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Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO

Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.1Size reviewed: 6 inches by 60 ring gauge

Wrapper: Dominican Maduro

Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican

I'm returning to cigar smoking after a long hiatus. I smoked cigarettes, cigars, pipes and cigarillos for over 30 years, and then nothing for 14 years. I began lighting up cigars again towards the end of last year, most of them sourced from the local B&M.

I bought the Gurkha XO sampler, which included Warlord's, Beauty's and the Vintage Shaggy's. The cigar for this review was the first Shaggy I smoked, and I wasn't paying attention when I plucked it from the humidor this morning. Its appearance was nice and smooth, with a number of fine veins. The construction felt even from the foot to the cup.

Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.2Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.3

Prelight:

The wrapper had a deep color and a nice even appearance – so even that I did not notice the unwrapped foot. I cut the cap with my double guillotine, and the unlit draw was good, with cedar, leather and a spice that I initially couldn't pin down.

The light:

The Gurkha lit well. But for the ‘exploding’ foot (see pictures above), the first inch was full of flavors. Cedar was the first dominant one, along with touches of pepper, leather, coffee, cocoa and cinnamon.

Not that it was a bad thing, but because I hadn't paid attention to the foot, I thought the foot had exploded on me as I toasted the edge and began to smoke.

Exploding foot. DUH!

The smoke:

The burn during the first third of the session was even, and plenty of smoke was produced. Once the burn got into the wrapper, the draw tightened up a little, and the woody spice and cocoa increased as the coffee and leather declined.

The flavors of the second portion were smooth and creamy, the cedar and spice still there along with coffee, cocoa and cinnamon.

The middle third lost the pepperiness in the back of my throat. The draw continued to be even, and the smoke smooth and creamy.

Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.4Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.5

Middle third to end…

Just after I removed the band, a touch of bitterness crept in. I purged the cigar a couple of times, and it went back to being a pleasant, smooth and creamy smoke. The cinnamon came though strongly at the end. The whole smoke was a sweet experience – not just the smoke but the mouth feel as well. I smoked the Gurkha to the nub!

Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.6The burn:

The ash was dark grey on the foot, and whitened once into the wrapper. The ash did everything it could to hold on, the fillers were well packed, and the draw was consistently good in the first third.

Over the second third, the combustion became uneven, and the wrapper didn't burn on the glue line.

Once I retouched the cigar, it did the same thing again. It would appear that this cigar may have had a touch too much glue. But for the uneven burn there, nothing else detracted from total enjoyment of the smoke. 

The band wouldn't peel until the burn line was right above it. When the glue finally softened, I then was able to remove the band cleanly.

Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.7Gurkha Vintage Shaggy XO.8

The ash:

The fillers, binder and wrapper produced a grey ash on the first inch of unwrapped foot. And once into the wrapper, the ash whitened and held on tenaciously – nearly 2 inches in length at the start, and inch on inch after touching it up.   

My rating:

Appearance/construction: 4 of 5

Burn: 3 of 5
Draw: 4 of 5
Aroma: 5 of 5
Flavor: 7.5 of 10
Taste/aftertaste: 8 of 10

Total = 31.5, so a CW 3 1/2 stars – an above average smoke!

I have another three of these Vintage Shaggy XO’s stashed away, and I'm sure I will enjoy them as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the first. Overall, I think this Gurkha represents a great smoke at a great price!