Beginner's Corner: A rough guide to ageing and aged Cuban cigars


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  • CaptainQuintero changed the title to Beginner's Corner: A rough guide to aged Cuban cigars

Excellent write up. Helps understand the process and beliefs behind the thoughts of aging.

 Thank you.

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Nice job @CaptainQuintero! Thanks for taking the time to put all that down. Another stellar bit of writing and wisdom to sit alongside your previous works!

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Great work and write up!  Thank you for taking the time and sharing

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Even for non beginners this is great. It seems like everyone needs to refresh on the fundamentals. Sometimes. On everything.

 

Edit: I’m a beginner. I was referring to life in general.

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  Cheers all, was a cold and windy day so was able to finally sit down and get some words out. I'd been meaning to add to the series for a while but didn't realise how much time had lapsed since the first edition!

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  • CaptainQuintero changed the title to Beginner's Corner: A rough guide to ageing and aged Cuban cigars
On 4/20/2021 at 1:36 PM, CaptainQuintero said:

  So this has come up more and more recently so I thought it might be a good idea to resurrect Beginner's Corner for a new point of reference, this time for a rough guide to aged cigars and what it entails. I didn't realise it has been two years since the last Beginner's Corner: A rough guide to brand flavours :unsure:

 "Why do you personally feel Cuban's improve with age? What about them do you feel improves?" 

    Historically cigars needed to be left to rest as they often arrived to tobacconists reeking of ammonia. They could be unfit for smoking for a good few years so would be left in an ageing room before being allowed to be sold to the public. Around the millennium Cuba began changing up its practices with new tobacco strains, curing techniques etc which has all but ended the idea that you need to age Cuban cigars in order to enjoy them. If you buy a box of Cuban cigars now, you pretty much have a ready to smoke box. You can however take steps to give you a more enjoyable and/or consistent smoking experience.

  There's a rough rule of thumb that says with a cigar rolled fresh from from the table you need to smoke it within the first 30 days, after that you need to let it rest for a year. It's mostly down to how much moisture is in the tobacco (As with most things in this hobby, it nearly always comes back to controlling moisture content.) This almost always applies to custom cigars as boxed cigars from Cuba will have been rolled, potentially stored before or after boxing and will spend time in the freezing facility before being shipped to global distributors.

  Now starts the issue of ageing. Currently its fair to say that nearly all Cubans will be good to go after you've got them accustomed to your preferred storage conditions, however in terms of smoking experience they can usually be quite unbalanced and all over the place in terms of flavours. You can see what potential a cigar has but most people I think would agree that from a year after boxing you will have a more balanced picture of what you have on your hands. Generally it seems that after 3-4 years you will have a box of cigars that is pretty much all there and will be a solid example of that particular cigar. Those first 5 years are probably not considered aged, more of a maturation that has resulted in a cigar being settled down and 90% of the flavours will be as the blenders intended it to be.

   When you've reached that point of 4-5 years you will start to notice changes as the years go by. Flavours will start to smoothly blend together along the duration of the cigar, opposed to rigid stop-starts. Aspects which could be overwhelming in early years may begin to fade and become more balanced alongside other flavours. Flavours which were very muted early on, or even non-apparent may come to the fore and become a core of what you have going forward. Cigars which could be described as mild or even bland when young (Quai d'Orsay Coronas) can transform with decent years on them and deliver a smoke with intense flavour. Bold and brash cigars like Partagas 989v can ease off and become refined and subtle.

  This comes right back to the initial question of what improves with age. You can certainly say that the balance of a cigar will improve, but you can't say it will be better, simply different. Nicotine strength will certainly fade over the years. You will also usually find that cigars will become hard and bands may begin to be come loose. I think generally you can say that sweet/desert flavours tend to become more prominent or distinct with age and rustic ones tend to mellow.

  So after all that, the answer to the question is after that initial 4 years or so of settling down, ageing isn't something that intrinsically makes a cigar better. It's usually someone chasing a particular aspect of a cigar that they enjoy. Ageing won't make a bad cigar into a good one and it won't fix issues with construction. You will always need a good quality example of any cigar you intend to lay down. It's sending a cigar to a finishing school. Sometimes they graduate will honours, sometimes they crash out and lose some of the characteristics that make them what they are. It's a very subjective journey into what you enjoy from specific cigars, but it's an enjoyable one that you can take your time with.

    Again it comes back to exploring and searching out what you enjoy about brands/marcas, even down to specific individual cigars within them. 

  Hopefully this has been a bit of help for the newer guys, feel free to add your own experiences and tips etc below!

 

Very detailed and yet easy rundown of aging cigars with emphasis on the palate of the smoker and how to get to select the cigars that fit it.

I agree with you - after 5 years a cigar is not "aged" but simply well rested, the tobacco is "married" and ready to be enjoyed in harmony.

Thank you for the excellent brief !

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Great post CQ! Well presented and I'll agree with the most part of your dissertation.

Always other factors come in to play though you nailed the key points quite well.

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Clear and concise. Well done.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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does anyone feel the type of box heavily affects the aging process? Dressed boxes with little cedar outside of a strip included vs slide lid boxes or cabs? I know there is pretty much consensus that take cigars out of cardboard boxes for long term aging. It appears it's 50/50 when it comes to removing from Tubos. 

this is at top of mind right now as I just received 10 Diplo 2's (RAT FEB 20). I'm putting them into an old Diplo 2 box from some '14's I quickly went through. Simple standard dressed diplo 2 box. 

But would it make a difference if I put them into a slide lid box, or cab style box? Even one of those standard Partagas D4 boxes? 

Or is this just another example of over thinking things? 

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