Curivari Achilles La Iliada No.2

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For a cigar company who has products on the shelves of a fair number of retailers, few are as otherwise quiet as Curivari.

The company has a spartan and dated webpage, a semi-active Twitter account loaded with Retweets, a near-dormant Instagram account, and an equally as quiet Facebook page. However, there might be a good reason the company has been neglecting those aspects of its business: they’ve been busy releasing a ton of new ci.

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At the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Curivari released 17 new lines—each with multiple sizes—for a total of 104 SKUs, and this was after releasing several new lines the year before. To top it off, 14 of them are Nicaraguan puros, while the remaining three swap out the Nicaraguan wrapper for one from Mexico’s San Andrés region.

In the case of one of the new additions to the Achilles line, the La Iliada, it’s a Nicaraguan puro with no specifications as to regions or varietals from which the tobacco comes. It is available in a whopping 12 sizes, numbered in an order that suggests the volume 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)

The line builds on the love of Greek heritage and culture that Curivari’s owner, Andreas Throuvalas, has made an interwoven thread throughout his portfolio.

In Greek mythology, 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. His 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, as well as the quasi-medical term Achilles’ tendon, the layman’s 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.

  • 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 Review: 3

I love the appearance of the Achilles La Iliada No.2; its reddish brown wrapper and corona extra vitola are both winners in my book. The roll quality is on par with Cuban cigars in that it has some overall softness as well as a few soft spots. The cigar feels like it has just a bit of a press to it, though I’d be inclined to guess it happened in the box as opposed to before it, though each sample has a bit more of a press and thus makes me question my assumption. A few prominent veins can be seen amongst the otherwise clean roll and cap, and there’s little in the way of toothiness. The foot is an interesting mix of dry woods, a bit of dry wheat, even less flour and just a sprinkle of pepper. The cold draw is a bit loose and offers a flavorful if more subdued experience, as the wood is sweeter and a bit more lush, the pepper is almost non-existent, and a bit of a Dr. Pepper-esque flavor adds sweetness and complexity.

The Achilles La Iliada No.2 opens with some pointed flavors of wood and pepper, with the sweetness leaning towards cedar and maple. There’s a good amount of pepper in the aroma but it shows impressive balance and complexity from the campfire smokiness. The slightly loose draw results in billowing clouds of each smoke, though the burn line doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. The flavor takes marked strides forward in intensity, and by the half-inch point it’s easily medium-plus and knocking on medium-full, while strength is more in the medium category but nudges up on certain puffs as well. After the first clump of light white ash drops off, the cigar brings in a bit more white pepper but keeps the flavor in the medium-plus range and strength towards medium. The drop and burn have both been good, though the burn line is a touch wavy.

The second third of the Achilles La Iliada No.2 sees a bit of creaminess enter the profile, though it does little to temper the pepper that has been a constant presence. It does soften the mouthfeel just a bit, and the aroma picks up another component to further its complexity. At the midpoint I feel just a touch of harshness creeping into the back of my throat, but it doesn’t last overly long and it isn’t overly impactful, for which I’m grateful. The pepper and a bit of barnyard twang quickly take back control over the profile, and the aroma continues to be a winner with sweet maple, a bit of campfire, and a good amount of refined pepper setting the tone. Technical performance is good, as long as you don’t require a perfectly even burn line, though the third sample’s overly loose draw is disappointing, and makes me wonder if it’s making the flavor drier and a touch more harsh than the others.

The Achilles La Iliada No.2 enters its final third a bit less peppery than before and with some newfound chalk in the profile, which works to dry out the mouth a touch, something that has been an ongoing sensation for most of the cigar. With one inch to go and the cigar now equal parts ash and unburnt leaf, smoke continues to billow off the foot with each puff, though is now a bit hotter, and the pepper a bit more engulfing of the senses. Even with the new sharpness, the cigar is still quite balanced and palate-friendly, welcoming the request to smoke it down to as far as you’d like or are able.

Final Notes

  • While I refer to this vitola as a corona extra, you could certainly call it a robusto and I don’t think anyone would bat an eye, myself included unless I felt like nitpicking.
  • I’ve always like that Curivari sticks to smaller count boxes, but what I like most is that the majority of those come stacked in two rows of five instead of one row of 10. It’s helpful to retailers in giving them more space, plus I like the compact look.
  • That said, Curivari eschews cellophane for its cigars, which is not a retail-friendly decision.
  • I think our collections shots are some of the more impressive photos we take; I would love to see a Curivari collection shot that shows even one of every line the company has produced, let alone its entire portfolio. Brooks would not like that to happen.
  • The Achilles line was added to Curivari’s portfolio in 2013, with the Herocios and Mirmidones 52 having been reviewed on halfwheel. The original Achilles was designed to be one of the stronger cigars in the company’s portfolio.
  • The bands on the La Iliada are the same as on the regular Achilles line, which is a bit disappointing, and yet another reminder to have some blank bands laying around in case you want to remember exactly what these are.
  • There’s some decent nicotine strength to the cigar, but it’s far from a knockout.
  • I’m not sure if it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that I smoke shorter cigars a bit faster than bigger ones. Maybe it’s because I smoke in my car and want to get through them, but there’s a feeling of wanting to fly through the smaller vitolas, while the bigger ones encourage a bit slower pace.
  • For as big as Curivari’s portfolio is, I’m a bit surprised that they’ve never—at least as far as I know—produced a stellar, highly regarded cigar. There have been lots of good ones, some very good ones, but rarely have I heard the term great applied to one of the company’s blends.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 15 minutes on average.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
88 Overall Score

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.

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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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