In 2022, Gurkha Cigars announced a limited production offering called the Gurkha Coleccíon Especial. Over the years, Gurkha has been known for delivering products with exquisite and innovative packaging. Recently, Gurkha has been putting an increased emphasis on cigar making. Gurkha has worked with many factories in the Dominican Republic (PDR Cigars, Tabacalera El Artista) and Nicaragua (American Caribbean and Aganorsa Leaf). The Colección Especial comes from the PDR Cigars factory. This cigar is highlighted by a hybrid Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. Because this wrapper is limited in availability, it makes the Colección Especial a limited-production cigar. The cigar was offered initially to 150 retailers in 2022. Today, we dive deeper into the Gurkha Colección Especial in the Lonsdale size.
Gurkha introduced the Gurkha Coleccíon Especial to the Tobacconists Association of America (TAA) as a part of the 2022 TAA Exclusive Series before introducing the more widely available line at the 2022 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show. The size introduced to the TAA was a 5 1/4 x 58 plump figurado, which remained exclusive to the TAA. The approach of releasing to the TAA first is not unusual, nor is the approach of releasing an exclusive size for the TAA. But I don’t remember another case when both were released to the TAA with an exclusive size in the same calendar year before the full launch.
For now, let’s turn our attention back to the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Profile
In addition to the Hybrid Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, the blend recipe to the Gurkha Colección is unique. The remainder of the blend consists of a Mexican Sumatra wrapper over Habano and Connecticut Broadleaf fillers. As mentioned, production comes from Abe Flores’ PDR Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Hybrid Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Mexican Sumatra
Filler: Habano, Connecticut Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: PDR Cigars
The Gurkha Coleccíon Especial is offered in three limited production sizes. Each is contained in ten-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 54
Lonsdale: 6 1/2 x 48
TAA: 5 1/4 x 58
The fourth size, the TAA release, was contained in eight-count high-gloss walnut boxes.
One note – the Lonsdale size probably wouldn’t pass as a “Lonsdale” on our Name Council. Being that the cigar is 6 1/2 x 48, this cigar falls more in line with being a Short Churchill size. This is because the 48-ring gauge is much thicker than what many would consider a “Lonsdale” (which is 42 or 44).
As far as Connecticut Shade cigars go, the Hybrid Connecticut Shade wrapper of the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale has a slightly darker hue than most Connecticut Shade cigars. However, it is still on the light brown side. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. There were some visible veins, but there wasn’t much in the way of visible wrapper seams.
Before lighting up the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale, a straight cut was used to remove the cigar cap. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of cream, hay, and the baker’s spice. This was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the cigar and move on to the smoking experience.
Once the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale was lit, a slight shot of mixed pepper and cedar was present. These notes were soon joined by coffee, cream, baker’s spice, and fruit. The coffee notes quickly moved into the forefront. The pepper, cedar, cream, baker’s spice, and fruit settled into the background. At the same time, a layer of cedar was present on the retro-hale.
As the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale moved into the second third, the coffee notes remained in the forefront, but a slight bitterness emerged. A natural tobacco note entered the forefront, joining the coffee notes. The fruit receded while the cream dissipated. There was an increase in the cedar, pepper, and pepper notes. Meanwhile, some of the black pepper now surfaced on the retro-hale. Later, in the final third, the bitterness extended to the natural tobacco notes.
By the final third, the natural tobacco, cedar, and pepper notes were now at the forefront. The bitters that were present in the second third got harsher, and some of the flavors were muddled. Traces of the coffee and baker’s spice were still present in the background, and the fruit sweetness dissipated. This is the way the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
The burn of the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale performed exceptionally well. This cigar needed minimal touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and straight burn line. The resulting ash was silver-gray. This ash was skewed toward the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale was on the open side. I usually prefer a draw with a little more resistance. Ultimately, there were no adverse effects, and this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale is a cigar that I would call a “new age” Connecticut – mainly one that is on the bolder side. While the cigar started out with medium strength and medium-bodied flavors, the intensity of the strength and body both increased. By the midway point, the Gurkha Colección Especial Lonsdale was delivering flavors in the medium to full-bodied area of the spectrum while the strength remained medium.
The body held the edge throughout the smoking experience in terms of strength versus body.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
As mentioned, Gurkha has quite a reputation for exquisite packaging. The Colección Especial has some of my favorite packaging. It is not over-the-top packaging, but it has a luxurious look. The white boxes and the white bands were beautiful on the overall presentation.
One constant throughout this smoking experience was that this wasn’t your rinse-and-repeat Connecticut Shade. Out of the gate, the Gurkha Coleccíon Especial Lonsdale fired on all cylinders flavorwise. However, things didn’t stay like that. The bitters entering in the second third weren’t all that exciting, and the combination of bitterness and harshness at the end was disappointing. If the last third of this cigar could be removed, this cigar would have scored higher. This cigar delivered a nice amount of complexity, but if the flavor notes don’t satisfy from start to finish, it negates the complexity. Ultimately, I’d like to smoke this cigar in another size, but for now, I’m inclined to recommend trying a sample of this cigar.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Natural Tobacco, Fruit, Cream, Cedar, Baker’s Spice, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to High
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
News: Gurkha Colección Especial Line Showcased at PCA 2022
Brand Reference: Gurkha
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted
Originally posted on October 5, 2023 @ 6:17 pm