In September 2014, Binny’s Beverage Depot, the chain of Illinois liquor and tobacco shops announced that it would be getting a store exclusive from Curivari, the somewhat under-the-radar cigar company who had been steadily building a fan base of cigar smokers across the county.

The new cigar would be the Buenaventura BV654, which comes from Curivari’s value-oriented Buenaventura line. Launched in 2012, it features three regular production sizes, the BV600 (6 x 60), BV560 (5 1/2 x 56) and BV500 (5 1/4 x 50), all of which have MSRPs under $6 per cigar. It was designed by brand owner Andreas Throuvaias as a flavorful yet still wallet-friendly cigar.

Just 250 boxes of ten cigars were released, some of which appear to still be available according to the store’s website.

Here’s what I said about the Buenaventura BV654 when I reviewed it in November 2014:

There’s no doubt the Buenaventura line is an affordable, value-oriented option from Curivari. It’s certainly not the most complex cigar in the line, let alone in most humidors, but it does show a mellower side of Nicaraguan tobacco and is unassuming enough to work for the majority of cigar smokers but with points of having enough flavor and pepper to keep the palate engaged. Yes, I’d rather this have been a 44 ring gauge than a 54, if for no other reason than to give the wrapper a more prominent role. I can’t say it fills a noticeable hole in the lineup of regular production Buenaventura vitolas, but for what it is, the Buenaventura BV654 is a respectable option at a very nice price.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Buenaventura BV654
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Gordo
  • MSRP: $5.95 (Boxes of 10, $53.95)
  • Release Date: Nov. 5, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 250 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

While it’s on the bigger end of sizes that I would generally smoke, I like the shape and presentation of the Buenaventura BV654 as its soft, oval press makes the cigar a bit more approachable despite being a bigger ring gauge. The wrapper is very smooth with only a few small veins and an even brown shade that is just on the darker side of medium, and the simple band only adds to its visual appeal. The wrapper has a bit of fine texture to it, while the cigar is firm from head to foot with no noticeable soft spots. The cap, while not cut perfectly even, still lies smoothly on the head of the cigar and finishes off a solid presentation. The pre-light aroma is big and woody with a bit of coffee bean in the background and an appreciable amount of pepper. a combination that stays in the nose for a beat or two. The cold draw is firm and feels a bit restricted, with a leading note that reminds me of a cool latté, delivering a bit of earth and cream with a slight bit of sweetness.

The first puffs of the Buenaventura are almost sheepish with their flavors and strength, but it’s easy to tell there is something there as subtle hints of creaminess and cedar start things off, while a very faint hint of pepper lingers in the background. A retrohale or two in the first inch will help bring out the white pepper and get your senses honed in to what the cigar is trying to offer; while retrohales are almost overkill in some cigars, here it seems very much needed as it would be easy to smoke through the first inch without noticing much about the cigar. The ash holds on quite well as evidenced by the photo, with it finally detaching shortly after. That seems to do the trick to help the cigar take its next step forward in terms of flavor and strength, though it is still a timid one up until the midway point, when the pepper seems to really unfold and the cigar’s body lightens up just a bit, providing a good amount of kick but a balanced backbone that keeps the cigar from becoming overpowering. The BV654 has burned perfectly since being lit, with an even burn line and no relights needed, producing plenty of smoke and with a draw that is just a notch too tight for my liking.

Buenaventura BV654

The uptick in strength that closed out the first half continues through the midpoint before gradually falling off, a decrease in overall strength that opens the door for a peanut note to develop and set the tone for the next few puffs. It’s just the slightest bit salty, and the pepper comes together well with it for a handful of puffs in the second third, before the flavor starts evolving again and the peanut turns to a heavier, almost peanut butter note before moving along again into an earthier flavor, all while the pepper evolves from white to black almost in lockstep. I’m not finding the sweet creaminess that the cigar seemed to have when I first smoked it, as the robustness has passed it in terms of prominence. In the final third, the cigar continues to burn perfectly, but the flavor has picked up just a touch of bite, though it’s not harsh or offensive whatsoever. The flavors just seem to be a bit more vigorous in how they go after the tongue than they have been to this point. A final few retrohales also show a marked increase in strength as the pepper is much more alive in the nose and it leaves a lasting tingle behind. Just like it did when I first smoked it, the BV654 can be smoked down to finger-burning length as the finish stays clean and there’s no sign that the heat is affecting the flavor.

88 Overall Score

I'm not quite sure which version of the Buenaventura BV654 I like better, the one fresh off the shelf or the one that has sat in my humidor for about seven months. While I miss the sweetness and doughiness that I found when it was younger, and the first third can almost be glanced over, the second half seems much more awake and vibrant that I remember it and the cigar as a whole does a great job transitioning from mild and subtle to medium or even medium-plus while maintaining balance. I could certainly do for a bit smaller vitola, but this is certainly an option to consider if you like the line or are looking for a very enjoyable, sub-$6 cigar.

Original Score (November 2014)
Redux Score (July 2015)

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.