Among the recent barrage of new products we have received over the past month or so is a value-priced offering from the good folks at La Aurora Cigars: the Principes Long-filler. Not to be confused with its machine-made cousin, the Principes Natural, this line is handmade in the Dominican Republic using all long-filler tobaccos, and features either a Connecticut or Brazilian maduro wrapper. In a market currently flooded with “budget-priced” cigars, I was curious to see how La Aurora’s submission would hold up, considering the overall quality of their more established, higher-end lines. To keep the tasting balanced and fair, I decided to light up both the Claro and maduro, and put both versions of this wallet-friendly stogie to the test.
I started off with the Claro-wrap, as I assumed it was the lighter-flavored of the two. Before torching it up I looked the stick over carefully and it looked pretty solid, with a nice firm Connecticut wrapper leaf snugly in place. This was a bit confusing to me, as the box is clearly marked “Claro”, and this certainly didn’t look like any claro wrapper I had ever seen. Anyway, cold draws provided hints of grass and cedar, and with a quick snip of the ol’ double blade I was off and smoking.
My initial taste impressions of this cigar were pretty standard for a Connecticut wrapped stogie, this thing was nutty, creamy, smooth and mellow. The draw was a little tough for my tastes, but I still got a good amount of smoke with each puff. In the first inch of the smoke I had some minor burn issues, but was able to resolve them quickly with a little touch-up flame.
A little further in the cedar note piped up, and the unmistakable, clean taste of good Dominican tobaccos made its way to the forefront. At this point I decided that the slightly muted draw was appropriate for this cigar, I’m not sure if these flavors would have come across this smooth with a wider draw. The stick remained smooth and burned slow and straight until I decided it was time to fire up the maduro.
The darker-wrapped Principes wore a mottled and leathery Brazilian wrapper, and gave off the same dry, grassy notes as the Claro, this time coupled with a taste of unsweetened cocoa. I noticed both cigars had the same even fill and nice triple cap, which said something for the consistency of the line. Immediately upon lighting I caught a strong taste of leather, backed up by a slightly sweet anise. The draw on this one was the exact opposite of the Claro, it was wide open and gave off awesome, thick plumes of voluminous smoke.
This stick was creamy and full of robust, dark flavor, and I definitely got a taste of the aforementioned rich tobacco spliced with some black pepper on the retrohale. As I burned a little deeper into it, the maduro really surprised me with all of its flavor nuances.
Overall, I have to say that for a cigar priced as low as $2.00 and change per stick, you’d be hard pressed to find one better than the Principes. Both wraps burned smooth and clean, and were super-tasty. The maduro is definitely the more complex of the two versions, but I can see having either one of these smokes as a solid “go-to” on a regular basis, and the Claro would be an ideal breakfast cigar with a nice dark cup of coffee. The long-filler Principes gets a healthy B grade in my book, and it’s probably much better than some of the “bargain” cigars you’ve tried.