Cigar Review: Gurkha Ninja XO

I tried to karate chop the camera.

We’re excited to be the first to bring you a review of the new Gurkha Ninja. It’s a much simpler cigar than we’re used to from Gurkha, especially in presentation. Gone are the scary Gurkha dude and metallic bands — instead, we get a simple black band in a simple cedar box.

The cigar itself is not so simple, boasting a good deal of complexity. Cold draw was full of coffee and cocoa. The 6 x 60 XO lit up easily, and there wasn’t much if any spice in the first few puffs. There were plenty of the coffee and cocoa notes found in the pre-light draw, wrapped in a creamy body that fell on the lighter side of medium-body.

After about an inch of ash, the Ninja picked up in strength to firmly plant itself in medium-body territory. Actually, not having any info whatsoever on the blend, I expected this cigar to “creep up on me” as any good Ninja would. After smoking it, I can say this is definitely a more subtle Ninja that follows an honorable code of not stabbing your palate in the back with an explosion of strength.

Now that I knew what to expect, I sat back and enjoyed this very relaxing cigar. Coffee with cream was the main flavor for most of the stick, though delicious chocolate notes popped up here and there. I especially loved the finish on this cigar — extremely clean with no aftertaste whatsoever. Even after smoking the whole thing I was surprised at how undetectable it was on my palate just minutes after putting it out. Nobody likes ash-tray mouth and this cigar is the poster child for a clean palate feel.

Other flavor notes I detected were of the confectionery variety: powdered sugar, vanilla and a bit of caramel. It’s sweet like a light desert, and the foundation went from subtle wood to subtle earth as I passed the halfway point.

The construction was absolutely fantastic, especially for a cigar at this price range. I never had to touch it up and the ash lasted a good three inches before plummeting to the ground. The burn was even, the draw was not too tight, not too lose, and I smoked it down to the nub without incident.

Overall, while the Ninja was certainly not the slice-and-dice stick I expected, I really enjoyed the more mellow surprise. It’s really quite an incredible medium-bodied cigar for around $5 per stick (from us). I think, as a side note, the folks at Gurkha may have gotten the memo that some people perceived their cigars as a bit lofty for their budgets and tastes. Gurkha’s foray into budget smokes is a delicious one and we hope to see more bang-for-buck cigars like this coming to market.

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