Where does Gurkha stand now? It is exactly a year after the downhill that Gurkha had to call. In the midst of the protests against the murder of another black man by police in the United States, Kaizad Hansotia from Gurkha Cigars caused outrage. For years his Facebook profile was full of right-wing propaganda, but a message about all lives matters was the drop. The black community wasn’t taking it anymore. Now where that all lives matters itself was very insensitive yet not racist, other memes on Hansotia’s Facebook were. For example, there was a picture of former President Ronald Reagan holding a chimpanzee baby. The caption said something about Ronald Reagan babysitting baby Obama. There is no denying that it is a racist meme.
At first, Gurkha’s response was to claim Hansotia’s account was the victim of a hacker. There were even suggestions that the hacker was part of the team of one of the sheriff candidates in the county where Gurkha has its headquarters. But that was all a lie, as the personal social media profiles of Hansotia were spewing those kinds of rhetoric for years. It’s here where Hansotia first showed he’s a coward. A real man would have stood behind his opinion, maybe apologize for his insensitiveness, but would not hide behind a lie. We at Ministry of Cigars would still have strongly disagreed with that opinion, but a statement like that would have given Hansotia some respect. He also closed his social media accounts, another cowardly move.
A few days later, right before a public, virtual, town hall, Hansotia threw the towel. He left his position as chairman, giving industry veteran Jim Colucci full control over Gurkha Cigars. Gurkha Cigars still held the town hall to address concerns, answer questions, and try to limit the damage. Again Hansotia showed he is a coward by not showing up.. He was the cause of all the outrage, but he left the heat for his employees. They were his human shield As we wrote back then, much respect for Juan Lopez, Christine Martinez de Castro, and Jim Colucci. They did the town hall, knowingly on forehand that they would be the target of accusations, hard questions, and anger. What they did took guts, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.
Promises and results
During the town hall, the Gurkha trio told everyone that once the current stock of packaging ran out, the name Hansotia would be erased. New artwork would no longer carry the name. Hansotia would also sell his stock in the company. He has 50% of the shares. Plus Gurkha would support the black-owned cigar stores and black communities with events. Three promises, and what came of that?
The new Gurkha blends that came out after Hansotia stepped down do not carry his name anymore. As far as older blends, we have not seen new packaging but we truly believe that the Hansotia name will disappear at the first possible opportunity. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the world came to a standstill when it comes to events. So that Gurkha Cigars hasn’t done events in the black community of black-owned cigar stores is normal. Knowing how much Gurkha loves to throw events, we are certain that this promise will be fulfilled.
About the sale of Hansotia’s share of the company, well, it’s silent on that front. We know that selling 50% of a multi-million dollar company isn’t a case of creating an eBay ad. It’s not an online ad with a ‘buy now’ price slapped on it. And the covid-pandemic doesn’t make it easier. During the town hall, Jim Colucci promised an update within 180 days. Due to these two reasons, we did not expect a statement within that time frame. Sources told us that Hansotia and Gurkha were negotiating with buyers last year. And although nothing is final, our sources tell us that it’s only a matter of time before Gurkha can deliver some good news.
Why this update?
You might wonder why this article if nothing really changed and things are still pending. It’s simple, people still react to the original reports and cigar enthusiasts ask us question to update them about the current status.
We also write this because Gurkha deserves a fresh start. The personal views of the founder and partial owner don’t reflect the views of Gurkha, its employees, and investors. The brand is already a ‘love or hate’ brand. Especially online, Gurkha receives a lot of hate. Now, we are not going to say that all the hate is uncalled for. Truthfully, If we were to make a list of the 100 worst cigars we smoked in the last decade, Gurkha would be on that list a few times. On the other side, if we were to make a list of the 100 best cigars we smoked in that decade, Gurkha would be in there as well. In our opinion, it’s all about who makes the cigars for Gurkha. Gurkha Cigars does not have its own factory and uses multiple manufacturers to make cigars. And not all of them deliver quality.
As a cigar enthusiast it is worth investigating where each Gurkha cigar comes from, and buy the ones from factories you like. For example, the last few Nicaraguan Gurkha releases come from TABSA. That’s the factory of Aganorsa Leaf, home to many boutique brands. Brands with reputation. And those Gurkha cigars are all eligible for that list of 100 best cigars. The Gurkha Ghost comes from PDR Cigars, which is also a factory with a good reputation. And it’s one of the Gurkha cigars we personally like at the Ministry of Cigars office.
So here’s what we hope that happens: we hope that the sale is final soon. And we hope that Gurkha moves away from using many factories. Pick a good one in the Dominican, a good one in Nicaragua, and a good one in Honduras and only use those three factories. Or buy a dedicated Gurkha factory. Keep moving forward, earn the trust and support again. Erase the bad memory. But keep the swag, we love the Gurkha swag and could use a few signs for our office walls.