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Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO

In this session, the Nubbit Brothers chew the fat while they smoke a fat Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO.

Gurkha 125th anniversary cigar

Draw: This cigar is big. I heft it, and immediately I feel like an important character from a major motion picture. Some kingpin, that boss who meets with Bond on the veranda for repartee while sipping a brandy. Of course, I die in the end, but still.

Punch: The wrapper aroma is… mosquito repellent! Oh, wait. That’s me. I’m getting nothing but alfalfa from the cigar.

D: Hay, dear bro, hay. Elephant acridity, and hay. Try sniffing the foot directly, because when I do, I also get hay – but it’s stronger! Cleaner. Clean hay.

P: I’m not sure sniffing an elephant’s foot is a good idea. The foot of the cigar smells like tobacco and alfalfa to me.

D: I started with my smaller punch, but I’m thinking I might punch up bigger before we’re done. Dry draw yields black pepper, coriander, seaweed and dill. Its a very fresh draw, like a cesar salad.

P: I’m getting some green tea – or what you call seaweed – and walnut on the dry draw, which is nice and loose.

D: Agree on the loose draw. Mine is about medium-loose. The wrapper toasted nicely but didn’t give up any new flavors. Lighting was quick and easy. My first impression: toasted lemon. Middle of my tongue, middle of the profile. It’s a nice flavor, but mild overall.

P: Yup; some sweetness on the attack and very slightly on the finish, with some oats and a slight lemony freshness in the middle. Very mild overall.

D: Oats, or popcorn. I can taste popcorn on the attack. The subtle sweetness is corn.

P: The flavor is so light I feel like I can just shotgun this thing and I wouldn’t notice.

D: Agreed. I’m already an inch in – at least on one side. I think I was a little uneven on my lighting as I ran out of fuel. Anyway, I’ve about a quarter-inch differential. I, for one, am glad that we’re getting a review in this evening, as I’m preparing to be gone to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival all day tomorrow.

P: And I may just make it over to a Studio Tobac event at Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, Arizona tomorrow. Studio Tobac is a child of the Oliva Cigar Co. and the parent of Cain and Nub. <rant>Fox’s has a great looking web site, but it is one of those annoying “flash” sites that just doesn’t always work well, particularly on some mobile devices.</rant>

D: Cool! In previous years, the KC RenFest featured a “Royal Smoker” which included a drink and a cigar, plus hors d’oeuvres. I was looking forward to it, but they replaced it this year with more drinking. So it looks like you’ll one-up-me tomorrow.

P: Just take your own stogie and party like it’s 1499, anyway.

D: I’m going with people who enjoy shopping, and I do enjoy looking at all the ‘wares, particularly handcraft items like leather and metalsmyth. However, I also enjoy seeing the live shows. I especially enjoy listening to live harpsichord, or harp, flute, and other more exotic instruments outside of an orchestra or Kansas concert.

P: Speaking of a Kansas concert; how cool was it having dinner with Kerry Livgren earlier this week?

D: It was great. We were dining at the Blind Tiger. I thought I’d be intimidated, but after about an hour, I was very comfortable with the back of his head over the booth in front of me. He lives out in the county not far from the restaurant; I’d suspect he’s a regular.

P: According to the Gurkha web site, the Gurkha 125th Anniversary was released in 2012 to commemorate their 125th anniversary. It is composed of a Brazillian Cubra habano wrapper, an Ecuadorian habano binder and a combination of Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Dominican fillers.

I have about 1.25 inch of ash.

D: Me too, until just a moment ago – I kinda got a little surprise.

P: I’ll take that as a warning to cover my ash. Hmm, that doesn’t quite work out to be the pun I had intended.

D: I just performed a correction from the uneven start. To give credit, it was burning uniformly uneven. Coming into the second third, there’s some green chile coming in, and more roasted coffee going out. But the flavor is otherwise pretty consistent. Mild-to-medium body.

P: I agree. The flavor profile is maintaining rather steady. And it idles very well. I just cracked a Warsteiner Oktoberfest, and it seems to be paring nicely.

D: I’m enjoying another Free State Oktoberfest. It works well with the cigar flavors. Coming back to the Gurkha, it takes a few draws to clear the hops from my throat, though.

P: Back to the Studio Tobac event last night — I met up with Peter, the president of the Phoenix Cigar Club and we enjoyed complimentary samples of  the Cain and Nub lines in the spacious and well appointed lounge at Cigar King in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Dang my Gurkha just went out, and when I tried to cut the foot off clean for relight I had trouble getting the cutter to go through the cigar. It turns out that, in the dark, I was trying to cut through the top of this award-winning band. To be fair, this band extends quite a ways above (below?) the main part that wraps all the way around the cigar.  Apparently this band was the winner of the 2012 Golden Label Printing Award.

Gurkha 125th anniversary cigar band

D: Coming into the last three fingers, there’s much more spice on the attack, overall more green chile, and a touch of cinnamon in the middle-to-finish.

P: And just a touch of cedar. Overall, it has just slightly more body than in the beginning. It has been a nice smoke, but I don’t see any reason to burn my fingers to get the last inch out of it, so with an inch-and-a-half remaining Imagonna let it R.I.P.

D: I’m with you. With a – still – moderately easy draw, it’s hard to avoid physical heat. and the flavors are starting to cream together. While the cedar remains fairly light, and there’s still some flavor to taste, I don’t see any reason to risk a bad experience.

Burn it or Spurn it?

P: This is definitely a burner. While, personally, I prefer more body, this is a good two hour smoke — pleasant flavor all the way down with no harshness or dominating “bully” flavors. Highly recommended as an entry level smoke, or the first one in the morning for someone with a more experienced palate.

D: Burn it. This Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO is a big, confident smoke. Not the sweet whimsical flavors that Gurkha may feature more frequently – and, which I actually often prefer – but a serious smoke with dramatic feel in the hand and in the mouth. Zoom out to a wide shot, and this baby still dominates the screen. Let Bond have his Universal Exports; I’m Blofeld, and I’ll stare down a Walther PPK, content with one of these between my fingers.

Gurkha will return.*

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