SenorPerfecto

How long are cigars at their best?

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I like this assessment.  Also worth noting is that movement from “aged” where the cigar tastes like a mellow and refined version of “itself” into the category of “Vintage” where it tastes great and cedar-y but loses it’s essential characteristics.

 

also.  How is The Passage?

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Smoke some 90s punch monarcas.  That will change your mind.

In the early 200x HSA changed the blend for most brands to the downward strength. As you know, the high strength allows cigars to keep the taste longer in the aging process.

 

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2 hours ago, nKostyan said:

In the early 200x HSA changed the blend for most brands to the downward strength. 

 

Different tobacco.  Different blends.

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I remember people worrying about the fresh cigars being produced 10 years ago plus because they were so good right out of the box. They said they would never age well. I think they have aged just fine. I’m really enjoying 03-10 right now. Probably more than 97-02. There is no doubt however that the best cigars I have smoked were from the 80’s to mid 90’s. I can’t wait to see how the cigars I have aged myself are in 10 more years. 

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Although I think the variables involved make it a bit more complex, I’ve arrived for the time being at a similar conclusion to the OP’s. The biggest current example being that I find my 2018 HU 2’s much more enjoyable than the HU 2 Reservas I have. The Reservas are very smooth, but lack character and, well, flavor. 

Like the OP, I’m also going to inevitably find out  about the effects of age on my collection... hoping for the best!

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On 7/14/2019 at 7:06 PM, vinnyvega said:

Different tobacco.  Different blends.

And curing techniques.

The tannins have been minimized across the board for Habanos and I think that plays a major part of how it ages carries strength.

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So many variables.  Many of the old Havana cigars hold up very well for decades if stored properly.   I just had a really good Qunitero from the 70's.  I have smoked a few that were in the last 3 years that didnt have as much depth.   You just never know.  The best cigar I have had recently was an '07 VR Unico.  

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On 7/14/2019 at 8:34 PM, miamipadronsmoker said:

I remember people worrying about the fresh cigars being produced 10 years ago plus because they were so good right out of the box. They said they would never age well. I think they have aged just fine. I’m really enjoying 03-10 right now. Probably more than 97-02. There is no doubt however that the best cigars I have smoked were from the 80’s to mid 90’s. I can’t wait to see how the cigars I have aged myself are in 10 more years. 

I think everyone enjoys 03-10 cigars over 97-02!!!

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I really ought to get into smoking my cigars young, but there is something about having a complete box that is just downright sexy. A box of cigars is like a hundred dollar bill, once you break it it's easy to watch whats remaining disappear.

That said, I take the Hunters & Frankau approach and don't touch a box until at least 2 years after the box date. FEB 17 got busted into in MARCH 19 for example. Two years is by no means aged, but the first two years allow a cigars edges to mellow out while still carrying a rich delivery. All of my cigars 5+ years of age still retain a bit of the initial characteristic that made them enjoyable, but it's more a one dimensional enjoyment rather than a complex journey. I enjoy both. I've got such a large stock and such a bad buying problem I'll probably sit on some of the boxes in my humidor for 10-15 years before they get touched. I guess that's a good problem to have!

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12 hours ago, Monterey said:

I think everyone enjoys 03-10 cigars over 97-02!!!

mostly yes. smoked a lot of amazing cigars from those years. but some amazing from period 97-02 as well

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6 hours ago, Piligrim said:

mostly yes. smoked a lot of amazing cigars from those years. but some amazing from period 97-02 as well

98-02 cigars were a train wreck.  Known as the black period.    I see people selling those cigars on facebook forums and laugh at the price they pay.  People held onto those cigars for decades hoping for a new generation of smokers who didn't know how bad those cigars were.

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I don't believe the 98 or 02 are that bad. I've had 98 HDM Churchills that were awesome. Clove, cream and spice. Not a tent peg in any of them. Now, 99-01? Really bad. I had an 00 box of Des Dieux that all were unsmokeable. And I foolishly paid a high price not knowing about the three bad years.

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A word of caution. Don’t touch any cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001. Many of these cigars had construction problems as well as bad tobacco blending. A new generation of factory workers came on board at that time, and many didn’t know how to make cigars. Moreover, policies were initiated to make large quantities of cigars and the blends were not correct.

That is an excerpt from James Suckling.  So dates may very.  Cigars of 2002 were not great in my opinion.  Didn't take off until 2003.  I'm sure some cigars were good, but the vast majority were so bad.  I was smoking cigars back then and it was so frustrating.   I thought age would help out.  Nope.   If you were lucky to have a non-plugged cigar, it was a flavorless mess.  Such a shame.  Glad that is behind us.  Sad people buy those cigars still not knowing better.

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My experience with the dark period cigars 1997-2002 could not be more different than the prevailing opinion on this thread. Below are the boxes and partial boxes of cigars in the dark period years that I purchased earlier this Spring all over Spain. I have smoked roughly 40 sticks from this sample. As a group, these sticks are amongst the very best Cuban cigars I have smoked. Only ONE vitola, really one CIGAR, I would grade less than very good and that would be the one SP Corona Gigantes (a Churchill I think) that I recently sampled. I only was able to secure 4 of these sticks and I never saw them anywhere in Spain save in the shop I purchased the 4 from. They were all banged up when I got them so I had to use extensive cigar glue - which might have something to do with the tightness I experienced.

I would be VERY happy if you all would leave the dark period sticks for me - I'll be happy to smoke these dog rockets!

Here are the sticks in the dark period years I purchased in Spain and smoked about 40 of in the last 2.5 months. I have yet to sample a Monte 1 or Tubos.

image.png.54ebf306afc3f2755e8e0c9ab393bbd7.png

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2 hours ago, Monterey said:

A word of caution. Don’t touch any cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001. Many of these cigars had construction problems as well as bad tobacco blending.

Cigars of 2002 were not great in my opinion.  Didn't take off until 2003. 

 I thought age would help out.  Nope.   If you were lucky to have a non-plugged cigar, it was a flavorless mess.  Such a shame.  Glad that is behind us.  Sad people buy those cigars still not knowing better.

Well, if you have 'em, please send them, I'll buy as many as my bank account can handle. I guess you could say "one man's trash is another's treasure". 

I've seen these sentiments expressed repeatedly in various forums, but they are inconsistent with my personal experience. I think roll quality was pretty consistent with what was coming out of Cuba in the 90's and 2000s. But the flavor and satisfaction of cigars from 1998 to about 2003 were some of my most memorable and cherished. The variety of regular production cigars at that time was also awesome; Tainos, Punch SS1, SS2, RS12, LGC #1, #2, Part. Corona and Petit Corona, Le Hoyos, multiple Lonsdales, multiple TPCs, etc. That five year span was/is golden to my taste. 

Unfortunately, my supply from that era is almost all gone now. Wish I had more, or could find some to buy or trade for because I surely miss them.

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2 hours ago, Monterey said:

A word of caution. Don’t touch any cigars from the end of 1998 to 2001. Many of these cigars had construction problems as well as bad tobacco blending.

There were plenty of great cigars from that era, but were all bought and/or smoked way back then.  I had plenty of great boxes bought during that time, but the left overs are not worth the dice roll for the reasons you state.  Maybe there's a good cab of DC's out there, but a pricey gamble if not buying in person.

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Enjoy those cigars!  Glad someone will buy them.  People have been trying to sell them for 2 decades.  We all win with people buying them up.  I wish you luck.

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