Age can have a powerful effect on cigars. As with aging fine wine, letting tobacco leaves mature and develop flavor over time can improve and significantly alter the eventual smoking experience. However, not all tobaccos that are aged for a long time can truly be considered “vintage.” Sound confusing? Don’t worry; we’ll explain it further here.
Aging Tobacco 101
Most brands don’t release cigars to the public until they age them for six months to a year. That’s because freshly rolled cigars need time to rest and mature before they are smoked. If you’ve ever had a cigar right after it was rolled, you probably noticed a harshness in the flavor. That’s a by-product of ammonia, which naturally fades as tobacco leaves age.
There is no rule of thumb for aging cigars in your own humidor. Some smokers prefer to smoke cigars immediately after purchase, while others prefer to let cigars rest for a further few months (or even years). Neither is a correct or incorrect way to do things; it’s just down to preference.
As opposed to merely aged tobacco, vintage cigars must meet two qualifications. One, vintage cigars must contain tobacco aged for a substantial period of time. (Think between five and ten years.) Second, and this is crucial, vintage tobacco must also originate from an extraordinary harvest year.
As with any crop, farmers experience good growing seasons and poor growing seasons with tobacco. During truly exceptional growing seasons — when most days are humid, rainfall is plentiful, and the field produces an abundance of high-quality leaves –– growers can then set aside a portion for aging.
So authentic vintage tobacco is both the product of a standout growing season and the aging process.
The Best Vintage Cigars to Try
While there are plenty of aged or anniversary cigars on the market, if you want a genuine vintage cigar, you should try out the gold standard in this category: the Macanudo Vintage Series. Macanudo currently showcases two excellent Vintage options: Vintage 2010 (a Connecticut Shade) and the newly released Vintage Maduro 2013. Looking for something different, or you’ve already had a Macanudo Vintage? No worries –– the Diesel Vintage Series is another fantastic full-time offering that’s absolutely worth checking out.
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Premium cigars. Just like fine wine, cheese or spirits, when stored correctly, certain cigars (and the tobacco inside them) can improve with age. Aging cigar tobacco amplifies flavor and aroma nuances, it’ll soften the rough edges, and generally improve the cigar, and the entire smoking experience. That’s why the Cigar World team wanted to answer some common questions around cigar aging, and showcase why (when done right) it does pay to age your cigars.
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The old saying goes, “age before beauty.” Well, normally when we’re using this phrase, we’re talking about looks, but when talking about premium cigars, that saying aligns perfectly.
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how long it takes to age a cigar to perfection or if aging a cigar makes it taste better, you’re in the right place.