Gurkha Château De Privé | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Desflorado
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6 x 46 Rook
Strength: Mild/Medium
Price: $10.00 ($8.00 if you shop around online)

Today we take a look at the Gurkha Château De Privé.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: PDR Cigars
According to Halfwheel.com (4-4-2019):
“At the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Gurkha Cigar Group Inc. unveiled a new limited-edition line called the Château De Privé, heralding it as a “traditional mild and creamy smoke,” adding that it was a departure from the company’s other blends.

“While not accompanied by an elaborate backstory, the cigars did come in one of the more decorated boxes of the year, a bright, domed box encased by what could be called a metal cage or lattice design. Inside the box is a black cloth-lined interior with a badge indicating the brand attached to the inner part of the lid.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Bishop 5 x 50 $10.00
Rook 6 x 46 $10.00
King of Warriors 6.5 x 52 $11.00

APPEARANCE:
An un-spectacular looking stick. The color is dirty blonde. Seams are visible. But the stick is evenly packed with the perfect amount of resistance. There is a nice pigtail on the triple cap. And a closed foot…guaranteed to act like fireworks when lit. Quite a bit of veins and areas of lumps and bumps. And, in Gurkha fashion, a big billboard of color and flash on the cigar band.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
Strong aromas of chocolate, malt, creaminess, floral notes, black pepper, sweet gingerbread, cedar, barnyard, banana, and caramel.
The cold draw presents flavors of banana cake, creaminess, chocolate, almonds, malt, cedar, and caramel.

FIRST THIRD:
There is a lump of tobacco at the cigar band level…so out comes my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to make this thing smokable. Turns out that this thing isn’t rolled all that well as I find lumps of clogging tobacco up and down the length of the cigar.

Nice start. The cigar wastes no time in exhibiting some interesting flavors of caramel, cream, a slight touch of white pepper, milk chocolate, nuts, and malt.

There is a sub layer of subtle flavors that refuse to be identified quite yet but add to the overall character.
The burn immediately begins to disappoint. I need a touch up only half an inch in.

Strength is pretty much mild but not bland. I don’t like mild strength cigars. Like smoking air. But, with fingers crossed, maybe this Gurkha will jump that hurdle and become a tasty morsel. And for $10, I expect some real pizazz.

Gurkha is notorious for their massive PR campaigns to get you to buy $3 cigars for $10…or more. They are always on special at all the online stores. And there are plenty of B&M’s that don’t even bother to carry them. They have a really bad rep. But you reap what you sow. Take a crap blend and foist it upon the smoking public as if it’s the best thing since sliced bread and you get what you deserve by becoming the joke of the cigar industry. Don’t get me wrong…Gurkha has put out some decent blends but considering the mass release approach of the company, a huge percentage of their releases are aimed at the budget conscious who don’t care about flavor and complexity.

The banana is the overriding element to this blend’s flavor profile. No real complexity at hand…and transitions are minimal. A $10 stick should fly out of the starting gate with a smile on its lips and an assault of integrity. So far, this stick is just another mind fuck. So many great boutique blends make similarly priced sticks that make your head spin like Linda Blair. With the resources that Gurkha has, you’d think they could mass produce on an even keeled basis. But they are a mega company only interested in saturating the market. They could give a shit about the serious smoker.

The blend descends into $3 bundle territory. Damn. For this price, and the PR…I expected to be surprised. Gotta admit, Gurkha is a master at marketing.

Remember I said this cigar ain’t rolled so great…The ash proves it as it is flaky and never makes it past half an inch before falling into my precious naughty bits.

In the midst of a thunderstorm so it’s cool and lovely. By noon, it will be 105 with 75% humidity. Will be hotter and humid the rest of the week. But according to news reports, this is widespread. I’m enjoying open windows with a cool breeze.

Absolutely zero transitions. One trick pony. I’ve had the cigar for a couple of months so there should be some potential of greatness if it is to be…and it appears it ain’t.

SECOND THIRD:
A relatively quick 25 minutes.

The cigar settles down. I get it now. This is just a household mild and creamy smoke. It doesn’t test your palate. It doesn’t test your knowledge of blending. It is there…like Everest.
Except, you can buy a mild and creamy smoke for around $4.

These sticks were released in the fall of 2018 with only 300 boxes of 20 being put on the market. That was 8 months ago and yet every online store is still selling them. But only a few advertise the fancy shmancy box. So, maybe Gurkha made more than advertised and those extra cigars come in bundles. I have no idea here…I’m spit ballin’ because 8 months later, these cigars are still on the market. Word of mouth, if a great stick, would have seen them disappear in a month. The box is the allure…boy, Gurkha is smart. The box cost is reflected in $6 of the $10 cigar. At least there are no skulls on the thing. (When will it end?).

The cigar is what it is…a non-descript, fairly flavorless cigar blend. You want the fancy box? Buy the cigars.
If I submit to the proposal, then there is nothing wrong with a plain wrapped mild and creamy blend. It rubs me the wrong way that Gurkha ventured into mass deception with this blend. I really doubt a bunch of extra humi time will make any difference. I’ve not known a Gurkha to do well with extensive aging.

This is a great cigar for newbies. But even newbies don’t want to spend $10 on a $4 stick. But flavor-wise, it is a non-aggressive blend that will satisfy those who want an unobtrusive yard ‘gar that they don’t need to worry if they accidentally step on it while mowing the lawn.

Halfwheel wasn’t crazy about it. Got an 86. I believe that was mighty generous.

We have creaminess, a touch of lemon citrus, a touch of vanilla, no we don’t have any bananas, a mere background of white pepper, and nothing sweet about it. This blend would be helped immensely with some balance. It is totally devoid of savory and sweet.

Man, I thought I was going to be writing a surprising review raving about this blend.

For those with sophisticated palates, you can pass on this Gurkha Château De Privé…unless you want the box. But paying $175-$200 is a lot to pay for a fancy little cigar box.
This is becoming a chore.

LAST THIRD:
I swear this cigar keeps growing back as time spent smoking it seems eternal.

Sorry about the photos. Light colored wrappers really show off my slobber on the cap.

Sometimes I think that my stories that appear after the review are the only redeeming value of some reviews. I know this because plenty of you have written telling me they prefer my stories to the reviews. They mean well…but, it is sort of a left-handed compliment. Either way, don’t stop.

I remove the giant cigar band. Holy shit. It is a piece of art. Gurkha has taken a lot of pride in their bands. Too bad, they don’t take the same approach with the blend itself.

The last third sees the blend grow some. Strength reaches medium. Sigh of relief. Flavors become more pungent and alluring. The white pepper accelerates and gives the blend a nice punch to the gut. Flavors coalesce so that they are upfront and tasty.

Chocolate returns…the creaminess has elements of banana pudding and crème brûlée, a nice nuttiness, a touch of malt, cedar, and a bit of savory that seems to emanate from a component of assorted smoked wood pieces.

Through sheer force of will, the Gurkha Château De Privé shows some oomph at this late stage. It remains a very un-complex blend. But transitions begin. And, finally, there is a finish that is appealing.

The blend is making a major turnaround. I’m actually beginning to enjoy it. Ramping up the strength helped immensely. A resurgence of initial flavors makes all the difference. Still, a $10 stick should have started like gang busters…not asleep at the wheel.

The last third brings the blend to mensch status. I came very close to dumping the cigar; glad I didn’t.

I could be totally wrong. Maybe a shit load of humi time will cure the nonchalance of the blending process. But then, these cigars have been on the shelves for nearly a year and released in limited production. Every online store should be out of them by now. Instead, they are everywhere.

Halle-fucking-leujah. I must admit that I am now actually enjoying this mild blend. Unfortunately, too little, too late.
Now it’s a good cigar…fuck me…

Still, not worth even a portion of its $10. Unless you must have the box.

I’m surprised that after this time on the market, we haven’t seen these sticks hit the bargain bins online. Must have something to do with the fancy boxes.

I can give you a long laundry list of better cigars for the dough. It’s up to you. But I think I will pass.
This cigar wasn’t designed for sophisticated palates; although the price tag would infer that isn’t true.

RATING: 77

And now for something completely different:
Ivana Trump. Late 90’s.

This is an odd rock story. No sex…although I did get screwed at the end.

I was in the Todd Hart Band. A power blues trio. Todd once sang lead in the legendary English blues band, Savoy Brown. Todd was/is an excellent guitarist but his forte was that he had an incredible voice.

t1

We had the same michegos endured by Spinal Tap…holding on to drummers. In the 3 years I was in the band, we must have seen 7-8 drummers go through the band.
All were fired…except for two that disappeared during spontaneous combustion and one choked on vomit…someone else’s. (Thank you Spinal Tap).

Todd was a full-time player and depended on gig money. For that time, we made excellent dough…especially as a three piece.

I was a senior project manager for a structural steel fabricator in Mesa, AZ. So, playing out all the time put money in my wallet that always fell into the hands of my wife and teen daughter.

Todd was able to book us 3-4 nights per week. This was tough on me. Construction hours are grueling.

Unfortunately, starting time was 6am. As a PM, it was my responsibility that the field crews had all the drawings for the work that day, any issues would be discussed, we confirmed they had all the steel required on site, and make sure all the big equipment (cranes, lifts, etc.) was rented and ready to use.

Never in my career did the iron workers ever count the bolts and other crucial small bits before they left for the job. I always got a call from the field mid-day begging for more bolts or a piece of steel they left at the shop. Pissed me off. I didn’t have time to be an errand boy nor did I feel it was my responsibility to count bolts and nuts. It was their job to make sure they had what they needed.

Due to the states I worked in, the iron workers were all union guys. Trying to get them to do something not under their purview was impossible. Crews of 5-20 guys would sit idle, as did the rented cranes and other equipment, while someone was sent to the job with the shit they forgot.

Back to the subject at hand…I loved our Sunday afternoon gigs. They paid the best and I got to have a normal evening. When you’re young, you like to hang out at the club after you’ve finished playing; but as an old man, all I wanted to do was tear the guitar chord from my bass while the last note was still ringing, put my bass in its case, start tearing down equipment…and get paid for the night.
And Go Home.

Work nights were tough. Back then, you could smoke in clubs. I came home reeking of cigarette smoke and had to take a shower. It was 3am before I could calm myself to sleep only to be up 2 or 3 hours later to get ready for work. Strong coffee was my friend.

This story revolves around a particular gig that was downtown at the Phoenix Convention Center. It was Woman’s Festival. And Ivana Trump was scheduled to speak. She had been divorced from Mr. Trump since 1992. And no new husbands 5-6 years later. I guess her settlement set her up for life.

We were in a giant room with hundreds of women. Only a small handful of men. Pure manna. The ladies loved our music. We were a great band. Just like when I was young, a bevy of women surrounded the band stand. Of course, back then I was thin and had a full head of luxurious hair. I used conditioner.

Between our first and second sets, Ivana was set to speak on the band stand. It was a long break.
My stage clothes were black slacks, bluesman-type white shirt, and a black Blues Brother’s type jacket. The coat was superfluous because Phoenix is HOT!!
Despite the heat, I wore the jacket because I used it to hide my Glock 30. A .45 caliber sub-compact pistol that held 13+1 rounds.

I started carrying a gun because at the time, Arizona was still the wild west. It was perfectly legal to carry openly. I always thought that carrying openly made you a target and therefore the first to get shot if things go south.

We were also the official Hell’s Angels’ band of Arizona. Trafficking in drugs and guns was how they survived. They all carried guns openly. And to be perfectly honest, these were not the smartest group of people. They were true outlaws. They scared the shit out of me especially by the end of the evening when they were extremely drunk while being ripped on meth.
So, it made sense to me to carry protection. You just never know.

The 90’s was a different time. No metal detectors. And I trusted no one in the clubs. We had a lot of valuable equipment and there were always a lot of drunks…with guns.

The three of us were standing near the rear of the band stand when Ivana entered through the back entrance and walked up to us. She had a chauffeur whom she made carry her purse for her. This was an older guy dying the death of a thousand razor cuts. So embarrassing…so humiliating. You could see in his eyes he was mortified.

And get this…no bodyguard. I was really surprised by this. A woman of her wealth and exposure would surely pop for someone to keep an eye on things. But not this day.

Ivana was worth a gazillion dollars. She made out like a bandit in the divorce. And here she was standing 3 feet away waiting to go on. And here I was, packing heat.

Ivana was getting impatient with being made to wait. The women must have been terribly intimidated by her so no one approached her. She was dressed like a million bucks. You should have seen the jewelry.

I approached her and began to chat. I was shocked that I could barely understand her. Her Slavic accent was impossible. I did a lot of nodding and smiling while the other two guys laughed in the background. I had no idea how to gracefully get the fuck out of there or shut her up.

She went on stage, finally. And she jabberwocked for a good hour. The P.A. speakers were faced outwards and we could not hear her as we stood behind the speaker cabs. But we could see lots of women yawning.

And then it happened. Some guy dressed as maintenance started giving her a hard time on stage. We couldn’t hear a thing but it sure as hell startled Ivana. She finally screamed and Todd and I ran to her aid.

This guy looked menacing and rambled like a crazy man. He kept asking for her purse but the chauffeur still had it. Not a single person in that room did a goddam thing to help. They just stared.

Todd did a round house to the guy’s face with his fist. The bad guy fell into a heap but was still lucid. I pulled my Glock and put my knee on his chest with the barrel of the gun on his forehead. Todd and I screamed for someone to call the cops. It took a full 15 minutes before security and the cops showed up. And I was scared to death I might have to shoot this asshole. Thankfully, a few men in attendance pitched in to hold this guy to the ground so I could put my gun back in its holster.

The cops came. Women rushed to the cops to tell them that Todd and I saved the day.
I showed the cops my concealed carry license. And everything was cool.

As we said goodbye to Ivana, she shook our hands. In her hand was a crisp $20 bill. A thank you.

Whenever I think about people with money, I think of that day. And how that cheap broad thanked us with a $20 bill. I guess she thought her life was worth $40.

Afterwards, we joked that we should have let the wacko guy do his thing with her. We risked our lives. Now we didn’t come to her aid thinking we would get money for this. We reacted instantly to someone in trouble…like anyone would.
I would have rather she didn’t give us a dime.
$20.00
I thanked her and told her I could now make a down payment on that new Porsche I wanted, I laughed…and walked away.
Fucking rich people.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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3 replies

  1. I tried this cigar once and I think your score is being very kind. I honestly wish Gurkha would hire Kyle Gellis, Andre Farkas or Steve Saka to do all of their blending and Gurkha just maintain control of the bands and boxes. Their art and marketing is second to none – but their blends are below mediocre. It’s such a waste.

  2. “…she paid me twenty dollars for a two fifty fare….I stuffed the bill in my shirt.”

    ⁣Sent from TypeApp ​

  3. Man, I despise Gurkha’s business model. I have no respect for the company. Not once have I gotten a fiver where ether the cigars were poorly constructed and underwhelming, or three out of the five were poorly constructed and underwhelming. I’ve watched and read reviews of pros giving the same cigars I’ve smoked solid reviews. The cigar world is full of shit, Katman, but I know that’s old news to you. People have told me that Gurkha has some good stuff at the B&Ms. I’m sure they do, but so does everyone else. For the price of their B&M sticks, I’m smoking Southern Draw and Steve Saka’s blends. I will not give one godamn penny to Gurkha. If I want art then I’ll go to the museum. Okay, I feel better now. Keep up the good work my friend. You’re irreplaceable.

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