Well, I’ve finally come to the end of my Big Brand Showstopper Full-Bodied Sampler from Pipes and Cigars.com. Last, but certainly not least, I pulled out the Gurkha Crest Toro Gordo; a natural lead-in to the other Gurkha cigars we have acquired for review.
The Gurkha Crest describes itself as a medium-bodied cigar; featuring a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan Cuban-seed long-fillers. It’s a big baby, this one, with a rather large ring-gauge. Upon opening the package I was greeted with a rich, dark scent that fully matched the Colorado maduro wrapper shade. I liked the attractive red and gold label. Its veins were delicate and its seams were smooth, though I was concerned because the maker had also created the ill-fated Gurkha Warlord. I am sorry to say there was a white spot of mold on the wrapper, but it had obviously dried and was easily removed by scratching at it with a fingernail, leaving a tiny hole.
Again with the thick ring-gauge I didn’t dare to punch the Crest, so I sliced it cleanly with my double guillotine cutter. It sliced perfectly, leaving a smooth semi-circle of tobacco in my hand. The pre-light draw offered a yummy espresso overtone, and it promised to be nice and oily. Toasting the foot filled the air with the distinctive scent of roasted coffee beans – my favourite!
I lit up at 5:20 pm. The first draw was a true delight: dark, buttery, rich; and a lovely bitter flavour not unlike dark roast coffee, with a hint of pepper and earthy notes. There was a unique starchy, earth taste that reminded me of biting into a raw, unpeeled potato. I made a lot of mmmmm noises in the course of the smoke, so you know I had to be enjoying myself!
This cigar gives you a lot of bang for your buck; I didn’t finish the first third until five minutes to six. At this point the Crest offered up a spicy, sweet aftertaste. It almost succeeded in impressing Jamie, who is fully convinced that any non-Cuban cigar doesn’t quite cut it; so that’s worth noting. I observed that unlike most cigars, it in no way acquired that nasty bitter aftertaste that I have come to expect as part and parcel of the second third; nor did it lose any of its buttery, oily lingering residue. I decided that this feature alone earned it a full star on my rating system, since this is, to my experience to date, unique. I should also mention that it ashed well and the slightly off-kilter light I’d started with corrected itself almost immediately.
I did not reach the final third until 6:30 pm. By then it had started to fall apart a little bit. Again the wrapper began coming a little loose, but did not yet interfere with the smoking of the cigar; though I admit, it may have been aided by the reinforcement of the label, which I left on the stick while smoking. By then the Crest had also regained that distinct espresso tone, and the earthy potato flavour; and not once, not once, did it lose its buttery oil. Fantastic!
At ten to seven the cigar went out, so I got a full hour and a half of enjoyment out of this fine smoke. Even so I probably could have lit it up again. My overall review: outstanding! Again, it maintained that oil from start to finish. It wasn’t at all bitter except in those initial draw, and that was a quite pleasant bitterness; and the second third was a delightful surprise. Other than the fact that it began to break up a little near the end it was pristine and perfect.
There is one significant flaw in the Crest; and that is a relatively high comparative price point. The Gordo is worth $10 USD each at Cigar International; but I will note, they are also almost completely out-of-stock. I guess you get what you pay for! However, if you enjoy the salomon cigar shape, I urge you to run, not walk, over to Pipes & Cigars and get yourself a box of ten, which is currently on sale for only $31.20 USD!
According to Dictionary.com, the word crest means:
This is a crowning achievement of a cigar indeed! And it was the culmination, or the climax, of my sampler. So I give it: