Gurkha Empire II

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Gurkha Empire II

Gurkha Empire II - main.jpg

Origin : Unknown
Wrapper : Dark Connecticut
Binder : Unknown
Filler : Long-leaf Ligero from the Dominican
Source : Purchased from Cigars International with my own funds

Today I have for you the Gurkha Empire II. This is a cigar that there is not much information floating around on except what is on the Cigar’s International website. To sum it up, there are six blends available that vary in construction, strength and flavor. Over the next six reviews, we shall see if I get those same results.

This cigar comes in one size, a 5.5 x 52.


My Gurkha Empire II had a nice firm feel to it, with quite a few veins, but no soft spots. I have one area that looks and feels like a bump. Best way I describe it is that a stem would be under the wrapper or binder. I do notice that the band and footband take up quite a bit of real estate, so I hope there are no problems under them.

Removing the footband was very simple as it pulled right off the end of the cigar. I noticed nothing underneath the band that will cause problems.

I sparked this cigar up with ease and was greeted with a bit of resistance on the draw and a bit of coffee on the palette..

First Third

We started off with a bit of coffee and woodiness with a little spice when passing through the sinus’. As in the Gurkha Empire I, I do take note of the ligero in this cigar, but I am a mild-medium smoker, so ligero is pretty noticeable for me.

Ash fell off the first time at about 1/4 inch, of course, landing on my keyboard.

Into the first third I am getting a predominate earthy taste on the aftertaste. I still taste coffee on the inhale, but after expunging all the smoke, my mouth feels kind of gritty and dirty. Now everyone will think I am an idiot and have no clue what I am talking about, but, I just tasted cauliflower. After sending smoke through my sinus cavity, it just smacked me with cauliflower taste in my mouth. Not raw cauliflower but cooked.

Second Third

Starting off in the second third of my Gurkha Empire II, we are at a medium body already for me.

I may have started this third a bit premature, but with that bump in the cigar, I figured I will include all of that in this third.

Well all that talk for nothing. Smoked right through the bump with no problems at all.

I am getting a predominant earthy taste with a bit of woodiness in the background. I still can taste the spice but it is more on the aftertaste than anything. I am still getting the cauliflower taste after the fact. I can taste it plain as day. I will say, I never noticed that in the others I smoked.

Body has stayed close to the medium range, maybe close to low full for me, but still nothing too much.

Final Third

While the snow falls outside I am going to get into the final third of my Gurkha Empire II.

Starting out we have the earthy taste with a bit of spice and cauliflower on the after taste. I would call the body medium-high right now.

Burn line has gotten nice and thin and is pretty even the whole way around.

Well I hate to say it but this third might not smoked the whole way. I am starting to get ammonia. I had this problem with the first cigar of the 3 I smoked, but not the second. Now I get it on the third. I really hate when I get that taste as it pretty much ruins the previous enjoyment I was getting from the cigar.

I had to end the cigar earlier than I normally do because the ammonia just would not go away.


I really liked this Gurkha Empire II until it hit the final third and got the ammonia. I am hoping that someone informs me if the ammonia will go away with aging or if it something that can not be fixed after the cigar is already rolled. I will do some research on my own in the meantime.

If you only smoke the first two thirds of a cigar, I would say to buy these as they had a nice flavor to them and were not overpowering. If you like to nub a cigar then I would wait to find out about the ammonia first.

Over all, I enjoyed this one more than the Gurkha Empire I because it did not get as strong for me in the first two thirds.

Look for my reviews on the rest of the series in the coming weeks.

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Purchase this album – Queensryche – Empire

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19 thoughts on “Gurkha Empire II

  1. Ammonia will age out, it’s a byproduct of the fermentation of the leaves. So give it a few months at the least, and a year is better, and try it again. Good review!

  2. I know I always keep on about the importance of giving cigars time and I know there are a lot of you out there who think that a cigar should be ready and at it’s peak as soon as it hits the shelf’s…But my point is, wouldn’t it be useful to know exactly when a cigar was boxed? I notice that there are far more companies putting Cuban style box dates on there cigars and I honestly don’t understand why more companies don’t do it, even if it’s just for the old fashioned chaps like me. Thanks.

  3. I had the same overwhelming ammonia taste when I first had the Gurkha Ledend Titan. I tried one and then put it in the back of the humidor. I completely forgot about it. It has been sitting on my humidor for almost 2 1/2 years. I should give one a try tonight. I can’t seem to get past the prices of Gurkha. Great quality…too expensive.

  4. I have a feeling that you’re going to be a big fan of the Empire V (Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper ). Haven’t tried it, but I’ve been hearing good things. I’m looking forward to the IV and VI which have the Brazilian wrappers (Actually I’m looking forward to YOU having them so I can see if they’re worth a 5-pack or a box, haha). Thanks for the review Mike, can’t wait for the rest!

  5. Good review! Don’t apologize for what you perceive as a cauliflower flavor. I think I know what you’re talking about. Besides, we associate flavors with what we know, and it is thus subjective. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  6. Initially this cigar sounded interesting, but if there is anything I can’t stand is an ammonia flavor. Nasty. From what I understand, proper fermentation should get rid of all ammonia (a by product given off during fermentation).

    Age may get rid of it, but my opinion is, if you are selling a cigar, it should be ready to smoke right now. That would be like selling a car that isn’t quite ready to drive. Gotta let it sit in the driveway for a few months.

    Sounds like a dud of a cigar, but thanks for the review!

  7. It seems like the more popular, or more sought after, a cigar is the more likely you are to get ammonia. I’m sure the producers are just trying to feed demand and the cigar doesn’t have enough time to age. The only “popular” cigar I’ve never had that problem with is Padron.

  8. First, I’m not a Gurkha fan at all. I like the vintage shaggy, but everything else pretty much is bland.
    But I’ve had 3 of the Empires so far (i THINK the I, V, and VI) and have been very impressed and would smoke any of these again. Especially impressed with the V, the connecticut, because it normally takes something special for me to like a natural wrapper cigar.
    Didn’t have problems with any of them. No ammonia yet.
    When i first started smoking about a decade ago i noticed a lot of ammonia in the last half of my cigars. Then i read somewhere that if you blow back through the cigar every 4 or 5 puffs you’ll get some of the toxin/ammonia buildup out of the cigar.
    Low and behold this has worked for me for years. Now that’s not to say there hasn’t been a strong, acidic cigar out there that has nullified this trick, but on the whole, it works for me.


  9. Nice review and very informative. I have had only one from my brother in law and that one was pretty tame and there wasn’t any amonia to it at all. It seems like I have a lot of cigars that seem awfully “green” to me and I am aging most of my new cigars for a year. The worst offenders of this seem to be maduro cigars as the Conny and the Cammy wrapped cigars seem to fine from the start. I think a year will let the harshness and amonia work it was out of the stick.

  10. Mike,

    Cauliflower? Can’t say I’ve ever heard that flavor mentioned in a cigar before. That would have put me off well before the ammonia kicked in….

  11. Keepin the reviews real – I like that! Keep up the great work!
    Sounds like this stick isn’t the best of the series by a long shot, I hope they get better for ya.

    …Cauliflower!! You crack me up!

  12. Good review Mike, sucks to have a good beginning reach a bad ending with that smoke. But you’re right, maybe aging changes that. I’m not a fan of Ghurka but shute what fun would cigar smoking be without trying something different.

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