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It's A Love, Hate Relationship
Gurkha’s Yakuza is stunning. Yes, even for the brand known for their extravagant packaging, they’re actually outdone themselves with an elaborate, unrivaled, hand-carved box. Even though the most hardened enthusiast’s jaw would still drop upon first sight of this beauty. But you know the old adage, “You can’t smoke the packaging…”
We’ve seen this before from Gurkha, right? Stunning design, average blend, right? Wrong. Yakuza was a surprise from the first moment I fired one up. Coming across as full-bodied, Yakuza has this subtle creaminess to the blend that keeps it from becoming to over-powering. Otherwise, your palate gets hit with notes of spice, espresso, and oak that really drive home a relaxing feeling. This paired really well with a nice bourbon and is the perfect nightcap to a long day. My only complaint? The price. These beauties will set you back a few coins but these are one of the few cigars that actually live up to the price tag.
Look, I’ll admit it. I totally got sucked into the packaging of this beauty. An ammo can? A sleek beanie? Shiny foil?! Ok, none of that means anything when it comes down to the cigar itself but I still like to be romanced from time to time.
So what is the blend like? Rubicon is made in Nicaragua with Dominican tobaccos and finished with Pennsylvania Broadleaf maduro. The blend starts off with a wallop of spice that wasn’t very welcome but it settled in quite nicely after that. The smoke is heavy and thick and just hung on palate with an incredibly long finish. Notes of cedar, espresso, and dark chocolate stay with you long after the cigar is finished. I wouldn’t start my day with a Rubicon but it’ll definitely be my go-to cigar after a long summer day.
I really loved Ave Maria's Reconquista when it came out a few years back. I mean, it's not something I enjoy everyday after work, but the blend was excellent for a special occasion. And looking at Divinia's price tag, tells me this will only be enjoyed on special occasions as well.
So what are you paying all that money for? A really damn good cigar. Divinia is near flawless. The blend starts off light and smooth and quickly builds to a medium to full body. I got notes of spice and almonds with hints of espresso and cream. The balance of the cigar is amazing and you'll instantly realize this beauty can go toe-to-toe with any top shelf heavyweight. Make that occasion a little more special and pick up some Divinia.
Robusto No. 1 (5.5" x 54) There is no contest, this size fully portrays all Ruination has to offer. Intense spice overwhelms the palate from the first puff as oaky flavors and earthy mask its hearty, spicy undertones. The thick gauge allows for a smooth, even burn as the blend produces copious amounts of thick smoke. The aroma has notes of pepper with a touch of cedar. Phenomenal.
Belicoso (5.7" x 56) Perfectly constructed and sporting a shiny, oily sheen, this belicoso is slightly less robust with a smoother character than the other sizes. This size is perfect for the medium to full enthusiast looking to try this full-bodied blend but afraid of being overwhelmed with tons of spicy flavors. With great balance, we easily recommend this size to the most discerning aficionados.
Robusto No. 2 (6" x 60) In one word, powerful. Strength overwhelms the complexities found in the thicker sizes as the cigar continues to gain in strength from foot to head, creating an incredibly robust finish. The aftertaste will remain on the palate for a while after the cigar is extinguished. If you prefer a full-bodied firecracker with some complexity but consistently blasts the palate with black pepper, this is your cigar.
'B' (Torpedo) (6.1"x52) Beautiful box pressed torpedo with a dark and oily wrapper. This cigar boasts some bready caramel notes with a sweet finish. Excellent burn and draw.
'R' (5.0"x54) This fat robusto is well filled and heavy in the hand. Strong notes of wood and bread on the palate with a moderate finish.
'C' (7.0"x54) This cigar is a monster. Nice oily wrapper with firm construction. Wood tones accompanied by a caramel sweetness. Lots of flavor and medium to full bodied.
'E' (6.0"x54) This medium to full bodied maduro is very rich with sweet notes of wood and bread on the palate. Burned a bit hot toward the end.
Pyramid No. 9 (6.2"x52) Damp with a very light and subtle sweetnss. Notes of peat with a moderate finish and balance. Medium to full bodied with a full flavor.
Robusto No. 7 (4.5"x54) Smoky and earthy cigar. Medium bodied with a moderate flavor and short finish. Some minor burn issues but the flavor was pleasant.
Belicoso No. 11 (4.8"x50) This short torpedo came out of the gate strong with earthy notes of wood and cinnamon but became bitter and hot as it was smoked. Moderately balanced with a medium body and flavor.
Untold Story Maduro (7.5"x53) Dark and oily wrapper on this large perfecto. A fair draw and even burn. This cigar boasts a rich chocolate aroma with strong earthy undertones. Dry finish with hints of cherry.
Short Story Maduro (4.5"x49) Dark and toothy wrapper. The smoke is damp and very well refined with hints of sweetness and peat and a surprisingly short finish. Mellow to medium bodied with a moderate flavor.
Signature Maduro (6.0"x47) A nice sweet cigar with a good burn and solid ash. The sweet notes are well balanced with a slight spiciness and a moderate finish.
Masterpiece Maduro (9.0"x52) This large perfecto is a great cigar that has a great deal of complexity. Peaty balanced aroma on the palate with a longer sweet finish. Medium bodied with a rich full flavor.
Classic Maduro (7.0"x48) This cigar had some burn issues with a flavor that was slightly off balance. Damp and earthy aroma with a moderate finish.
Work of Art Maduro (4.7"x60) This fat perfecto was dark and toothy but burned a bit hot. Peaty with hints of sweetness and a short buttery finish. The moderate flavor was not balanced. Medium bodied.
Rothschild (4.5"x50): Smooth oily wrapper with cedar pre-light aroma. Slow pull with some burn issues throughout. Gradual build in body and aroma finishing medium to full. Wood and nut flavors, slightly too much work but yielded excellent flavors.
Pita (6.1"x50): Dark and toothy wrapper. Slightly tighter draw but produced a lot of smoke. Spice through nose and on palate. Rich aroma and heavy wood notes. Consistent and complex filling the palate with flavor and texture.
El Doble (6.0"x60): Toothy with a reddish brown wrapper. Rich aromas off of the first puff and consistent. Some burn issues throughout. Cool on the palate with some spice on the finish. Burn evens out with a little patience, otherwise wrapper went up like a fuse. Cedar and wood notes predominant.
Double Corona (6.7"x48): Dark and oily, gorgeous wrapper. Excellent burn and draw with an ash that fell even with the foot. Very consistent with a gradual build in character with nut and cedar tones. Well balanced and complex.
Magnum (5.1"x54): Dark and oily wrapper. Smooth draw with a lot of smoke and a sweeter flavor on the palate. Spice through nose and a gradual build in body. Even burn with an ash that fell flush with the foot. Slow smoking with a rich and robust flavor and aroma.
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