Just prior to the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, Gurkha Cigar Group announced the fourth installment of its Cellar Reserve series called the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition. Gurkha launched the Cellar Reserve line back in 2011 and it is a line where each installment has incorporated aged tobaccos in a blend. The Platinum Edition marks a change in the series in that it is not only made in Nicaragua, but it is also the first cigar in the series to incorporate Nicaraguan tobacco. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition in the Hedonism (Perfecto) size. Overall, I found this to be a solid and enjoyable cigar.
The original Gurkha Cellar Reserve features a Criollo 98 wrapper and incorporated 15 year old filler tobacco. Two years later, a maduro counterpart, the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada was introduced. The Cellar Reserve Limitada featured a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper over what was described as 15 year filler. Last year, the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Edition Especial was introduced – incorporating a Corojo wrappers over 18 year old Dominican tobaccos. As for the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition this is highlighted by an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper with 12 Year old Nicaraguan filler.
The Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition is made at American Caribbean Cigars in Nicaragua. This is a factory for whom Gurkha has had a long-time relationship with in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Oscuro
Filler: 12 Year Aged from Condega, Esteli, and Jalapa (Nicaraguan)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (American Caribbean Cigars)
The Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum is availablen three sizes. All three sizes are signature sizes in the Cellar Reserve line with the Solara and Hedonism being figuardos. The three sizes are also geared toward larger ring gauges.
Solara: 5 x 58
Hedonism: 6 x 58
Kraken: 6 x 60
The cigars are packaged in twenty count boxes in a gray colored wine-styled storage box.
The Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper of the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism has a medium-brown woody color. Depending how light hits the wrapper, it will give off a colorado red tint to it. The wrapper has a light coat of oil on it. There are some visible veins and some thin visible wrapper seams. The cigar itself is a perfecto that is tapered on both end. The footer has almost a nozzle shape on the footer. Toward the cap there is a gentle taper. The cap itself is finished with a very small spiral pig-tail.
As mentioned, the band is a silver version of the original cellar reserve band. Like the other bands in the Cellar Reserve series, it is designed to resemble a wine label.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism, 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 dry draw provided quite a bit of sweetness. I detected notes of sweet natural tobacco – which almost had a gum-like taste. There was also a mild spice that was present. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of the Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism delivered a mix of natural tobacco and red pepper. As the Hedonism burned past the nozzle tip, the flavor profile expanded and notes of chocolate and cedar surfaced. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced notes of cedar and red pepper, but I did not find this to be overpowering.
During the first third, the chocolate and the natural tobacco emerged as primary notes while the cedar and pepper spices became secondary notes. As the Hedonism moved into the second third, I found the natural tobacco remained grounded as a primary note with the chocolate floating in and out of the forefront. Meanwhile, the spices remained secondary.
As the Hedonism moved into he final third, the spices moved close to the forefront. The natural tobacco notes still dominated. The chocolate notes were now a more distant background note. This is the way the cigar experience came to an end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism performed quite well. The burn path remained relatively straight from start to finish. The burn line was slightly jagged in the early stages – particularly as it moved through the tapered area by the footer, but this was easily remedied with a few touch-ups. As the cigar experience progressed, I found the burn line lost some of its jaggedness. The resulting ash had a silver-gray color. It wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t overly loose either. There was also some slight flaking in the early stages. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw was ideal as well. It was not too loose, nor was it too tight. This made the Hedonism an a low maintenance cigar from start to finish.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength I found the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism to fall on the upper end of medium. There was a slow, gradual increase in strength and by the last third, I found the Hedonism had just enough strength to qualify as medium to full. Meanwhile the body of the Hedonism started out medium to full. Like the strength, the body also increased in a gradual fashion and by the last third, the Hedonism had crossed into full-bodied territory. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had the edge.
Overall I found the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition Hedonism to deliver a very nice cigar experience. While I still would put the maduro wrapped Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada as the blend under this Gurkha line that I like the best, I liked a lot of things the Platinum Edition Hedonism brought to the table. It does a nice job at showcasing some classic Nicaraguan flavors. I also enjoyed the 5 x 58 perfecto size of the Hedonism. This is a cigar I’d probably recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast, but it’s one I wouldn’t discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s worthy of a five pack in my humidor.
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Mediium to Full (Last Third)
Body: Medium to Full (1st 2/3), Full (Last Third)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition
Source: Cigars Provided by Manufacturer, Additional purchased.
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Author’s Note: We apologize for the distortion in the photos used here.