|Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada|
Just prior to the IPCPR Trade Show, Gurkha Cigar Group announced a new blend based on the Cellar Reserve line called the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada. The Limitada replaces the Criollo 98 wrapper of the original Cellar Reserve line with a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper – keeping the some of the components of the original blend the same. It was toward the end of 2013 where the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada started making it to retailers. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to sample this cigar and I really liked what the Arapiraca wrapper does to this blend. This is an excellent release by Gurkha
It was in 2011 where Gurkha released the original Cellar Reserve cigar. The cigar was one of three released that year that was targeted at brick and mortar retailers. The selling point of this cigar is 15 year Dominican tobacco used in the filler. Each Cellar Reserve contains a white colored band that resembles a wine label and packaged in a natural wood colored wine box. The Limitada uses similar packaging, but contains a black wine label band and a black colored wine box.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned, the binder and filler of the Cellar Reserve Limitada are similar to the regular Cellar Reserve line.
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: 15 year old Dominican
The Cellar Reserve Limitada is only being launched in three sizes:
Solara: 5 x 58 (Perfercto)
Hedonism: 6 x 58 (Perfecto)
Kraken: 6 x 60
For this cigar experience I smoked the Solara which despite being 5 x 58 is the smallest cigar in the line. The Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper has a rich chocolate color to it. There is a slight amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper has a slightly rugged look to it as there are plenty of visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The ruggedness gives the Cellar Reserva Limitada some charm. There is a spiral pig-tail at the cap and the perfecto tapers with a small fuse by the footer.
As mentioned, the band is a black version of the original cellar reserve band that also contains gold, red, and white font. The band resembles a wine label. A visual was provided above.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada Solara, I opted to place a straight cut to remove the cap as opposed to pulling off the spiral pig-tail. After clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw gave me a mix of sweet chocolate and some spice that I could not put my finger on. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw experience of the Cellar Reserve Limitada to be positive. It was now on to lighting up the Cellar Reserve Limitada. In terms of lighting it, I made sure I lit the small fuse to get a good burn.
The start to the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada provided a mix of earth and pepper spice. The pepper seemed to be more of a white pepper variety and I could also detect it prominently on the retro-hale. As the fuse turned to ash, some of the sweet chocolate notes I had detected on the pre-light surfaced with the pepper and earth.
Throughout the first third, the chocolate, pepper, and earth notes all alternated as a primary flavor. The chocolate seemed to have a slight edge during this phase of the smoking experience.
In the second third, the flavors still continued to move between the forefront and background. This time the earth notes seemed to have more of an edge. This continued into the last third. There was a slight increase in pepper, but the Cellar Reserve Limitada never got overly spicy. The resulting nub was soft to the touch. At certain times, it was slightly warm at the end.
A side note: There were four cigars smoked for this assessment. On two of the cigars, there was also a slight “must” flavor that is sometimes common to Brazlian Arapiraca cigars. The must seemed a little more prominent at the beginning. In the other two cigars, the must flavor was not present.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective the Cellar Reserve Limitada Solara performed well. I was a bit concerned how a large ring gauge perfecto would perform, but the Solara size scored nicely While the burn line had some slight jaggedness, it remained relatively straight throughout the cigar experience. The resulting ash was firm. The ash had a darker charcoal gray color with some black streaks in it. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada Solara|
I was also concerned how this large ring perfecto would perform on the draw, but once again the Solara performed quite well. The draw was not tight, and definitely not loose. It was a low maintenance cigar to puff on and get flavor.
Strength and Body
I found both the strength and body to land right in a sweet spot of what I like for a cigar. The Cellar Reserve Limitada does have some kick, but it is not going to be “in your face” strength. I assessed Cellar Reserve Limitada to be medium to full in strength. The flavors have some nice depth to them. They are robust to provide some moderate, but not heavy weight on the pallet. I assessed the Cellar Reserve Limitada to be medium to full-bodied. Both the strength and body counter each other very nicely with neither flavor overshadowing the other.
Gurkha has had both its fans and detractors, but I was quite impressed with the Cellar Reserve Limitada. I had liked the original Cellar Reserve cigar quite a bit, but I found this cigar likable as well. I was a little surprised because a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper is not often my first wrapper of choice. While I did detect some “mustiness” that I often find with this wrapper, it wasn’t too much of a problem here and it made for an enjoyable smoke. While this wouldn’t be my first choice of a cigar to a novice, I certainly wouldn’t discourage one from trying this cigar. I would also recommend this cigar to an experienced cigar enthusiast. I would even encourage those who don’t like Gurkha and/or large ring gauges to give this one a try. This cigar is worth a fiver in my book, and one I’d consider for a rotation cigar.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
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