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Aging Cigars

Smoke=FireSmoke=Fire Posts: 692 ✭✭
What is the accepted timeframe in which a cigar is considered to be "aged"?

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  • you can age a cigar anywhere from a few months up to multiple decades...a cigar is aged to find the prime of its smoking ability...so people usually smoke one every 6months to a year in order to compare the smokes and when they think they're in their prime they tend to smoke them more regularly...somebody can correct me if i'm wrong, but i'm pretty sure this is correct
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,633 ✭✭✭✭
    i fielded this question about a month or so ago on the old forum. here is the link to that thread:
    http://www.eotacforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=54796


    here is my cut and paste with a few edits (links within eotac, and a few more lines here and there):

    What is age? Age is time. But why do we age? The more time a cigar has in the right conditions the more the flavors marry within the cigar. The essential oils within the cigar blend and smooth out. This usually leads to a smoother taste, less harshness, and a better burn.

    For me there are three stages: fresh, rested, aged.

    There is a bit of overlap in these.

    Well, not fresh. To me, a fresh cigar is one from the shop or right out of the mail box. 0- 4 weeks.

    A rested cigar has spent some time in MY humidor. It is at MY humidity. It isn’t aged but it isn’t brand new or fresh. 2 weeks on up to about a year is rest for me. I will almost never smoke a cigar that is younger than 6 weeks. I find that I enjoy them more with some resting.

    Aged... that is a harder question.

    This all depends on the fullness or strength of the cigar.

    This all depends on the fullness, or strength, of the cigar. A cigar with a Connecticut shade wrapper can have an aged taste as early as one year (or maybe even before) I find for this mild wrapper type any more time ages away the flavor. They become so smooth that it becomes harder to taste. The burn is great though.

    A medium strength cigar can take longer to age… but again after a while it’s not going to make much difference.

    A full strength cigar can take the longest.

    Scratch that. Tubos take the longest. Some say that cigars in tubes can take 10+ years to age. The near air tight container makes all the difference.

    In theory, a cigar can be good indefinitely if kept up on. In practice, a cigar is a 100% natural (organic in some cases) product. There are no preservatives. This means that from the moment the leaves are picked they begin to break down. How the breaking down process is controlled is up to us and this is what makes a cigar good/bad. This breaking down of the oils in the cigar is what makes it less harsh. Eventually you will get to a point where there is nothing left to break down or it has broken down too far. I don’t know why you would want to, but you can “over age” a cigar.

    I am conducting an experiment in aging. I had 5 El Cobres. I smoked one before I started doing my reviews. A few weeks later I smoked and reviewed this one:
    http://www.eotacforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=359883
    About a year after placing them in my humi I reviewed this one:
    http://www.eotacforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=423011

    Three or so years from now (5 years from time in humi) I’ll smoke and review the fourth one. Five years from that (ten total years of age) ill smoke the last. I know you guys can’t wait for that. … Better hop in your time machine.

    I also have a few in tubes that will see 10+ years.

    When I have a kid …er- IF I have a kid I will run out a few days before the birth and buy 3 cigars. One I will smoke on the day of the birth. The others will be shared on their 18th birthday.

    But… 18 years? Isn’t that too much age? In Cigar aficionado there is a “connoisseur’s corner” with some damn fine smokes in there. I picked up the one on the floor next to me (Oct 07) and opened up to said corner.
    - HDM double corona 1992 (15 years age) rated 99
    - Davidoff Château Margaux 1988 (19 years aged) 98
    - Cohiba robusto 1991 (16 years aged) 96
    Too old you say?
    I hope some day to have a 20 year old Cuban.
    so where does age start? depending on the cigar, 1- 5 years.

    Personally, I tend to smoke most at about the 6 month range. Special ones will last longer. As with many things in the cigar world, it comes down to your own taste.

    Edit on 6-20-08 to fix the later mentioned format problem
  • Smoke=FireSmoke=Fire Posts: 692 ✭✭
    Thank you for the very informative and thorough post. Damn, I wish they'd get the formatting issue fixed. It is like reading Ancient Roman...all the letters blending into the next word almost.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,633 ✭✭✭✭
    Smoke=Fire:
    Damn, I wish they'd get the formatting issue fixed. It is like reading Ancient Roman...all the letters blending into the next word almost.
    if you follow the link to the eotac forum youll see the way it was supposed to be read.
  • RathavenRathaven Posts: 7
    That was very informative, thanks. BTW, to add to your wish list,"I hope some day to have a 20 year old Cuban" there's a 23 year old Korean I've got my eye on.
  • LarryDLarryD Posts: 59
    Yeah, but what does she have to do with cigars! Sorry I should have said that!
  • 6clicks6clicks Posts: 34
    We all thought it Larry, you just said it. LOL
  • jlzimmermanjlzimmerman Posts: 282
    Tidbits from JR's point of view....

    4 Weeks - Cigars should be smoked within a few weeks of being rolled if you desire that "chincales" or "fresh roll" type of flavor.

    6 Months - 1 Year - After 4 weeks, I think it is important to allow cigars at least 180 days of rest if they are not smoked directly after their manufacture. I strongly suggest 6 months for milder blends and at least a year for stronger ones. Without exception, cigars smoke and taste better when allowed a year to age.

    1 - 2 Years - This is a good time to start smoking those heavier Nicaraguan and Hondurans. This is also the peak period for many Dominicans, and most light bodied smokes.

    2 - 5 Years - These are the peak years for most other cigars. Typically the stronger, full-bodied cigars age better over a longer duration. This is why Bolivar Fuertes, Ashton VSGs, and many Havanas are all considered cigars that age beautifully. The same logic applies to cigars of substantial strength regardless of their country of origin.

    7 - 10 Years - This is about the maximum aging time for me on almost all cigars. After this point, I find most cigars become too mellow and too pale in body for me to enjoy.

    10+ Years - At this point we enter the realm of "vintage" cigars in my book. Many of these cigars will be so flat and boring they are worthless to smoke, while others will take on unique characteristics that will make them enjoyable smokes. One such trait is a musty smell and a taste that is similar to snuff. Another rarer long-term aging trait is cigars taking on an odd scent that is commonly referred to as the "stinky cheese-like smell." This odd reference is due to their pre-light bouquet being faintly similar to a wheel of Stilton cheese. Though it may sound unappealing, these cigars are a delight to smoke and are highly prized by vintage cigar collectors worldwide. Many pay top dollar to secure these smokes. Regardless of the flavor characteristics of vintage vitolas, rarely do any of these cigars maintain any quantitative strength at this level of aging. Also, only the fullest bodied cigars have any chance of being worthwhile smokes after this many years.
  • Smoke=FireSmoke=Fire Posts: 692 ✭✭
    Sweet! A very nice post JL, and gives a good baseline to work from for a persons own tastes. :)
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,633 ✭✭✭✭
    Smoke=Fire:
    Sweet! A very nice post JL, and gives a good baseline to work from for a persons own tastes. :)
    agreed!!

    in addition to that... some cigars will go through an "amonia" stage after being rolled if the tobacco is to fresh. this is due to the fermentation. this would explain why
    A) cigars are aged before they are boxed and sold
    B) a fresh rolled cigar is only good for 4 weeks and then must age for a while.

    JL, great post.
  • pilot711pilot711 Posts: 176
    That was good. I try to age all my sticks a year. 6 months min.
  • ashmasterashmaster Posts: 237
    Some very nice reading.....thanks guys!
  • SeanDamnitSeanDamnit Posts: 4
    You may find this to be an interesting read: http://cigars.about.com/od/humidors/a/agingcigars_2.htm This guy bought a box of cigars, then did a taste test every week at first, followed by every month, for a full year and gave a rating each time. From everything I've read, it looks like 4-6 weeks is the standard "at least this long" for all cigars, unless you get them from a shop where they have probably already been sitting around for that long. For me, it's "however long it takes me to get it out of the tube"
  • carmike22carmike22 Posts: 70
    I have had cigars before like the Opus X that comes with a few years of age on them, but on my birthday this year in 2 months I will be able to smoke my first aged cigar. Its a Oliva Serie V Double Toro I bought last year when they came out. So this year I will be able to smoke a new one and then smoke my aged one to see really what age will do to a cigar. I'm very excited to do this. I am expecting good results because I've read that stronger cigars in general age better letting them mellow out and the flavors to fuse more. So I'll back to ya'll when that happens. I can't wait.
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