Continuing with my Gurkha Five Card Stud Sampler from Pipes & Cigars, and encouraged by my experience with its counterpart, the Gurkha Beauty, I decided to sample the Gurkha Beast as Jamie and I were on the way home from World Goddess Day in Kelowna. Immediately I was excited! This big boy is the match of his mate; 6 inches and again, a 58 ring gauge. His dark profile, dark like dark chocolate, suggests a deep, rich maduro; instantly appealing to the hopes of my palate!
I am informed that the Beast is made in annual productions of just 1000 boxes. It is grown in Costa Rica and its Dominican, Honduran, and Columbian long fillers, as well as its Nicaraguan binder and dark leaf shroud are aged for a minimum of eight years. I was impressed by its rich colour. Its dark label shared the classic font and the white gold of its bride. It revealed a veiny texture and visible seams, and a noticeable double cap. I cut it cleanly and evenly with my double guillotine cutter, but the Beast proved its animal nature because it bit me! Here’s my blood blister from pinching my finger in the grip of the cutter, which I have never done before or since:
It seems the Beast bites back!
The wrapper note was distinctly of cocoa and the pre-light draw was rich and chocolatey. Unfortunately the top of the cap began to peel immediately after that. Toasting the foot offered the distinct scent of roasting coffee beans. The initial draw was of cocoa, tobacco, espresso and wood. However the top began peeling right the hell off again, which is beginning to become a consistent point of irritation in my experience with the Gurkha line. This, unfortunately, damaged what could have been a beautiful first impression, with a smooth and slightly sweet element. So the Beast lacks manners.
It quickly proved itself to be a top-notch oily and dark cigar indeed, leaving a delightful aftertaste. Jamie was reminded of the first time he’d tried sushi, in a time when it was an adventure. He relayed how the Japanese food philosophy was to make a complete flavour, and some ingredients were valued for their aftertaste more than their initial taste. This was what he observed about the Beast cigar. He also compared it to the lingering chocolate aftertaste of a chocolate bar you’d eaten several hours ago.
But it also offered an off-kilter light that had to be corrected. The head, also, was not constructed well at all and it continued to disintegrate as we smoked. Jamie and I think that someone might want to have a word with the Gurkha quality control people. It was a lovely roll, folded in nicely, with a pleasant, medium-firm pack, but the head ruined it.
We started smoking at five minutes past four pm as we drove home in the Kelowna rush hour traffic. About a half hour in we gave it the first purge, the slightly bitter aftertaste that began to sneak into the smoke vanished, and it started to take on that barbecued steak element that often marks a dark maduro. It also turned out to have a nicotine content fierce enough to suit its name and give it teeth.
As it headed into the final third – about an hour in – the Beast tamed itself a little as it acquired a certain sweetness it had not previously possessed. Perhaps Belle had begun to have an influence?
The Beast ashed nicely as we progressed through the smoke, and even though Jamie likes to smoke his cigars hot, it lasted fairly well; about an hour and a half all told. It just went out near the end, but since it had gone soft and begun to fall apart by that point, perhaps that was just as well.
Overall I was impressed with the flavour and the fullness of the Beast. Though it wasn’t my favourite maduro of all-time it certainly was delicious and I would smoke it again with hope that the construction would improve. Interestingly it went well with the dill pickle flavoured pumpkin seeds I was eating, probably because of that BBQ undertone, which might have offered overall shades of a summer picnic.
I can’t mark this creature as highly as I marked his mate due to the disappointing construction. So I give him:
You can get the Beast at Cigars International, but he’s expensive: $85 USD for a pack of five; or you can get him for $20 USD each at Cigar.com; or you can pick him up for just a little bit more at Pipes & Cigars.
That’s a lady’s perspective!