Tag Archives: Gurkha

CigarCraig’s Holiday Giveaways No. 1 – Gurkha Goodies

Most will remember the good old days, before FDA scared all the manufacturers away from giving away cigars, when we called this ” CigarCraig’s 12 Spectator Days of Cigar Giveaways “. Many times it went beyond 12 days due to the generosity of the manufacturers. Over the five years we did that we put well over a thousand cigars in consumers hands, along with a ton of accessories and SWAG (actually not the best use of the acronym for Stuff We All Get). Last year I did a scaled back version which gave me more time to spend with my family and was easier on my shipping budget. So it’s high time to get the holidays rolling with some CigarCraig Giveaways! These will run for a week, with the winner for today’s giveaway being announced next Sunday. Usual rules apply, leave a comment here for a chance to win and you must be of legal age in your municipality.



Gurkha Prize Pack CC2017We’ll start off the giveaways with some goodies from Gurkha. Like the other items in this year’s giveaways, these gifts were unsolicited, a random collection of promotional items I’ve collected over the years and want to share with my loyal readers. Included in the Gurkha present is a Gurkha mouse pad, a Gurkha flask, a super cool Gurkha cutter (that I’d keep if I didn’t have so many darned cutters!) and some cigars from my humidor.  The cigars include a Founders Reserve from this year’s IPCPR and an East India Trading Co. Classic Havana Blend Robusto, as well as a sampler from the 2015 (I think) IPCPR show which includes Cellar Reserve 12 year (Platinum) and 18 year (Edición Especial), The Classic Cigar: Havana Blend, A Royal Challenge Maduro, a Heritage and the Cask Blend, all in, more or less, Toro-ish sizes. I’ve smoked all of these and they’re all great cigars. Thanks to Gurkha for the goodies and good luck everyone!


Gurkha Cutter CC2017

Gurkha Cigars CC2017










That’s all for today, until the next time,








Filed under Contest

A Couple Cigars, Cigar Podcasts and the Contest Winner!

Gurkha125I’ve been feeling a little in a rut lately, so I decided to smoke some cigars I hadn’t smoked in a long time, so I started with a Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO,  I thought I liked this cigar more, it wasn’t bad, it was just a little more leathery than I remembered. So the next night I went with a sure thing, A Tatuaje TAA 2015. This box pressed, 5 5/8″ x 54 cigar with a covered foot hit the spot. Sadly, this was the last one in my humidor, but boy was it tasty. Not exactly breaking out of my rut, as I’ve been craving broadleaf and this one hit the spot just right. Smooth, rich and delicious. I think I bought a couple of these a little over two Tatuaje TAA 15years ago, great cigar.  Tonight grabbed a CAO Amazon Anaconda, a cigar I developed a deep appreciation for after bringing some home from the IPCPR show. A couple of weeks ago when I saw Jack Toraño he stuck this cigar in my pocket, so it was conveniently located on top of the humidor. This is the third in the Amazon series, following the Amazon Basin and Fuma em Corda. I wasn’t wow’d by the Amazon Basin like most people seemed to CAO Anacondahave been, but I only tried the second release. I really like the Fuma em Corda, and I really really like the Anaconda (except for the name, I’m not a snake fan), This cigar is made in Honduras with a Brazilian Bahiano Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Colombian, Dominican, Brazilian Braganca, and Fume em Corda fillers. The only thing I really don’t care for was the piece of tobacco that serves as the band terminates under the cap and feels funny in the mouth. Otherwise it’s a great cigar! Burns a long time and tastes great!  Seems I’m still in that rut.


I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, and just want to list several shows I listen to regularly and enjoy. I’ll be honest, this is driven by just listening to Cigar Coop‘s Prime Time show with co-host Aaron Loomis from Developing palates, where they said some nice things about me. I also listen to the Developing Palates recaps  via podcast, KMA Talk Radio, The Cigar Authority, The Ashholes, DE4Live, Cigar Jukebox, Cigar Chat and Sharing Your Pairings, Smooth Draws Radio, Stogie Geeks, as well as Half Ashed and The Cold Draw Podcasts when they show up.  It all started with Blowin’ Smoke, which was one of the first, and was hosted by an old friend Rob Heming. There are a few others that only show up every now and then. Sometimes it’s a challenge staying up to date.



prizeLast week we had a contest sponsored by Cigar Prop and the Tobacco Locker Cigar Bar featuring four great cigars and a pair of Cigar Prop XCs.  It’s time to pick a winner, and I was hoping to have Kevin of Cigar Prop pick one, but he deferred. My reasoning was that myself and Kevin interjected some comments and that makes it harder to count the comments…and I would have liked to see more “likes” on the sponsor’s Facebook pages.  So I worked it out, and the winner is mike mccainSend your address so we can get your prize to you, and I’m going to send a few cigars from my humidor too, just because I feel like it.  Thanks to Kevin for putting this together and Tobacco Locker for participating. 

That’s all for today, until the next time,





Filed under Contest, Editorial, Review

Gurkha, La Palina, Avo and a Quick Draw Cigar


I took the easy way out on Wednesday with the La Sirena video, so I have a bunch of cigars to talk about this week. Not unexpectedly, the video is now in the number three spot in views on my YouTube channel, behind a La Sirena interview from the 2012 IPCPR. That shows something, I have to figure out what that is…Anyway, I started the week with a teeth cleaning followed by a Gurkha Founders Reserve in the Rothschild 6×58 size.  That’s what the box (of 10) that they gave me at the IPCPR show says, Gurkha_FoundersReserve_RothschildI initially thought it was the XO size, 6″ x 60, like there’s a huge difference between 58 and 60…and usually reliable sources list the sizes as   Robusto (5 x 50), Rothschild (6 x 55) and XO (6 x 60), yet it says 6 x 58 right there on the box, and I measured one and it was close enough to the 60 hole to make me think it was a 60 (my ring gauge checker is old, it jumps from 56 to 60 and doesn’t go any larger). Gurkha fails to list the sizes on the website too, which is frustrating. I’ve bitched about it before, but the manufacturer’s website should be the last word in specifics on a cigar, not blogs of retailers. I’m worked up now, maybe I need to smoke another of the Gurkha Founders Reserve  whatever size it is, because it was a really tasty Connecticut shade wrapped cigar. I really enjoyed the crap pout of the cigar, it was a really tasty medium bodied cigar with a great burn and draw. I suspect this is a brick and mortar exclusive, like the cellar reserve line, and is in the $10 price range, but it very enjoyable. Here’s a few pictures I took a the Gurkha booth at the show.



LaPalina_Nicaragua_OscuroMy eye was drawn to the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro robusto next. La Palina’s website gives the sizes and nothing else. This is a 5″ x 52 Robusto, made at the AJ Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, and wrapped with a Ecuador Oscuro wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers. I’m not sure what “Ecuador Oscuro” exactly means, and the rest of the make-up is vague. Again, it hardly matters as it’s a tasty smoke. It’s up my alley with the rich, coffee/cocoa flavors I like, with a hint of spice. It burned well, had a good draw and was a very nice experience. I smoked a prototype of this a few years ago I think. On a side note, I’ve been obsessed with the Adorini Double Punch cutter, and have been using it all the time. It features two punches, 9mm and a huge 13mm. I find myself using the 13mm (which is about a half an inch, or 32 ring gauge) almost all the time, it opens up the cigar almost as much as when I use a guillotine cutter. It’s sharp and has a strong magnet that keeps the three pieces together. It’s a quality piece and I’m using it a lot. The La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro is a good smoke, I look forward to smoking the Nicaragua Connecticut.


Avo_SouthAmericaRitmo_SpecialToroNext up was a new offering from Davidoff’s Avo line, the Ritmo in the Syncro line. I’ve smoked a few Avo cigars, most aren’t in my wheelhouse, frankly, I don’t “get” a lot of them. Some people love them, everyone has different tastes, most of the Avos don’t do it for me. This one, on the other hand, was delicious. This cigar boasts a seven country blend, Ecuador wrapper, Mexican binder and fillers from Peru, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Honduras. Yep, that’s seven, I counted. I really enjoyed this cigar, it was very good. Did I mention the size? It was the 6″ x 60 Special Toro, and the box press was very comfortable. It was creamy, with some wood and citrus notes, as well as some spice and bitter chocolate. This was definitely my favorite Avo ever. It’s sad that Avo isn’t with us any longer, and I hope Davidoff continues to pay homage to him by creating great cigars in his name.


SouthernDraw_QuckDrawPennsylvaniaFinally, I got home late last night and took a quick dog-walk with a Quick Draw Pennsylvania Petite Corona from Southern Draw. This is a 4½” x 44 cigar with a pigtail cap and a covered foot. This was perfect for my late walk. The Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper really has some oomph! It’s grown about 20 miles from where I live, so I’m drawn to cigars with Pennsylvania tobacco in the blend. Since this one had the pigtail cap, I skipped the punch and lopped off the cap with a Palio, and took torch to foot without toasting to get that blast of the PA Broadleaf that the covered foot offers. This was an hour of bliss, it had a nice kick, certainly satisfying and really quite a cigar. This is another cigar from Tabacalera AJ Fernandez. I don’t think I’ve had a Southern Draw Cigar that I didn’t like a lot. I’m sad that I missed Robert Holt on his recent swing through PA, I need to hurry up and become independently wealthy so I’m not stuck at work when all the fun stuff is happening!  This little cigar has a big flavor and had an impressive burn time, I think I spent about an hour with it!


That’s all for now. Thoughts continue to be with our friends in the Houston area, as well as the many friends we have in Florida,  which is being pummeled by mother nature as I write this. I hope everyone get through safely and with minimal destruction. Give what you can for the relief efforts, people need help.


Until the next time,




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A Montecristo Pilotico and a Gurkha Cellar Reserve Cigar

Yesterday was April 1, and I was tempted to post an April Fools post announcing that I was changing focus to vapes, but I wasn’t committed to the plan enough to register vanderslicevapes.com and put the web pages together. Maybe next year…wait, I’ve given it away, haven’t I?  It would have been a lot of work and I didn’t have it in me yesterday and the idea didn’t come to me until yesterday. I did see some funny ones yesterday, though. Mark Weisenberger (I hope I spelled that right), the new VP of Marketing at Rocky Patel, and former Northeast sales manager, put out a press release about Rocky adopting Hamlet Peredes which was pretty funny. Of course, Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigars is a comedian, he announced his Nomad soap on a rope, is he planning on going to prison soon? Over on Halfwheel.com, Brooks continued his April Fools tradition of seriously reviewing absurd cigars, this time the 20″ x 80 La Aurora La Stravaganza. I think he’s still waiting for the smoke to travel the 20″ from foot to head! Happy April Fools! I failed to do any pranking at all yesterday.


Didn’t do a lot of smoking this week, instead I went to a Flyers game Thursday, in which they beat the Islanders mostly just in the first period, scoring 5 goals with two players recording Gordy Howe Hat Tricks! I had said there was no reason for me to go to the games any more since they closed the cigar bar and made the whole building smoke free, but we got tickets real cheap and hadn’t been to a game for a while. I loved it when they had the cigar bar there, it was preferable to go after the game and have a cigar while everyone else sat in their cars in the parking lot waiting to get out. Bernie Parent was always there to having a cigar, I wonder where he goes to smoke after the games now? So I took Thursday off, Friday it rained like hell and I decided not to go to a Romeo y Julieta launch event and camped out on the porch with a Montecristo Pepe Mendez Pilotico Toro. This was a re-do for me, Last September I wrote this:

Montecristo_PiloticoPepeMendez_toroAnother IPCPR sample was a new one from Montecristo, the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez in the Toro size. This toro is a 6¼” x 52, and has an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Dominican binder, and both Nicaraguan and Dominican Pilotico fillers. The Pilotico varietal is an old seed that Pepe Mendez brought from Cuba in the ’60s and revitalized in the Cibao Valley in the DR. There was some of  this tobacco in the Montecristo 80th anniversary cigar that was out last year. It was hard to find anything bad to say about this cigar, it burned right, it had nice flavors along the leathery lines, with a hint of sweetness. It’s one of those cigars that is, no doubt, a very good cigar, but not in line with my preferred flavors. There are a few Montecristos I really like, most on the mild end of the spectrum. The box is cool with an old-timey suitcase motif, paying homage to Pepe Mendez’ travels in the 60s to find the right area to plant his prized seeds.

The one thing that changed this time was that I found that I enjoyed the leathery flavors more than I did previously. Perhaps some humidor time helped, or, just as likely, I ate something different this time that effected my perceptions. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed the flavor of this cigar and will smoke it again without hesitation.


Yesterday I was rummaging through the humidor looking for something to smoke and I came across the tray with the Gurkha cigars. I seem to have amassed a load of cigars, not bragging or complaining, but it sometimes makes it hard to make a selection, especially when I want to smoke something and talk about it here without smoking the same rotation all the time and getting boring (which is what the FDA wants, by the way, so head to CigarRights.org and use their forms to write to your elected representatives). So I grabbed the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Platinum in their Hedonism size. Gurkha also threw out an April Fools funny yesterday:



The $1,000,000 Cigar Is The Most Expensive Cigar Ever


Fort Lauderdale, FL – Gurkha Cigars has created the world’s most expensive cigar ever!  The handcrafted stogie retails for a cool $1,000,000 and is delivered to customers’ door by a messenger who will only handle the cigars with white (kit) gloves.  The cigar is infused with Remy Martin’s Black Pearl Louis XIII, which retails for $165,000 per bottle.

Created using Luxion Technology (luxion.com)

The cigars are rolled by a select group of hand rollers who are blindfolded throughout the process to allow their senses to guide their movements naturally and minimize distraction during this artistic process.  The cigar is made with filler from ancient lands in the Himalayas with tobacco that has been watered exclusively with Fiji water.  The wrapper is gold leaf and the band is encrusted with diamonds totaling five carats.

Created using Luxion Technology (luxion.com)

“The Gurkha clientele is use to only the best and Gurkha continuously produces only the best,” said Kaizad Hansotia, CEO of Gurkha Cigars.   “This cigar is only for those who want the most exclusive, most luxurious and most ostentatious experience a cigar can offer.”

Gurkha Cigars are known throughout the world for their premium and luxurious cigars, so it’s no surprise that they are the most sought-after cigars around the globe. Gurkha produces 12 million cigars per year that are sold in more than 70 countries worldwide. And while Gurkha is known for its exclusivity, it has an impressive array of 105 brands of flawlessly handcrafted, premium cigars created in a variety of strengths, tasting profiles, and price-points. No matter what your taste, there’s a Gurkha cigar that’s perfect for your palate. For additional information visit www.gurkhacigars.com.




It’s a little unfortunate that it didn’t occur to me until after I read it that it was an April Fool, I mean, a one million dollar cigar from Gurkha doesn’t seem that implausible at this point, right? Anyway, back to the Cellar Reserve Platinum. I like the Hedonism size (I kind of identify with the name too), it’s a fat, pigtailed perfecto along the lines of the Feral Flying Pig from Drew Estate’s Serie Unico line, 6″ x 58. It’s got an Ecuador wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers and just a pretty straight-forward leathery/nutty profile to my palate. It was good, burned right and whatever factory makes these does a good job.  There are several cigars in the Cellar Reserve line that I like, and, for all the criticism Gurkha gets, I think their brick and mortar lines are pretty darned good.  (note: looking back it appears that I smoked this and wrote about it back in September of 2015, fortunately, I liked it then too! I smoke too many different cigars and can no longer remember them all!)

OK, both cigars were re-dos….sorry about that! I’ll work on smoking some more interesting cigars this week! That’s all I have for today, until the next time,




Filed under Review

La Gran Llave, Gurkha and Tatuaje, and a Stage V Clinger Contest!

LaGranLlave_TorpedoI’m getting ready to go away for a few days, so this will be early and brief!  I just want to touch on a few cigars I smoked this week so far, and have another little contest!  More on the trip when I get back.  Since it was in the cigar news last week that AJ Fernandez had acquired the La Gran Llave brand that they had been making for Michael Argenti I thought I’d revisit one of the box pressed torpedos that Michael had sent me last year when he launched the brand. There is no change in factory as the cigars were made by AJ Fernandez anyway, it seems that the company has been going crazy acquiring brands, also recently buying the Sosa brand, which had been made by Fuente for as long as I can remember. I really like the La Gran Llave Reserve, it’s a nice, sweet cigar with a beautiful San Andrés wrapper. The burn and draw were perfect and it was a satisfying smoke. I have a sampler with the other sizes that I will get to eventually, but this 6½ x 56 box pressed torpedo sets the bar pretty high. Jeff at my local JM Cigars recommended it to me to when I was there a couple of weeks ago and I passed as I had some in the humidor already. I failed to take note of the price, but I think the line ranges from $6-$9ish.


Gurkha_Cask BlendMonday I tried the Gurkha Cask Blend in the 6″ x 58 perfecto size, which came from the IPCPR show and has been resting in the humidor since July. This was a perfectly fine cigar, normal cigar taste that was neither offensive, nor exceptional. It seemed to have a Nomex wrapper, you  know, that stuff they wrap wires in so they don’t catch fire?  I had to refill the Tommy Bahama pocket lighter after I was done smoking it, because the darned thing wouldn’t stay lit!  I mentioned the storage before so you don’t think it was my fault, as I smoke from the same humidor all the time with no issues. Might have been a better cigar if it had burned right, but that part of the experience detracted from the overall enjoyment. Since its “wrapper, binder and filler are highly guarded proprietary secrets” I can only tell you it was made in the DR. If there was some booze component to it I have no frame of reference any more. When it burned, it wasn’t a bad cigar. I know many will say it was a Gurkha, what did I expect, but there are several cigars in the Gurkha portfolio that I think are quite good. It occurs to me that I smoked one of these in 2015 and didn’t seem to have the burn problems.


Tatuaje_Black_PetiteLanceroTonight,  since I’m on vacation for the rest of the week, I treated myself to a Tatuaje Black Label Petit Lancero, which I think was a gift from my amigo Goose at Goose’s Cigars in Limerick, PA. This is a 6″ x 38 cigar that was sans cello, and I’m weird, I like the protection of the cello in the humidor, I noticed this one had a chip in the wrapper at the foot, so it had to go! What a delightful cigar, thick, right smoke with sweet, earthy flavor that was terrifically satisfying for a rainy night while I was comfy in my enclosed porch. I used an 9.5mm punch (with is the Vansapproximate inside diameter of the ScrewPop punch, by the way) which is my go-to for a lancero. it was a completely yummy way to end the day and start the vacation. I also celebrated receiving my kid’s Christmas present to me today, an awesome pair of custom, one of a kind Vans!



Stage V Clinger

Cigar not included. Actual color and branding may vary.

I slacked off on this one over the holidays, it was there for me to give away, and I failed. So you have a chance to win a Stage V Clinger cigar holder. I use one of these from time to time and find it to be a gentle way to hold a cigar on those occasions where a proper rest or ashtray isn’t available. This is designed for the golfer, but has many other applications. It has a strong pair of magnets, a hook and loop strap in case there’s no metal to “cling” to, and the jaws are gentle enough to not squish or damage the cigar. Leave a comment to enter, and I’ll announce a winner on Sunday. Thanks to Marissa at Stage V for offering this cool item.


That’s all for now, until the next time,





Filed under Contest, Review