It’s time to set aside your political beliefs in the name of science!
On January 20, 2017, Gurkha Cigars announced that they would be providing a special blend for the Inauguration Day festivities; rolling a very limited 2,017 cigars and gifted to Donald J. Trump, friends, family, colleagues, and White House guests. In a similar fashion to the original Cohiba and Trinidad cigars, which were only available as diplomatic gifts (1966 – 1981), Gurkha announced that the cigars would not be made for sale—rolled exclusively as diplomatic gifts for the Trump administration.
Kaizad Hansotia, CEO of Gurkha Cigars, was personally invited to the Inaugural Ball; having this to say about the celebratory cigar:
Trump Presidente Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuador
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: N/A (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (2,017 cigars)
- Vitola: N/A
- Price: $15.00
Trump Presidente cigars were obtained by Cigar Dojo from Gurkha the week following and have been resting for a proper review. At this time, the cigars have managed to make it to retail, showing up on Corona Cigar Co.’s online store in single quantities at $15/cigar. It is unclear how many Corona has available, although the site does max-out at a quantity of 449 available to purchase. It is assumed that Corona obtained the remaining cigars that were leftover from the Inauguration festivities—Gurkha didn’t respond to our inquiry on the details of the sale.
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Gurkha’s Trump Presidente is immediately noticeable as being quite different from your average Gurkha cigar. For starters, it’s huge (or should I say, YUGE), dialing in at 8″ x 48 double corona (although, the official size was not listed and could conceivably be a 49 or 50 ring gauge). Topping the massive and appropriately sized cigar is a shapely nipple cap—this is a nice touch, although I must admit, some sort of detachable and lightly shaggy head may have been more fitting (these lousy puns probably won’t stop here folks…). The construction looks great, having a triple cap and solid feel from head to foot (with Nicaragua-based American Caribbean Tobacco S.A. being the most likely factory to have rolled these cigars). It’s an overall nice appearance, with light veins and a soft, suede feel on the wrapper—although, the seams are not perfectly flush.
Aside from the tobacco’s appearance, Trump Presidente is interesting in that it departs from the lavish and gaudy presentation often proudly displayed by Gurkha (to the extent that it is occasionally used as a criticism from critics). With Trump Presidente, there are no boxes or packaging, offering the standard Gurkha band and an additional sub-band that present the cigar’s title in a glossy black and gold ink—sans embossing. It’s a simplistic approach—no doubt due to the limited time from Election Day to Inauguration Day—one that is actually appreciated and allows the tobacco to take center stage.
On the nose, there is a light leather note and a light and sweet Cuban musk aroma. On the cut head there is leather and an interesting menthol note, and similar nuances on the foot, with the addition of a light vanilla. After cutting, the pre-light draw feels like a medium-plus resistance (better than expected from the long size); showing notes of hay and citrus.
The cigar begins with an especially smooth start, offering a velvety texture in the mouth and creamy notes of citrus (orange cream) and a light, lingering spice in the retrohale. Additionally, the cigar has a noticeably pleasing aroma of floral elements and light pipe tobacco. A near-perfect draw produces medium smoke output, offering an extremely retrohalable experience of caramel, nutmeg spice, and whiskey barrel oak as the profile’s backbone.
Just before a half-inch in, the burn line becomes wavy enough to require a quick touchup. Around this point, the spices pull back, offering a clean finish that only lasts a brief moment after the smoke is exhaled. The flavors hold steady for another two inches, where added soft vanilla notes begin to resemble a Spanish flan dessert.
Nearing the halfway point, the smoke suddenly lets up, producing harsh and ashy flavors and prompting a proper relight. This, as is often the case, jumpstarts the cigar’s profile; loads of nuts, graham crackers, and even mesquite-smoked pork round out the experience. In the retrohale, a subtle spice builds to a more fiery jalapeño kick when allowing the smoke to linger for a few moments.
Nearing the cigar’s bands, the smoke begins to heat up and again requires a relight. Flavors remain somewhat consistent, with toasted and candied nuts being balanced by a dark and charred oak.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Would I? Absolutely. Will I? Hopefully, but it will most likely only happen a handful of times—these babies are about as rare as they come! It’s interesting to see that they made it to retail—which, I have to admit, made the experience a little less fun, considering it was specifically mentioned in the cigar’s press release that they were only made as diplomatic gifts.
That being said, I can flat-out say that this was easily the best cigar I’ve ever had from Gurkha. At its best, Trump Presidente had the high level of complexity you’d expect from a high-caliber Nicaraguan puro or possibly Cuban (at times). Despite the multiple touchups and occasional construction issues (including a draw that seemed to tighten as the cigar progressed), this was a rewarding experience that could warrant a spot among the “celebration cigar” nook of your humidor—whether or not Trump’s presidency has given you reason to celebrate, that’s your call.
- Smoking Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes.
- Pairing Recommendation: Old Fashioned Cocktail, Mojito, Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Lot “B”, Cognac XO
- Purchase Recommendation: 5 cigars
- Great complexity
- Velvety smooth texture
- Whiskey-soaked oak "it factor" flavor
- Burn issues
- Draw tightens throughout cigar
- Long size becomes burdensome, encouraging quicker puffing at finale, resulting in hot and ashy notes