Are Aged Cigars Better? Here are the Facts
You have probably heard among expert cigar aficionados that ageing Cuban cigars significantly improves your cigar - but is it true? Before you find out, it is essential to distinguish the difference between storing and ageing cigars. Yes, it is customary to keep cigars in humidors so they remain fresh - however when it comes to ageing cigars; it is about developing flavours like fine wine. That is why many aficionados love to age their cigars, then unravel them within a few years to discover the new-found flavours produced from the process. But the question is, does it make any cigar taste better? Read on to find out!
AGEING WILL SMOOTHEN STRENGTH AND DEVELOP FLAVOUR
Many experts do recommend ageing your cigar; they believe that it can help produce more subtle flavours from the tobacco and round off the often ammoniac notes that are found in fresh cigars. This is likely because tobacco is essentially ‘plant matter’, therefore - over time - organic matter will ferment and oxidise, resulting in flavour evolution in many different ways. Firstly, nicotine content is likely to drop and smoothen the overall flavour of the cigar, making it more complex in a way and, secondly, the excess moisture will disappear allowing the smoker a much smoother smoking experience. After ageing Cuban cigars for some time, many aficionados find that while the flavours have developed, the body and strength has significantly mellowed. The most pleasant thing about ‘mellowing’ is that it get rids of ‘ammonia’ and other bitter-tasting chemicals, eliminating the ‘off’ flavours that aficionados may sometimes experience. Some people may even find that if you age a ‘bad’ cigar or a relatively ‘young’ cigar, ageing will improve the taste, which is an incredible revelation! Want to give it a go? Experts recommend that you should have a separate cigar humidor with the primary purpose of ‘maturing’ your cigars. Make sure you maintain the humidity levels by keeping a hygrometer inside the humidor to monitor the moisture. Some great humidors include the Davidoff Office Humidor or the S.T. Dupont Humidor.
Left: Bundles of fermented tobacco; Right: A box of Cohiba Behike 52's.
REMEMBER - THEY HAVE ALREADY AGED!
So now you know that ageing the cigar will help develop the strength and flavour of the tobacco - but does that mean that you should age all your cigars to make them taste better? The truth is - no, you don’t need to! It is worth remembering that cigarmakers have already aged tobacco. Cigarmakers have spent months ageing and perfecting the tobacco for aficionados to enjoy. They carefully consider each element to curate the perfect cigar - this means, the size, the type of tobacco and the duration of ageing. Before cigars are rolled, the bundles of tobacco are fermented for 2-3 years, and, even after the cigars have been rolled, they age for a few more months or years to mature! For instance, you don’t need to age Cohiba Behike cigars because they are constructed with aged cigars, which is explainable by its hefty price tag. Also, our Cuban Cigar Shop sells Vintage Cigars like the Vintage Partagas Presidentes Cigar (ABR MGT ‘07), this means that they have been aged in our stockroom so that you don’t have to! Or if you decide to age them further, that’s your decision.
YOU CANNOT SMOKE YOUR COLLECTION ALL AT ONCE
The great thing about keeping cigars is that there is no expiration date - as long as you keep it in well-monitored conditions like an airtight container or a humidor. In the case of many Cuban cigar enthusiasts, they may have built a cigar collection over the years after gathering years-worth of stogies. Naturally, you cannot smoke all the cigars at once, and you will have no choice but to let your cigars age a little. Unless you’re a binge-smoker, then it is likely that you won’t be able to finish a large box immediately.
Above: A box of Vintage Partagas Presidentes
SO, ARE AGED CIGARS BETTER?
Yes and no - as always, the answer is a matter of personal taste. The majority of Cuban cigars we trade taste outstandingly good just right out of the box. Thanks to the improved processes by Habanos SA, and how well-kept the cigars are today - the stogies that you will encounter are almost always ready to go. But if you do decide to listen to experts and try to age your Cuban cigar, you may reap more complex flavours. We suggest that you should gain some experience, and learn what your preferences are. Some aficionados like the ‘fresh-out-of-the-box’ taste, with the body of the cigar, kept intact - while - other people may prefer to age a cigar for mellower smoke without the ‘full-bodied’ profile. Therefore, when deciding to age the cigar, you should ask yourself - is this the taste and body that I want? If you find that the cigar is too strong, do age it and let it mellow out.
Looking for great quality cigars? Get on our website to browse our premium range of Habanos. Also, if you're interested in reading our ‘How-To’ Guides, check out our Cuban Cigar Blog:
- How to Store Cigars: The Importance of Humidity
- How to Hold Cigars: 5 Different Methods
- How to Season Your Humidor: A 5-Step Guide