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Stogie Commentary: Older, Wiser, Better?

18 Jun 2009

Aged cigars are hot these days, and not just Cubans. Retailers offer them for sale. Magazines rate them. Board posts extol their virtues. I find it to be a fascinating topic, in large part because it is so wide open. Experts often disagree over key points, and no one can assure you that holding on to any particular cigar will result in improvement.

AgingMy own aging efforts are haphazard. The way it usually happens is I’ll ignore or forget some cigar or other and, after a while—voila!—it’s got some age on it. A recent example was a Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 2  that had somehow escaped my notice for about a year and a half. When I smoked it recently, I could only wish I had more: The flavors remained just as distinct but somehow deeper. Time in the humidor had rounded the pepper and spice to perfection.

A different route led to another extraordinary aged Tatuaje. I got together the other night with Stogie Guy colleague Patrick M in Ybor City for a few hours, and he graciously gave me several beautiful cigars, including a two-year-old Tat from a cabinet he’d bought that had been resting at a retailer. It was sublime, one of the best cigars I’ve had the pleasure of smoking.

Interestingly, both are rolled by Don Pepin Garcia, who isn’t a big proponent of aging. I reflected on that the other night when I lit up another Pepin creation, a box-pressed 601 Blue Robusto fresh from the seller. The 601 line is one of my favorites, though I’d probably rank the Blue as my least favorite of the four. Not this stick, though. It was head of the class—full of flavor, changing as it burned and highly tasty. I cannot imagine it would get better with age.

Interestingly, I’d smoked a larger vitola Blue that was more than year old just a few weeks earlier. I wasn’t particularly impressed with what aging had wrought. And to keep it even more interesting, Patrick A had a considerably different experience with a 15-month-old Blue Toro that he wrote about last month.

So what’s the conclusion? Well, you can probably draw your own. For me, there are at least three: (1) It’s difficult, if not impossible, to gauge beforehand how specific cigars will age and how you will react to them; (2) Like most aspects of enjoying cigars, personal taste plays a large a role in judging aged sticks; and (3) Don’t go overboard on aging. It’s another aspect of the hobby and another way to find great smoking experiences. But it isn’t the only way.

For more information, you can find exclusive write-ups about our experiences aging cigars in the new StogieGuys.com email newsletter. Sign up today if you haven’t done so already.

George E

photo credit: Cuban Crafters

Drew Estate

7 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Older, Wiser, Better?”

  1. furious Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 2:37 am #

    Great article, George. In my experience, young cigars that possess flavors of strong tobacco that gather strength with a slight ammonia or acidic edge in the final third generally indicate a good candidate for aging. Conversely, if the stick is bland and lacks the above-mentioned nuances, then aging usually does not help.

    Perhaps with a stronger flavor profile, age not only mellows it out, but it provides an additional dimension that is rather hard to describe. In a bland cigar, this aging dimension simply may not be detectable. Anyway, it is a fascinating topic.

  2. Franky D Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 3:38 am #

    I love your insight, George, which seems to be written with the wisdom that can only come from a seasoned brother of the leaf. Keep up the good work…I look forward to your next commentary.

  3. George E. Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 4:48 am #

    Thanks for the kind words!

  4. cigarfan Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    My experience is that robust flavors fade with age, while more delicate ones are highlighted. If you like bold flavors, fresh is probably better. If you’re after complexity and don’t mind a milder cigar, age can be a wonderful thing.

  5. Marcus Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Great article George. My past experience has shown that a cigar with a little too much pepper or one that has a little too much of an edge usually benefits from six to twelve months of ageing. Beyond that, each cigar brand and size is a unique aging experience.

  6. Ahmed Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    great writting george. I agree with cigar fan. But for a reason or another i age cigars for very long time, i have a box of monte roburto EL from year 00 that look just perfect to be enjoyed but i didnt yet. Good luck

  7. Dino Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Increidble. http://www.stogieguys.com is great.