Age enhances many different things in life. Wine gets much silkier, richer and less acidic with age. The flavor of cheese intensifies and develops a smoother texture the longer it ages. Even your old blue jeans feel better as they age. With age come many gifts; wisdom, patience, distinguished good looks among them.
Just as age improves so many great things in life cigars also benefit from proper aging. In fact the taste of a well-aged cigar is unlike any other. A soft kiss of rich tobacco, the mellow flavor that lingers on the palate, the evidence of care and craft that went into your beloved stogie is all due to the aging process.
We’re here to help you understand cigar aging and how you can further the process in your own home. If you’re an experienced cigar aficionado, this might not be new to you, but you’ll certainly pick up a tip or two. For those new to the passion of cigars enjoy this guide for cigar aging.
Why Aging Matters
We’ve already established that, in most things, age promotes a mellow and rich profile that can’t be mastered in any other way. In the world of cigars aging is a process that begins as soon as the tobacco leaves are harvested. The initial aging of the tobacco is the fermentation period. The tobacco is fermented in bales and takes anywhere from 24 months to many years. Cigar aging is especially important with the stronger varieties of tobacco as it softens the edge and renders them much more enjoyable.
Once the cigars are rolled they often undergo even more aging before they go to market. This time the aging lasts about three months to a year, or a little longer. The purpose of this post-rolling aging is for the filler, binder and wrapper leaves to marry. This leads to a much more pleasant smoking experience for many cigar aficionados.
Once home, the cigar collection may even undergo further cigar aging. Many experienced cigar connoisseurs bring their treasures home and relegate them straight to the aging box within their humidor. This is called box-aging and those in the know often keep their collection aging at home for years. Talk about patience!
The Art of Aging Gracefully-Your Cigars, That Is
Not every cigar needs to be aged. In fact some smokers prefer the flavor of a young cigar. And many of the more budget-friendly smokes don’t really improve with age. But the bold and robust flavored cigars become richer and much more mellow with the blessing of time-as long as five to 10 years in some cases. Cigar aficionados far and wide claim there is nothing better than a properly aged cigar. The complex flavor profile becomes more subtle and the flavors linger just a bit. Smoking an aged cigar is something every cigar lover must do at one time, at least.
A cache of good cigars is an investment to be sure. And aged cigars are even more so. If you want a cigar that’s been properly aged you will pay for it.
If you’re the type of cigar lover who prefers the rich flavors of an aged cigar but don’t exactly have the budget to indulge, it is possible to age your own cigars. Just make sure they are a robust and higher quality cigar from the beginning.
What Type of Cigar Benefits from Aging?
The larger ring-gauge cigars lend themselves well to aging. Because of the grittiness they are sure to have a variety of tobacco leaves. When aged in the proper environment these large cigars develop a more complex profile. The flavor deepens even as it mellows and you find yourself enjoying a rare and rich experience from the first draw.
There is one exception. Maduros, These fine smokes have wrappers which are already cured. This is what gives the maduros their deep dark color. The distinctively strong flavor is due to the curing and aging will not change a maduro’s profile.
What Type of Equipment is Best for Cigar Aging?
The best environment in which to age your cigars is one which is controllable. That means a humidor. And the ideal interior environment of your humidor should remain at 70-70. That is, 70% relative humidity and 70 degrees.
Beyond that, your humidor should have an excellent seal and Spanish cedar tray. Just place your collection into the humidor, keep it closed as much as possible and away from any ambient temperature extremes and bright light and your cigars will age well. Just remember the interior of your humidor must maintain the correct environment to prevent either molding or drying out. Invest wisely.
If you’re a serious cigar collector and have the budget a cabinet humidor is a very smart investment. For those with a collection of 250 cigars or fewer we suggest the Prestige Manchester 250-Cigar Cabinet Humidor. This lovely piece of furniture also has an optional swivel base.
Those cigar aficionados who may not keep such a large collection, don’t have the room or want a humidor exclusively for cigar aging, may we suggest the Humidor Supreme Old Glory Desktop with a 25-50 cigar capacity. There is also a larger version in which to stow up to 100 cigars.
The collector with discriminating taste, whose humidor is in full view and wants to showcase their sense of style, the Elie Bleu Alba 750 Cigar Humidor, or any in the Alba collection, has it all-form, function, style and panache.
How Long Should I Age My Collection?
Cigar aging depends entirely on personal preference. If you’re new to your passion, start with a one-year process. The lower the quality of your cigars the longer you need to age them to achieve a discernible effect. And the larger the ring gauge the longer you may need to mellow and marry the flavors. Properly aged, even an unappealing cigar turns into a pleasurable smoke.
If you’re interested in aging your cigars in the best environment, getting the best support and knowing you’re working with a trusted professional please reach out to Northwoods Humidors. We have all you need to make smoking your favorite cigars a pure pleasure.