Spice

Cigar Review | Gurkha Official Release Cask Blend

The Gurkha Official Release Cask Blend is the premier Gurkha Cigar. No information other than being manufactured in the Dominican Republic has been released. The Gurkha website keeps the blend secret about the origins of the tobacco.

Gurkha Official Release Cask Blend

Wrapper: Proprietary
Binder: Proprietary
Filler: Proprietary
Size: Figurado 5″ x 58
Price: $7 to $9

I have heard this cigar called a Robusto, it looks like a figurado to me.

The band interesting and is signed by Gurkha CEO Kaizad Hansotia.

Official Release Cask Blend Final Thoughts
Gurkha Official Release Cask Blend

Construction and Aroma

The cigar has a dark natural wrapper that is smooth with no tooth and an oily sheen. The aroma is that of sweet tobacco.

Cask Blend Draw and Tastes

The draw is medium with blasts of sweetness before the light. It has some resemblance of tea and cedar. Once the cigar was lit, I detected peppery spice and an overall sweetness of earthy tobacco. The finish is very long with flavor encompassing the entire mouth.

The Decline of the Gurkha Official Release Cask Blend

This cigar was interesting at the beginning. I thought I was going to be in for a real treat. All of the flavors disappeared and the spice took over. There was a transition to earth and leather which I personally didn’t enjoy. The draw was firm, but excellent, it performed okay as there was some burn issues at the halfway point. I touched it up and it burned well thereafter.

Official Release Cask Blend Final Thoughts

On the band it says, “only for the Gurkha connoisseur” in an attempt to add mystique and elegance. If you like spicier medium plus body cigars, this is it. It’s very spicy and can be sort of smooth with a minty finish. I felt the cigar was one dimensional. If it remained in the profile in the first five minutes, it would have been great. The cigar burned for 1 hour and 30 minutes maybe a little more. I loved the smoke output and the draw. I’m not sure if I liked it, however, I could see how it might appeal to certain people.


While traveling abroad from England, I picked this cigar up while I was in Germany from Cigar World. In my opinion, the best shop in Europe. You can watch the Gurkha Cigars Official Release Cask Blend on YouTube as well as many other iROBUSTO cigar reviews there too.

Cigar Review | Don Onell

In this review we do the Don Onell Torpedo and the video has a little bit of a twist! It’s like a cigar reviewer battle. The presenters have difference in opinion except for on its construction. The cigar performed well and comes in a robusto size as well as the Torpedo.

Don Onell Torpedo Construction:

Wrapper: Dominican Natural Habano
Binder: Dominican Republic
Fill: Dominican Republic

The cigar has a musty earthy aroma described like a library by Leander with Noah getting hints of raisin. The wrapper has a barnyard musty feel with some coffee. The draw is smooth and easy with a little red pepper on the tongue. The initial impression is musty earth charcoal red pepper cedar, molasses and citrus, but overall a red pepper. The cigar has decent smoke output and the finish is long. Both Leander and Noah do get the coffee flavor. Each reviewer had decent performance and medium strength, medium to full body.

The Don Onell Cigar is very well constructed getting a 5/5 by LeeMack912. Noah also commented that the construction was good, however, giving it an overall average rating. Each reviewer pointed out strengths and weaknesses of the cigar. For example, if you like a cigar with Dominican tobacco you will probably like it more than Noah did, because in the video he explained he wasn’t a fan of the “Dominican Twang”.

Ironically, Leander usually dislikes cigars with “Dominican Twang” and didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

The price of the cigar is from $5 to $7 and is good for those that like cigars that are all from the Dominican Republic.

Don Onell Cigars

Cigar Review | H Upmann Legacy Toro

It’s a hot and beautiful day as we review the H Upmann Legacy. This cigar is one of many cigars crafted by Altadis U.S.A. The Legacy makes a comes with a foot band and makes a nice presentation with a brown background, orange strips and embossed gold stripes.

H Upmann Legacy Toro

Vitola: Toro 6 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
MSRP: $7.20

I can’t help noticing that it feels light in weight and I have a small hole in wrapper. The cigar is semi-firm with several soft spots along the length.

H Upmann Legacy

Cold draw and prelight aroma

I get a recognisable tobacco aroma with a medium draw.

Initial impressions after lighting

The H Upmann Legacy starts with mild to medium strength and has slight pepper and coffee on the retrohale. I’m enjoying good smoke output and an enjoyable sweet tobacco smell in the air.

H Upmann Legacy

Notes on the H Upmann Legacy

The cigar is composed of Vintage 2008 Tobacco grown from heirloom seeds. Generally H Upmann makes great cigars but the Legacy appears to be on the value end of their offerings. This is a good cigar but nothing mind blowing. I found the flavors very light and the body of the cigar bordering from the light side to medium. Getting down to through the cigar I noticed the pepper and sweetness that was pronounced at the beginning has died off and the cigar became somewhat flavorless with a short finish.

My feeling is that this would be a great $5.00 cigar and in fact H Upmann makes many great cigars with their “Timeless” as one of my favorites. I have heard great things about their other blends as well. This cigar just does not step up to the competition given by its big brothers. Put it at $4-5 and you have a great “yardgar”.


Grab yourself this H Upmann cigar online from Famous Smoke Shop.

Cigar Review | Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner

Last weekend, I attended the Cigarnival event hosted by Famous Smoke Shop. The room was filled with tons of cigar vendors with eye-catching booths and displays. Among the many things I couldn’t resist was the Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner specifically made to be paired with craft beers.

Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner
Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner tailor made to be paired with craft beers.

I got talking to Nick Perdomo and what he didn’t know was that I had already decided to purchase the box, I just wanted to hear his sales pitch, so here it is. The Perdomo Special Craft Series Connecticut called the Pilsner, is blended with a creamy U.S. Connecticut wrapper, a naturally sweet Nicaraguan binder from the Jalapa Valley, and rich, aromatic Nicaraguan fillers from the Condega Valley. The Connecticut is a mild to medium-bodied blend that is designed to pair with the light, crisp, clean flavors found in pilsners, white ales, golden lagers, cream ales, or light lagers.

What I Got is Dubbed The Amber
The Cigar and Drink pictured here is the Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner - The Amber

The Perdomo Special Craft Series Sun Grown, dubbed the Amber, is blended with a spicy-sweet Cuban-seed Sun Grown wrapper from the Jalapa Valley, a rich, aromatic Nicaraguan binder from the Condega Valley, and robust Cuban-seed Nicaraguan fillers from the Estelí Valley. The Sun Grown is a medium to full-bodied blend made to pair with the toasted malt flavors, floral aromas, and hoppy finishes found in ambers, pale ales, lagers, IPAs, Oktoberfests, or double IPAs.

The line is rounded out by the Perdomo Special Craft Series Maduro, known as the Stout. It uses a dark, oily Cuban-seed Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper from the Jalapa Valley, a rich, aromatic Nicaraguan binder from the Condega Valley, and robust Cuban-seed Nicaraguan fillers from the Estelí Valley. The Maduro is also medium to full-bodied blend but is geared towards the thick, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and smoky flavors found in stouts, porters, brown ales, bocks, dunkels, and imperial stouts.

Paired with The Crisp by Sixpoint Brewing of Brooklyn, NY
Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner can be Paired with The Crisp by Sixpoint Brewing of Brooklyn, NY

Even though the Pilsner was blended to be paired with a beer which is not on the top of my favorites list, I decided to give it a try. Nicholas Perdomo explained that the Connecticut shade wrapper grown in the US is a very flavorful tobacco that features a short dry finish. This is very similar to a Pilsner style beer. So I’m glad he got to selling.

Cigar is available in 4 sizes

  • Robusto – 5 ½ x 54 MSRP $6.99
  • Epicure – 6 ½ x 54 MSRP $7.50
  • Churchill – 7 x 54 MSRP $7.99
  • Gordo – 6 x 60 MSRP $8.50

The Foot Label Covers the Cigar
The cigar features a huge band which covers about ¾ of the cigar. States Perdomo Special Craft Series, Hand Crafted for Beer Enthusiasts

The cigar features a huge band which covers about ¾ of the cigar. The band states, “Perdomo Special Craft Series, Hand Crafted for Beer Enthusiasts” and features a picture of the beer it was meant to be paired with.

Notes from the Start

  • The cigar feels heavy and the wrapper feels smooth to the touch
  • Aroma is sweet hay and grass with a smell of raisins off the foot
  • Cold draws features a slightly firm resistance

Initial Impressions Craft Series
This is a flavor that I have only tasted once before

I get a taste that is reminiscent of hops. This is a flavor that I have only tasted once before in the Quesada Keg. There is also a good dose of pepper on the back of the mouth and some coffee and pepper on the retrohale. Initially, the cigar starts out medium-body and then ticks down to a mild/medium early in the first third. I’m noticed it builds up to medium plus near the end of the cigar.

The Final Thoughts
Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner

I’d say that this a great cigar that burns well and is medium strength. The pairing worked well and the presentation of the cigar and the beers was welcoming. Perdomo did a good job pairing with the blend. A couple of quick thoughts to let you go.

  • The hop flavor transfers to the retrohale with a good dose of pepper
  • Burn line relatively straight and no touch up required
  • Very flavorful Connecticut shade wrapped cigar
  • Medium body starting milder
  • Wrapper pairs well with the Nicaraguan binder and filler
  • Short, crisp, dry finish
  • Excellent construction
  • This one is not for the strong, full bodied cigar smokers
  • 1 ½ to 2 hour smoke time on the Epicure

Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner
Perdomo Special Craft Series Pilsner


Cigarnival is presented every year by Famous Smoke Shop.

Cigar Review | Gurkha Cellar Reserve

It’s Stog o’Clock! This go around, we have the Gurkha Cellar Reserve in the Solara size. This 5×58 stick advertises Dominican filler aged for 15 years with a Dominican, olor binder and a Criollo 1998 wrapper. It’s a very oily cigar with a fancy pigtail cap and an elegant band. There is a potent barnyard and tobacco aroma coming off of the wrapper with a slight musty smell out of the foot.

The first light hits me with a nice sweetness and an earthy wood flavor. Through the nose, there is a slight black pepper spice with a hint of maple syrup. The finish is long with spice and leather.

After one half hour, I finish the first third. The burn is poor with flaky ash. The draw gives me a sour yet sweet flavor with some char. Through the nose, I pick up spicy leather. The finish gives me a strong floral note with some oak. Strength is steadily at the medium mark.


The second third puts me at one hour. The burn continues to be problematic. I pick up a very tangy leather flavor with ramped up spice on the draw. There is a wonderful creamy toast note on the retro-hale. The long finish continues to be floral with an increase in black pepper. There is no change in strength.

The final third puts me at one hour and forty-five minutes with a very slow burn for the size of the cigar. The draw gives me bitter spice alongside some oak. Wood overwhelms my nose with sweet cedar. The finish kicks me in the mouth with an unpleasant char flavor that I could go without as well as a general smokiness and slight black pepper. Strength and body finish out at the medium mark.

For the price, I can’t recommend this cigar. If my memory serves me right, I paid somewhere in the $12-15 range. It wasn’t a bad smoke, but it wasn’t great, either. It just ends up being an okay cigar. Although I am willing to give any cigar manufacturer another try, I have consistently found that the cigars I’ve tried from Gurkha are just average, and that’s after smoking over 30 of their blends. I’ve never been completely blown away by any of their sticks, but I would love for that to change. This was a great looking stick with some enjoyable flavors, and it would be highly recommended at the $3-5 range, but this one isn’t the game-changer. Sorry, Gurkha, this just doesn’t do it for me. Next, please!

Until next time, stog-away!

-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

Meet in the Middle Cigar Show EP5

Title: Quesada Heisenberg Corneta Cuadrada
Description: EPISODE 4 – AIRED 04/12/2015
The Heisenberg Cigar is a mystery. From its cryptic cigar band to the story behind Heisenberg, this cigar is interesting. Probably the best quote you’ll hear on a cigar review show was when Leander quipped on this secret blendedcigar, “Wouldn’t it be something if the Heisenberg Cigar turned out to be floor shavings!”

Did the Meet in the Middle crew solve the equation of this mysterious, bugle shaped cigar? Or was the Heisenberg all hype no substance.
(more…)

Cigar Review | Padron 1926 Serie 80 Years Maduro

It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, we have a very special stick. It’s a cigar that I’ve very foolishly not yet tried. The Padron 1926 Serie 80 Years Maduro is up to bat! This box-pressed 6.75×54 double perfecto has a gorgeous, slightly rustic chocolate bar of a wrapper from Nicaragua as well as intoxicating Nicaraguan long-fillers and a Nicaraguan binder. These well-aged tobaccos produce a delightful earthy chocolate aroma. This is a very limited production stick that uses some of Padron’s finest leaves to celebrate Jose Padron’s 80th birthday. With a name like Padron, I expect nothing but excellence.

Pre-light, the perfect draw reveals an antique wood and earth flavor. The first light hits me with a very refined, black pepper and cayenne spice. The smoke is smooth with a bit of earthiness. Through the nose, there is additional spice.

Padron 1926 Serie 80 Years Maduro Cigar

The first third lasts 45 minutes. The complexity on this cigar is like no other. On the draw, I pick up cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso, and a long-aged tobacco core. The smoke is full-bodied and chewy yet smooth at the same time. Through the nose, spice is more prevalent alongside a mild earthiness and slight leather. The finish is where this stick is shining so far. I’m elated with more cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso, aged tobacco, and a slight spice, but all of these bold flavors are topped off with a buttery cream. The finish seems to never end and just melts in my mouth. The flavors are absolutely delicious and balanced with the full strength of the cigar.

The second third puts me at the one hour and twenty minute mark. Performance is perfect. There is a wonderful hazelnut flavor on the draw, and the buttery cream is making another appearance alongside more bold cocoa and espresso flavors. The finish produces a ton of rich earth. Through the nose, I’m blasted with black pepper and strong coffee. Strength and body are still at the full mark.

The final third seals the deal for me. I’m now at the two hour mark and can feel the strength of the cigar in my head as it continues to maintain its fullness. There is a ramped up spice and cocoa on the draw contrasted by a pleasant sweetness. On the retro-hale, earthiness hangs out with coffee, but surprisingly, the spice steers clear of the nose. The finish gives me a lasting spicy cocoa blended with earthiness and more hazelnut. All of these flavors combine to make the perfect cigar experience.

I loved every puff of this cigar. It’s unbelievably complex, burns slow, and gives you the most enchanting, long-lasting finish and blend of flavor that I’ve had on a cigar in a very long time. Padron knocked this one out of the park. The only drawback on this stick is the price. At around $32, it breaks the bank, but I don’t even feel bad about ponying up the cash. There’s nothing else quite like this cigar out there (at least that I’ve smoked,) and I can guarantee this will not disappoint. I cannot recommend it enough. This is one stick I will certainly be coming back to time and time again. Well done, Padron. Well done.

Until next time, keep on puffin’!

-Noah (CutLightSmoke)