Every day, customers come to our retail locations asking to be let in to the prestigious “Vintage Room”. Every day, first time customers are shown the infamous “Vintage Room”. Every day, I personally walk in and I am like a kid in a candy store. For collectors, part of the mystique around our Vintage Rooms is finding a cigar that you may have thought to be unattainable. The most common things uttered in our vintage rooms is “You can’t find these anywhere!” or “I didn’t know these still existed.” I am not much of a collector however. I buy cigars to smoke them. And that’s where the true beauty of this vintage rooms exists.
Some people don’t believe in aging cigars, or at the least, believe it is just fluff. I will be the first to tell you not all, or most cigars need aging. Cigar makers all over the world use the best aging techniques themselves and make sure their tobacco is primed and ready before being used in production. That doesn’t mean the best can’t get better though. It is just simply a natural occurrence. Tobacco holds ammonia and other chemicals from the soil it is grown in, just like any other crop harvested by humans. Even the best techniques aren’t fail proof or automatic. Sometimes the greatest weapon is time.
That’s right, Time. It heals all wounds and smooths out a cigars flavor. But time, combined with proper conditions and techniques are the true key to properly aging a cigar….
But what are the effects? How exactly does it enhance your smoking experience? The ultimate goal of aging, is to allow time and storage conditions to remove ammonia and chemicals from your cigar. This leads to a smoother sensation on the palate, as well as a more abundant spectrum for you to pick up the different flavor nuances.
Have you ever lit up a cigar that had a dominant “spicy” profile? Sometimes that spice isn’t the tobacco flavor, but chemicals in the tobacco that are hiding its true identity. After a couple years in proper conditions, the “spicy” cigar is actually a very rich and robust smoke, with a ton of complex flavors. The Oliva Serie V Maduro Series, Tatuaje Black Label, and Aging Room M21 are prime examples of this.
It’s not just spicy cigars from benefit from aging either. Creamy Connecticuts are some of my personal favorites to age, because I have found that the creamy notes are intensified over time, while any “dry” notes tend to fade. The original Curivari Achilles line is a great example. Another one I am looking forward to smoking after a couple years of age on them are the Original Release Padron Damaso.
But can you age a cigar too long? The answer to this can be very different depending on who you ask. I think that it’s different for each cigar. Some cigars are at their peak after a year or so. Others can be great 3 or 4 years after it’s release. Each blend of tobacco is unique and has it’s own characteristics. I do believe there is a limit. After awhile a cigar is as good as it’s going to be. You can even argue that it will lose some characteristics over too much time. Finding the perfect balance is the trick.
I highly suggest trying it out. It doesn’t have to be a rare cigar or a sought after cigar. The best cigars to age are your favorite cigars and cigars that you frequently purchase. Set up the proper conditions and place some of your favorite cigars aside for awhile. Then when the time is right, light up one of the aged cigars with one that hasn’t been aged and taste the difference for yourself.