Gurkha makes some of the finest cigars available, from the simple Beast running $6 – $10, to the almighty His Majesty Reserve at $450 a pop. Granted, there are more expensive and more prestigious smokes available, but Gurkha just about runs the gamut as far as value goes. I’ve smoked everything from the famous Royal Reserve, down to some experimental lower end Gurkhas, and the Venom is one of my favorites.
The Venom is a Dominican Puro, meaning that the long filler, binder, and wrapper are all grown in the Dominican Republic. The wrapper is a dark maduro with a grainy, slightly oily texture. Visually, the cigar is appealing with a bright sheen and consistent color throughout. Upon unwrapping, a light, sweet aroma with notes of wood and hay is detectable.
To the touch the Venom feels firm and solid, consistently round and has a smooth surface. Measuring in at 60 x 6, the Venom gordo fills the hand nicely. An unlit puff draws easy and tastes sweet and earthy. Overall the construction of this cigar was excellent. I always toast the foot of my cigars before I light up so I can get a good whiff of the smoke. The smoke from the Venom has a pleasant aroma, and smells of spice and wood smoke.
The cigar burns well and draws easy. In the first tercio (third), strong spice flavor prevails with earthy notes of mulch and floral scents. The first tercio is naturally sweet with a bitter undertone and electric bite that isn’t overbearing. The second tercio takes on a more salty, tannic tone, maintaining the floral and spice flavors, but gaining a peppery note mixed with leather and dried fruit. The smoke exhales easily through the nose and becomes even more floral through the sinuses. The last third of the cigar becomes a bit tarry, gains more leather flavor, and retains the earthy pepper notes from the second tercio. The only drawback of the cigar was a strong, burnt, tarry taste at the tail end that came on hard and fast. Fortunately this only happened at the very end of the cigar when I was about ready to extinguish it anyway.
I give the Gurkha Venom high marks all around as an afternoon smoke for a cool autumn day. It’s a great beginner’s cigar, but even experts will find subtle nuances that will tickle the refined palate. The Venom will pair nicely with a rum cocktail or a light whiskey that won’t overwhelm the understated flavors hiding in the smoke.