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Stogie Review: Gurkha Special Edition Black Puro Churchill

14 Apr 2008

We seem to be living in a new golden age of cigar craftsmanship. In magazines, at retailers, and in catalogs, we’re bombarded with tales of “master rollers” and their disciples. We’ve seen a broad resurgence in formerly rare figurado shapes, such as the once-endangered perfecto. Every brand seems to have its own barber pole offering. And, increasingly, it’s becoming very hard to find a poorly rolled stick.

Gurkha Special Edition Black Puro ChurchillUnfortunately, while the industry focuses so intently on the craft of cigar rolling, some of the art is lost. All too frequently in recent years I’ve smoked exquisitely rolled but boringly blended cigars. I’m sure you know the kind: that undeniably pretty stogie that you can’t wait to smoke, because it just looks so damned good – but whose generic flavor and bland aftertaste leave you wondering what went wrong.

My friends, it is with a heavy heart and a light wallet that I inform you about the Gurkha Special Edition Black Puro Churchill – or, as I like to think of it, the ditzy blonde of the premium cigar world. This seven and 1/2 inch by 52 ring gauge Dominican puro, with its sleek maduro wrapper and its aromatic filler of aged Cuban-seed tobaccos from the Ciboa Valley, is a looker. Quite a looker. And its pre-light nose of coffee, chocolate, and wheat recall a moist and delicate cake at a high-end bistro. With its slick, metallic, black band and its impressive size, the Black Puro seems to whisper, “I know you want me.”

And you do. Until you toast the foot, light the stick, and begin to smoke it. For the first inch or so, the Black Puro is all that it portends to be – offering rich flavors of cocoa, toast, some coffee, and cream. This delicious profile soon fades away almost entirely, leaving in its place very weak notes of chocolate, paper, and dairy. After awhile, smoking the Black Puro feels like drinking a glass of Ovaltine mixed with skim milk. Over and over again. For two hours, if not longer.

I never attribute to poor quality what I can attribute to poor storage. And ordinarily, a cigar whose flavor seems to peter out so suddenly would seem like a victim of dryness. But given the fact that I smoked six Black Puros over the course of the week, and given that each of these Black Puros came from the same shipment (and sat in the same humidor) as some wonderful smokes I’ve had this month, I believe the fault lies in the tobacco here. It is, quite simply, a boring and uninspired blend. While not completely terrible, the Black Puro – which retails for roughly $9-12 apiece – is by no means worth the price of admission.

For impressive construction, questionable blending, and prohibitive pricing, I award the Gurkha Special Edition Black Puro Churchill two and 1/2 out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Jon N

photo credit: Stogie Guys

3 Responses to “Stogie Review: Gurkha Special Edition Black Puro Churchill”

  1. Don Carlos Monday, April 14, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    Ah, Gurkha. The most hit-or-miss-but-usually-miss-est cigar brand available. Thanks for the review, Jon.

  2. Jon N. Monday, April 14, 2008 at 10:43 am #

    Don Carlos:

    I tend to agree with you. I hate to speak categorically negatively about a brand, but lately, Gurkha seems to be batting about .100 for me. Sure, there's an occasional hit — but every hit comes with nine misses. A brand this inconsistent really shouldn't be charging such high prices.

  3. S. Jones Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:10 pm #


    I have to disagree completely with your poor grading of the Black Puro. We all know that the human palette is a somewhat like fingerprint, no two being the same. I truly believe that the Puro can hold her own on any day of the week. Of course she has to have a complimenting drink with her but all in all, she is a winner. I believe that cigars should be graded on it proper playing ground. We have the type that we put you on your ass afterwards and the type that doesn’t do a thing to you. I would say that the Puro puts in the mood to relax, hit back and think about your next move in life. I have smoked about five so far and every time I reach the end of this cigar, I am looking forward to the next encounter. I would suggest that you give her another try, perhaps during this upcoming 4th of July out on the back patio celebrating everything that makes the US great.

    Steven R. Jones, GySgt USMC