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.
First things first
Not every cigar will get better with age. So, don’t think that each and every cigar you ever buy you’ll have to age in your at-home humi. More often than not, full bodied cigars will age or mature better compared to a cigar that’s milder. And, keep in mind, a cheap cigar won’t ever get better with age. Like they say, “you can’t polish a turd.”
Remember, the tobacco in your cigar has already been aged
Every premium cigar is the product of seasoned and iconic master blenders. They take immense pride and pleasure in spending months (if not years) fermenting and aging the tobacco before it's rolled into the cigar that you’re buying.
In addition to that, many award winning blends and brands will keep their cigars in a temp and humidity controlled environment at the factory for several months after they are rolled and before they ship to retailers. The main goal for these blenders is to provide you, the smoker, with the taste and aroma they intended right when you buy them from your local cigar shop.
So, celebrate knowing, these cigars are already pieces of art, aged to perfection.
Now, with that said, there are many cigar aficionados or connoisseurs who live and die by aging their cigars inside of their home humidor. For some, this can be as little as a few days and for others it can be up to a decade.
How to age cigars
If you’re looking to do some box aging with your cigar collection at home, you’ll first need a humidor. For cigar collections around 20 to 50 cigars, a simple desktop humidor that has a consistent temperature and humidity levels will be completely sufficient. If you have a larger collection, containing boxes of cigars, a cabinet style humidor with a high-end humidification system is probably more your speed. You can check out some of the year’s best humidors here.
Temperature and humidity aside, one of the other biggest factors to properly aging your cigars is separation. Always make sure your humidor has cedar dividers or shelves between different brands and editions otherwise the flavors and aroma will start to blend together.
Typically, it’s best to stay close to the 70/70 rule. However, slightly lower humidity levels and slightly cooler temperatures could benefit the aging process.
How long to age cigars
The most difficult part about aging cigars is…taste is freaking subjective. Truly, the best and only way to know if aging is improving the smoking experience for you is to try it.
Buy a few cigars, store them properly, and then begin to smoke them at different time intervals.
Smoke one after three weeks.
Smoke another after two months.
And smoke a third after five months.
Take notes on what flavor and aroma changes you experience. If you’re digging the way your cigar tastes during a certain time frame. Bingo. You found your niche.
Do remember, in the same lens as wine, there is kind of a point of diminishing returns with aging cigars. Really, anything over 10 years is a bit excessive and could potentially decrease the zest or spice in certain tobaccos. And, to be completely honest, I can’t fathom how someone can be that patient. Props to anyone who is.
The best cigars to age
If you’re itching to age some premium cigars at home but not sure what to try, the Cigar World team has compiled four of the highest-rated and most popular from the top brands across the globe. Whether you’re looking for a budget friendly option like Punch Nicaragua or something absolutely opulent like the Davidoff Nicaragua, there’s something for everyone.
#1: Davidoff Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapa
#2: Liga Privada T52
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
#3: Padron 1926 Serie Maduro
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
#4: Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
If you’re noticing a trend, Nicaraguan tobacco ages pretty darn well.
Do you age your cigars before you smoke them? Let us know!