This week for a review, we have the Gurkha X-Fuerte. I received this cigar a couple weeks ago from Tim, a Club Stogie Member, who decided to catch me off guard with a little care package.
This particular Gurkha is a monster weighing in at seven inches long with a fifty four ring gauge. While looking over the cigar I found it to be very attractive. The wrapper was a dark Costa Rican Maduro leaf that had a nice oily sheen and toothy appearance. When lightly pinched, I found the cigar to feel packed very well.
After the initial inspection was over I reached for my cutter and got down to business. I clipped about a quarter inch off of the torpedo shaped cap and tested the draw. The draw was a little on the firm side but I decided to press on and get to the lighting process. Toasting and lighting took a little effort due to the sheer size of the foot, but after a few minutes I had things burning nice and even.
The initial puff produced a decent volume of smoke but left me with a dry and intense flavor that I did not enjoy. After a few more puffs things settled out and the body settled down into the medium range. The finish was fairly short and smooth while the draw loosened up just a little and became nice and free with little resistance. The base flavor was a mild black coffee flavor with some peppery notes in the background.
At this point my first impression of this cigar was that it was a slow starter. With a name like “X-Fuerte” I really expected it to pack more of a punch to start things off. I really enjoyed the slow and mild start and hoped it would slowly progress into more of a full bodied and full flavored cigar. Unfortunately the next flavor change was very abrupt and unenjoyable.
The second third of my Gurkha X-Fuerte gave me a bit of a jolt and suddenly got more intense. It seemed to be medium bodied one puff, then medium to full the next. Along with this sudden jump in body, the peppery flavor increased enough to begin to irritate my throat. One a positive note, the cigar was burning very well and had an excellent draw.
A little over an hour later, the peppery flavor finally faded and I began to enjoy the smoke once again. When the peppery flavor faded, a toasty flavor developed and took its place. In addition to this new flavor, the black coffee flavor was rising and becoming more intense. This particular flavor combination I found to be very enjoyable and would have really preferred throughout the stick.
As I made my way to the final third, the toasty flavor began to fade and peppery flavor came back into the picture once again. Just as before, the pepper flavor began to irritate my throat and really dampened my overall experience with the cigar. The body jumped up a notch and was now planted well into the Full spectrum while the finish remained smooth and short.
Overall I think that this cigar was way too big for my taste. The size made it very uncomfortable to smoke and took far more time to smoke than I am normally willing to give. The lingering peppery flavor killed any hope of really getting into this stick.
If you are a person that enjoys a big and strong Maduro, you might find this stick to be right up your alley. For me, I don’t think I’ll spend any time seeking this cigar out in the future.
13 thoughts on “Gurkha X-Fuerte”
Thanks for the review. Sounds like it is similar to the Partagas Black which also has a very spicy punch.
Great review Walt. I don’t care much for Gurkha myself.
As far as cutting that Chisel, what I do is I use my Palio and cut right where the head begins to widen a bit. After smoking and rotating the cigar in your mouth it will eventually begin to round out. Pretty much like the Trilogy from Alec Bradley. Hope this helps.
Great review walt, that really was a monster cigar. I dont like peppery flavours myself, so wont be trying to find this cigar. Looking forward to the next review.
I was going through my Cigars International catalog today and came across the ad for the cigar called Primeros by Vincent Sinclair. They too have the “chisel like” cap. On those cigars they say to just squeeze the cap until it pops open. I guess you’d be able to do the same with the LFD.
I just read and watched the Gurkha X-Fuerte review posted on April 2, 2007. I must say that I just discovered your site this weekend and have rushed to watch as many segments as possible, including all of the â€œYour Questions, My Answersâ€ segments.
I think youâ€™ve got a great concept working. For years, Iâ€™ve tried to improve upon my appreciation of cigars but have found magazines and their rating systems inappropriate for this purpose. Likewise, the notion of buying a large quantity of high priced cigars and winging it never makes sense to me. And without a locally trusted tobacconist to consult, the entire enterprise has been very random, delivering little consistent returns.
What your site does, however, is provide a real taste test and language to describe the cigar smoking experience. I was very pleased to hear Jerry describe you as the best â€œtechnicalâ€ smoker on the site and Iâ€™ve found your approach to describing the smoking experience by sections insightful.
This was particularly true of the Gurkha X-Fuerte because you describe how it changed during the course of smoking. The dramatic peppery taste that abruptly emerged and caught you off guard is clearly visible on camera and mere written words from your review never quite capture that distasteful reaction on your face. Similarly, your site provides ample information about what you like and how you typically encounter cigars. As someone who prefers smaller cigars while doing paper work and drinking a beer, the Gurkha X-Fuerte simply didnâ€™t fit your taste and experience profile. But in noting this personal preference, you were clear that the Gurkha X-Fuerte has a strong following.
What would be very interesting is to hear is how other fans of this particular cigar approach the smoking process. Are they pairing the cigar with food and drinks that benefit from the peppery kick? Are the real Gurkha A-Fuerte fans engaging it in rituals that only involve partially smoking the cigar? If so, is the size, shape, and performance of the cigar designed to provide an enjoyable, low smoke, sixty-minute experience among non-smokers, but not a three-hour solitary smoke? For example, is this a â€œweddingâ€ cigar that men purchase for visible enjoyment, but rarely smoke for personal pleasure? What patterns, if any, can be used to determine what causes a particular group of people to enjoy the Gurkha X-Fuerte? It would be good to hear what the fans say and I believe your site offers that possibility.
As a foodie of sorts, Iâ€™m quite clear that there are certain tastes and gastronomic experiences that cause people to have strong positive and negative reactions. The same is true with ice cream, wine, scotch, olive oil, vinegar, cheese, smoked meats, and cigars. But unlike these other products, I donâ€™t think the cigar industry– from producer to retailer to industry rags– knows how to explain or permit taste testing of its product. Instead, cigar marketing is done by intangible associations with sex, power, desire for wealth and not tangible issues such as taste, flavor, and predictable experience. How often, for example has your local tobacconist given free samples that truly permit consumers to develop an appreciation of different cigars? What each particular cigar is designed to achieve among consumers needs better qualitative description, not more numbers. As you guys correctly note on the site, what exactly is the difference in an 86 compared with an 88? In fact, few products have such limited information to help consumers make valid and predictable purchase decisions; and we know that this trail and error process does little to help expand market share and consumer enjoyment.
Bravo! You guys have developed something meaningful. Stick with it. Thereâ€™s value to the variety of your reviews. Your technical approach, as well as, Brianâ€™s and Jerryâ€™s less technical approach provide a rich basis to encounter cigars. I believe there may even be an economic payoff down the road for you and the industry.
Good review. I got two of these in the cigar of the month club from CI and I had a similiar opinion of them you do. Well, not being as technical as you are, my thoughts were I just didn’t like them heh. Comparing them to other Maduro wrapper cigars, well, personally, I thought they just were too average???? I like the Series A cigars better in flavor. And they are a middle of the road maduro as well to most, but I like them. I’d put the Gurkha X-Fuerte below the Series A. The X-Fuerte just wasn’t what I was expecting.
Oh, by the way, I love the breaks you put in on your video showing pictures of the cigar with music. Nice touch.
if you are ever gifted another one of these, perhaps you can smoke the first third, clip the second, and end up with a tolerable ~2 hour smoke =)
I like the video clips idea! I thought about doing it also but I’m trying to increase my traffic, not drive it away. LOL
Thanks for another great review!
I purchased a mazo of 12 cigars from cigarbid.com for $48.99 on 04/12/2007 and sampled one cigar from the lot while placing the remainder in my coolerdor. My notes from this REALLY bad experience follows.
04/15/2007 – Pre-light: Not much aroma or taste. The wrapper and binder were split from the foot 3/4″ into the body of the cigar. The wrapper cracked several places in the middle of the cigar while I was smoking the 1st third. I suspect that this cigar was too moist to smoke. 1st third was mild in mouth and medium through nose with no spice. The wrapper splitting got much worse as the burn point neared the split area. The binder split as well and smoke poured out of the sides of the cigar. The draw became too loose due to the split binder. I decided to try to “smoke through” this mess and managed to get by a full inch and a half of split wrapper and binder. What a chore! At the 1/2 way point the cigar was only slightly stronger, especially through the nose – still no hints of spice. The wrapper still split completely off of the cigar and the binder swelled as it burned. I continued to have splitting issues for the remainder of the cigar. Even at the end, I would not rate this cigar as full strength. The remaining 11 cigars I purchased will age for several months before I try them again.
I purchased these cigars because they were advertised as being the strongest sticks that Gurkha offers. Boy, was I disappointed! Hopefully they will improve with some age.
Unlike you, I prefer full strength, large cigars. My current favorites are La Gloria Cubana, Serie R 7s, Partagas Black Labels, and 5 Vegas, Series “A”s.
I always enjoy your visits on the DWSC.
Thanks again for your efforts. Keep up the good work.
I’ve had the Gurkha x Fuerte in toro size and experience was similar to the review above. Mine haad a burn problem, however, and I needed to relight twice. All in all, a disappointing smoke for a relatively costly cigar. I actually prefer the Indian Tabac Super Fuerte alone these lines. Cheap but good.
Only Gurkha I liked…