Origin : Wherever they make Gurkhas
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Connecticut Shade (Ecuador)
Filler : Nicaraguan & Dominican
Binder : Habano (Honduran)
Price : ~$5.00 each
Gary Hyams, president of Gurkha Cigar Group, sent me a nice Christmas package of some cigars to review for our website. The two cigars that he sent for review was the new Royal Challenge and the Seduction (review coming soon). After a good nap in the humi and letting them reach their optimum reviewing condition, I decided to finally spark these bad boys up. I will be the first to admit that I am not the biggest Gurkha fan in existence,… or to even say, I am not a fan at all. I have smoked only a few of the other lines and have been, at most, underwhelmed with their delivery of quality product for the money. One thing is for sure though, no one outdoes them in marketing and box presentation. So at least they got that going for them. So with a break out of two new products, can they turn this Gurkha critic into a believer with their new product line? We shall see,…
Appearance : Rating:
The Royal Challenge is a very good looking cigar. The cigar is perfectly cylindrical with a slightly oiled tan Connecticut wrapper. Veining is quite small on this one. And of course, there is a ridiculously ornate band,… nothing more Gurkha-ish than cigar pomp.
Construction : Rating:
The cigar is solidly packed, seams are pretty tight, and cap looks expertly applied. Igniting the cigar is quite easy with a Djeep soft lighter or torch flame. Only very few and small corrections had to be made on the few samples I smoked. Not a bad constructed smoke for little coin. The smoke production was the only thing that was slightly lacking because some sticks were harder to draw on than I usually like.
Flavor : Rating:
1st Third: The Royal Challenge lights up quick and delivers some very creamy and sweet notes of vanilla and some light musk. Then towards the end of the first third a unique sourness comes through and is akin to lemon meringue because of its citrus-like flavor.
2nd Third: At this point the flavor profile seemed to hollow out. It lost a lot of the citrus flavors and transitioned to some sweet nuttiness. The body is a smooth medium.
3rd Third: As the cigar begins to die down, more and more toast notes begin to accumulate and ramp up the body slightly. The natural sweetness that has remained throughout the cigar continues on but the citrus notes have completely disappeared.
Value : Rating:
At or around $5 for this stick is pretty darn good in my books. It’s far from elite but not a budget stick or “dog-rocket” neither. I imagine down the line that boxes will be able to be had for south of $100 fairly easily.
Overall Rating : Rating: (3.75)
For a long time I have not been a fan of Gurkha due to their marketing gimmicks and high prices. But the Royal Challenge was a straight up eye opener to me. The $5 price tag for a good creamy smoke is nothing to shake a stick at. The Royal Challenge is definitely not as complex as the E. P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut, but it is a definite alternative smoke for people who like a little less bodied Perdomo Champagne. All in all, a cigar with a lot to like and very few negatives,… equals a decent stick in my book and very deserving of a high 3 star rating.