Bite Size Review: Curivari Buenaventura
I consider myself lucky to have had opportunities to smoke and enjoy some of the most exclusive, and expensive, cigars available. But in thinking back on those memories, I had to remind myself that some of those cigars didn’t live up to the hype, or price, and some were just plain bad. Fortunately, as someone who tries a lot of different cigars, at all price points and levels of exclusivity, I realized long ago that, to misquote an old-world maxim, “not all that glitters is gold.” In fact, the cigars I seem to fondly recall most often are equal to or less than a ten-spot and don’t come in a fur-lined box.
That doesn’t mean I mind spending a few extra hard-earned clams on cigars I like, including some Cubans, and while price is a consideration, exclusivity is not a not big selling point with me. So, to those who are fixated on acquiring those hard-to-find or limited-run stogeys, or insist on shopping by price, thinking, “hey, if it’s expensive, it’s gotta be great, right?”, caveat emptor. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we love nothing more than finding those cigars with lower-than-average price points yet packed with above board qualities – diamonds in the rough.
Well, last year we thought we found one of those diamonds in the Curivari Reserva Limitada. It was on par to challenge anyone’s preconceptions as to just how close a Nicaraguan puro came to directly competing with profiles in Cuban cigars. Unfortunately, performance issues nullified what would have been a stellar review, but it may have been a one off and at $7.95 (2018) you could still fill a room worth of giddiness. This year, we selected a 2013 favorite, at least by Cigar Aficionado’s standards, Curivari’s Buenaventura.
Christened the #7 cigar of 2013 (94 rating) by the good life magazine, Buenaventura won over with its modest, Cubanesque presentation and sensuous flavors. Even after 22 months simmering in a humidor, our Buenaventura still glistened with a light coating of oil. The roll is sturdy yet pliable throughout with a nice triple cap and visible seams. Soft and toothy, the rustic wrapper showed a bit of an orange hue and offered scents of chocolate and leather. The draw is effortless while the cold inhale left a pleasing mix of chocolate and raspberries on the palate.
Our Picadores shows her chops early with scrumptious complexity highlighted by an uber creamy texture and feel complementing a heady mix of raspberry, caramel, black pepper and toast notes. There’s a soft spice that lingers and increases during the smoke and the finishes go from toast and coffee to baked bread and black pepper. Transitions feature an overall smoky character with more chocolate and cedar notes dominating the profiles. Rich and incredibly smooth, this gal likes to be smoked (1:06 – pretty fast for a 6” toro).
Unlike our previous Curivari meeting, the Buenaventura’s combustion is aces throughout, but the ash is quite flaky so be wary of sudden movements. This cigar simply fires on all cylinders without a hiccup, is delicious and is thoroughly enjoyable. We throw around “go-to” recommendations like manhole covers, but thanks to a ridiculous $5.50 price, this can and should be enjoyed every day. The phrase, “buena ventura”, means good luck, but you won’t need any with this cigar; however, while still available, they’re seemingly in limited quantities as of late, so a little luck in your search might come in handy. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Curivari typically shies away from using tobacco from Condega (Nicaragua), but for the Buenaventura, Curivari selected tobaccos from Jalapa, Estelí and Condega.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Picadores 52 [Toro]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 52
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $5.50
- Humidor Age: 22 mo.
- Box: 10
- Other Vitolas: BV554 [ 5.62″x54], BV560 [5.5″x56], D7 [Torpedo 5.5″x52], BV600 [ 6″x60], BV500 [5.25″x50], Mini BV [3.5’x50], Petit BV [4.25×54]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:06
Construction: More of a demi press; still shows oil; nice triple cap; rustic appearance with orange hue; visible seams; toothy; soft texture; sturdy but pliable throughout; ash flaky and struggles to hold 1″ ash; voluminous smoke production.
- Wrapper – Leather, chocolate
- Foot – Cocoa powder
- Cold Draw – Chocolate, raspberries
- Initial: Uber complex; toasty profile with melange of raspberry, caramel and black pepper notes; creamy notes and texture; rich, long finish of toast and coffee; light spice; hints of graham cracker on draw; hints of dark chocolate late.
- Transition: Overtly cedar backdrop; smoky character; hints of chocolate and vanilla; bolder finish of black pepper and baked bread; undercurrent of plumminess; spice on lips.
- Transition: Focus on chocolate and cedar; maintains savory smoky character; milder finish of baked bread with less pepper; uptick in spice.
Touch ups: N/A
Weaknesses: Flaky ash prone to fall at slightest touch
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]