|Gurkha Viper (L), Gurkha Ninja (R)|
Early in the history of Cigar Coop, I posted a review of the Gurkha Viper stick. This would not only mark Gurkha’s introduction into the value-priced, high-quality cigar market ($5.00 – $7.00 range), but would also mark Gurkha moving to a simpler packaging scheme. The Gurkha Viper is a stick that can be categorized as starting out mild, progressing to medium, and a bit of a medium to full finish – with a good combination of cedar spice and hints of caramel throughout. The Ninja is a different story, this is a stronger and more complex smoke. While my experience with the Viper was positive, my experience with the Ninja proved to be even more positive.
First a review of the construction of the Gurkha Viper:
Wrapper – Brazilian Maduro
Binder – Cameroon
Filler – Nicaraguan
Because I didn’t post the construction of the Ninja’s “brother”, the Gurkha Viper, I thought I would include it here:
Wrapper – Dominican Sun-Grown
Binder – Dominican
Filler – Nicaraguan
The sizes avaiable for the Ninja are as follows:
Spike: 4.50 x 48
Knife: 5 x 55
Torpedo: 6 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 50
XO: 6 x 60
While these two cigars have similar packaging, that is where the similarities end as far as looks go. The Ninja does not have the box-press Sun Grown wrapper of the Viper, but instead it has a beautiful bold Brazilian Maduro wrapper. This wrapper really makes this stick stand out. For the purposes of this review I tried the Ninja Knife.
While the Viper started off mild, it wasn’t the case with the Ninja – this started out more as a medium strength. There was an initial cedar spice that hit me on the initial draw. That soon would transform to a baker’s chocolate/cocoa taste. Like the Viper, there was an increase on the strength with the Ninja – this cigar would soon transform to the medium to full as you reached the middle third of this cigar. In the middle third, the baker’s chocolate flavors would give way to more of a combination of caramel and coffee. While I tasted caramel with the Viper, the Ninja had this much more pronounced. Around 1/2 way into the cigar, I suddenly managed to get some subtle old-school oak-like tones. This cigar really felt old-school at this point. It also began to push more toward the full area of the spectrum in terms strength. Toward the end of the cigar, I felt the sweetness begin to fade, but the Ninja never got harsh or bitter – although it did finish warmer and softer than I would have liked at the end. Overall, I found this one complex cigar, so I’m inclined to label this a full bodied smoke as well.
The burn was perfect as was the draw. Overall, this ranks as good in both the burn and draw categories as any stick.
One side note. I spoke to Abe Flores of Pinar Del Rio cigars this past weekend. It was to my surprise when he told me that he played a key role in the blending of both the Ninja and the Viper. Abe’s doing a heck of a job with Pinar Del Rio, so this really shouldn’t have shocked me.
While the Viper was “Nice to Have”, the Ninja was clearly “Memorable” in my book. It’s unique complexity really makes this stand out. My big gripe with this stick is the same as I had with the Viper – the packaging. This stick deserves a much better band! Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the price or quality of this stick.