Tag Archive for gurkha

Smoke Blog: Gurkha Yakuza

Labor Day. I guess Summer’s done, then.

This one shot by in a flash. The daily grind of two jobs played a role in that, I’m sure.

My family has gone back in the house, and as I sit here watching this evening’s backyard bonfire die down, I’m thinking about the long list of things I intended to accomplish over the summer. I haven’t finished a single one.


That’s part of why my cigar time is so valuable to me. I’ve talked about it before, how it forces me to slow down and sit still for a while. Sometimes I write a little, sometimes I noodle over work- or family-related things, and sometimes I just plain tune out and chill.

Soon, though, it’ll be too cold. I won’t have this cigar time, and this year that worries me more than ever before. I realize now I need to find a new zen to fill the void. It may be as simple as cleaning the office again, turn it back into a workspace rather than a collection point for all the paperwork and bullshit that stacks up in our kitchen. Reclaim a space where I can spread out with creative and brain fuel rather than chaos and stress.

Or maybe it’s the bourbon and cigar talking.

My last Gurkha Yakuza cigar is burning down with the fire, and I’m not all that sad to see them go. They’re not a bad smoke, but they’re definitely not a casual, anytime cigar for me.

The Yakuza has a medium-full body, with a heavy, leathery smoke that has a subtle bite almost like gunsmoke. Seems rather fitting for the brand. Though the wrapper is on the dark side, it’s not oily or bitter like, say, a maduro, with a lighter taste not indicative at all of what’s to come once it’s lit. And despite the stronger flavor, it doesn’t linger long on the palate or overpower an accompanying drink.

So, while not unpleasant, it demands one’s attention. It’s a quality smoke, like much of the Gurkha line, but not one I’d pass around to my friends who prefer lighter or even flavored cigars. It’ll be one I’d pick up as part of a mixed package in the future, or as a one-off smoke at a shop when I’m in the mood for something heavier.

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.

Smoke Blog: Celebration Time

Saturday afternoon, I sent the latest draft of Lie with the Dead to my editor at Evileye Books.

This calls for celebration! I busted out the cigars.

Gurkha Beauty

The Gurkha Beauty. Now I need to find the Beast.

I finished the draft just in time to grab another Thanksgiving dinner (and thus help my friends polish off leftovers), and we followed it up with smokes in the garage. I busted out a K. Hansotia Park Avenue 44, a slender stick with a Connecticut wrapper.

Very nice. Smooth, creamy, and light on the palate. I liked its clean burn and thick, white smoke. Good stuff. No less than one would expect from the man behind Gurkha cigars.

Which made a nice prelude to hitting another friend’s man cave today for football, stuffed pizza, drinks, and smokes. It made a great spot to break out the Gurkha Beauty (pictured above) my publisher gave me over the summer, and I promised I’d hold out on smoking it until I finished Lie with the Dead.

If I’d known it would be this good, I would have had a much harder time waiting.

Billed as a medium-body smoke, I found it loaded with flavor, most notable a hint of leather. Its clean finish surprised me, given the heady flavor. It boasted a smooth draw and solid construction, and it never burned too hot. I was most impressed, however, with it’s near three-hour burn time. I lit up after lunch and only put it down long enough to grab a refill on my drink, but it still burned slow and steady.

It jumped to my top five, easy. I may need to track down the Beast next summer.

We had time for one more, so I selected a Nub Maduro. I’m not sure I would have tasted anything less after the Beauty, and the Maduro’s hints of cocoa worked out just fine. I generally like Nubs, but I find they often burn out easy. This one was no different. It didn’t harm the experience, but it’s just part of the process for such a thick cigar.

All in all, a well-celebrated occasion. I have no release date information for Lie with the Dead yet, but I hope to be through a final draft with my editor before long. Then the publisher will start nailing down a release schedule.

In the meantime, you may want to pick up Winter Kill in trade paperback or on the Kindle. You will be able to read Lie with the Dead on its own, but it will be a far more enjoyable experience if you stick with the series.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to plotting Book 3. After fans read Lie with the Dead, they’re not going to want to wait long for the next installment in the series. \m/

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.

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.