Smoke Blog: Gurkha Viper

The Wife and the Little Bird went off to see Disney Princesses on Ice with some other ladies and their daughters, including my friend Tim’s wife and daughter. Rather than just wait around for them to get home, we decided to respond with a testosterone day. Our boys went to town on imaginary enemies with guns and swords, and we busted out the beer, whiskey, cigars, and football.

Tim supplied the cigars, some I’d never seen before from Gurkha called the Viper. Apparently they’re a response to the economic downturn: a lower-priced cigar for a time when it may not make sense to spend $10-15 a stick on a luxury item. They look very simple, too, sporting a small, red-and-white band with a simple image of a snake. The Gurkha name is printed in small lettering on the back side, with no sign of adornments like stamping and foil you see on some of their fancier bands. The wrapper has a rough texture, and though the cigars are box pressed, they’re much flatter than a typical box-pressed cigar, which tends to be more square.

The smoke itself wasn’t bad. “You get what you pay for” applies relative to the rest of the Gurkha line I’ve sampled, but relative to cigars at the same price point, it’s close. It was a bit bolder in taste than, say, a Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real, but not quite as smooth. Both the burn and the taste were consistent through the hour-and-a-half or so it took to smoke it, but while the construction on mine held up, Tim’s wrapper started to unravel at two separate points.

My guess is there’s a good reason they’re not prominently featured on the Gurkha website. They held their own with the boilermakers we put together, but I think I might reach for something else given a choice. Why select an economy version of a premium brand when there are premium brands available at the same price point?

This, by the way, came after some time watching NFL Red Zone. If you’ve not seen Red Zone before, it’s like football broadcasting with ADD. Every few minutes you get a different game, with break-ins when something exciting is going down. There are no commercial interruptions, and sometimes you even get a double view, as if even the director can’t decide which game you’ll want to see more. Not a bad way to watch football at all if your favorite teams aren’t on or are blacked out.

Even the Illinois weather held off, giving us some warm, sunny weather between storms, making for a nice, relaxing day. If we had grilled up some steaks we’d have nailed the testosterone trifecta of drinks, sports, and grilling. Maybe next time.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Monrozombi says:

    My humidor has been feeding me a steady supplie of Ghurkas for almost 6 months now and must say that i’m very impressed with every single stick i’ve had from them. While they are a bit pricey individually they are very much worth the bulk buying deals you can get them for.

  2. Mike says:

    I agree. Even this wasn’t bad, but I’d definitely prefer their premium lines.

    I had a Gurkha Legend a few weeks ago. I didn’t get a chance to blog it, but it was a great smoke.