Gurkha Seduction XO
At times, I think Gurkha gets a bad rap because of a couple of “bad” cigars. Other times I feel its deserved. Either way, it’s clear to me people either like ‘em or hate ‘em. There is no in between. I too was one such critic who lamented the first couple of Gurkhas I put to fire. To say the first couple were awful is…well, putting it nice. Then a funny thing happened. I smoked 2 back-to-back and truly enjoyed them. I reviewed the 2001 Legend, enjoyed the Centurian and instantly forgave the sins of the past. Redemption.
To show my faith in the brand, I purchased a 15-pack sampler over a year ago and set aside a couple for review. At an average of $2.67 a stick, the pricing was ridiculously low, so not much to lose. There was also some decent buzz over several selections including the Seduction with its aged tobaccos and unique Colombian Corojo fillers that made a strong case. The Seduction has been around since its launch in 2011 and reviews have been all over the place regarding construction, flavor and draw. The real question was, could I pull out a hat trick and go 3 for 3. With Gurkhas? Well, read on.
The banding of the Seduction is striking and is actually two separate, overlapping bands. The presentation is decent beginning with a dark, rye-colored Ecuadorian Habano skin until I noticed a seam that had loosened. My trusty cigar glue remedied that, but the whole roll looked rushed as the seams were raised. The draw was on the tight side and didn’t improve much over the almost 2 hours we spent together, even after constantly rolling it with some pressure. Aromas were fragrant with hints of caramel, cocoa and raisins.
The initial tasting profile was a super smooth, albeit muted, mélange of leather, black pepper and nutty finish. The sweet candied nuts on the retro gives way to more woody and earthy intonations. Transitions feature a rather bland mix of wood and earth with the occasional flashes of cedar, caramel and sweet pecan. Combustion is aces, until the last transition when the burn became unruly and required a couple of touch-ups. The balance is ok, but due to the medium bodied nature there’s no danger of having your taste buds singed.
The Seduction holds a nice 1” ash and produces billows of smoke, even with the tight draw. What is lacking is anything really interesting going on. The initial muted flavors could be the result of additional humidor aging, but the texture is silky smooth. In fact, I’m wondering if the additional aging may have sullied the flavor palette. Eventually, with about 2” to go, the wrapper began to unravel (like the first Gurkhas I smoked), the burn went to hell and I was left with a zesty mishmash of dirt and chocolate. Hey, I was hopeful, but this was not the experience I was hoping for. It’s difficult to complain when I’m only out less than $3. At this price, keep one or two around, but I’d be leery of paying a dime more.- In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Gurkha reportedly uses 3 year-old tobaccos for the Seduction
Vitola: XO [Gordo]
Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″x60
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Colombian Corojo
Cutter: Colibri V
Lighter: Colibri Firebird
Humidor Age: 16 mo.
Other Vitolas: Churchill [7.0″x55], Toro [6.0″x55], Robusto [5.0″x55], Sultan [6.2″x56]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:53
Build: Tight and compact; cap area squishy; foot area rough – perfunctory wrapper application; veiny; Rye-colored wrapper; holds 1″ ash.
- Wrapper – Raisins, cocoa, caramel
- Foot – Cocoa
- Cold Draw – Chocolate and raisins
- Initial: Flavors muted, but noticeable hints of sweet leather and black pepper; nutty finish; Super smooth and moderately rich; hints of candied nuts on retro; adds more wood and earth; nice caramel intonation on draw.
- Transition: Woody profile with notes of earth and coffee; espresso finish; hints of cedar tang and sweet pecan on retro/draw; light spice.
- Transition: Uptick in spice; zesty with woody and earthy intonations; hints of chocolate with coffee finish.
Balance: Very Good
Touch ups: 2
Weaknesses: Poor construction; tight draw; lack of complexity; poor burn required touch ups late.
Recommend: 3. 3rd Stringer
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- 3rd stringer (keep 1 on hand)
- Smoke a banana instead