Blind Cigar Review: Gurkha | Cellar Reserve 15 Year Solara

Cigar Info

The vintage Cellar Reserve uses the finest quality 15-year-old aged tobacco, comprised of an oily Criollo 1998 wrapper, that combines an aged Dominican, olor binder with a 15-year old Dominican Filler. The cigars come displayed in unique wooden boxes that aesthetically evoke a maturing wine barrel.

This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed.

Vital Stats:

Vitola: Perfecto
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 58
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Criollo
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican
Factory: Tabacalera Las Lavas
Blender: Kaizad Hansotia
Number of reviewers: 4Matt C. (Big Matt) Steve (ThaGreatWazoo) Adam B. (Bushboy) Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)
Price: $10.00
Age: 3 Months
Release Date: 2013
Contributed by: Gurkha Cigars

Blind Cigar Review: Gurkha | Cellar Reserve 15 Year SolaraInitial Impressions

Appearance: 88

“Sample 514 is an impressive looking perfecto. Seams are almost invisible and is packed to the hilt with tobacco. This cigar has plenty of veins and is an extremely oily chocolate brown with some impressive tooth. Unfortunately, it appears the roller went over-board on the cigar glue and it is very evident at the foot of the perfecto and especially on the cinnabon looking pigtail cap. I opted to twist the pigtail cap off instead of a straight-cut and the prelight draw is firm, but given the shape of the perfecto, it is to be expected. Cold draw is aged tobacco, earth, barnyard and some stone fruit.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

Aroma: 88

“Even with the small opening at the nipple shaped foot, there is still a good amount of aroma consisting of molasses and coffee. The cold draw is open and tastes of dry grass and cedar.” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)

Blind Cigar Review: Gurkha | Cellar Reserve 15 Year SolaraFirst Third

Flavor: 88
Strength: Medium-Strong
Body/Complexity: Medium-Full

“The first thing you notice upon lighting sample 514, is the house fire off the end of the cigar… smoke everywhere people. First pull, I pick up dry leather, barnyard, grass-clippings and fruit. Cedar coats the palate. The tobacco has a distinctive old age taste to it, which could be considered a musk. Retro initially was causing me to tear up from the pepper blast, but is settling down after 10 minutes or so. A little harshness shows up in the first third but thankfully doesn’t plague every pull. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a multi-country blended cigar, including some antique tobacco.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“When lit, this cigar begins pouring smoke like a tire fire. Each draw is billowing with thick and rich smoke. The flavors start out with leather and bold black pepper. As the first third settles in, some flavors of cocoa come in and a zing of cayenne spice on the finish. The oiliness of the wrapper plays a factor, as this cigar needed a touch-up before the first third was done.” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)

Blind Cigar Review: Gurkha | Cellar Reserve 15 Year SolaraSecond Third

Flavor: 89
Strength: Medium-Strong
Body/Complexity: Medium-Full

“The second third calmed in strength. A nice medium build showed through. The flavor profile was still dominantly pepper and wood. The retrohale was a bit harsh from time to time, so I abandoned it rather quickly.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

“Undeniably smooth considering the punch this cigar packs. Sweet coffee flavor with a black pepper kick on the finish. The second third produced a mesquite, smoked wood flavor that reminded me of an aged rum. Cigar is still a smoke bomb that has an effortless pull and volumes of smoke.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)

Blind Cigar Review: Gurkha | Cellar Reserve 15 Year SolaraFinal Third

Flavor: 89
Strength: Medium-Strong
Body/Complexity: Medium-Full

“In the final third, the first thing I notice is that the retro has become punishing again with strong pepper and this cigar has made vast transitions in profile but they are a little harsh. Pepper builds on the palate and the finish lengthens. Cream, charred oak, and peaty notes are on the exhale. Bitter chocolate replaces the coffee. Smoke production is copious and that is even an understatement; the aroma is still that of a Bordeaux wine made from the Merlot grape. Body is full but complexity is in the medium spectrum.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“The overall profile is still good in the final third, but some harsh notes start to come in at the end. The black pepper makes a comeback, combined with some bitter coffee and hints of citrus.” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)

Overall Impressions

Draw: 89

“The draw was nice on this cigar. I used a straight cut and it offered a good amount of smoke and flavor.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

Burn: 85

“The cigar required a major touch-up in the second third to maintain a wrapper to binder/filler ratio.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

Construction: 89

“The construction of the cigar was good, and was fun to look at during the prelight experience.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Overall Experience: 88

“I was really excited to try this sample because it was a joy to look at. The perfecto shape and all is just visually appealing to me. However the profile was all over the place with the bitter coffee, wet earth, strong pepper, oak, barnyard, cream (here and there) and grass. The age on some of the tobacco in this cigar made for quite the searching experience for flavors and kept me wanting to be interested. For me, the aroma was the best part of this cigar in that the wine and grape nuances I was picking up was a joy.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“Overall, this cigar was a good smoke. The initial look and feel was quite nice. The dark wrapper was exquisite to look at and had me craving that rich maduro smoke. The flavors were a bit overheated. The pepper was rich and strong in the beginning. The wood was strong and a nice balance off the pepper. In total, this cigar would be a great nightcap with a smoky scotch or dark beer. With a little age, these might mellow a bit as well and turn in to something tremendous.” -Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)

“From pre light draw to nub, the flavors changed in a pleasant manner. Each transition left me thinking, “this is a new flavor, although it was there, unnoticed before.” Next time I have this cigar I think I will pair with a nice rum.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)

“While the burn was a chore, the flavors and intense smoke output made this an enjoyable smoke. I typically don’t like large ring gauges, but this cigar kept me interested. While I would not go out and purchase a box, I would smoke one again.” –Matthew T. (A Huge Nerd)

Smoking Time (in minutes): 64

  • Appearance 88% 88%
  • Aroma 88% 88%
  • First Third 88% 88%
  • Second Third 89% 89%
  • Final Third 89% 89%
  • Draw 89% 89%
  • Burn 85% 85%
  • Construction 89% 89%
  • Overall Experience 88% 88%

Total Score - Good


Matt C.Big Matt)878787858585838883
Adam B.Bushboy)959090909090879090
Matthew T.A Huge Nerd)858787888888838588

To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

Blind Cigar Review: | Cellar Reserve 15 Year