The year 2019 was a big one for Gurkha Cigars. First and foremost, 2019 was the 30th anniversary of Kaizad Hansotia acquiring the brand. The company also announced the appointment of Jim Colucci from Sindicato Cigar Group as the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President. If that was not enough, and we all know for Gurkha, it is never enough – they released a slew of new cigars including the Gurkha Nicaragua, Gurkha Treinta, Gurkha Marquesa Magnum, and the list goes.
Today, I want to focus on the Gurkha Real which is one of the many cigars, Gurkha released last year.
The Gurkha Real
The Gurkha Real, which is pronounced ray-al, means royal. If you are a soccer fan think Real Madrid. Gurkha, once again, reached out to Tabacalera Las Lavas, in the Dominican Republic, to craft this one. If that factory rings a bell, it is the home of Casa Cuevas cigars which has been producing many different Gurkha cigars, for quite some time.
As for the Gurkha Real, it is described by the company as a mild to medium Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapped cigar. The full blend is disclosed as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder – Dominican Olor
- Filler – Dominican Criollo 98 and Nicaraguan
Keeping with the most popular vitolas, the Gurkha real is expressed in 4 sizes, they come packaged in 20-count boxes, and are priced rather economically:
- Robusto (5 x 52) MSRP $8.00
- Toro (6 x 54) MSRP $8.50
- Churchill (7 x 52) MSRP $8.95
- Magnum (6 x 60) MSRP $8.95
I think I picked up the Gurkha Real Toro, at the Tampa Cigar Bash in October of last year, but then again, it may have been at TPE 2020 in January. Either way, if my math is right, it has been sitting in my humidor for about 4 -6 months and it was just calling out to be turned to ash.
Right out of the gate, the Gurkha Real is a smooth and shiny, golden tan cigar that is solid to the touch. There are a few noticeable veins and it is finished with a well applied cap.
Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary band uses a gold, black, and white motif with the Gurkha Logo in the center, and ornate swirls surrounding it. The secondary band is gold with the word “REAL” printed in black in the center.
As I ran the Gurkha Real across the nose, I was greeted with a fragrant barrel and a buttery foot. It was as if it was telling me, “fire me up”. We will get there, but first we have to check out the cold draw.
Like all cigars I review, I used my double blade Zikar cutter to slice the cap straight across the shoulder. The cold draw was spot on with restriction and offered light pepper notes that start to grow the more you puff on it, and puff on it I did. A touch of butter joined the pepper which convinced me it was time to warm the foot and turn the REAL to ash.
The soft flame of a cedar spill did the trick to get this one ignited. Any flame stronger, might scorch the delicate wrapper and offset the flavors. As I brought the foot to a fine and even orange glow, I drew in the first puffs that I would describe as a tingling fruity tang. Follow along and take a Gurkha journey with me.
Cigar Review Notes
- Slight tingly fruit tang note to start.
- Thick and creamy smoke right off the first puffs
- Light grey ash forms nicely on a medium and even char line
- Pleasing herbal and fruit notes develop
- Smoke gets a tad astringent before the end of the first third
- Cream and sweetness enter as the astringent notes fade
- The well formed ash held on tight, and when it finally fell it revealed a a decent burn cone
- Caramel notes join the party
- Flavors stayed pretty consistent through the second third (cream, caramel, sweetness, and fruit)
- A gentle spice enters near the end of the second third
- Bitter sweet chocolate notes complete the journey
- Mild to Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was one hour and 30 minutes
Overall, the Gurkha Real is a cigar I would certainly offer to a new cigar smoker but also one that a seasoned enthusiast would enjoy as the first cigar of the day. The profile was well balanced and the flavors transitioned well offering a surprising back note of sweetness and cream with added nuances of fruit, herbal, spice, and even dark chocolate in the final. Construction was spot on, from the perfect draw, to the solid light grey ash that held for a decent run and dropped in solid chunks. I had no burn issues, touch-ups, or re-lights during the 90 minutes of smoking pleasure. The price is right in the wheel house of the average smoker and I say it is box worthy. I rate this a solid 95.
Point Deductions: (-1) Slightly Astringent in the start
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy A Box; (+1) Excellent Burn Line