Principle Aviator Series Vainqueur
Posted on March 31 2021
Smoking Time: 84 Minutes
Cigars Smoked: 3
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, U.S.A.
Principle is a unique boutique cigar company, founded by Darren Cioffi, from Long Island, NY. Cioffi has an interesting background, going back to his sophomore year in high school, he enjoyed collecting antiques, from old books, to historical documents and everything in between. This led him towards vintage cigar related art, and then came his “second obsession, exploration”.
As most enthusiasts do, they find themselves wanting more. Cioffi started blending and rolling his own cigars, which he would share with friends. Which slowly turned into Principle Cigars. Darren was also involved in “slow smoking” competitions, which he turned out to be rather good at. Breaking 8 world records, and becoming the first American to win the competition.
Visual Inspection: Covered in a light brown wrapper, it is smooth to the touch, with soft prominent veins. There is a lot of oil present, as it gleams in the light. There is a cloth foot band, which gives it a classier presentation. There aren't any soft spots, and the RH is 62%. Construction appears to be exceptional, but we will see when I cut the cigar.
The aroma is very strong, bringing notes of barnyard, green wood, and mushroom. I use my Colibri V-Cut to chop the head, and there is no cracking, or splitting. A cold draw reveals a tight pull, but smooth flavors of the same green wood from the aroma, and new notes of walnut, and damp earth are present.
First Third: The Cigar took flame very nicely, however the foot split almost immediately, traveling down about an inch and a half. Right off the bat, the mushroom flavors are up front, which is a bit different from what I would normally like. Met with notes of nuts, damp earth, grapefruit, and a low-fat plain greek yogurt. So far, it is an interesting combination of flavors, and I cannot identify which part of the cigar they are coming from. Very different from what I would expect from an Ecuadorian wrapper.
The burn line is relatively decent, even after the splitting that occurred at the foot. It has dipped down towards the end of the crack, but did not blow up, or cause any other problems. The ash is flaky on the outside, but firm on the inside, and light grey in color.
Second Third: There is little sweetness present in this cigar. Earlier I picked up grapefruit, which was the only true sweet flavor, and it is not present anymore. Replaced by a bitter lettuce, lanolin, and earth, all while maintaining the main flavor of mushroom. This cigar is very different from what I would normally grab, which is part of the reason I choose to review it.
The burn line is still doing well, and the cracked foot is long gone, and led to no problems! The ash has darkened in color, now a slate gray. A retrohale brings the mushroom forward even more, and brings only a small amount of pepper to the profile. There is a small amount of cream present, but not necessarily half and half, more of a buttery cracker, minus the sweet tones.
Last Third: The Vienqueur is not a complex cigar. There haven't been many fluctuations in the flavors, but has remained consistent all the way through. Faint flavors of sweetness have come back into play, and are met with the same nut, earth, and animal derivative notes. The sweetness is reminiscent of wildflowers, or geraniums.
The burn line has wavered, but still tidy enough to remain visually pleasing. I am having a hard time getting passed the flavors I'm picking up, I think some pepper could bring them together more, but it would also add to the profile. That being said, this cigar is good for what it is.
Final Thoughts: While I love the backstory of Principle, this cigar is not for my palate. I tend to not like the moist earth, or mushroom notes, which are very prevalent in the cigar. That being said, the quality of this cigar is very good. Despite the cracked foot that occurred after lighting, it didn't cause any problems, and fixed itself, which says something about the cigar. If you are a fan of mushroom flavors, you would like this cigar, it is smooth, not wildly complex, and an easy medium profile. I will definitely try more from Principal to see if I can find one that speaks to me. All I can say about the Aviator series is that it is very unique.