From Sheikhs and Royalty to celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs, Gurkha Cigars are considered the Rolls Royce of cigars around the world. Famous for their $25,000 a box cigars and artistic packaging it’s easy to see why they are considered a luxury cigar enjoyed only by the affluent. While they are certainly a producer of premium high-end cigars, they also make lines within the budget of the every-day cigar smoker. Behind the name Gurkha Cigars is a very compelling and unusual story.
The Unique History of Gurkha Cigars
Founder Kaizad Hansotia started in the family business of luxury watches and high-end timepieces. Born to a wealthy family of Indian descent, he was raised in Hong Kong and London. While on vacation in India in 1988, Kaizad met a Portuguese vendor selling cigars under the name Gurkha. Entranced by the art of cigar making, Kaizad bought the entire inventory and company from the stranger for the low price of $143.
His plan was to hand out the cigars as a token of appreciation to his watch clients. After sharing with duty free suppliers he started getting requests for more cigars. The spark was ignited and Kaizad began to immerse himself in the cigar market trying to find a way he could break through this highly competitive industry. He quickly realized there was a market in place for the high-end cigar. By producing high quality cigars that were of superior quality, Gurkha Cigar Company was born and Kaizad was able to define a new segment in the cigar market. His innovation changed the way smokers thought about purchasing premium cigars.
The Origin of the Gurkha Cigar Name
Although the story of Gurkha Cigars can be traced back to the Portuguese man that first sold his cigars to Kaizad, the name goes back much further than that. Nepalese fighters who carried Khukuri swords were often referred to by this name, and colonial soldiers in the 1880s became enamored with the history and the skill of the Gurkha warriors. To pay tribute to these warriors, the colonial soldiers started calling the cigars they produced Gurkha.
The name quickly began to spread throughout the British colonies, making its way to India where the Portuguese man would eventually pass it on to Kaizad. To continue the tradition of paying respect to the Nepalese warriors, Kaizad kept the name after acquiring the small cigar company and incorporated their likeness in the logo design.
Gurkha Cigars Premium Releases
The first release was the cognac infused Grand Reserve, which retailed for $12 at a time when the average cigar cost around $2.50 and high-end was $6. The cigars sold and he went on to create even additional lines, including the most expensive cigar in the world.
Gurkha released the His Majesty’s Reserve (HMR) that uses 18-year-old tobacco and is soaked in an entire bottle of the expensive Louis XIII Cognac. At $25,000 (or more) for a box, the cigar averages about $1,000 per stick…and they sell out of the limited run.
Growing With The Cigar Market
While the brand was geared toward the lifestyles of the rich and famous, over time the market grew to include the “average” cigar smoker, a blue-collar worker who simply wanted to enjoy a cigar on his middle-class salary. Breaking away from their original ideals of only crafting high-end cigars, Gurkha decided to meet demand and produce quality cigars made from less expensive tobacco.
The challenge was the company had started at the top of the cigar industry, so they were quickly associated with high price tags far out of the reach of the average smoke. When they created lines to meet the demand, cigar smokers questioned would the quality suffer in order for the price to be accommodating for them. It took the middle class a while before they began to realize that a quality cigar is a quality cigar. This is evident in the lines Gurkha Cigars produced that are considered some of the best in this industry.
The 125th Anniversary, the Ninja, and the Cellar Reserve stand alone as a testament to a high quality cigar that the everyday man can afford. Cigar smokers today consider Gurkha Cigars one of the best cigar brands, reasonably priced and packed with high grade tobacco that has a powerful thick flavor that still honors the tradition of exceptional quality.
Gurkha Cigar Lines
Gurkha Cigars produces over 40 lines that are handmade in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. These include…
- Cask Blend
- 125th Anniversary
- Cellar Reserve
- Royal Challenge
- Private Select
- Grand Reserve
- Signature 1887 Red
- Signature 1887 Black
- Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial
- Cellar Reserve Limitada
- 125th Anniversary Special Edition
- Genghis Khan
- Ancient Warrior
- Black Dragon Tubos
- Triad Natural
- The Beast
- The Beauty
- Special Ops
East India Trading Company
- Classic: Havana Blend
- Wicked Indie
- Red Witch
- Prize Fighter
- Limited Edition 2103