MBombay Gaaja (Review & Giveaway!)

MBombay Gaaja

Origin : Costa Rica
Format : Toro Gordo
MBombay CigarsSize : 6 x 54
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Hybrid (Connecticut Desflorado & Mejorado 2004)
Filler : Dominican HVA Mejorado Ligero, Dominican Criollo 98 Viso, Ecuadorian Criollo 98 Viso, Peruvian Hybrid Habano, Paraguayan Hybrid Habano 2000 Viso
Binder : Ecuadorian HVA Mejorado Seco
Price : ~$15.50 each

UPDATE Sep 15: the winners have been chosen and announced in the widget at the end of this post.

The MBombay Gaaja is a cigar I have been excited to try because I have been anticipating it for so long, and also because I really liked the previous cigar from MBombay that I reviewed earlier this year – the MBombay Kesara Pyramid. Like the other cigars blended by Mel Shah of Bombay Tobak, the name of this one is a Sanskrit word (pronounced GUY-yuh) meaning “elephant.” The elephant is a symbol of patience, and patience was exactly what Shah needed in developing this cigar.

Just take a closer look at all the different types of tobacco which have gone into creating this boutique blend. No wonder the development process took four years to complete.

If you do some research, you will notice that this size, the Toro Gordo, is presently all that is available. This is because there are literally only a couple of rollers working at the factory to create these cigars right now. Once more personnel are trained, the line should be expanded.

In any case, the wait is over—so let’s set aside our patience and finally check out the Mbombay Gaaja!

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★★
The MBombay Gaaja is very pleasing to the eye and to the touch. The wrapper leaf is a light brown color with only fine veins. This cigar is box-pressed, which gives it a more distinctive shape. The band is also very distinctive with only a colorful geometric design and no lettering on the front. Mbombay always does a lovely job with band design, so this is great to see.

MBombay Gaaja

Construction : Rating: ★★★★★
Draw is on the loose side, but not too loose, and the cigar produces plenty of voluminous smoke. As to the burn line, it stays very even from start to finish. I only had to make the most minor touch-ups.

MBombay Gaaja

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½
Flavors are complex, well-integrated, and difficult at times to describe. Initial notes include wood, natural tobacco, white pepper (pretty faint), banana, and something herbal I can’t identify. There is a light sweetness that never really takes over or offsets the other flavors.

MBombay Gaaja

The second third is very much more of the same—but this is not a bad thing. The sweetness and the spiciness of the peppery note vie for attention, but not in a dramatic or overbearing way. It is more like a dance than a battle.

In the final third, the cedar and herbs have fallen into the backdrop, along with a creamy note I sometimes detected. Natural tobacco is the predominant note, and the pepper/sweetness tradeoff continues. It does get a little harsh down at the nub.

In terms of strength, I would characterize the MBombay Gaaja as medium. Strength builds throughout the duration of the smoke, but in my opinion it does not quite make it into the full category.

All in all, my feelings about the flavors are largely favorable, but a little more variety at moments might have been nice. Still, I really liked the subtle dance between sweetness and spice, which was executed with more grace than it typically is in other stogies. The finish was also long, smooth and pleasant, allowing some flavors to really shine on the palate.

Value : Rating: ★★★½☆
I am not going to dance around on this point—$15.50 is pretty darn expensive for a cigar. Is the price justified? I think you could argue that it is, given that this is a unique, interesting, and enjoyable cigar. A great deal of care, attention and craftsmanship have gone into its creation, so I can understand the price tag. Still, it makes it hard to afford these except on special occasions.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½
The MBombay Gaaja was worth the wait; it really is a very compelling and original cigar, not quite like anything else I have ever smoked. If the price tag were a tad lower or there was a touch more variety in the flavors, I think it would easily merit a 5/5. I very much enjoyed it and highly recommend giving it a try.

Now the part you’ve been waiting for – the giveaway. Thanks to Mel Shah and MBombay cigars, we’ve got three 2-packs of Gaaja to give away to three lucky readers. That’s ~$30 value per sampler! To enter the giveaway, please share this post on social media using the widget below! You will get an extra entry for each friend that enters the contest via your shared link. Good luck!

MBombay Gaaja Giveaway

Contest is open internationally, you must be of legal age to smoke in your country. Winners will be chosen randomly and announced in one week, next Thursday.