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An open letter to Gurkha.

kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
Dear Gurkha,

as i was looking through my humidor today for a noon smoke, i found a cigar that was given to me as a gift in August of 06 for my wedding in the following September. this cigar just happened to be a Gurkha Legend perfecto.
i hesitated for a moment. i have had this cigar aging for about 7 years. i remember the day i got it. i opened the bomb up to find a hand full of really good smokes. At the time you (Gurkha) did not have the increasingly poor reputation that you are probably starting to become accustomed to. Gurkha was not discounted the way it is always discounted now. At the time i got the gift, this was a $20 cigar.
i was excited to place this Legend Perfecto in my humidor.
i was also determined to put it down for some age.
over the years, this cigar got buried in the humidor, then humidors. i would run across it every now and then and smile to myself as i set it back to sleep for another time.

today when i saw it i said to myself "today is the day"

before i even clipped the cap i was trying to determine if i should put this in the "what did you smoke today" thread here on Cigar.com. given today's reputation of Gurkha and the cigars i usually smoke, it may seem a bit strange so see me post it there. i determined that i would post that i was smoking it and i could defend/justify it by talking about how Gurkha did not always have this reputation, how the quality got worse over the years, about how i used to be a fan of Gurkha early on.

i clipped. i toasted. I attempted to draw. before i even had time to taste the cigar i was stopped by a plug.
i re-clipped to no avail.
i searched my house to find the draw poker i made a few years ago and ran it through.
problem solved. of course, this was a 20min process because most reputable companies have some level of quality control, so i rarely have to use a draw poker.

i re-toast. I took a draw on it. the foot is fairly small so when there is little flavor i was not really surprised. As the ring got wider, it was still lacking flavor.
maybe its past its prime?

i am trying to determine in my head if it has been over aged when i notice that the burn is all kinds of crooked and the wrapper is starting to crack further down.
now, i know for a fact that it is not user error on this. this cigar has not been out of an environment that was more than two points plus or minus 68% for the last seven years and i smoke slow so this was not a symptom of over zealous puffing.
this was clearly a construction issue.
I corrected the frequent unevenness of the burn with a torch and tried to move on with life.
the ash was flaky and seemed to be "blooming like a flower" as i smoked. the ash was inconsistent in how it falls. sometimes early, and sometimes it holds for almost an inch.
after a bit of this struggle, i tried to focus back on the flavor. This would have been easier to do if it didnt want to keep going out. when it was puffing the flavor was flat and thin. again, i wonded if this is due to a bit too much age. This was supposed to be a medium-full bodied cigar and in my gut it felt like a medium-full cigar. but the flavor was weak. it is unrefined. it reminds me of a very light version of smoldering savaday (if you have ever worked in the food service industry you know what im talking about). this is a blending issue.
a cigar that has blending issues and construction issues offers me nothing.


Gurkha, this was the last straw.


i tried to forgive you for years. i tried to say that your original lines were still good. i tried to say that you expanded so fast that you couldnt keep up with QC so "give em another shot" because the issues are not as common as we think. (I mean, people notice when things are wrong and make note of it more often than when they go right. things are supposed to work.) i tried not to speak ill of your brand overall because i wanted to hold myself to a higher standard understanding that Gurkha was somebody's life's work. I tried to brush off all the negativity of the brand and it was a classic case of "just not my taste" in the cigar world.

i cant do that anymore.

this cigar represented an earlier incarnation of Gurkha. an incarnation of the brand from when they still seemed to care. they were not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes by claiming they were the "Rolls Royce" of cigars. they were trying to make good cigars. they still failed.
this brand is a joke. they make Ford Pintos and place the silver "RR" on the hood and claim its a Rolls Royce. yes there are people that love the pinto, but every now and again the car's gas tank blows up much like the wrapper of the legend i tried to smoke today.
i will never smoke another Gurkha again. i will not be fooled by this brand. i will not be lulled into thinking that "this one may be better" for another time.
I dont care if your brand one day has a huge change in the way it does business and quality goes through the roof. i am done with you.
Gurkha, you ruined my day, and wasted precious humidor space for the last seven years. This was a wedding gift; a gift that i am now ashamed to have been, at one point, proud to have in my humidor.

you did me wrong Gurkha.
you have done my friends wrong.
i wont even give away the remaining trash you have in my humidor.
I wont even give them an honorable funeral by fire in my fire pit.

i will place them in the trash, where they belong.

-kuzi
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Comments

  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    Yup, nicely put. I have to add though, I wasn't too fond of the legend either.
  • Poker_SlobPoker_Slob Posts: 1,153 ✭✭✭✭
    Matt, you hit the nail on the head. Gurkha does not care about QC whatsoever. It is shameful that someone can make this their life's work, and care so little about quality and reputation. From reading your posts for the last couple years, we do have a few things in common. One would be taking pride in your work. It is a trait that, combined with others of course, defines you as a person. Mr. Hansotia may be somewhat "rich and famous", but until he realizes a true work ethic and sense of pride...well, steaming pile comes to mind.
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,871 ✭✭✭
    Wow,,, I love this part!!!!

    "but every now and again the car's gas tank blows up much like the wrapper of the legend i tried to smoke today. "

    I still got quite a few Gurkhas, I'll take em from ya or better yet donate em to the troops!!!

    I know I know,, ok just throw em away!!!
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,871 ✭✭✭
    phobicsquirrel:
    Yup, nicely put. I have to add though, I wasn't too fond of the legend either.
    The legend is a good cigar or it was,, What I think the problem is, (among many) Is they cant roll a perfecto to save their azz,, Just about every Gurkha perfecto Ive tried whether it be a centurian or whatever has been plugged. I think they rolled em all too tight and when the tobacco heats up it ,,there she blows!!!
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    Yeah they do screw up them shapes. I still don't like the legend. The centurian, titan, grand reserves (the cognac ones), beauty, beast are one's I like. Not a fan of most everything else.
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,871 ✭✭✭
    phobicsquirrel:
    Yeah they do screw up them shapes. I still don't like the legend. The centurian, titan, grand reserves (the cognac ones), beauty, beast are one's I like. Not a fan of most everything else.
    No!! I said the legend is a good cigar damnt!!!!lol yea should of said I like em,, sorry bout that!! smoking a beauty now,, I didnt used to care for these but Im enjoying his one so far
  • StsepasStsepas Posts: 475
    kuzi16:
    Dear Gurkha,

    as i was looking through my humidor today for a noon smoke, i found a cigar that was given to me as a gift in August of 06 for my wedding in the following September. this cigar just happened to be a Gurkha Legend perfecto.
    i hesitated for a moment. i have had this cigar aging for about 7 years. i remember the day i got it. i opened the bomb up to find a hand full of really good smokes. At the time you (Gurkha) did not have the increasingly poor reputation that you are probably starting to become accustomed to. Gurkha was not discounted the way it is always discounted now. At the time i got the gift, this was a $20 cigar.
    i was excited to place this Legend Perfecto in my humidor.
    i was also determined to put it down for some age.
    over the years, this cigar got buried in the humidor, then humidors. i would run across it every now and then and smile to myself as i set it back to sleep for another time.

    today when i saw it i said to myself "today is the day"

    before i even clipped the cap i was trying to determine if i should put this in the "what did you smoke today" thread here on Cigar.com. given today's reputation of Gurkha and the cigars i usually smoke, it may seem a bit strange so see me post it there. i determined that i would post that i was smoking it and i could defend/justify it by talking about how Gurkha did not always have this reputation, how the quality got worse over the years, about how i used to be a fan of Gurkha early on.

    i clipped. i toasted. I attempted to draw. before i even had time to taste the cigar i was stopped by a plug.
    i re-clipped to no avail.
    i searched my house to find the draw poker i made a few years ago and ran it through.
    problem solved. of course, this was a 20min process because most reputable companies have some level of quality control, so i rarely have to use a draw poker.

    i re-toast. I took a draw on it. the foot is fairly small so when there is little flavor i was not really surprised. As the ring got wider, it was still lacking flavor.
    maybe its past its prime?

    i am trying to determine in my head if it has been over aged when i notice that the burn is all kinds of crooked and the wrapper is starting to crack further down.
    now, i know for a fact that it is not user error on this. this cigar has not been out of an environment that was more than two points plus or minus 68% for the last seven years and i smoke slow so this was not a symptom of over zealous puffing.
    this was clearly a construction issue.
    I corrected the frequent unevenness of the burn with a torch and tried to move on with life.
    the ash was flaky and seemed to be "blooming like a flower" as i smoked. the ash was inconsistent in how it falls. sometimes early, and sometimes it holds for almost an inch.
    after a bit of this struggle, i tried to focus back on the flavor. This would have been easier to do if it didnt want to keep going out. when it was puffing the flavor was flat and thin. again, i wonded if this is due to a bit too much age. This was supposed to be a medium-full bodied cigar and in my gut it felt like a medium-full cigar. but the flavor was weak. it is unrefined. it reminds me of a very light version of smoldering savaday (if you have ever worked in the food service industry you know what im talking about). this is a blending issue.
    a cigar that has blending issues and construction issues offers me nothing.


    Gurkha, this was the last straw.


    i tried to forgive you for years. i tried to say that your original lines were still good. i tried to say that you expanded so fast that you couldnt keep up with QC so "give em another shot" because the issues are not as common as we think. (I mean, people notice when things are wrong and make note of it more often than when they go right. things are supposed to work.) i tried not to speak ill of your brand overall because i wanted to hold myself to a higher standard understanding that Gurkha was somebody's life's work. I tried to brush off all the negativity of the brand and it was a classic case of "just not my taste" in the cigar world.

    i cant do that anymore.

    this cigar represented an earlier incarnation of Gurkha. an incarnation of the brand from when they still seemed to care. they were not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes by claiming they were the "Rolls Royce" of cigars. they were trying to make good cigars. they still failed.
    this brand is a joke. they make Ford Pintos and place the silver "RR" on the hood and claim its a Rolls Royce. yes there are people that love the pinto, but every now and again the car's gas tank blows up much like the wrapper of the legend i tried to smoke today.
    i will never smoke another Gurkha again. i will not be fooled by this brand. i will not be lulled into thinking that "this one may be better" for another time.
    I dont care if your brand one day has a huge change in the way it does business and quality goes through the roof. i am done with you.
    Gurkha, you ruined my day, and wasted precious humidor space for the last seven years. This was a wedding gift; a gift that i am now ashamed to have been, at one point, proud to have in my humidor.

    you did me wrong Gurkha.
    you have done my friends wrong.
    i wont even give away the remaining trash you have in my humidor.
    I wont even give them an honorable funeral by fire in my fire pit.

    i will place them in the trash, where they belong.

    -kuzi

    Kuzi that was very well put! I've had a hand full of Gurka's and not one of them burnt good tastes good or smoked to the band without the wrapper in peeling apart
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    Hey Matt, don't sugar coat here. Let Mr. Hansotia know how you really feel. While Gurkha is not a brand I purchase, I do have several in my humidor obtained through passes or bombs over the years. I will still give them a try, but be a little critical when smoking them after reading this letter.
  • VisionVision Posts: 2,897 ✭✭✭✭
    Love the wirte-up..... but if you need my addy.... I will gladly kill them all for you!
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    The Kid:
    phobicsquirrel:
    Yeah they do screw up them shapes. I still don't like the legend. The centurian, titan, grand reserves (the cognac ones), beauty, beast are one's I like. Not a fan of most everything else.
    No!! I said the legend is a good cigar damnt!!!!lol yea should of said I like em,, sorry bout that!! smoking a beauty now,, I didnt used to care for these but Im enjoying his one so far
    hehe, yeah well glad you like it. If I have any more I will send them to you if you like. I have to look in the 'ol gurkha trade fodder bin.
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    Had two at an event, both blew up, sent an email to company, no response... Gurkha can suck it. I'll keep the last few cellar reserve I have and never buy again. What a terrible company... Taste is subjective, but quality is not.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    The Kid:
    ... or better yet donate em to the troops!!!
    i would not subject our troops to that. seriously, those guys are heroes and deserve better.
    catfishbluezz:
    Had two at an event, both blew up, sent an email to company, no response... Gurkha can suck it. I'll keep the last few cellar reserve I have and never buy again. What a terrible company... Taste is subjective, but quality is not.
    tow explode at an event? seriously? damn. pathetic.
  • HeavyHeavy Posts: 1,591 ✭✭✭
    I'm not as regular of a smoker as most of you guys. I'd call myself a 'sporadic' smoker, with regular periods of smoking at certain times of the year. Having said that, early on in my introduction to cigars, I would read a variety of sources about cigars - this forum and the c.com catalogues as well as other forums, review sites, catalogues etc.

    I had a couple of Gurkha's early on that I didn't really care for, but I didn't really hate them either, so I was open to trying other lines of the brand. However, during my purusment of the various info sources, I found out that there were so many different lines, so many of the same line with different names/bands for different online retailers etc, that I just didn't have time to explore this brand anymore. I don't smoke enough to waste my time with all of the crap that they put out. Add the reputation they have as described by Kuzi above, and I just personally don't have time for them.

    Having said that, I've always thought the Park Ave was a nice cheap connie with a little rest, so I'll smoke those here and there lol
  • catfishbluezzcatfishbluezz Posts: 7,001
    I sent their customer service a similar email and had yet to get a response. I still have one to review. I hope it blows up too, because I will flame it based on their lack of service and terrible product. Funny thing is, some of their stuff tastes good, but once the wrapper is gone its over.
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 5,320 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Heavy:
    I've always thought the Park Ave was a nice cheap connie with a little rest, so I'll smoke those here and there lol
    Makes you wonder, did they outsource the manufacturing of those? I've had some really good Gurkhas from time to time, but I can't pay premium price for "maybe". Used to seem like 50-50 chance, but for the last couple years any Gurkha I had came uninvited. A couple were OK, I held on to a Beast for a year, smoked it for 10 minutes before it exploded, which was a shame because there were some good tasting tobaccos in it. Poor quality.
    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  

    "There is nothing so in need of reforming as someone else's bad habits."   Mark Twain
  • Russ55Russ55 Posts: 2,765
    There are "manufacturers" that to me seem like they are more brokers, and pitchmen than cigar makers. Gurkha is one of those.
  • jgkaminjgkamin Posts: 110 ✭✭
    Russ55:
    There are "manufacturers" that to me seem like they are more brokers, and pitchmen than cigar makers. Gurkha is one of those.
    Exactly. They sell the sizzle as opposed to the steak, but this is one product that obviously doesn't work for. Packaging, accessories and ridiculous MSRPs that are always reduced greatly, makes for a hook to get people in. They run a million difference lines that all seem to be the same couple sticks, only product I'd smoke from them is the Cellar Reserve.
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    kuzi16:
    The Kid:
    ... or better yet donate em to the troops!!!
    i would not subject our troops to that. seriously, those guys are heroes and deserve better.
    catfishbluezz:
    Had two at an event, both blew up, sent an email to company, no response... Gurkha can suck it. I'll keep the last few cellar reserve I have and never buy again. What a terrible company... Taste is subjective, but quality is not.
    tow explode at an event? seriously? damn. pathetic.
    lol yeah that would be interesting. Wonder how the rep responded to that .. here have another. lol.
  • Jasonc1982Jasonc1982 Posts: 278
    Honestly Gurkha has always been my favorite brand. But the past few years I have noticed a nose-dive in quality. Most of them split or unravel. And most of the new blends taste the same. I'd say the only good one to have come from them in quite some time is the Cellar Reserve. The Beast, Beauty, Genghis Khan, Warlord, Ancient Warrior, Legend, Master Selects, Black Dragons I never had problems with. But the new stuff......time for some much needed QC Hansotia. I should have told him this when I met him a few months ago.
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,871 ✭✭✭
    Smoked a legend perfecto today,, and to my surprise it smoked well, wasn't a great cigar but burned well and didn't explode
  • ddubridgeddubridge Posts: 3,979 ✭✭✭
    Amos Umwhat:
    Heavy:
    I've always thought the Park Ave was a nice cheap connie with a little rest, so I'll smoke those here and there lol
    Makes you wonder, did they outsource the manufacturing of those? I've had some really good Gurkhas from time to time, but I can't pay premium price for "maybe". Used to seem like 50-50 chance, but for the last couple years any Gurkha I had came uninvited. A couple were OK, I held on to a Beast for a year, smoked it for 10 minutes before it exploded, which was a shame because there were some good tasting tobaccos in it. Poor quality.
    PA is rolled by AJ and is 99%. I have bought multiple boxes and only one dud in the bunch. I do find lots if other QC issue with most of the other blends from Gurkha. Perfecto's are the worst.
  • This letter really opened my eyes and was just the extra push I needed to amend my personal policy. Did you actually send that letter or email to customer service? If so, did you get any reply (doubtful)?

    In my previous post I had criticism of Gurkha in general, but also said that I have one of their cigars from time to time from the lines that have been out for awhile that I was already familiar with.

    With the increasing amount of low opinions about Gurkha I am seeing, I think I'm just going to boycott them altogether. I no longer want any of my money to go towards a company with their apparent philosophy, regardless of the few good products of theirs I sometimes enjoy. Fortunately, I have substitutes for all three products of theirs that I enjoy and they deliver the cream texture, smooth earthiness, and sweet infusion that I would be looking for if I were to reach for a particular Gurkha.

    With the overwhelming number of lines offered, Gurkha could have been another Drew Estate for me. They could offer a wide range of pricepoints and blends, but instead it seems that many of their lines are merely relabeled from other lines and just an excuse to have something to put in a new cool looking box that might catch someone's eye.
  • KriegKrieg Posts: 5,092 ✭✭✭
    Like the post kuzie, I tried one Gurkha in my time and hated it. Fell apart on me too.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    Aficionado_de_Perfectos:
    With the overwhelming number of lines offered, Gurkha could have been another Drew Estate for me.
    im not a huge DE fan but DE is not like Gurkha in almost any way. DE has their own factories, they have their own rollers, they have their own sources of tobacco. they do things very differently.

    Gurkha is a company that goes out and buys tobacco that is rare, or limited in quantity and therefor not good to use in big lines that need to be consistent from year to year.
    Gurkha is, in my mind a middle man. they buy random tobacco, blend it, and rent factories to roll. all of this leads to many labels that use "rare" tobacco ("rare" is not always "good") and inconsistency because of the different factories.

    Johnathan Drew may not make the cigars you enjoy, but he does take pride in what he makes. the QC in the DE factory is actually good, and if you complain to DE because you had a problem, they go out of their way to fix it.
    they have very high standards and this give higher prices and an LE feel to their premium lines even though they are regular release.

    love or hate DE, the comparison to Gurkha is not there.
    Aficionado_de_Perfectos:
    Did you actually send that letter or email to customer service?
    nope.
    it wouldnt matter if i did. i wouldnt want any compensation they sent me.
  • BamablowsBamablows Posts: 338
    Smoked a cellar reserve the other day and I noticed after toasting that it was burning extremely unevenly. Almost as if I just took the torch and held it about an inch away from the foot. I struggled to repair it throughout the whole stick, and I was really thinking about giving it a second chance just to be sure I didn't get a dud, but after reading this I definitely don't think they're worth the price I payed.
  • kuzi16:
    im not a huge DE fan but DE is not like Gurkha in almost any way. DE has their own factories, they have their own rollers, they have their own sources of tobacco. they do things very differently.

    Gurkha is a company that goes out and buys tobacco that is rare, or limited in quantity and therefor not good to use in big lines that need to be consistent from year to year.
    Gurkha is, in my mind a middle man. they buy random tobacco, blend it, and rent factories to roll. all of this leads to many labels that use "rare" tobacco ("rare" is not always "good") and inconsistency because of the different factories.

    Johnathan Drew may not make the cigars you enjoy, but he does take pride in what he makes. the QC in the DE factory is actually good, and if you complain to DE because you had a problem, they go out of their way to fix it.
    they have very high standards and this give higher prices and an LE feel to their premium lines even though they are regular release.

    love or hate DE, the comparison to Gurkha is not there.
    You misread my post. I actually like Drew Estate a lot, and I appreciate your assessment of them. You've really reinforced my resolve to boycott Gurkha and to patronize DE with some of your posts I've seen. I was saying that since Gurkha offers so many products at different pricepoints, they could have gained the same level of interest I have in DE. But unfortunately I agree that they fall far short of performing in that manner.

    I actually sang the praises of DE in this thread and started it because I would like to find another company or more that diversifies as well and sample their lines the way I make an effort to do with DE. I've sampled at least a few from many of DE's lines and continuously do so when new lines are released.
  • BigT06BigT06 Posts: 3,899
    catfishbluezz:
    Had two at an event, both blew up, sent an email to company, no response... Gurkha can suck it. I'll keep the last few cellar reserve I have and never buy again. What a terrible company... Taste is subjective, but quality is not.
    Last time the Gurk regional rep was in town he gave me a Black Widow which I initially refused (because they suck) but after he kept badgering me I attempted to smoke it ... And it blew up. I handed it to him laughing and told him unless he was handing out Cellar Reserves to please not waste my time again. He was so embarrassed, but did inform me that the company does not allow him to give out CRs due to their "limited" status. What a joke.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    Aficionado_de_Perfectos:
    I actually sang the praises of DE in this thread and started it because I would like to find another company or more that diversifies as well and sample their lines the way I make an effort to do with DE.
    DPG... more specifically, any cigars from the My Father factory.
  • I love posts like this!  Nicely said.  I haven't yet tried a Gurkha but after reading this I probably wont seek on out.  I like to find out for myself, so if someone hands me one I will try it, but thanks for the heads up!

  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've got a box of Park Avenue torpedoes that all have a super loose draw. Not a bad cigar flavor wise, but very loose. I keep trying to cut less and less off each time I revisit the box. Next time I'll try using a sewing needle as my cigar punch.
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