In 2007, Gurkha Cigars launched the Cellar Reserve brand with a blend made entirely of Dominican tobacco. The line was expanded in 2011, when the company released the Cellar Reserve 15 Year, a blend that was sold exclusively at brick and mortar locations around the country. The Cellar Reserve Limitada followed in 2013, which replaced the criollo ’98 wrapper on the original blend with an Arapiraca maduro leaf from Brazil, while the Cellar Reserve Edición Especial Solara was released in 2014 and the Cellar Reserve Platinum debuted in 2015. Last year brought the Cellar Reserve 21, which uses a Connecticut shade grown wrapper over a binder and filler tobaccos grown in the Dominican Republic.

At this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Gurkha showed off yet another incarnation in the line, this time specifically released to commemorate the original cigar that debuted 10 years ago. However, unlike that blend, the aptly named Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary incorporates an Ecuadorian rosado wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos hailing from the Condega, Estelí and Jalapa regions in Nicaragua.

“The special edition 15-year Cellar Reserve cigar was created to commemorate the Cellar Reserve’s 10-year anniversary, Gurkha’s first brick and mortar cigar and its most successful brand,” said Kaizad Hansotia, ceo of Gurkha Cigars, in a press release. “The cigars will be rolled in a special vitola will be rolled in a hand selected, rare wrapper and come in a 50-count humidor box. This medium body, full-flavor and extremely complex smoke will come from an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper, the Vintage Nicaraguan filler from Condesa, Jalapa and Esteli and a Nicaraguan binder.”

Unlike any of the other versions, the newest cigar is only available in a 6 x 52 toro, and is packaged in humidors of 50 with only 1,000 humidors produced. Each humidor is priced at $700 or $14 per cigar.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary
  • Country of Origin: n/a
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian rosado
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Estelí and Jalapa)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $14 (Boxes of 50, $700)
  • Release Date: September 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 50 (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Covered in a milk chocolate brown wrapper, the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary features a roughness to the wrapper that reminds me of strongly of parchment and there are no soft spots anywhere on the cigar. There is virtually no oil to speak of, but one thing it does have is numerous obvious veins running up and down its length. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of manure, barnyard, oak, chocolate and coffee, while the cold draw brings distinct flavors of hay, wood, leather, almonds and espresso, along with a touch of sweetness.

Right off the bat, the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary features a dominant combination of both dark chocolate and almond butter, along with lesser flavors of hay, bitter espresso, green tea and toast. The profile is extremely creamy overall and I can taste a very slight sweetness trying to make itself known, but it stays pretty generic during the entire first third. Smoke production is above average and there is a nice amount of black pepper on the retrohale as well as spice on my tongue, although both begin to recede somewhat as the first third comes to an end. Construction-wise, the burn and draw are excellent so far while the strength level ends the first third well below the medium mark.

Thankfully, the sweetness from the first third of the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary starts becoming more distinct on the retrohale during the second third, reminding me of molasses. The dominant flavors continue to be a combination of dark chocolate and almonds with oak, hay, tea leaves, coffee beans and leather bringing up the rear. The profile is still quite creamy overall—especially on the finish—and there is an increasing amount of black pepper on the retrohale as well. Both the burn and the draw continue to impress, and the smoke production remains relatively high. Strength-wise, the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary easily hits medium mark by the time the second third draws to an end, and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

The final third of the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary includes a number of major changes, most notably the strength, which begins to increase dramatically. The profile is still extremely creamy overall, with dominant notes of oak and leather followed closely by flavors of almonds, cinnamon, fresh ground coffee, tea leaves and a touch of a floral note. The molasses sweetness from the second third is still very present, but the black pepper on the retrohale has diminished slightly, and the spice on my tongue is totally gone. The draw remains excellent, but the burn line has wavered quite a bit close to the end, forcing me to touch up to keep it from getting worse. As mentioned above, the overall strength sees a very large and noticeable increase, easily hitting the full mark by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.

Final Notes

  • The name for this cigar is just obnoxious, especially considering how similar it is to all of the other releases in the line.
  • Having said the above, the humidor that these cigars come in is absolutely gorgeous in viewed in person.
  • Interestingly, the Gurkha website lists four different vitolas in the Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary line: Robusto, Gran Especial, Imperial Presidente and Churchill.
  • In addition, the Gurkha website pegs this cigar as a medium-full blend and says that the wrapper is Ecuadorian habano, leading me to believe that someone screwed up when putting down the information on this particular blend.
  • Construction on all three samples was extremely good overall, with the draw giving the perfect amount of resistance whether I used a straight cut or v-cut, and the burn only had to be touched up once on each cigars, albeit all in the final third.
  • Gurkha Cigars advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples was extremely short for the vitola, with the average clocking in right at one hour and 18 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Gurkha Cellar Reserve 15 Year 10th Anniversary cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars have them in stock.
87 Overall Score

Gurkha often gets a bad rap, and while there have been some duds, the company does makes a number of very good cigars as well for those willing to seek them out. This is the latter. It is creamy, nutty and extremely well-balanced overall, with excellent construction in both the draw and burn. Yes, the dramatic increase in strength during the final third makes things a bit rough at the end of the cigar—which affected the overall balance and brought the score down a bit—but the first two thirds make tracking down this blend an easy choice to recommend trying.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.