On the way back from my book signing in Nelson and my house concert in Castlegar, I decided to continue with a sample of my Gurkha Five Card Stud Sampler from Pipes & Cigars along the drive through the alpine Kootenay region on a late summer night.
The cigar is a big girl;6.5 inches long and a 58 ring gauge, with a beautiful light golden Colorado coloured wrapper, perhaps even an English market select. Its label, aside from the trademark Gurkha label in white gold, shows the word “Beauty,” elegantly written, on a royal purple background. Perhaps her size makes her ideal to share. I understand that she is grown from Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrappers and a rare blend of Honduran filler tobaccos fermented for five years.
The initial wrapper note was strongly of fresh, new-mown hay, with perhaps a very subtle hint of nutmeg. The seams were fairly visible, wrapped sort of like a barber pole, with a double cap which clipped easily and neatly with my double guillotine cutter.
The pre-light draw produced happy “mmm!” noises from me. New-mown hay and good quality tobacco with a sweet and floral element, and again, just a pinch of something nutty. Toasting the foot with my torch revealed a pleasant nutty smell and again an elusive floral element. Quite promising!
I lit up at 11: 30ish. The first draw was the sweetest, loveliest, butteriest first draw I’ve ever had the pleasure to partake of. My gods! It was as buttery and sweet as a pastry, with a delectable floral and nut essence. The taste reminded me of alpine wildflowers; I was transported to a lovely romantic hike I’d taken with Jamie in the Kalamalka Provincial Park in Vernon, BC. As I smoked into the first third, which lasted a little more than twenty minutes, I noticed an undertone of fermentation, like white wine.
I thought I had a wonky light to start with but it quickly corrected itself. The Vitamin N content was moderate, which said to me that a lady, or a casual smoker like myself, could really enjoy it without having to worry about overdoing it. It was the most buttery and smooth non-Habano cigar I’d ever sampled. Very mild and pleasant; a beginner could get into this cigar without much worry of either overdosing nicotine or burning tongue bite, but there is still certainly enough to tempt even the experienced smoker. (Jamie, incidentally, disagreed with me and found the nicotine content to be rather high.) I enjoyed the first third very much.
By the second third it had lost a little of the butter, but the floral scent that filled the air with its unobjectionable smoke more than compensated for the loss. Even though the scent was unquestionably tobacco, I imagine you could get away with it with the in-laws. As Jamie pointed out, it also proved to be a satisfying-feeling smoke that felt good in your hand. Even more than in the first third it had a distinct confectionery flavour, but not an overly sweet one; perhaps like a date bar or a fig newton. When it ashed, it was beautiful, white, clear and straight.
At two minutes after midnight we reached the halfway point of the cigar. After purging the flowers became even more noticeable. There was no bitter aftertaste to speak of in the second third; not common in my experience, so that’s a point worthy of note. The butter dissipated unfortunately, but I’ve come to learn that this is to be expected.
At ten after midnight we judged the cigar to be at the end of the second third. Near the end I found that distinct tingle on the lips that indicates nicotine buzz, so I guess I have to modify my opinion of the nicotine content and rate it at moderate at least. Near the end it finished with a spectacular floral aspect that was even stronger and more delightful than it had been in the first third, and the nutty element returned. It showed no signs of disintegrating either, unlike its contemporaries in the Gurkha line. I was a little concerned near the finish as it developed bitterness, but it disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared and embraced the fullness of all the elements already mentioned to wind into a nice, strong finish. Right near the end, smoking it hot, it began to become a little gooshy, but other than that I can find no complaints about its construction; it held together, ashed nicely, and lit and smoked straight.
We finished the cigar at about 12:40 pm, so it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to finish, smoking it right down to the nub. Now understand that Jamie and I smoked it hot and quickly so I imagine it would take the individual smoker longer. I thought that this Beauty was a marvelous dance partner and I can fault her in no way at all. She was the perfect vision of sweetness and a delightful partner for the evening. Truly she is the Belle of the Ball. I give her:
You can pick up this fancy dame at Cigars International for as low as $60 US for a five pack; or at Cigar.com for $99.95 US for a mazo of ten; and I got mine at Pipes & Cigars; but she’ll cost you $32.68 US for a single date there. Still, worth it in my opinion. I will definitely smoke these again if given the chance and I’m looking forward to getting the mild sampler from Pipes & Cigars if for no better reason than it contains another one!
That’s this lady’s perspective.