If you’ve read our article on how moisture affects cigars, you already know cigars aren’t static creations. They’re a complex blends of resins, oils, and sugars and the way they interact not only alters according to the environment, but also over time. They blend together as cigars age, creating new tastes and textures right up until the moment they’re smoked. Aficionados love this process because it lets them explore the full range of flavors of their cigars, and you can do it right in your own home.
Why People Age Cigars
Cigars aren’t made from just one kind of tobacco. They’re normally a blend of different types, harvested from different parts of the plant. In a fresh cigar, their flavors are sharper and more distinct, but as a cigar ages, the oils, resins, and sugars from the various tobaccos seep into the surrounding leaves and their flavors blend together. This process is known as “marrying,” and it’s highly valued by cigar lovers for the complex aromas and tastes it creates. Stronger flavors weaker, but weaker flavors become more distinct.
How to Age Cigars
Aging cigars at home requires some specialized equipment and a lot of patience. Because cigars are susceptible to their environment, they can’t be stored out in the open. You need a humidor or a cigar cooler to maintain the right amount of heat and humidity to preserve your cigars’ flavor. If you have an have a humidor, great. If you’re buying a new one, make sure it’s properly seasoned first or the wood might suck the water out of your cigars instead of keeping it safely trapped inside.
How cigars react to aging is a matter of personal taste and there’s no way to determine the right amount of time besides buying a box and testing them yourself. Cigars are normally evaluated in increments – one day, seven days, one month, six months, one year, two years, etc. – which is why you need a large supply of the same brand on hand, so you can smoke one or two at a time to see how they age. How does the cigar taste? What flavors can you detect? Are they stronger than before? Weaker? How are you enjoying them? Make sure you label the box with the date you bought them and take notes as you go.
What Cigars to Age
Because heavy cigars contain a greater variety of tobacco, they take longer to marry and generally age better. A really heavy cigar might take ten years to full age, while lighter cigars are usually finished in about six months. Thick cigars are normally better as well. Their size helps protect against the adverse effects of heat and humidity, so they stay fresh longer than thin cigars.