As more and more manufacturers come out with cigars for the New York Market which is suffering from a 75% tobacco tax I wonder how long before some other states ask for the same treatment. The latest New York exclusive is from Gurkha who this week released the Para la Gente (For the People) cigar with a big party at De La Concha in NYC. Sadly, I was unable to attend the event but my friend Danny from Tobacco Plaza in Long Island managed to secure me a couple of samples.
I never met a Gurkha that I liked and I was hesitant to smoke today’s cigar but I was happy to see that Gurkha had the consumer in mind and these cigars which are available in bundle format are cheaper than the other releases to come down the pike lately. The Gurkha Toro for instance is $8.00 however, it is available as a bundle only and not in the lavish boxes Gurkha is know for.
According to Ron Melendi the Manager of De La Concha the Para la Gente has been very well received and is selling quite well. With that said and done I decided to go in with an open mind and review this cigar today.
Cigar: Gurkha Para la Gente
Size: 6 x 52 (Toro)
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Dominican Republic Ligero
Appearance and Construction: The Brazilian Mata Fina is one of my favorite wrappers so that was a plus for this cigar right off the bat. There is some nice oils present on this wonderfully dark wrapper that has some a slight tooth to it and the finest of veins present. In the hand the cigar has a nice weight to it with no soft spots and a well packed foot. However, near the cap on both of my samples there veins were slightly thick and the cap was slight porous. There is a dual band system in place here with the top having the Gurkha logo and a small secondary band in black and gold denoting Para la Gente (For the People).
Flavor & Notes: Due to the less then stellar cap I had to put of smoking this as I didn’t have a cutting tool and I was worried capping it with my teeth wouldn’t be clean enough. Once home I used my Xikar scissors and on the pre-light draw I was treated to some spice and leather on the draw while the foot served up an aroma of plums, chocolate and spice. One think that stands out is the smell of cedar off the wrapper. Once the cigar is lit there are notes of dark chocolate right off the bat, with some nuttiness and cedar while in the background there is a hint of dried fruit. The second third of the cigar the notes of dried fruit really begin to emerge here with some dark chocolate and cedar notes to round it out. The final third of the cigar that typical Gurkha begins to emerge which didn’t leave me as satisfied as the first two. The notes to close out the cigar are slightly bitter and primarily leather.
Smoking Characteristics: The one thing that really stood out was that in the resting position there was an exorbitant amount of smoke from both ends of the Gurka Para la Gente. Despite smoking the cigar slowly and looking to savor the experience the body of the cigar got a little bit soft. This didn’t effect the cigar too much other then a slightly uneven burn with one side burning about 1/4″ quicker then the other side. I never opted to touch up the cigar and needless to say it never went out. There was a nice wood like aroma that grew stronger as the stick grew shorter and the medium color ash was weak and a little bit flaky. Also the cap as it got wet from saliva started to unravel some.
Conclusion: Despite picking on a little bit of this and a little bit of that this was a damn fine cigar and the first Gurkha I can say that I actually like. Of the first 3 New York blends this cigar was the most memorable and kudos to Gurkha for getting it right. Not only did they help the consumer out with a moderately priced stick that New Yorkers haven’t seen in a long time, but they also provided a stick for retailers that you can afford to buy 3 or more at a time. Does $8.00 seem high to you? Let me put it in perspective, if there was no tobacco tax in NY this would retail for about $5.85 a stick and would be a steal in any market. The cigar if not for some slight issues during burning (softness, uneven burn, weak flaky ash) and a slight cap issue this would of scored 3 pts higher.
Disclaimer: I was gifted a couple of samples from a good friend and as always the typo’s and spelling mistakes have been left in this review for your amusement and to annoy my friend Gary Arzt.