Justin Harris / www.cigahr.com
Wouldn’t you know it! Just when we learn something new and positive about enhancing the cigar lifestyle (Part 1), someone has to come along and discuss negatives. Well being all about balance, we have an obligation to look at all sides of any topic to ensure that your cigar experience is maximized. But are there really drawbacks to aging cigars? Possibly, especially if not done correctly, so let’s discuss them here and wrap this thing up.
Disadvantages of Aging
Anything that deals with taste has a time limit. When left in storage too long sodas become flat, milk becomes sour and organic matter wilts. While cigars can be stored for decades if properly maintained, many of the characteristics that we love about them can be lost if left unattended for too long.
All cigars are blending to produce some level of strength. Ligero, the highest section of leaf on a tobacco plant, is either added or taken away from a final blend depending on the desired outcome. In speaking with Michael Herklots of Nat Sherman, he told a story of a trip to the factory to finalize a blend. He stated that he remembered a particular blend that was wonderful while he was there, but when he let the cigar sit for a few months he came back to it and it was horrible and flat. In a panic to discover what was wrong, it was determined that due to the composition of the leaf in the blend, they had to make it stronger (add ligero) so that as it aged it would mellow out and reach the balance that they had envisioned for the blend.
While time can bring out additional flavors, it can also be a detriment to cigars by making them too mild and changing the taste profile all together. When cigars that were absolutely loved are put away for too long it can be revisited and make one question why they even loved that cigar to begin with.
Finally, as seasons change, so to do the conditions in our humidors. When the temperatures are warmer outside, we often find ourselves scrambling to cool our storage units down. When the temperature drops, the dang humidity starts to run wild in our humidors due to keeping our homes warmer. It’s a never-ending battle trying to keep our cigar regulated, and in the process it’s possible that our cigars are paying the price for it…innocent bystanders, friendly fire, casualties of war.
Aging cigars can be hit or miss, but when done correctly it can make one’s smoking experience that much better. When done incorrectly, the investment could literally go up in smoke. A few months to a year is usually enough time to allow leafs to marry and for any harshness or unwanted strength dissipate if you choose to go that route, but it really comes down to knowing what you ultimately want out of that cigar. It takes trial and error to get it just right, or you can just say, “screw it, I trust that the manufacturer took care of the aging and I’ll cut and light this bad boy right now.” There’s no magic number or timetable, as it’s all up to personal preference. And whether the cigar is bursting with old flavor or it’s just as mild as a breezy spring day, cigars can be enjoyed either way, and any way they’re enjoyed is always just right.