Aging guidelines for your favorite sticks


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Hi all, a couple close friends and myself have started collecting CC over the past year or so and are a bit hung up on the whole aging thing. I see in the 24:24 sometimes they need a few years and sometimes they just need to get friendly with the humi. 

Do you have a couple sticks you like smoking young and a couple that you insist on putting away for x years? Curious what your experience has shown you!

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  • JohnS changed the title to Aging guidelines for your favorite sticks

I don't know if it's because many of the blends have changed over the years but many CCs are excellent smokes after they've acclimated to your humidor, or maybe up to a year's rest.  I wait too much in real life to come home and wait more.  So the oldest boxes I have are 3 years old.  Smoke 'em when you enjoy 'em.  If they're too edgy, stick 'em away longer.  Finished the 2nd to last of a box of Lusitanias tonight (BUP OCT 17).  It's one of my top five favorite cigars.  It smoked beautifully and tasted exactly as it should.  Age may rout off the sharper edges- but I prefer that boldness vs tempered smoke of long-aged cigars.  For others, it's the opposite and I'm nothing less than a heathen.  

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My advice is, experience all of it! Buy more than you smoke so you can see the evolution within boxes. This will give you the best baseline.

Doing this I have discovered that for me the following is true. Certain cigars for me definitely benefit from ageing. The general rule of thumb I use is based on marca. Whilst most for me peak by 5 years, many are perfect at 3years, like most Montecristo. Then there are those cigars you could lay down for 10-20 no problems, like H Upmann Mag46, PLPC, or Partagas 898V & Lusitanias. I do like even these cigars younger from time to time just to experience that extra vibrancy. I do like to have some younger cigars within my rotation because I do like to be kicked with a bit of mongrel now and then. Perlas and other shorties for me fit this category nicely - PG shorts, SC El Principe, RG Perla, Monte5, etc. Saying this, all of these shorter cigars are also excellent with age on them!

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All havanas improve with age.  Imo Fonseca, Montecristo, Saint Luis Rey are some marcas that tend to smoke great with little aging.  Partagas, Por Larranaga, Romeo y julieta are some that I have found can take more time.  These are generalizations and there are exceptions. 

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This is some of what I've learned over my Cuban cigar career. The only cigars I won't sample before 5 years are Cohiba Linea Classica and Siglos. I found that it wasn't worth it to sample them because the cigar experience  after 5 or more years is so much improved that any smoked too young I think are wasted. Bolivar are  similar to Cohiba but are not so dear that one would mind checking one or two out as the box ages. RASS need age, in my opinion but, hey, some like them young, who am I to judge. PLPC ditto. MC are good to age and benefit from time down, maybe not as much as Cohiba and Bolivar, except for the Especiales. The only Partagas I've been into lately are the SD#4 and those are pretty dang tasty as soo as they are acclimated. 

   As has been said, all Havana Cigars benefit from age. Maybe not as much as those from the last century and current production may not have the legs to go the long haul, 15, 20, years like in the old days, but a 7 year old CORO will most likely blow the socks off anyone new to Cuban cigars. Enjoy the ride.

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I agree, It mostly depends on preference. I smoked all my cubans young and determined from there. The best way is to get a box  and separate it over time, a few after a month, a few after 6 months and so on. I always leave a few from each box in my aging humidor and dont touch them until after a couple years but always leave quite a few young and accessible to pull for whenever I feel like it. I love Party D4's and Epicure #2's and I smoke them young so if you have boxes that you know are go to's that are young, you'll barely even touch the other ones except for once every 6 months anyway.

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10 hours ago, nKostyan said:

Everything is quite simple and depends on the strength and color of the wrapper.
Strong and rough cigars like aging, light and medium can be smoked young. Dark wrapper: if it tastes rough, try 1-2-3 years of aging.

Personally I would be a little wary of using this as a general rule of thumb. You may miss out on some cigars that have great ageing potential. Whilst there are a few examples, I'll use ERDM Choix Supreme as one. Always thought of as a mild to medium cigar, it actually develops great honey and nut notes and is a great cigar to try with some age on it. I recently had the pleasure of trying one with around 8 or so years on it from memory.

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Personally I would be a little wary of using this as a general rule of thumb. You may miss out on some cigars that have great ageing potential. Whilst there are a few examples, I'll use ERDM Choix Supreme as one. Always thought of as a mild to medium cigar, it actually develops great honey and nut notes and is a great cigar to try with some age on it. I recently had the pleasure of trying one with around 8 or so years on it from memory.

I did use some statistics of my national cigar community though. And I tried to give a simple and short universal answer. ERDM Choix Supreme is an outstanding cigar , its aging potential is also known to me.

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Don’t try to overthink it. Enjoy the journey. Let them sit for a few months then try one, then one more every few months or so. Once they become consistent from one sampling to another they probably are ready. At that point you can smoke them or continue with the samplings to see what happens with more time. Pretty soon you’ll be able to recognize what might benefit from aging and what probably won’t. 

One thing you need to be sure of is that you always have other stuff to smoke. If you load up too much with stuff you want to age you’ll end up smoking them before you want to. Find some things you like that you enjoy right off the truck and use them as your go-to stash. That way there is no pressure to light up the ones you want to age. 

Have fun. 

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I really like this question.  As I think about my own collection, it has great resonance.  I certainly don’t smoke “everything.”  There are a few that I have found to be what I enjoy which I stock and I have a drawer of singles/fivers that I use for the purpose of sampling.  Given my own predilections, I smoke: PLPC, Quai Corona, RASS, 898, Monte 4, PSD4, and Partagas E2.  The first 3 on that list just aren’t that enjoyable to me without multiple years of aging.  I don’t sample them new.  They just lay down. I’ve found that older 898s (like from 2008, say) still might need time but somehow the new 898s seem pretty good with very little age.  They must have changed the blend.  The Monte 4, PSD4 and E2 really are a great ride.  I like them young, I like them old.  They tell a great story.  

The above is my personal story.  I’ve kissed quite a few frogs along the way though.  I always love hearing about how others find their taste profile.

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For my favourites, and my personal taste:

Upmann after around 5 years, the leather is replaced and turns into cream

Partagas after around 5 years develops a beautiful spiced cream quality

Montecristo #3 from 4 years on begin to lose the coffee notes and vanilla+raisins start to develop

QDO gets a lot more pronounced flavours from 5-6 on, but I love them any time. There is a definite sweet custardy nature that comes in with age though.

  It all depends on your tastes, I generally prefer the subtle sweet tones that ageing tends to give. But I love fresh PLPC that are rough, sweet and come out fighting so it's really a mix. You'll end up with aged stock everyday just as a process of buying so I wouldn't worry greatly about it

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16 hours ago, nKostyan said:

Everything is quite simple and depends on the strength and color of the wrapper.
Strong and rough cigars like aging, light and medium can be smoked young. Dark wrapper: if it tastes rough, try 1-2-3 years of aging.

 

16 hours ago, MD Puffer said:

I don't know if it's because many of the blends have changed over the years but many CCs are excellent smokes after they've acclimated to your humidor, or maybe up to a year's rest.  I wait too much in real life to come home and wait more.  So the oldest boxes I have are 3 years old.  Smoke 'em when you enjoy 'em.  If they're too edgy, stick 'em away longer.  Finished the 2nd to last of a box of Lusitanias tonight (BUP OCT 17).  It's one of my top five favorite cigars.  It smoked beautifully and tasted exactly as it should.  Age may rout off the sharper edges- but I prefer that boldness vs tempered smoke of long-aged cigars.  For others, it's the opposite and I'm nothing less than a heathen.  

Can you guys clarify for me what you mean by roughness and sharper edges?  Are you referring to the amount of peppery spice in a blend, which can decrease over time?  Is it the harshness you feel in the back of the throat?  Or something else entirely?  

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Younger cigars can have harsh flavours, or can show bits of bitterness in-between nice flavours. With time these generally soften out and disappear. Positive flavours tend to blend into each other instead of hitting you then vanishing 

But some of this harshness/elbows/edges/fighting spirit can give an extra dimension to a cigar. Eg Por Larranaga petit coronas can have a lot of this but they are not unpleasant, they can work well with the traditionally good aspects of a cigar so the smoke seems young and unpredictable but also exciting and rewarding; you don't know what's coming next and the 'bad' elements aren't bad, they are just unrefined at this young stage

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I think there are general guidelines well known or mentioned here (or will be) but I think you really need to sample from the box at least a few times over time to get a feel for that box. With experience, like with wine you get a sense of what potential is and how you should proceed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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This is the first part of a multi-video series on YouTube about aging cigars. Dr. Joe has disappeared, (which is an entirely separate story) and although his style might be a bit too bold for some, he has a lot of good insight. 

 

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6 hours ago, Markspring1978 said:

This is the first part of a multi-video series on YouTube about aging cigars. Dr. Joe has disappeared, (which is an entirely separate story) and although his style might be a bit too bold for some, he has a lot of good insight.

I really miss Dr. Joe!! He is the reason why I fell down the rabbit hole of Cuban cigars. I hope he is well wherever he is.

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Wow, thanks everyone for putting so much thought into the responses! A lot of great feedback we appreciate. Looks like we should keep a notebook of what we smoke and how they are as we go through everything. I know I sure as hell would get everything mixed up.The other thing I am not used to as a NC smoker is buying boxes exclusively. I do quite the opposite with NC because there are so many I'd like to sample but it looks like I won't get the full value of habanos if I don't buy boxes and sample as I go. 

I really do appreciate the feedback, especially the common thread of buying a boat load and smoking them as they age! 

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13 hours ago, Chef said:

 

Can you guys clarify for me what you mean by roughness and sharper edges?  Are you referring to the amount of peppery spice in a blend, which can decrease over time?  Is it the harshness you feel in the back of the throat?  Or something else entirely?  

Aging cigars doing in a number of ways:
- to remove ammiachnomu and sharpness, the investigation of residues of organic matter after fermentation
- make the taste more rounded (remove sharp corners), a lot of information can be read in articles about wines. Rounded flavor - the balance of the components of the flavor without dominance of any of them
- separately, the task is to make vintage. Here in the first place the goal-to keep rare cigars so that they do not lose taste. When a cigar is made discontinued you have the opportunity to buy a few to make a rarity in a few years, enjoy or earn a profit. 

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The best way to tell is for you to try from your boxes periodically. I like to leave everything for a year before I try, but you need a good stock of cigars to be able to do this. I have some Monte PE’s from 2018 that are smoking really good and I have some Monte 2’s from 2018 that need a few more years.

And don’t forget, what I think is ready might not be what you like. 

 

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14 hours ago, Boogeyman81 said:

Wow, thanks everyone for putting so much thought into the responses! A lot of great feedback we appreciate. Looks like we should keep a notebook of what we smoke and how they are as we go through everything. I know I sure as hell would get everything mixed up.The other thing I am not used to as a NC smoker is buying boxes exclusively. I do quite the opposite with NC because there are so many I'd like to sample but it looks like I won't get the full value of habanos if I don't buy boxes and sample as I go. 

I really do appreciate the feedback, especially the common thread of buying a boat load and smoking them as they age! 

There's no reason to buy boxes beyond if you really like the cigar! You can buy big bundles of singles, samplers etc if you fancy going down that route, it may even be better than ending up with 3/4 full boxes that you aren't in love with

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Just smoke the cigars and not worry about how long to age.  If they don't taste the way you like then revisit them in the future.  Those who age cigars have enough boxes that aging is inevitable.  

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