Do Cigars Get Better With Age?
When many of us pull a cigar from the humidor after six or eight months, we think of it as having some age. But for most connoisseurs of aged cigars, sticks at that stage have barely begun to get settled.
Some serious smokers wouldn't dream of lighting up a cigar that hasn't been set aside at least a few years; others smoke fresh and aged cigar. The one thing you can count on in any discussion about aging is that there's little agreement and lots of personal preference.
My own experience with aging cigars is fairly limited. Most of my aging occurs more by accident than design. Other than a few sticks I've been holding for five or six years, the older cigars in my humidor usually result from just not getting around to smoking them in a timely fashion. Consequently, I have quite a few that have six to 18 months of age and some a little older. For example, I'm still working my way through a box of Torano Exodus 1959 Silver Edition I've had for at least a couple of years. To me, they're as tasty now as the day I smoked the first one, maybe even a bit smoother.
If you're considering serious cigar aging, I can pass along a little advice I've garnered conversing with some top collectors:
1) Be sure your humidor setup is accurate, and monitor it carefully. Many connoisseurs store cigars at temperatures in the 60°-65°F range to limit the possibility of beetle infestation, and they keep the humidity below 70 percent. I think the most important factor is long-term consistency.
2) Commit to boxes. It's obviously expensive, but you eliminate the possibility of flavors from different cigars merging, and you can try a stick periodically to check progress.
3) Don't expect every aged cigar to be a sublime smoke. Sometimes, you'll find the stick is no better - or even worse - than when you bought it.
4) There's some agreement, though it's by no means universal, that stronger cigars tend to age better and that moderate ring gauges do better as well.
In an upcoming Cigar Insider, I'll talk with Doc Stogie of Stogie Fresh, who does extensive reviewing to evaluate the effect of aging on the cigars he rates.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Source: Stogie Guys