Take the Her Majesty's Reserve, a cognac-infused churchill that retails for $750. Each. You would have to be the dumbest rich guy in the history of dumb rich guys to even think about buying a such a blatant insult to your own intelligence. We've met a few guys who, because of that cigar alone, won't touch a Gurkha on general principle. Yet the same company also makes the Wicked Indie, a genuinely nice cigar that sells for around $5.
Even more confusing is the plethora of brands they've made exclusively for mail order houses like Cigars International over the years. Many have come and gone but the Park Avenue line seems like it's here to stay. At $3.80 each, or less than $3 when purchased by the box, they fall squarely into the category of 'cheap' by today's standards. Or should we say inexpensive instead? Because cheap implies bad, and these are definitely not that.
They come in two sizes, a 7x48 churchill and a 6x52 torpedo. Though a little rustic in appearance, and just a tad light in the hand, these could otherwise be a cigar costing twice the price.
The Ecuador-grown, Connecticut seed wrapper is pleasantly oily, golden and smooth. The band is a little fussy and ornate for our tastes but it doesn't look half bad. Unlike some of Gurkha's over-the-top presentations, even the box is simple in a good way. At least you know you're paying mostly for the cigars.
Our impressions of the two sizes are largely the same. The first few puffs are undistinguished but the experience quickly improves. There's a solid backbone of buttered toast with hints of autumn spice. As it progresses, a slight nutty element emerges along with some wood on the finish. This is not a highly complex smoke, but it is very pleasant throughout. The smoke has a creamy texture, and the sweet-spicy interplay is as satisfying as some Davidoffs we've smoked. The torpedo tends to be the more intense of the two.
About the only downside is both smoke quicker than average. We wouldn't call them under filled, because if they were, the draw would be notably loose and the cigars would become sour and unpleasant. That didn't happen. Still, the torpedo is a solid 45-minute cigar, the churchill is good for nearly an hour.
The Gurkha Park Avenue makes for an excellent early morning cigar, as it's flavorful yet mild to medium bodied. We'd reach for one of these over a lot of other, pricier Connecticut shade wrapped smokes. So there you have it—a perfect example of the difference between cheap, and inexpensive. A pleasant surprise.
6x52 (torp), 7x48 (church)
W: Ecuador Connecticut
B: Not stated
An inexpensive cigar that's hardly cheap looking or tasting. Pleasant, medium-bodied and more interesting than many similar smokes. A Gurkha we approve of.