Behind the Scenes: Test-Smoking a Potential New Exclusive Brand Cigar from Gurkha
Travis: Sometimes our job here is very demanding and difficult. Today Zac and I were faced with a serious dilemma — it’s an absolutely beautiful summer day, and we just got some sample cigars in from Gurkha that are being considered for a potential new BestCigarPrices Exclusive Brand. Whatever should we do? Never shying away from a tough job, we reluctantly decided we had to do the right thing – go relax outside in the sun and smoke! After securing the proper tools we retreated to the outdoor smoking lounge of our retail shop, AB Cigars.
The smoke is a nice large Toro-sized cigar, no band/name yet, but it had a very silky Connecticut wrapper. They smelled very nice pre-light, although I did get a little bitterness when wetting the cap down before I cut it. Maybe just a trace of ammonia as these are hot off the press. I gave the stick my preferred punch cut and lit up. It lit up quickly and instantly produced an easy draw, clearly a testament to Gurkha’s fine construction. Rich, thick smoke carrying lots of spice and pepper was the first thing that hit my palette, with undertones of cedar wood and maybe just a hint of fruit. I was reminded of sitting around a campfire, I was definitely getting some charcoal/burning wood flavors that evoked that relaxing feeling of hanging out in the summer time with good friends. About a third of the way in the spice began to mellow out and the wood/campfire flavors came closer to the forefront, which is really where I started to enjoy this one. Now I’ll turn this over to Zac for his take…
Zac: I agree this was one tasty cigar. I also agree it was a brilliant marketing move to go outside and smoke in this beautiful weather. The two combined into an amazing smoking experience that will more than pay for itself, having generated a high level of enthusiasm for us to market the hell out of them once they’re released.
I know it’s not named yet, but I nominate “Friggin’ Huge Spicy Wood-Fired BBQ” as a potential candidate. This has got to be around 56 gauge and I thought it was a Churchill when I first held it. There were a few minor soft spots but it didn’t take away from the beefiness of the presentation. A bit toothy on the wrapper but with a nice sheen and richly colored.
The taste for me was similarly woody and sweet. The spice was ever-present but very much balanced against the creamy, almost graham-crackery body. This stick definitely has a “je nous se qua” about it that will clearly separate it from the pack. It was extremely flavorful and commanded my full attention throughout. Big copious smoke and a smooth finish as it developed complexity while remaining consistent. This would make an amazing post-barbecue cigar. Unfortunately I ate McDonalds for lunch when I should have went with Five Guys like you.
Final thoughts, Travis?
Travis: My pre-smoke Five Guys burger was certainly key to my enjoyment, this one was much stronger than I expected from the innocent Connecticut wrapper on the outside. Should have known Gurkha wasn’t going to make anything mild that tastes like air. I also agree that this is not your typical cigar, it has a very distinct flavor that sets it apart from your “average” cigar. No one who smokes this one will forget it any time soon. I’ll see what I can do about procuring us a few more sticks for the next roof-a-cue, it will certainly put the perfect finish on a great barbecue. To summarize, the process of getting an Exclusive Brand in is not always easy, and often involves lots of re-blending as well as a whole bunch of boring non-cigar related negotiation. I do my best to stay out of everything that doesn’t involve smoking or marketing, but I really hope the negotiations go smoothly and we can get this one in here and offer it up at a fantastic price. I think my work is done, the blend is a winner!
Zac: I concur, let’s sit back and smoke some more of these while management works out the contracts.