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Commentary: A Civil Word on Aging

1 Oct 2013

A surefire way to get a heated discussion going is to bring up the issue of aging.

aging-cigarsEverything from the basic definition — It’s aging after one year. No, that’s still resting; aging starts after three years. Well, I think two years is when it starts. — to which cigars benefit most from the process is a veritable minefield.

Over the years, I’ve looked quite a bit into aging, including talking with some pre-eminent cigar collectors and reading about it from a scientific standpoint, and, frankly, I’m more convinced than ever that there is no hard and fast answer.

Like most things involving cigars, aging is a matter of personal taste. I do know that most makers of good cigars don’t expect you to age their sticks. They use well-aged and fermented tobaccos and attempt to ship their products so customers get them at their peak.

I’m talking about non-Cubans. There, I don’t believe this was the case some years back when Cuba was scrambling to meet demand and exercising poor judgment about nearly everything, from the tobacco being used to quality control. Nowadays, I think things are better.

If you want to age cigars, feel free. About the only thing I can say with any degree of certainty is that you’ll rarely, if ever, find that time makes a poor cigar, especially one with low-grade, badly fermented, or un-aged tobaccos, anything other than an older, poor cigar.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is that if you want to age by the box if possible. That way, you can sample the cigars periodically to see whether they’re changing and have a good chance of catching them near the peak. It’s also a good idea to keep notes at each stage of the process on cigars you’re aging. You’ll find that helpful not only with the cigars at hand but in selecting future cigars for aging.

At any rate, I suggest smoking rather than fighting.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

7 Responses to “Commentary: A Civil Word on Aging”

  1. Andy Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    If you find yourself agonizing over the best way to age your sticks, you're missing the point of cigar smoking in the first place. Most of the cigars I've aged, I've aged on accident.

    • George E Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Andy – I agree completely. "Agonizing" and "cigars" should never go together!

      • DavefromPhilly Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

        Agree 100%. But I do think its fun to play around with.

  2. DavefromPhilly Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I've definitely found different results when aging different cigars. On my experience, med-full or full bodied cigars of high quality are the best candidates. Like in the case of the My Father le bijou and pardon anni 64. I love both sticks fresh, but with 1-2 years on them, they are holy shit amazing.

    The only brand that I see drastic differences in are Padillas. While I think most of his stuff is decent fresh… if you put a year+ on them they go from decent to really god damn good. Particularly the old signature 1932 and 1948 (Padilla made, not pepin made), to me they were awesome with a year or so on them. I swear if you took the bands off and gave me a fresh Padilla 1932 and one that had a year and a half on it, I wouldn't even know it was the same blend. And the Artemis went from raw and harsh to a pretty enjoyable and smooth golf cigar.

    That being said, in the case of the Prensado… 2 years did absolutely nothing. It was the same exact cigar, just 2 years older. It's crazy how different cigars differ in results.

    Whatever the opinion or the results though, I think we can all agree that it's fun to experiment with it.

    • cdj Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      I can't get past the swearing to get your point.

      • EthanStAndrew Friday, October 11, 2013 at 9:47 am #

        literally, as in reading potty mouth weakens your grasp on the english language? or is this a moral posturing thing? Seems like its the latter, if that's the case i feel bad for you 🙁

        berger&agenti mooch was pretty sour
        1 year later they weren't too shabby

  3. Swede214 Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Completely agree also George, at my age, I need to smoke them right now, not sure what will happen tomorrow.