Principle Cigars has added a new—and very sizable—cigar to its Aviator series, the 9 1/2 x 46 Espoir.

The cigar uses an Ecuadorian-grown, habano 2000 wrapper, while the binder and filler are both Dominican, with three varietals in the filler. The company describes the profile as beginning with “an explosion of cold suede leather and continues to unfold in layers.”

The cigars were rolled in January 2023 at the Kelner Boutique Factory in the Dominican Republic and have been resting since. Production is limited to 200 boxes of 10 cigars.

“The format is really for me,” Darren Cioffi, founder of Principle Cigars, told halfwheel. “I’m a fast smoker that strongly dislikes a warm cigar. I am constantly forcing myself to smoke more slowly in order to regulate heat and maintain flavor and performance.”

Cioffi added that he really wanted something he could smoke the way he wanted to, without having to think too hard about it and just enjoy himself.

“But, of course, I want to do this with a great cigar. That is for what this was created. It’s the kind of cigar that if I told nobody about it, I’d be happy to smoke them alone for the rest of my life,” he said.

As for the name, it is the French word for hope, and comes from one of Cioffi’s friends who hails from Senegal and speaks French. “I mentioned to her in 2022 that this cigar was incoming and I was working on a name, and Espoir came right out of her mouth. I liked it, and rolled with it. The naming workshop lasted 15 seconds.”

Pricing is set at $38 per cigar and $380 for a box of 10 cigars. The Aviator Espoir is available through both Principle’s website and its retailers.

Image courtesy of Principle Cigars.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.