2011 was a breakout year for a few brands, one of which had to have been Curivari. Much like EloGio, IPCPR 2011 seemed like a breakout event for the small Nicaraguan brand.

Curivari’s strategy isn’t a new one. The idea behind the brand is to make non-Cuban cigars that taste like current Cuban cigars. While the strategy is thrown around quite frequently, Curivari has taken it a bit further by making specific lines to taste like a specific Cuban counterpart. In addition, Curivari’s bands look quite similar to those lines which it tries to replicate.

For example, the El Gran Rey is made to replicate the Hoyo de Monterrey profile, Gloria de Leon is blended to tastes like Romeo y Julieta, etc.

At IPCPR 2010, Curivari announced a new line, Selección Privada. While the bands mimic that of Partagás, the line was the first Maduro for Curivari outside of Reserva Limitada. While the line was introduced two years ago, Curivari added additional sizes at IPCPR 2011 which retailers didn’t report receiving the line until November of 2011.

Curivari Selección Privada Eminentes 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Curivari Selección Privada Eminentes
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: $7 (Boxes of 10, $70)
  • Release Date: November 2011
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The Curivari’s wrapper is a beautiful dark color, not as dark or deep as the Reserva Limitada 1000, but still quite dark. To be quite honest, this is not a shining example of Curivaris ability to roll cigar. It’s not an ugly cigar or concerning, but definitely their best work. Aroma is dark leather, earth and some sweet cocoa from the Nicaraguan wrapper. The foot exhibits nuts, earth and a very sweet faint hickory note. Cold draw is a bit surprising: dry nuts and earth, medium and dull.

Fortunately, the first third starts a lot better than the cold draw: sweet cocoa, earth, cedar and a bit of chocolate cake. That hickory note returns on the finish, which also sees a bit of pepper mid-tongue. Unfortunately, the first third settles to be a bit harsh. The core of the Curivari Selección Privada is an earthy cocoa, cedar up front and the familiar pepper on the finish. Smoke production is good, but draw is a bit open.

Curivari Selección Privada Eminentes 2

The second third really just seems to confirm what took place in the first third. A bit less harsh in terms of the cocoa, but the reality is the Selección Privada is no more complex a few inches later. The hickory moves up front merging with the cedar and the pepper strengthens, but the changes are subtle. Construction remains much the same: good smoke production, okay draw and a spot on burn.

Curivari Selección Privada Eminentes 3

Into the final third and it’s clear things are changing. There’s caramel and a nuttiness that really wasn’t anywhere to be found in the first portions of the cigar. The Curivari gets a bit more complex, but with an inch and a half left, it seems like the bottom falls out. It continues to burn fine right down to the nub, but there really doesn’t seem much of anything to be burning.

Curivari Selección Privada Eminentes 4

Final Notes

  • This is the least-Curivari Curivari. It doesn’t taste like most Curivaris, it doesn’t look like a Curivari, see below for more on this.
  • The Curivari website lists three sizes of Selección Privada (Diplomaticos, Robustos, Royales), which leaves out at least four sizes: Diplomaticos, Eminentes, Fabulosos and Magnificos.
  • Curivari only offers ten count boxes, which I think is a really good idea. Combine that with the lower prices, box MSRPs looks more like closeout pricing.
  • Strength is medium, body is medium plus.
  • For retailers, Curivari is sort of the mysterious brand of the industry. They don’t fulfill orders completely, they ship sporadically and are nearly impossible to get in contact with.
  • Given the success at IPCPR, I was very intrigued to see what Curivari’s recent shipments have produced. I’ve smoked a few new El Gran Reys and it would seem that the increase in orders hasn’t affected quality of that line.
  • Construction gets decent marks: draw is a bit loose, smoke production is above average and burn is great.
  • The Eminentes is not a cigar that will let you sit on it for two minutes, if you don’t draw consistently, the cigar appears to go.
  • Final smoking time was one hour 40 minutes.
  • If you would like to order the Curivari Selección Privada Eminentes site sponsors Casa de Montecristo (630.834.7777) and Atlantic Cigar have them available.
79 Overall Score

This wasn't a Partagás copy. At least not like the El Gran Rey and Gloria de Leon have succeeded. Curivari has used darker wrapper in the Reserva Limitada 1000 and Classica lines, and with a bit of rest, both of those lines work. The Selección Privada does not. This wasn't just not very Curivari like, the Eminentes size wasn't very exciting. Perhaps like some of the Reserva Limitada lines, a few months in the humidor will help, but as of now, these easily are the worst Curivaris I've smoked.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.