||We love featuring local brands, and fortunately for us Nashville has become a place where some pretty good cigars are emerging from. We’ve featured Atsiniki, Crowned Heads, and for the second time we are blind tasting a blend from Principle Cigars. Here’s what we said about Principle cigars in last year’s reveal description (Blind Tasting #79): “Along with good cigars, Principle owner Darren Cioffi has one of the most unique cigar backgrounds you'll ever hear. Cioffi grew up on Long Island, and early on developed an interest in buying, collecting and dealing antique clocks and books. He started his own antique store as a teenager, and would spend weekends in New York City selling at the famous Annex antique market. That passion soon transferred to historical paper and documents; and before long he found his first obsession: vintage cigar label art. Darren sought out tobacco print work dating back to the 1870s, and a decade later partnered with Hendrik Kelner, Jr., son of famous Davidoff production head, Henke Kelner. Together they make the entire line of Principle cigars at the Kelner Boutique Factory located in the Dominican Republic.” The Gold Series began in 2014 as a way for Cioffi to create limited edition, one-off blends. Each blend is created uniquely. He said that he wanted to use new and exciting tobacco discoveries and and this fluid approach enables him to do so. “In this process, we sometimes produce spectacular blends that don’t really fit into the Aviator Series (Principle’s core line),” said Cioffi. Needless to say, this is a very different smoking experience than the other cigar we paired it with, Blind Tasting #94. Whereas that smoke was full and in your face, this smokes very much like a classic Davidoff. And like most Davidoff’s, it is (in our opinion) not the most complex cigar you will ever have, but a wonderfully balanced, soft, even relaxed smoke. We tasted notes of peanut butter, light roasted coffee and caramel sweetness throughout, with added flavor of toasted bread and hay that appear intermittently. Not long ago I had the pleasure of smoking a late-night cigar with Cioffi on the front porch of his restored 1800’s home. Of this cigar, he told me, “Elegance is the key word. Medium bodied, but with a lot of layers. As an aside, we made these in 2019, so they have a bit of age as well.” And he's right. Much like a Davidoff, this is a well-balanced, layered (though not especially complex), dare we say elegant (?) 1.5 hour smoke.