I’ve enjoyed every cigar I’ve reviewed on here—don’t get me wrong, there have been duds, I just didn’t write about them. But every once in a while I get a stogie that I feel like raving about, and the Gurkha Signature Red Rothschild is one of those stogies. I don’t understand why Gurkha called this one a Rothschild, as it measured 6 inches by 55 ring gauge—bigger than most Toros—but hey, I’m not one to complain about more stogie to smoke. As with my last review of a Gurkha cigar, I expected a mule kick of pepper and nicotine in the face, but I was pleasantly surprised at the mellowness of the smoke.
This stogie had a beautiful golden Connecticut wrapper. There wasn’t a lot of sheen to it and it had a few veins, but they were small and evenly distributed throughout the leaf. Inside the cigar was a filler blend I’d never seen before—it was comprised only of Indian and Peruvian tobaccos. I’m not sure which was which but I saw some of the blackest tobacco I’ve ever seen mixed into the middle of the cigar, so I knew to expect something different. The pre-light draw was very subtle—I got a little bit of pepper and some faint nutty aromas, which is not really out of the ordinary for lighter-wrapped smokes—but the cigar smelled like malt and roasted nuts.
I lit the cigar and took a few puffs—initially I got some black pepper, nuts, and a healthy amount of sweetness. The sweetness wasn’t the caramel sweetness I expected, but rather a combination of vanilla and maple syrup. Needless to say, it went perfectly with coffee, and I ended up downing two 16oz mugs during the smoke. Along with the vanilla-maple sweetness, I also got a little bit of spice on the retrohale that reminded me of fresh ginger.
As I passed through the first third, the spice increased noticeably, though not overwhelmingly. This was not the usual momentary black pepper spice, but rather a lingering cayenne pepper spice that lasted until I got halfway through the cigar. Along with that cayenne spice, I started getting a little bit of chocolate and peppermint, which I think was due to that near black tobacco that was swirled into the center of the filler. Despite the red pepper spice, though, it never got past medium-bodied.
As you might expect from a Gurkha stick, the construction was great. The cigar had one soft spot near the foot, but the burn stayed even anyway and the draw had just the right amount of resistance. I got a ton of smoke with every puff, and it was all mellow and cool enough to retrohale. The ash was tight and almost pure white with very little flaking and a few grey specks, and it held on for about an inch and a half at a time.
I purged the cigar a few times throughout the smoke though I truthfully didn’t really have to; it’s just a force of habit. If you’re looking for something smooth but by no means boring, this is the stogie for you. After exclusively smoking powerhouses, I’ve learned how to appreciate a mellower cigar, and at a stick price of just over $5, I definitely plan to put a few of these in my humidor for a relaxing smoke. Anyway, this will officially be the last post of 2010, so with that I’d like to wish everyone a safe, happy, and smoky New Year—see you in 2011!