The "Organic" Cigar, Review of Gurkha Symphony

Gurkha Symphony

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The "Organic" Cigar

Recently one of the Bullz-Eye faithful inquired about my opinion and knowledge of organic cigars. To be honest, I have heard rumblings in the past regarding organic cigars, but to my knowledge I have never smoked one, and could not find one marketed as such in my local brick and mortar cigar retailer. However, I wanted to open my mind to the merits of the concept and was willing to do a little research on the topic. In sum, the idea of an organic cigar is -- in this humble man’s opinion -- a marketing scheme more than anything else.

Because I have license to share my opinion, I will go one step further. The mere term “organic cigar” is somewhat of an oxymoron, and for this reason, I did not burn a lot of “cycles” on the research. The logic is as follows: The whole organic movement is tied to the health benefits that truly organic goods provide to the human body. Empirically speaking, most cigar smokers, including myself, recognize that organic or not, tar and nicotine are the most toxic byproducts of a smoke. These byproducts exist whether the cigar is organic or not. I will go one step further and say that many cigar smokers that I know are not exactly excessively focused on their health. If they like real butter on their toast, or caffeine and sugar in their Coke, they consume it without much thought or guilt.

Most probably, the Plasencia’s -- in the form of their Reserva Organica line -- produce the best-known organic cigars. They have had some staying power in the market, and even received some pretty fair reviews. Due to the added labor required in tending the crop and protecting the tobacco from disease and insect damage, the reported pricing on these cigars puts them in the premium to super-premium category, so there is a price to pay for organics. However, I was unable to find this cigar easily enough to review it. Stay tuned -- I do have it on my list should I come across it.

One final note: Unlike food products, it appears that there are no real standards for judging a cigar as “organic.”

So, lets get smokin’!

Cigar Review:

Gurkha – Symphony

Size: Toro (6 inches long, 50 Ring Gauge)
Price: $7.50 to $10 range

Gurkha boasts an extensive line of boutique cigars. See my previous review to obtain more information about Gurkha and the man behind the brand.

Tobacco blend:

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
  • Filler: Dominican Republic


I smoked three of these Symphony cigars over the last few weeks and I have struggled to have a consistent experience. Somewhat unusual, though I may be a little at fault as the first one I smoked was near the end of a head cold and my taste buds may have been dulled.

Look and feel

The classic light tan/brown Connecticut shade wrapper of the Symphony is one of the first things you notice about the cigar, which is adorned with the a smart double band sporting the large Gurkha warrior on one and the signature of the master blender, Kaizad Hansotia, on the other. The cigar certainly passed the look test and felt balanced in the hand.

Aroma and Taste

The pre-lit aromas of all three cigars were equivalent. However, upon smoking, the cigars had some variations. In contrast to the Class Regent from Gurkha that I reviewed the last time, the burn and the overall construction quality (or lack thereof) was not first rate, though it was not generally bad either. I strongly suspect that the Torano family did not make this cigar. After smoking three of the Symphony cigars, I have come to conclude that it is certainly a worthwhile smoke. It is considered a mild cigar, but it does have some flavor, including a little pepper at the back of the throat. I found the flavor to be nutty, with hints of cedar and cream. However, the flavor profile changed with each cigar and throughout the cigars. The complexity is intriguing.

RATING: 8.7 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – The inconsistent experience in both taste and construction across this cigar kept it away from the excellent 9+ mark. Only the second of the three would have rated a 9.0.

One note – the cigar seemed to taste better when paired with a light beer, but then, what in life is not better when paired with beer? Admittedly, my favorite cigars are just as good with or without a beverage.

Keep the comments and recommendations coming – email:

Cigar Quote

"Cigarettes are for chain-smoking, cigars must be smoked one at a time, peaceably, with all the leisure in the world. Cigarettes are of the instant, cigars are for eternity." – G. Cabera Infante, Cuban novelist

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