The luxury cigar brand with unlikely beginnings is made in several factories in the Dominican Republic including Las Lavas S.A., PDR Cigars and American Caribbean Cigars factories in Nicaragua. Although around for over a century, Gurkha cigars had their true start in the 1990s.
Certain Gurkha cigars are considered among the best in the world and therefore come with a hefty price tag but you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to get a taste of this unique stooge. The brand also sells singles for under $20 yet manages to maintain its image as a super exclusive brand.
So what is their secret? Why are Gurkhas so high in demand? Let’s take a look at their origins to explain their high end allure.
Where Are Gurkhas From?
The Gurkha that you smoke today was either made in the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua. Despite their not sounding Latin-American, they are still produced in the region according to the traditional methods.
The brand name Gurkha comes from recent colonial history. The Gurkhas, also known as Ghorkhali were Nepali soldiers recruited by the British East India Company Army. They were mostly Nepali men from the Gurkha Kingdom.
The Gurkhas are still present in several countries in South Asia, including India, Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia. They form special units within the Indian and British armies.
What Happened to Gurkha Cigars?
Gurkha cigars are rolled in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua but that is not quite where the latest chapter of their story began. The person responsible for Gurkha’s success is Kaizad Hansotia, Indian-born, UK-raised and currently living in Miami.
He first tried the cigar by chance, on a beach in Goa, India. He knew he was smoking gold and quickly bought the little shop’s entire stock and later also the brand. The first cigars were sold in duty-free shops, part of Hansotia’s family business.
Their duty-free retail debut is part of the reason how Hansotia managed to carve out a high-end super premium niche market. Starting with $17 singles in 1990, the packaging became more and more eccentric over the years. The Gurkha Royal Courtesan cigar takes the lead at a price of $1.36 million. Compared to that, the Gurkha Black Dragon seems somewhat reasonable at $1,150 per cigar, right?
Today, you no longer need to go to the airport to find a Gurkha cigar. The brand has expanded into regular retail around the world while each cigar is still hand-rolled in Central America.
What Factory Makes Gurkha Cigars?
Gurkha Cigar Group has a contract with American Caribbean Cigars which is also responsible for the rolling of La Rosa de Sandiego and Leccia Tobacco. Their factory is located in Esteli, Nicaragua.
However, that is not the only place where Gurkhas are made. The cigar company also sources out its production to Casa Cuevas Cigars which owns Las Lavas S.A. in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Other cigars series are contracted out the PDR Cigars factory in Tamboril, also in the Dominican Republic. This factory is known for their tradition Cuban cigar making methods and exclusivity in services.
Just by their choice in cigar factories, you can tell that Gurkha Cigars are produced at the highest quality. You can expect true craftsmanship and attention to detail, steeped in history.
Are Gurkha Cigars Good?
Gurkha Cigars are an excellent choice. They cater to the luxury market for cigars so if you feel like a true celebration, this is the way to go.
The brand has earned several accolades, including the title of Best Cigar in the World. In 2012 they won the Golden Label Award for their special edition 125th anniversary cigar as well as the SAPPI European Printing Award for their elaborate crest.
However, the design is not the only reason why they are so famous. Their taste is astounding! They are known for deep flavors, smooth finishes and a lingering end note that you hope will never disappear.
How Much Is a Gurkha Cigar Worth?
Despite their exclusivity, Gurkha Cigar Group also offers delicious cigars at a more accessible price range. The newest releases from 2020 are perhaps the best examples of how affordability doesn’t have to destroy quality.
|Cigar Series||Price Range||Size|
|Gurkha Real||$8-$9||Robusto, Toro, Churchill, Magnum|
|Gurkha Nicaragua||$10-$12||Robusto, Toro, Magnum, Belicoso|
|Gurkha Treinta||$13-$14||Robusto, Toro, Magnum|
Their more exclusive series run in the thousands of dollars. Some of the most notable examples include:
- Black Dragon Tubos
- The Beauty
- The Beast
Because of their extravagant packaging, Gurkha cigars have become a prestige item. That is how the brand has managed to go beyond the daily smoker and grown into a much beloved and aspirational cigar for the truest aficionados.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Gurkha a Good Brand?
Gurkha is a fantastic cigar brand. The company is known for their top quality and exclusivity but also offer cigars in the premium sector. Some even consider Gurkha cigars as the best cigar in the world.
Where Are Gurkha Royal Courtesan Cigars Made?
The Gurkha Royal Courtesan cigar is made by blindfolded artisans in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. The stuffing is sourced from the Himalayas which is why it has such as rich unmatched flavor.
How Long Have Gurkha Cigars Been Around?
Gurkha cigars have been produced for over 125 years but it wasn’t until the 1990s that they began to grow in prestige. The first ‘new’ Gurkha cigar was sold in 1990 in duty-free shops at airports.
Few cigar brands have such an interesting history as the Gurkha Cigar Group. They have a truly international history with key elements of their story in South Asia as well as Central America. Perhaps that is also why the brand is so alluring to the cosmopolitan.
To this day, the cigars are still handcrafted in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and very exclusively in Honduras. As the world’s master rollers live there, we can expect the brand to continue production in these countries. After all, why change a winning formula?