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Doc's Analysis - Gurkha Black Ops Maduro Toro

Over the decades, there have been numerous video games about war. Some are interesting, some are horrible, and some are just down right forgettable. There is one franchise that has lasted more than 20 years and released 23 versions at the time of writing this blog, Call of Duty. Even if you are not much of a gamer, I wager that you've heard of it. It is currently making 14yr olds across the globe super rich! Cool & crazy, but that's for a different blog. Luckily in the cigar community, rarely are people going after anyone all warlike. It's a chill, brother & sisterhood of leaf lovers who understand the power of slowing down with a delicious cigar. In my experience, it has been a community of open arms. That said though, I can think of one debate in particular that may muster up some warlike feelings. "Does Gurkha make good cigars?" Oh boy. Grab the popcorn, take a seat in your favorite armchair and read the comments. It's hysterical. Half the comments will say Gurkha has amazing cigars and produces some of the best in the world, while the other half will say from the bottom of their heart that it's a trash company. Hey, I guess if you like a cigar, you like a cigar, right? No harm in that. So let's put aside all the he-said she-said and have an honest look at the Gurkha Black Ops Maduro Toro.

Oiled up and ready for battle

A skull, wings, a dagger; hard to argue it doesn't look cool

Rolled up nicely

Stuffed evenly

Sorry, the sun was going down. You get the idea though

The Deets

Cigar: Gurkha Black Ops Maduro Toro

Origin: Nicaragua

Factory: Unsure

Size: 6 x 50

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Appearance 9.5/10

Alright, the little boy in me is diggin' the band. It has plenty of "cool" elements and is applied to the cigar perfectly. The cap is simple, but well done. The overall feel if pretty smooth with impressive seams. Veins are quite faint and the shape is very cylindrical. Density is on the firm side. A fine looking smoke soldier.

Draw 8/10

A standard straight chop was applied. I decided to use my tweezers for minor adjustments before lighting. Once lit, the draw was certainly firm, but I was able to get decent smoke output. Roughly halfway in things became tighter. I did some poking with the draw tool without removing any tobacco. It helped. Not a lot though. It was smoking fine enough, so I put down the tinker tools and just let it be.

Burn/Construction 8.5/10

The Black Ops did ok in this category. The burn line needed some touchups on occasion, although nothing worth getting the knickers in a bunch. Ash color was marbled and held up for the most part. There were a couple wings that fluttered off. The burn & construction on this sample is average for the price bracket.

Taste 8/10

1/3 - Black Ops Maduro kicks things off with notes fitting to its name like musty & dusty. I also taste bark and soft black pepper. The retro on the intro is an interesting mix of hay and 50yd old black licorice. Onward I pick up burnt toffee and pencil shavings. At the end of the 1st third I picked up a strange prominent note of what I can only describe as a mix of red & purple Kool-Aid. Ok Gurkha, that's different.

2/3 - Peppery steak is a note pulling to the front as I make my way into the 2nd third. The Kool-Aid note is still around and is leaving a sweet coating on the lips during the finish. That's tasty, but the bold, hot earth that is making itself known is not so pleasant. I notice a note of anise bread and wish it was not so muted. Overall body is still pretty dry despite the "Oh Yeah! infusion". Retro is now black & white pepper.

3/3 - The biggest transition here is the retro. What was a soft & inviting is now pinging the nostrils on the way out. I sometimes don't mind a hearty retro zing, but this one is missing the mark. Kool-Aid man busted a wall, poured some beverages, and has since exited the building on the final third, leaving dry tumbleweed floating by. Baking cocoa came and went pretty quickly. Now all complexity has evaporated and I'm left with only dusty hay and lemon peel.

Overall 8.5/10

Was this a great cigar? Not in my opinion. Was it a horrible cigar? No, I wouldn't say that either. The first half, while still having some unflattering notes, did provide some interesting ones with the blend. The second half on the other hand, took a downturn. I will say that it did have a nice look to it and seemed like it had some potential. To be fair to Gurkha, this cigar is on the lower end of the spectrum for them and isn't even showcased on their website at all. This cigar can be had from numerous shops for 5 bucks or less. Keeping that in mind, would you expect it to have the quality of a $20 cigar? No. So it is what it is, but pick one up and let me know what you think. Worst case scenario you're only out a few shillings.

**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 1



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