Don’t say I don’t listen to our readers. Back in early February, a reader, who I’ll call “John H.” for this article, asked me if I had any intentions of doing a State of the Brand feature on Gurkha. The truth was no, we had a bunch of manufacturers that we were talking with (we still do), but Gurkha wasn’t one of them. He mentioned that he knew Paula Fonseca of Gurkha and wondered if I’d be interested in getting in contact with her. A little over a month later and here we are, the State of the Brand regarding perhaps the most unique cigar brand in the world.
2010, A Good Year…
In fairness, I’ve yet to hear anyone say 2010 was a bad year, but when speaking with Kaizad Hansotia, he told me that Gurkha was continuing to grow Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L., the factory in the Dominican Republic. Hansotia told me that a lot of the product is backordered and they are focusing on relieving this issue. In addition to the Viper and Ninja, Kaizad said that there has been a resurgence in the Black Dragon and Triad lines. I was told that Gurkha has no plans for a price increase, which is always a good thing in wake of the many that have been introduced of late.
Seduction & Royal Challenge
Kaizad wasn’t initially a fan of the Viper and Ninja lines and their price points; which were a far cry from Gurkha’s traditional focus on the ultra-premium price points. However, Kaizad told me very quickly it was apparent via sales and customer response that his sales staff was onto something with these price points. As such, Gurkha will introduce two new lines in the lower prince range: Seduction and Royal Challenge. Hansotia wasn’t willing to give me any other details other than that these will B&M only.
I first wrote about the Gurkha Raja here and since then have hear various words about its future. Hansotia has told me that it will be out in 2011, it won’t be until after the IPCPR show in July. But fear not, Gurkha will have something exciting at the show.
I asked Hansotia about a true Lancero for Gurkha, as despite tons of cigars, Gurkha has never released a size. I’ve been told to expect one in either the Ninja or Evil blend. No word on date.
I was a bit surprised when Kaizad told me that there wasn’t Gurkha merchandise like t-shirts, hats, etc. However, it’s coming… Twenty t-shirt designs should be available soon for Gurkha fans to purchase. Given the work with packaging and their website, which is some of best looking in the industry; I’m interested to see the work on the swag.
Gurkha Taster’s Club
I mentioned this earlier, but Gurkha has announced their Taster’s Club. One-hundred consumers will be selected and sent samples to test and review. The program should be finalized in April, you can sign up here. Paula Fonseca has stressed that Gurkha is really looking to get consumers and their opinions; as opposed to retailers. You can find more info on Facebook or e-mail tastersclubgurkhacigars.com.