Gurkha 125th Anniversary

The Gurkha 125th Anniversary Cigar was one of three cigars launched at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show by Gurkha Cigar Group.  It was this particular cigar which was the centerpiece of the 2012 releases for Gurkha as 2012 marked the 125th Anniversary of the first Gurkha cigar.   Gurkha would release this cigar toward the end of 2012.  I’ve recently have been able to smoke this particular cigar.  I found this blend to provide a unique flavor profile – and one that should satisfy many cigar enthusiasts.

Just before the 2012 IPCPR, Gurkha Cigar Group issued a press release announcing this commemorative cigar.  In that press release some additional context was provided on this occasion:

The year 2012 commemorates the 125th Anniversary of the Gurkha cigar, where it was this year back in 1887, at the height of the British rule that colonial soldiers first began to smoke and enjoy their own cigars from local tobacco. The fondness of the British for these legendary Nepalese fighters inspired them to name their cigars ‘Gurkhas’.

Let’s take a closer look at the Gurkha 125th Anniversary and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

For the Gurkha 125th Anniversary, the company turns to the Tabacos Don Leoncio factory in the Dominican Republic.   The blend is a multi-national blend with tobaccos from four countries – including two countries from South America.

Wrapper: Brazilian Cubra Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican

Vitolas Available

The Gurkha 125th Anniversary is available in four sizes:

Robusto: 5 x 52
Rothchild: 6 x 54
Torpedo: 6 1/2 x 54
XO: 6 x 60

For this particular release, Gurkha uses the innovative packaging that the company has become known for.  The boxes the cigars are housed in are made of hand carved mango wood with exquisite brass fittings.  The box was designed by Gurkha Chairman Kaizad Hansotia.

Box for the Gurkha 125th Anniversary
(Press photo provided by Gurkha Cigar Group)


For this cigar experience of the Gurkha 125th Anniversary, I smoked the Rothchild vitola.  This Rothchild really is more of a toro-sized vitola.  The Brazilian Cubra Habano wrapper of the Gurkha 125th has a light brown color and an oily complexion to it.  There are some visible veins and the wrapper seams are well hidden.

The banding is intricate and also something that Gurkha is known for.  The design features a red, gold, black, and white color scheme.  It features the trademark Gurkha warrior in the center with the text “GURKHA” above it in white font.  Below the warrior is the text “EST 1887” in smaller white font.  Below that text is says “K.HANSOTIA & CO.” – also in white font.  The numbers “125” are in white text on the left and right sides of the band.  The remainder of the band has red, gold, and black adornments.  Gurkha recently won the Golden Label Award for the printing, design, innovation and technical execution of this cigar band.

Close up of the Gurkha 125th Anniversary Band
(Press photo provided by Gurkha Cigar Group)

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoking experience of the Gurkha 125th Anniversary Rothchild, I opted to go with a straight cut to remove the cap.  Once the cap was successfully clipped, it was on to the pre-light draw.  The cold draw provided notes of wood, pepper, and some natural tobacco.  I wouldn’t categorize this as a great pre-light experience, but it wasn’t bad either.  Since we do not score the pre-light experience, there is no loss or gain of points here.  At this point, I was ready to light the footer of this cigar and begin the actual cigar experience.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Gurkha 125th Anniversary provided some more of the wood, pepper, and natural tobacco notes I found on the pre-light draw.  The natural tobacco notes provide a nice sweetness throughout the cigar experience.  The wood and pepper recede to background flavors.  It are the natural tobacco notes that move to the forefront and by the five percent mark are joined by some vanilla notes.

Before the ten percent mark, the vanilla and natural tobacco remain primary flavor notes.  The pepper remains in the background and can definitely still be detected through the nasal passages.  Meanwhile the wood notes had dissipated and are replaced by some floral notes (that were also in the background).

In the second third, the pepper notes join the vanilla and natural tobacco notes in the forefront. The floral notes remain more of a distant secondary note.  By the second half, the pepper and natural tobacco form an interesting sweet spice combination.  The vanilla notes recede slightly and moved between a primary and secondary note several times.  I also picked up some cinnamon notes in the second half in the background. This is the way the flavor profile holds until the end.   There is a little bit of harshness at the end of the cigar.  The resulting nub was firm – and slightly warm.

Burn and Draw

I found the construction to be excellent on the Gurkha 125th Anniversary cigar and this was reflected in the burn and draw.  The burn line remained relatively straight with minimal touch-ups needed.  The resulting ash was a firm with a mostly white color.  There was some occasional flaking, but nothing major.  The burn rate was ideal.  The burn temperature was ideal for most of the smoke.  It did get a little warmer toward the very last puffs, and that might have led to a little bit of the harshness at the end.

The draw had a touch of resistance on it – and this is something I consider ideal.  This made for a near perfect draw for the entire cigar experience of the Gurkha 125th.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, this is not going to be an “in your face” cigar.   The strength starts out in the medium range.  As the cigar progresses, the strength does cross into medium to full territory by the second half.  As for the depth of the flavors, they start out on the upper end of medium-bodied, and by the second half go to medium to full-bodied.  I found the strength and body to balance either very nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

The Gurkha 125th Anniversary delivers a very solid smoking experience.  I’ve smoked several of these starting with a pre-release I received at the IPCPR Trade Show.  Over the past few months, these are cigars where age has been extremely kind to the blend.  In other words, this cigar has continued to get better over time.  The cigars for this assessment were purchased about two months ago and were definitely not “young” by any means.  That being said, I still think this blend will mature even more over the next few months.  Overall, I think this is a very good cigar for an experienced cigar enthusiast.  Novice enthusiasts looking for something in the “medium/medium to full” range for strength and body will appreciate this cigar.  This is a very good release by Gurkha and one I will most certainly smoke again.


Burn: ExcellentDraw: ExcellentComplexity: MediumStrength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)Finish: GoodAssessment: Nice to HaveScore: 91
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.