In 2017, Gurkha Cigars announced what would be its signature release for 2017, the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve. This is a cigar to commemorate what has become one of Gurkha Cigars most successful lines, the Gurkha Cellar Reserve. The original Gurkha Cellar Reserve made its debut in 2007. Four years later, Gary Hyams was serving as Gurkha’s President and made a significant push to increase Gurkha’s presence in the brick and mortar retail segment, and the Cellar Reserve became a key component of that strategy. Since then, there have been several other Gurkha Cellar Reserve blends. While the blends have varied, there has been one constant – each of the blends has a component of aged filler which is noted in the name of the cigar. Today, we look at the Gurka 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve – a cigar meant to commemorate ten years of the brand within the Gurkha portfolio.
The Gurkha Cellar Reserve releases have included:
- Gurkha Cellar Reserve (Original): This was the first Gurkha Cellar Reserve that was introduced in 2007 and incorporated 15-year-old tobacco in the filler.
- Gurkha Cellar Reserve: Introduced in 2011. The cigar features a Criollo ’98 wrapper and incorporated15-year-old filler tobacco.
- Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada: Introduced in 2013 and added a maduro offering into the line. The Cellar Reserve Limitada uses a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper over what was described as 15 year filler.
- Gurkha Cellar Reserve Edition Especial: Introduced in 2014– incorporating a Corojo wrappers over 18-year-old Dominican tobaccos.
- Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum Edition: Introduced in 2015, this cigar is highlighted by an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper with 12-year-old Nicaraguan filler. This is a more value-priced offering in the Cellar Reserve line.
- Gurkha Cellar Reserve 21 Year: This year’s offering featuring a Connecticut Shade wrapper and 21-year-old Dominican tobaccos.
- Gurka 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve: The cigar to commemorate ten years of the line.
The 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve cigars are packaged in a limited edition humidor box. Each humidor will hold 50 cigars. There are a total of 1,000 humidors being produced.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve features an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper over an all-Nicaraguan blend that includes the aged 15 year tobaccos in the filler. The country of origin for this cigar has not been disclosed.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
Filler: “Vintage” Nicaraguan fillers from Jalapa, Condega, and Estelí
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
The Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve is available in one size – a 6 x 52. As mentioned, the cigars are packaged in 50-count humidors.
The Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper of the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve actually had more of a caramel-brown than rosado color to it. There was some oil on the surface. While there were some visible veins, most of the wrapper seams were well hidden. I found this to be a smooth wrapper.
The band of the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve resembles a wine label. The band has a white background with a gold, black, and red color scheme to it. Highlighted on the design is a thick red stripe with the text “10th Anniversary” on it in gold cursive font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve, I opted to use a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of sweet natural tobacco along with a slight wood note and dusty earth. There was a nice dose of sweetness on the pre-light, but it very much had a natural taste. While normally I don’t favor a lot of sweetness on a pre-light, I still found this particular pre-light experience to be excellent. At this point, I was ready to light up the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve picked up right where the pre-light draw left off. There was still a nice dose of natural tobacco sweetness. Early on, I found this natural tobacco had a slight orange cream element to it. This flavor was not overly on the citrus/acidic size and emphasized more of the sweetness. In the background, there was a mix of earth notes and a slight exotic pepper spice. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced a combination of black pepper and exotic spice.
Later in the first third, the natural tobacco notes held on as the primary flavor, but now the orange cream transitioned to a caramel element. There was no change in the background flavors as the earth and exotic spice remained in a complementary role.
By the midway point, some of the flashy elements of the natural tobacco had subsided. The flavor took on more of a classic natural tobacco sweetness. There was still a touch of caramel, but it became more of a distant note. It was during the second half where I also saw an increase in the earth and spice notes. While these flavors came close to moving in the forefront, they never overtook the natural tobacco sweetness. The Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve pretty much maintained this flavor profile to the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall, the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve scored nicely on how it burned. While there was a slight curvature from time to time on the burn line, I found some touch-ups easily remedied this. At the same time, this was a cigar never really in danger of tunneling or canoeing. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color and was on the firm side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
Draw-wise, the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve also performed extremely well. This cigar maintained the right amount of resistance and open-ness. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
From both a strength and body perspective, I found the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve right in the middle of the spectrum coming in at a solid medium. There was a slight increase in intensity of both attributes along the way, but in the end, the cigar maintained a medium strength, medium-bodied profile. The strength and the body of this cigar had a nice balance with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
When it comes to Gurkha’s Cellar Reserve line, I have found it to have an excellent track record. Gurkha definitely spent a lot of time building up the 10th Anniversary release – announcing it several months before the IPCPR. Come trade show time, they showcased some of the signature packaging the company is known for. The great news with the Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve is that it is a cigar that lives up to the hype and does not disappoint. This cigar will even surprise those who have been Gurkha critics. The medium strength, medium-bodied profile of this cigar makes it a great choice for novice or experienced cigar enthusiasts. One final note – coming in $14.00 cigar – this is a pricey cigar. At the same time, it’s a cigar I would still purchase and one that I would easily keep multiples of in my humidor.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Caramel, Orange Cream, Earth, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
News: Gurkha 10th Anniversary 15 Year Cellar Reserve Details Announced
Brand Reference: Gurkha
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted