For the most part, Gurkha Cigars employed a “what’s old is what’s new” strategy at the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show – namely reintroducing several products that were predicate (grandfathered) under the FDA Deeming Regulations. The lack of “new product” didn’t seem to affect foot traffic at the Gurkha’s IPCPR booth. It was as busy a booth as I saw at IPCPR. In fact, shortly after the trade show, Gurkha reported record sales from the trade show.
Gurkha’s strategy seemed to resonate with retailers, who knew by bringing in reintroduced product, they won’t have to deal with a day when they will require pre-market approval. Meanwhile, the products showcased had a wide appeal – everything from everyday smokes to high-end luxury offerings.
The signature release was the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve. The Gurkha 15 Year Cellar Reserve first made its debut in 2007, the cigar was re-launched in 2011. Since then there have been several other blends released on the line, including the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada, Gurkha Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial, Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition, and Gurkha Cellar Reserve 21 Year.
The 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve is a toro-sized cigar that features an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and “vintage” Nicaraguan fillers. The cigars are packaged in a luxurious 50-count humidor. There are 1,000 humidors that have been produced with each unit priced at $700.00.
The Gurkha Master Select is a predicate blend that made its debut back in 2001. It was a cigar originally produced by Fidel Olivas. Gurkha was able to obtain the original blend recipe from Olivas, known as the OVB (Original Vintage Blend).
The Master Select consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Honduran Habano binder, and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. It is being released in five sizes: Robusto ($7.50 SRP), Toro ($8.50 SRP), 6 x 60 (SRP $10.00), Perfecto #1 (6 x 60, $11.50 SRP), and Perfecto #2 (5 x 56, $9.50 SRP). The cigars are packaged in 25-count boxes.
Another predicate blend making a return is the Gurkha Havana Legend. This was a blend that was first released in 1999. It features a vintage Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. It has been released in four sizes, each packaged in 20-count boxes: Robusto Corto (4 1/2 x 48, $5.00 SRP), Robusto (5 x 54, $5.50 SRP), Toro (6 x 50, $6.00 SRP), and XO (6 x 60, $9.00 SRP).
Being reintroduced this year is the Gurkha Blendmaster’s Cask. It was originally an offshoot of the Gurkha Malt Collection. It has been repackaged and now features a blend consisting of an Ecuadorian wrapper, a over Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. It is being released in five sizes. Three of the sizes will be packaged in Tubos available in five-packs. The other two sizes are in 20-count boxes.
- XO:6 x 60 (20-count boxes) – $13.00 SRP
- Ambassador: 7 x 55 (20-count boxes) – $12.00 SRP
- Solara: 5 x 52 (Five-Pack Tubos) – $64.00 SRP
- Churchill: 7 x 55 (Five-Pack Tubos) -$70 SRP
- Toro: 6 x 52 (Five-Pack Tubos) -$60 SRP
While all of the above offerings were announced prior to the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, Gurkha unveiled one other blend, the Gurka Aged Cabinet Selection.
The Gurkha Aged Cabinet Selection comes in one size – a 5 x 50 Robusto, but it comes in two blends – one featuring an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper – and the other featuring an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Both blends feature a Dominican binder and filler. According to Gurkha, both blends feature tobacco from a 2001 vintage. The cigars are produced at the PDR Cigars factory. Each is packaged in 20-count cabinet style boxes.
With what appeared to be a very successful strategy, Gurkha has a vast catalog of predicate blends, and could easily execute on those for many years to come.