The world's most expensive cigar
The cigar-related question I am asked probably the most by both cigar smokers and non-smokers is: What is the most expensive cigar in the world? Though this can be debated amongst collectors, it is most likely Gurkha's Black Dragon, released in 2006. Only five cases were available, they came in a hand-carved, camel-bone box, and cost a record $1,150 each, if you do the math and equate the box price to the cigar level. Yes, that is per cigar, not the whole 100 count case, which was priced at $115,000!
More recently, Gurkha's His Majesty's Reserve has been released. At a mere $15,000 per box of 20, or $750 for a single cigar, this is a relative bargain compared to the Black Dragon. Limited to fewer than 100 boxes, these premium stogies are made with the most expensive tobacco, and are then infused with an entire bottle of Louis XIII cognac – which is often considered to be the finest cognac in the world. Maybe His Majesty's Reserve lower price point in more recent times is indicative of the down economy, but at $750 a cigar – come on! I just can't fathom a single cigar being worth anywhere near that much. Keep in mind, this is a lot of money for something you intentionally set on fire and burn to ashes. However, if somebody does want to send me one in an attempt to change my mind, feel free to contact me at the e-mail address provided on this page.
Please note: Today, Gurkha markets a Black Dragon that can be purchased at cigar stores around the country in the $12 to 20 range. I hope this goes without saying, but this cigar is not the same as the 2006 version. Gurkha makes some nice cigars that are much more reasonable in price, but they do tend to be among the more expensive cigars in a cigar shop.
This brings me to a review of the most expensive cigar that I ever had the opportunity to smoke. It retails for $50 a stick -- which is again way out of the price range I would be comfortable paying for a cigar, unless I hit the lottery. However, it was given to me to review, mainly due to my Bullz-Eye affiliation, and I am grateful for the opportunity. However, I will be honest in my evaluation.
Now let's get smokin' – a high-priced, super premium cigar!
Size: 6 inches long, 60 Ring Gauge
As we've already established, this is not the most expensive cigar you could purchase, but it is an extremely expensive cigar at $50 a pop. It certainly looks the part, boasting a beautiful deep red hue on the wrapper leaf, probably its primary feature. This color is often referred to by manufacturers as Rosado, and is a rare Nicaraguan cigar wrapper leaf. Their mahogany red wrappers, and an embossed and bronzed gold foil band, complete the look. The double-banded cigar has the words "hand leafed" on one of the bands, which I can only assume is a fancy way of saying "made by hand." Almost every hand-made cigar will say "hecho de mano," Spanish for "made by hand." I guess the upper crust who can afford high dollar cigars just need to say something different. The band also claims the cigar to be "The divine right of kings." I am not royalty, or so arrogant as to believe that I deserve this sort of right, but admittedly it does stroke the ego as you put the flame to something of this nature.
The 6-inch x 60 size of the cigar did fit the image of a "fat cat's" kind of cigar. In flaming it up, I quickly noted some very positive qualities of the cigar.
Early in the cigar, I noticed a nice complex flavored smoke with nothing that overpowered the balance. I especially noted a hint of black cherry and a clean, crisp finish. I would classify this cigar as medium to full bodied, though its large size produced plenty of smoke and a fair amount of nicotine. After a good start, the burn went a little haywire in the second half, which altered the nice balance of flavors that the cigar initially displayed.
The cigar began to "tunnel." This refers to a burn where the internal filler of the cigar burns faster than the outer binder and wrapper. I do notice that the larger ring gauge cigars are more susceptible to this behavior. This, of course, caused the delicate balance of flavors in the complex blend to go unbalanced. Even more frustrating was the fact that I struggled to keep the burn corrected. I surgically applied the torch, only to have the tunneling repeat itself.
RATING: 8.7 (on a scale of 1 to 10)
I did have two of these cigars, and had a similar experience with the second, which I smoked within days of the first. In hindsight, I should have aged them in my own humidor for at least an additional month or two before smoking. However, for $50 a stick, it should have been ready for smoking immediately. Again, the key mark of a premium cigar is along three dimensions: taste, look and burn. A breakdown in any one of these can be catastrophic to the smoking experience. The inconsistent burn did this one in, and the $50 price tag does not allow me to be forgiving in favor of the other two features.
I do believe that these beauties, if they were properly aged and rolled to have a much more consistent burn, could hold their own amongst other super premium brands. At $50 a stick, I cannot in good conscience recommend them. Though in all fairness, I cannot imagine myself strongly recommending any cigar with this level of pricing, when there are so many great cigars on the market for under $15.
Keep the comments and recommendations coming – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The best cigar in the world is the one you are smoking right now." – Zino Davidoff