they have a MSRP of $800 a box and are sold for $35. Yes I am exaggerating, but that is another thing that gets me with the brand, they always seem to boast a huge MSRP and yet are always being sold for 95% off. The Gurkha brand also boasts some of the most expensive cigars in the world, like the $1000 a cigar line that apparently Bill Clinton is a big fan of, and I will not get into all the innuendos and fun shit you can say about that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Gurkha, they put out some cigars that I do like, for instance, the Shaggy, Viper, Beauty, Beast, among others. I just hate their inconsistency and tendency to self destruct like a novelty exploding cigar. With that said, this review is about the Gurkha Ninja Maduro.
This particular cigar was gifted to me, so I had to do a little research on it. Apparently there are two different versions of the Ninja maduro, one you can still buy that has a fancy band on it, and the one I had with the plain black band, that as it seems, you can no longer buy. I’m thinking that maybe the plain black band was more of a test run and they tweaked the blend or something into the fancy band version that is out there now, but then again I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. The version I had, consists of a Brazilian maduro wrapper, and here is where things get interesting. When researching this here cigar, there seems to be a discrepancy with what exactly the filler is. One place says its premium long fillers from Nicaragua, another says its Cuban seed Dominican long fillers. Taste wise, I’m thinking its the Dominican, the flavors just didn’t seem to have the same punch that you get from a Nicaraguan long filler. Who knows, its a ninja, they are supposed to be secretive and keep you guessing. The over all appearance of the cigar was promising, nice dark oily wrapper, no cracks or breaks, firm but not too firm, overall i had my hopes up. I did a quick clean punch cut, one of the ultimate tests to see if the cap will survive, and it did. Groovy. Time to light it up. Right off the bat, you get nice cocoa notes from the maduro wrapper, and some of the earthy flavors I typically associate with Dominican fillers. Over all, not bad at all flavor wise. Then in typical Gurkha fashion, the burn starts to go all wonky. It started to create a canoe that Sacajawea would have been proud to row around, and no number of corrective relights would help the issue. In my head I’m thinking, here we go. Hang on its going to be a fun ride. At that point is when I heard the crackle of doom as the wrapper started splitting. Yup, let the fun begin. The wrapper decided to split all the way up to the band, killing the draw that produced a lot of great smoke, to a piddly draw that you had to puff on 5 or 6 times just to get a dribble of smoke. In the mean time, my taste buds were happy with the flavors. Not being someone who gives up easily, I kept working at it,, huffing and puffing, watching bits and pieces of the wrapper flake off and fly into the wind. It wasn’t until about the half way point that the burn started to even out, then the draw tightened up a little more making the experience a little more tolerable, also at this point, if it wasn’t for the band, the entire cigar would have went poof and unraveled all over the place. Given the issues, I did finish it, notes of cocoa, earth, little woodsy, and on the stronger side of medium. Some claim there’s notes of a particular genetic variety of tree, but my palate isn’t that good. Some also claim a sweetness, caramel, vanilla, stuff like that, I got none of it, then again there are two different versions, perhaps the other version is much better quality. All I know is that it would pair well with coffee.
Over all, if you can get past the reputation of Gurkhas falling apart and being inconsistent, the insanely bloated MSRP’s and are feeling lucky, give one a try. If it falls apart like a Ford Pinto, can’t say I didn’t warn you. Gurkha: smoke at your own risk.
Until next time, if you like it, smoke it.