Gurkha Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial (18 Year) Solara
Year of Production: 2014
Date Smoked: August 26, 2014
For the third year in a row, Gurkha has released a new addition to their Cellar Reserve Line. In 2012 they announced the Cellar Reserve which boasted a blend of tobaccos that are allegedly 15 years old, 2013 brought the â€œLimitedâ€ Maduro lineup and this year, at the 82nd IPCPR in Las Vegas, they announced their Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial which boasts a blend of tobaccos that are allegedly 18 years old. The reason I say â€œallegedlyâ€ is only because there is a lot of controversy on which tobaccos are 18 years old as Gurkha has not made any definitive statements that would lead us to believe that all of the tobacco used is, in fact, 18 years old. Here is what Gurkha has on the cigar, from their website:
â€œThe Cellar Reserve EdiciÃ³n Especial goes above and beyond in perfecting the Cellar Reserve blend with a Corojo wrapper and 18-year aged tobacco. This medium body, full flavor cigar is packaged in a beautiful piano finish, mahogany box. â€œI partnered with our blenders to search for the rarest tobaccos we could find and stumbled upon this 18-year old Corojo wrapper and blend. There was only enough to make 1000 boxes of each size and we couldnâ€™t be happier with the outcome. In fact, at this very moment we are searching for another rare blend for next year,â€ commented Kaizad Hansotia.â€
Vitola: â€œSolaraâ€ 5×58 Perfecto
Blend: Corojo Wrapper, Dominican Binder and Dominican Filler
Appearance: First of all, I will be referring to the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial as â€œGCREEâ€ because there is no way that Iâ€™m going to keep typing the name over and over, so letâ€™s just simplify it starting from here on out, deal? Alright, well the GCREE Solara is a very cool looking perfecto; the milk chocolate brown colored wrapper presents some veins throughout and is rather toothy, but the pig tail and great looking band help bring it together well. The pigtail comes off with no issues and the wrapper stays intact after lighting. The cigar does give a little when squeezed and does not crack, which is usually a good sign, right?
Pre Light: On the dry inhale I immediately taste dates, hay and dark chocolate.
First Third: Upon lighting the cigar I am surprised to find that the cocoa and hay remain from the cold draw. Iâ€™m also finding earthy notes and some subtle spice with just a bit of fig left on the finish and some vanilla and macadamia nut on the retrohale. The draw is a little tight and the burn is rather uneven at this point, which has been the case for both the cigars I smoked for this review. The GCREE Solara puts off quite a lot of smoke once the draw opens up about a half inch in, but the resting smoke is light, which is always nice. The cigar is at a medium-full body throughout the first third.
Second Third: At about two inches in the solid ash finally falls but the burn is really uneven and required quite a bit of touch up. The fig and cocoa have faded out and are now replaced with espresso, leather and some black pepper. The retrohale has become a little harsher but there is a flavor reminiscent of raspberry pie on the finish. The burn is still uneven but the draw has remained open. The strength remains at a medium-full and the volume of smoke output is now average.
Final Third: As I smoke through the final third of the GCREE Solara, the strength dies down a little bit and a lot of the more pleasant flavors fade. Iâ€™m left with some more classic flavors on the final third such as cedar, earth and leather. There is some black pepper left which is found on the retrohale along with hints of nutmeg but the finish is no longer as nice as the raspberry pie from the second third, which I really miss right now. There is also a faint toasted oak flavor that comes and goes throughout the final third. The cigar needed to be touched up again with about two inches remaining but the ash continues to hold tightly. On the very last couple inches of the cigar, there are some citrus and coffee notes that appear but only persist for about a half an inch. Once the cigar was down to about an inch and a half remaining, I decided to put it out as it was becoming too bitter and bland to smoke. The total smoking averaged 89 minutes for both of the cigars smoked for this review.
Overview: The GCREE Solara started off with cocoa, earth, spice and fig on the finish with vanilla and macadamia nut on the retrohale. It then moved on to espresso, leather and black pepper with raspberry pie on the retrohale and ended with cedar, earth, leather and some toasted oak and citrus at the end with black pepper on the retrohale. The cigar required three touchups, the draw started off tight but opened up after a bit and the ash held tightly throughout most of the cigar, reaching nearly two inches at its peak.
Closing Thoughts: In all, I have to say I was expecting a lot more from this cigar. It started off great and remained pretty good until about two thirds of the way through when it began falling downhill both flavor and construction wise. Typically when a new cigar is this rough at the end, Iâ€™ll say that it may benefit from some age, but if 18 years hasnâ€™t done it, I donâ€™t think anything will. As much as I wanted to fall in love with this cigar, I can honestly say that I will likely not be smoking one again nor would I recommend it. There are far better cigars on the market that are within and even below the price range of the GCREE.