Team Cigar Review: Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary

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Cigar Details: Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Country of Origin: Undisclosed
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Undisclosed
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $14.00
  • Release Date: September 2017
  • Source: Gurkha

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper is medium brown with some splotchy darker spots found throughout. There are a few raised veins along with other lumps and bumps present. The head is finished off with a semi well applied double cap. The band is really nice with the line name and other descriptive info on it. The colors and fonts add to the look. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of leather and sweet hay while the foot brings a sweet wood note. The pre-light draw brings creamy leather, wood and a mild spiciness.

Pre-light Experience

The Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary (that’s a mouthful) had a smooth milk chocolate colored wrapper with firmly pressed veins. The wrapper had aromas of leather, cedar and baking spices. The foot had a more intense baking spice.

Pre-light Experience

The Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary has a medium brown wrapper with a semi-slick oily feel. Veins are decently pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll firm and head finished off with a well applied thick cap. Aromas from the wrapper give dry wood and barnyard. Aromas from the foot tell sweet cedar, barnyard and white pepper. Cold draw tells sweet cedar and hay.

First Third

The cigar begins with an interesting profile of wood, creamy coffee, baking spice and black pepper. At a quarter inch in, the cream really picks up as the coffee drops out. Still a lot of wood present with the baking spice and pepper still mingling in the background. At an inch in, the creamy wood is up front while the baking spice and black pepper combination is in the background. The retrohale is a musty wood with a bit of baking spice. As the third comes to a close, the creamy wood gains a slight sweetness while the baking spice and black pepper remain in the background. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.

First Third

I tasted toasted graham cracker on the retrohale, with light white pepper on the post draw. There are baking spices subtly coming through on the retrohale as the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary progresses. Once the first third has settled in there’s a syrupy sweetness just under the flavor surface. The pepper increases in strength, but seems to bring the spices and sweetness with it as it does. At the 10 minute mark, I start to get some bread notes, along with dry cedar on the retrohale. That cedar begins to progressively linger on the retrohale, pushing some of the pepper aside. At the 15 minute mark, I’m getting a light plus cocoa. At the halfway mark, the profile consists mostly of cedar, chocolate and light pepper and cedar to chase those flavors.

First Third

The first third gives fairly generic notes of dry wood and generic spice. It’s difficult for me to specifically ID the wood and spice (varietal of wood and spice). Retrohaling is by far the best part of the first third giving off black pepper, nuts and subtle stone fruit characteristics. The finish is heavy on spice on the tongue and rear palate as well as dry wood. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, an abundance of creamy wood is present and the baking spice/black pepper combination is now very faint in the background. At an inch in, a slight bitterness joins in with the creamy wood while there is now just a very faint black pepper in the background. As the third comes to a close, some mustiness joins the creamy wood and bitterness. The musty note also joins the retrohale along with the creamy wood. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.

Second Third

I detect charred notes moving into the second third. Fortunately, the char falls off quickly. I’m not able to detect any other notable flavors during the transition here. As the middle third settles in, the toasted graham cracker immediately takes over the profile. The cocoa is completely gone, with the bread flavors being pushed down under the surface. As the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary progresses, the chocolate comes back on the retrohale but it is very subdued. I do find that the post draw cedar isn’t as drying in the second third, and I also start to detect some vegetal notes.

Second Third

The second third continues its generic profile. Generic dry wood and spice. The spice does increase in depth, especially hitting my rear palate towards the back of my throat. The finish is still heavy on spice on my tongue and continues its earthy dry wood. Strength and body continues to be medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the profile consist of creamy and musty wood while the bitterness has dropped out. At three quarters of an inch, a slight bitterness returns to the profile of creamy and musty wood. The retrohale carries the creamy and musty wood note. At an inch and a half, the cigar begins to warm up which brings some mintiness to the profile. The cigar finishes with this same profile of creamy and musty wood with slight amounts of bitterness and mintiness. The strength remained at slightly above medium.

Final Third

Cedar is the primary flavor going into the last third. There are some baking spices along for the ride on the retrohale, and the post draw evolves into a charred cedar.

Final Third

The last third picks up some strength where it is almost reaching medium-full (with body still medium). The cigar also picks up a creamy wood but the spice still dominates the overall palate. But the general notes still stays true to the profile.

Burn

I fought the burn the entire way with a combination of a large number of touch-ups and frequent draws to keep the cigar burning.

Burn

The ash held on in 1.5″ increments, with some notable flaking. The Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary went out entirely at the 40 minute mark, 1:04 mark and entering the last third, requiring a complete re-light each time. Touch-ups were required throughout the smoking experience.

Burn

Multiple re-lights due to tunneling and improper wrapper burn was a major issue with this cigar. Aside from that, burning temperature was cool, ashes fairly sturdy with 1.5 inch retention.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The flavor profile started off pretty good, but the burn was off from the start. As the cigar progressed, the flavor profile and burn both went downhill, which is probably a product of frequent touch-ups and draws. I’d be interested in revisiting a better constructed version to see if the flavor profile could maintain itself longer. Outside of revisiting it for this reason, there’s not really any draw for me to come back to this cigar as I felt it was a very poor showing for the brand.

Draw

No issues with draw, although the draw leans towards the open spectrum.

Overall

The Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary starts out very promising, and then falls into a pretty average flavor profile overall. I encountered burn issues throughout requiring multiple re-lights.

Draw

Striking the ideal air flow and resistance, the draw was perfect.

Overall

My overall take on the Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary is it was average tasting being unrefined and unbalanced. The generic notes of spice and wood were not necessarily bad tasting notes, but it felt like I was component tasting (ie the flavors didn’t work well together, but instead seemed like I was smoking separate components of the cigar). The mix of an average tasting profile and steeper $14 anniversary cigar is hard to recommend, so try one to gauge for yourself.

Aaron
John
Jiunn
Good Pre
Light
Amazing Pre
Light
Good
Good First
Third
Good First
Third
Average
Average Second
Third
Average Second
Third
Average
Subpar Final
Third
Average Final
Third
Average
Subpar Burn Subpar Burn Subpar
Very Good Draw Amazing Draw Amazing
Subpar Overall Average Overall Average

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

4.83

Cost/Point

$2.90

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.70

Cost/Point

$2.46

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.35

Cost/Point

$2.62

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary
Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary

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