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Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2

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Every spring, the halfwheel staff starts to divvy up the list of IPCPR Convention & Trade Show exhibitors as to who will be covering what booths in the weeks leading up to the show as well as on the show floor. One of the more interesting names that gets assigned is Curivari, both for how little they discuss before the show, and then how many new products that have been unveiling in recent years once the convention hall doors open.

Case in point, in 2017, the company released 17 new cigar lines that spawned 104 SKUs when taking into account all of the sizes being released.

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One of those new lines was an addition to the company’s Achilles line, an extension called La Iliada. Like 14 of the 17 new lines released that year, it was a Nicaraguan puro, though there are still no specifics as to what kind of tobacco is used, be it region or varietal. The line was released in an astonishing 12 sizes, numbered sequentially in a manner that would suggest from least to most amount of tobacco used.

  • Achilles La Iliada No.1 (4 x 46) — $8 (Boxes of 10, $80)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.2 (4 1/2 x 48) — $8.50 (Boxes of 10, $85)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.3 (5 1/8 x 44) — $8 (Boxes of 10, $80)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.4 (5 5/8 x 46) — $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.5 (4 7/8 x 50) — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.6 (5 1/4 x 54) — $11 (Boxes of 10, $110)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.7 (5 1/2 x 56) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.8 (6 x 50) — $11.50 (Boxes of 10, $115)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.9 (6 1/4 x 52) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.10 (6 1/4 x 54) — $13 (Boxes of 10, $130)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.11 (6 3/4 x 48) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
  • Achilles La Iliada No.12 (6 x 58) — $14 (Boxes of 10, $140)

Curivari’s owner, Andreas Throuvalas, has often incorporated his Greek heritage and culture into his cigar releases, and this is no exception. Achilles is the hero of the Trojan War and the central character in Homer’s Iliad, which forms the second part of this line’s name. Achilles’ name is still uttered on a regular basis for the tendon in our lower legs, named by way of the legend lives on to this day as he was said to be invulnerable in all part of his body except one, his heel, which is where we get the term “Achilles’ heel” for someone’s weakness. It’s also the quasi-medical term Achilles’ tendon, the commonly used term for the calcanea tendon that sits at the back of the leg and attaches several muscles to the heel bone. It’s also the thickest tendon in the human body.

Here’s what I said about the Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2 when I reviewed it in Feb. 2018:

For as little is known about Curivari and its cigars, I’ve rarely been let down when I’ve chosen to light one up, and the Achilles La Iliada No.2 preserves that trend. It can be a bit linear, but as I’ve praised other cigars for, when it hits the handful of puffs that are complex and balanced, it makes the entire experience enjoyable. The dryness of the profile, and its drying effect on the mouth, were one of the main drawbacks, while the looseness of the draw on the third sample cost it some construction points and probably affected the flavor as it was the roughest of the three samples. Yet for those problems, the profile has enough in terms of flavor and strength that I could easily see this earning some humidor space. Now onto the other 103 cigars that Curivari released last year.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2
  • Country of Origin: n/a
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 4 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Petit Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.50 (Boxes of 10, $85)
  • Release Date: August 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

Other than its fairly petite vitola, the first thing I notice about the Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2 is the wrapper, which in the early daylight almost appears to have a slightly orange hue to it and makes me think of Espinosa’s Laranja for a few moments. The slightly oily wrapper leaf is surprisingly veiny, with a network running seemingly every direction and thus creating some mottling and color variation. It’s a well-constructed cigar, firmly rolled with flat seams and a very attractive head, with rounded shoulders and a very clean cap. There is a bit of an oily component to the aroma off the wrapper before some light citrus comes through, a note that is repeated and amplified off the foot of the cigar. There’s a bit of sweetness that could be plucked out of the smell, but no pepper whatsoever. The cold draw is smooth and easy with no added restrictions to the airflow and a flavor that is buttery with some dry woods on the finish.

The first puffs of the Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2 maintain the orange citrus note found in the cold draw and aroma, but it’s not an accent to prominent dry woods and a bit of black pepper that waste no time hitting the tongue once the cigar is lit. There’s an aspect to the finish that I can’t quite place, tasting somewhat waxy on the tongue with a bit of sourness on the finish. It’s an interesting starting point to get to creaminess that emerges at the one-inch mark, but that’s exactly what happens, with the cigar softening its profile a bit and shedding most of the pepper with which it began. It’s an appreciated lull in the dynamic aspect of the flavor that happens to sit quite well on the palate as I’m smoking this early one morning. It’s a profile that holds until the midway point when pepper returns quickly and seemingly out of nowhere as the burn line takes the cigar into its second half.

Along with the pepper comes a returns of the wood profile, tasting like dry firewood as it hits the palate, very organic and not as processed as what you’d find in a lumberyard. It’s not what I would call a typical Nicaraguan puro’s profile as it lacks earth and heavier black pepper notes, but the vibrance of what pepper the cigar does have is certainly on par with the typical intensity associated with Nicaragua tobacco. The wood notes come into the forefront once the band comes off, a profile that dries out the profile and gives the tongue and lips a new kind of tingling sensation, with a bit longer finish that focuses almost exclusively on the tip of the tongue. The cigar moves fairly quickly through its final puffs, bring about the end of the cigar right at the one hour mark, finishing on a slightly softer profile but still with good amounts of pepper and wood on the finish. The construction, draw and smoke production have all been fantastic, so much so that I’m tempted to risk a bit of a lip burn in order to get a few more puffs out of the cigar.

89 Overall Score

I can't say that the Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2 left a strong impression in my mind when I first smoked it, so I was intrigued to revisit my notes and try and figure out what a year of rest in a humidor might have done to the blend. Many of the same characteristics I picked up originally—dry woods, some pepper—are still present, but the strength seems to have dialed itself back. I pegged the original in the medium-full territory with a bit of nicotine strength to be found, but the latter seems to have almost completely disappeared as there was little effect below the head to be felt from this cigar, something with which I'm more than okay. The vibrance of the flavors do more than an adequate job in keeping the palate engaged, and the progression from full start to a creamy smoothness in the first half, followed by a return to the original profile is easy to pick out and is enough of a ride for the senses to make this a cigar worth recommending. The construction is also fantastic, never even suggesting the need for a touch-up or any sort of other issue. It may be a bit much to start the day off with, but it's got enough character to make for an enjoyable smoke seemingly whatever time of day you choose to smoke it.

Original Score (February 2018)
88
Redux Score (February 2019)
89

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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 MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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