Paralleling their warrior namesakes, the Gurkha Cigar Company embodies the fighting spirit of the ancient Nepalese army, and forges its own path. Drawing on roots that date back over a hundred years, these cigars find their origin in the tobacco smoked by the British officers in Nepal. Named for the unrelenting spirit the Nepalese soldiers possessed, Gurkha honors the name with its brash and bold styles.
Gurkha’s Royal Challenge takes a softer approach to the usually loud flavor profiles that run through the Gurkha lines. Showcasing a lighter style, that enables the master blenders to produce a smoking experience that evolves from a slow build to a potent crescendo, the Royal Challenge is a welcomed breath of smoky air filled with nuances and subtleties.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorean Connecticut
- Binder: Honduran Habano
- Filler: Nicaraguan/Dominican
Well-designed, the Royal Challenge is encased in a Ecuadorean Connecticut offering a wonderful blank canvas for the Binder and Filler to weave a tapestry of flavors through the light draw. The full-bodied Honduran Habano tobacco sets the groundwork for the Nicaraguan/Dominican Fillers to come in and steal the show. Gurkha shows a wonderful attention to detail and a top-tier style of craftsman ship, letting the three separate styles intermingle and create a single smoking experience.
Garnishing a 91 rating, and winner of the 2012 SAPPI European Printing Awards, the Royal Challenge takes the hype in stride. Letting the tell-tale intricate gold bands that wrap around the cigar proclaim the Gurkha name, it lets the smoke do the talking for it.
The loose Ecuadorean Connecticut wrapper lets the cool air to circulate through the stick, and aerates the tobacco. This easy air flow allows flavors to develop, and bring the softer nuances to the forefront. Light and breathy, the draw accompanies the structured construction and lets the flavors shine.
Drawing on it’s foundation set by the mingling of the wrapper, binder, and filler, the Royal Challenge shows a near perfect consistency all the way down. With only slight “coning“ showing up towards the last third of the smoke, there was not a need to correct the wrapper at all.
- Dulche de Leche
- Honeyed Almonds
- Caramel Brittle
- Roasted Nuts
- Robust Black Coffee
- Dry Earth
With promises of a sweet start, from the pre-lit aromas of a gourmet bakery, the Royal Challenge pulled a trick card from somewhere between the Honduran Habano binder and the Nicaraguan/Dominican filler. Slowly a flavor profile of roasted peanuts, nutty brittle, and dry leather emerged from the smoke. The first third showed a wonderful sense of balance that seemed to tapper off as the second third took over. As the cigar progress, black pepper notes, and a freshly-brewed coffee palate stepped into the spotlight.
The last third paralleled the final shot of tequila, sneaking up and pushing you past the tipping point. The potent punch finishes the experience off on a note that will definitely leave an impression.
Gurkha makes a wide range of cigars, and most will fit the wallet needs for those looking for a decadent smoke for any occasion, and the Royal Challenge is no exception. Hovering around $6.75 a stick, you won’t have to take out a second mortgage to have a bit of royalty in your life.
- A little hard to find