Royal for Royal

Let’s talk Gurkha.

No, it’s not a new language, but given all the variations it has, it very well could be. Gurkha is a brand that’s been making cigars since 1887. “Gurkha” refers to soldiers from Nepal. During British colonial occupation, the soldiers would make cigars when they weren’t engaged in battle.

In recent years the brand has redeveloped itself and is most noted for its creative names and packaging. Some memorable ones are Red Witch, Assassin, Warlord, Ninja, Genghis Khan, The Beauty, The Beast, Special Ops, Seduction, Ghost, and the list goes on.

Creative packaging accompanies these names. For example, Genghis Khan comes in a treasure chest with designs from the orient. Special Ops comes in a black gun case that you would see in a James Bond film. Warlord comes in the type of chest that would house gold during the medieval era.

The Beauty comes standing up on a tray in sleek gold tubes. The majority of Gurkha cigars come dressed to impress.

And as one may expect, there is a certain level of exclusivity. Not every retailer carries them and those that do carry a select few styles.

So which one did I end up with?

I present, Gurkha Royal Challenge, maduro edition; size 6 x 50.

The packaging on this cigar is not as creative as the others, but the name intrigued me.

A maduro is a cigar that is noted for its distinct colour and flavour strength. The colour will always be black with hints of dark brown. The flavour will always be on the medium to strong end. You can have strong cigars that aren’t maduro, but you cannot have mild cigars that are maduro. The dark wrapper has its own naturally occurring bold tastes.

To go with this cigar, I selected Crown Royal Monarch 75th Anniversary. This whiskey is blended after the original batch that was made for King George VI when he visited Canada in 1939. It comes in a nice gold box, the bottle is held in a baby blue bag. There is also a certifi cate of authenticity. The lid is much larger than regular Crown Royal blends, and boasts an over sized gold crown. This would make an ideal gift for any whiskey lover.

As soon as you pour this into a glass you are hit with scents of toffee and cream. The taste is absolutely divine. It is very, very smooth, there are also some notes of candied orange and butter, but the toffee stands out. If this were the last drink King George had before he died, he would most certainly have died a happy man.

The smell of this cigar is just as divine as the smell of the whiskey — deep chocolate and roasted coffee.

I clip the cap and light. Right away I taste strong roasted coffee. Not coffee as in a liquid form, but coffee as in the actual beans roasting. This taste is followed by dark chocolate, a bit of allspice, and more coffee. I will admit the flavour palate is quite complex. I’m guessing that’s why it was named Royal Challenge. The cheeky people at Gurkha are so clever.

The Crown Royal goes well with this cigar; the sweetness of the toffee most certainly challenges the dark coffee tastes.

During the second-third of the Gurkha the flavour shifts to creamy air, surprising, but in a very nice way. This flavour lasts for about 10 minutes and then some spice sets in, combined with more chocolate. The last third goes back to coffee, but now it tastes more like coffee in your cup than roasted beans. The end result?

This is a very full-bodied, strong cigar. However, it does have a rather unique flavour wheel, which makes it enjoyable. I like that it does not have any strong spice tastes. And for coffee snobs like myself, this stogie will make you feel like you are sitting in the Starbucks’ roasting room in Seattle.

I would not recommend this to newbie’s because you may end up getting a serious nicotine buzz and possibly throw up. For the manly men who like their whiskey neat and their smokes bold, you will very much enjoy this Gurkha — it might even put some more hair on your chest.

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