This story begins during the Cigar Smoking World Championship Qualification for Sweden, in Mellgrens Fine Tobaccos cigar lounge back in 11th of April 2015. Darren Cioffi owner of Principle was one of the special guests of the event, he was a new face for me, at this time I didn’t know about his brand nor of him, but oh did I fall in love with his cigars and story behind the brand. But back to the competition, Darren of course did set a new world record of smoking the Montecristo No. 4 the slowest, setting the time of 02:27:27, crazy time for a 30-40 minute cigar.
After the event we took a stroll to a hotel called Ruby in the hearth of Gothenburg, where Darren held a small event and presented his brand and we all got a Principle Aviator Series Vainqueur (6.5 x 56) a Toro Gordo, a size I wasn’t super familiar with at that point. Something surprising was it was delicious, then he explained it was made by Henrik Kelner Jr at Kelner Boutique Factory and all the puzzle pieces fell in to place, he had a genius behind the blends.
Over the years I’ve been able to review the Envoi, Vainqueur, Grande Pyramide and Patrie, and I love the blend in this line up, I’m still longing to try the Cochon Volant that I keep on hearing so many good things about. I’m usually not a person to push for bigger ring gauges, but this series really makes up for the size. If you haven’t tried it you should most definitely put these cigars on your wish list.
In 2016, Darren came back to Sweden to beat his old record during the CSWC Swedish Qualification 2016 and he did, but this time around there had been a change in competition cigar. This was the first year we got the Macanudo Mareva Inspirado, not a great cigar, burned a bit to fast, and kind of boring as a regular cigar, but for the competition it was great. Darren of course came first with 02:31:37, Igor “The Swedish Tiger” second with 02:06:56 and I came third with 01:22:01. (Not my best time ever, but my highest at that time).
After the competition we had a sit down and had a interesting conversation about cigars, labels and the history behind the brand, we also found out we had a few similar interests that we still to this day keep in touch about. Darren is truly an fascinating man, most people that start cigar brands, they come from a tobacco background. But not Darren, he was a collector of rare types of paper, everything from old bonds, postcards, cigar box inserts really all kinds of stuff. And just by accident he stumbled in to the cigar business.
Principle Cigars aren’t really like other cigar brands, usually a brand tries to make the blends the same year after year, but something that we can’t forget is, tobacco is a natural product it changes from harvest to harvest. So the beautiful yet unique way he runs the brand is, no batch is the others a like. It’s a true limited edition, a experimental concept of a selection of delicious well aged tobaccos. And don’t be surprised if you find 10 year old tobacco in your cigar, it’s almost a must in Principle cigars line up.
During the lockdown of 2020, they did something crazy, the guys at KBF sat down in the factory, laid out 10 different tobaccos from different countries and rolled a 10 country blend cigar called the Commonwealth (6.75 x 56). A total of 3000 cigars where rolled, they come in a numbered coffin with a matching letter of certification. This might be a very unique release as they won’t be able to have the space in the factory to do a blend like this in the future.
Wrapper: Corojo (Ecuador)
Filler: Dominican, Nicaragua, USA, Peru, Paraguay, Cameroon, Mexico, Honduras
These exceptionally-complex cigars are built in a 6.75” x 56 format using a half-leaf of each of the eight filler tobaccos. Great attention and years of development went into assuring that no single tobacco would overpower the rest.
Have you ever wondered how it would feel like to burn money, then you most certainly have chosen the right hobby! As that’s all we do, but this cigar is something else, made in 2013 with the oldest tobacco in the blend being 14 years old when rolled.
$1000 Denomination (5×50) 800 boxes of 10 cigars made.
$500 Denomination (7×50) 75 boxes of 10 cigars made.
$100 Denomination (6×52) 40 boxes of 10 cigars made.
Wrapper: Brazilian Cubra
Filler: Dominican, Peru, Nicaragua
(the 7×50 have a Pennsylvanian tobacco instead of Peru in the filler)
The Accomplice Line is like The Beagle Boys (Disney Cartoon Burglars), you never know which sizes are available it’s pretty much based on how much tobacco they can get a hold of for each batch. The cigars come in pocket sized tins of 5 and boxes of 25.
The Classic White Band comes in a Robusto, Toro and Lancero. Poland gets a special 5×46 size but it might become a 6×46 perhaps.
The Connecticut Blue Band comes in a Robusto and a Toro.
The Corojo Purple Band comes in a Robusto, Toro, Lancero and a Figurado. There have been other vitolas in the past.
The Maduro Green Band came in a Toro and Piramide but will get a relaunch in the future, at the moment it’s discontinued.
I’ve only had the Maduro and the Corojo from The Accomplice line-up, but both of them where delicious.
Over the years I’ve had a few different cigars from the brand and all has been splendid, but there are many more cigars left from the brand that I want and need to try. There have been a few limited releases for shops and regional cigars, that would be impossible for me to get a hold of, so I pray to the tobacco Gods that one day I might get the chance to smoke them. A few exemples would be the Industrial Cigar shops The House made from the same cigarmold as the Casdagli Spalato was made in so you get a reference of the size. Another one would be the The Accomplice Holiday Bauble Limited Edition 2020 a 4.5×60 little fat cigar. But something I’m really looking forward to is the new Cocktail Collection coming out later in 2021. Until then check out my other reviews, buy their cigars and remember “Principle Cigars Complex, Balanced & Unforgettable”.
Late 2021 Release.
The Beignet: Sazerac Companion is a Short Diadema (4.5×46) Early 1900s style.
The Count: Negroni Companion is a Lonsdale (6×44) 1930s style.
The Tiki: Mai Tai Companion is a Toro (6.5×50) 1950s style.
The Player: Gibson Companion is a Pyramide (5.5×50) 1960s style
The Naomi: Espresso Martini Companion is a Short Robusto (4.5×56) 1990s style.
There are still some lines I haven’t mentioned during this post, but it doesn’t mean they are bad, I just haven’t tried them or I thought they didn’t fit in to the narrative of the story. The other lines are Angelique (sweet tipped cigars), Bad Principles coming summer 2021, Frothy Monkey small cigars made for a coffee break and Night Flight is the maduro version of the Aviator Series. If you want to read more about the different lines click here, to get to their main website.
If you want to check out all my reviews of Principle click here.
Principle don’t only make cigars, they also have a very nice selection of accessories, ashtrays and pocket squares that will be available soon in the future. It’s called Principle Collection and is available here, the site will be back soon, as they are preparing for new launches. Don’t miss Principle Cigars Experience Week in September 2021, a epicurean week of cigars, food and good company in Belgrade Serbia, more info here.
Cigars that I’ve had from the brand:
- Principle Aviator Series Envoi
- Principle Aviator Series Vainqueur
- Principle Aviator Series Grande Pyramide
- Principle Aviator Series Patrie
- Principle The Accomplice Corojo Purple Band Lancero
- Principle The Accomplice Maduro Green Band Nightstick
- Principle Gold Band Limited Edition 2017 & 2019
- Principle Frothy Monkey Signature
- Principle Biggs Merchant Limited Edition 2016
See you in the next “My Journey With:“.
/ Cigar Reviewer André Dias
P.S. Clarification I’m just telling my story with the brand, my own opinions and experiences, we don’t have any deals between us, I’m not paid by them and I don’t have any contracts with them. I’m just a consumer and fan of the brand. As you’ll see with my other “My Journey With:” posts that will come in the future.