Musings of a Newbie


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So let me start by saying I've been smoking cigars for quite a while, had a bit of a hiatus for a few years, but have recently delved in hard (say 4-5 months). For all the time I've smoked cigars, I've been a stout Padron fan; I've smoked just about everything they've produced and also the lion's share of NCs out there, with perhaps a few exceptions from what was released in the past 3 years.

I've been going hard on CCs since finding a reputable Canadian supplier and, more recently, FoH. I guess I'm writing this post because I have not (yet) had a CC smoking experience that has left me floored, or that has been "transcendental". I've had those experiences with good Padrons (1926 No 1, 50th come to mind). Now it seems just from cursory reading of this forum that CCs are entirely different animals in the sense that they truly do benefit from aging in a way that most NCs don't (be it because of the nature of the tobacco itself or quality issues in the island, whatever the case may be) and so far the oldest box I own that's been properly rested is some E2s from Sep 2018, that smoke great, but again haven't floored me. I honestly don't know if I have a strong point to make, but I guess the best word that comes to mind from my experience with CCs so far is mild disappointment. I am, by nature, not a patient person. I am usually OK with resting boxes for a good 4-6 weeks but beyond that I don't know if I can commit to proper aging of a box or 2 or 10. Not really a money issue, just not a fan of the concept.

If you've been in a similar position, how have you reacted? Has your mind changed? As of right now, I'm sitting on about 400 CCs that I've purchased from either here or that other dealer that I look upon with genuine sadness because it feels like if I smoke them soon (which is what I want to do) I'd be experiencing the cigar at below its true potential. Anyway, any comments appreciated!

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Potential is in the eye of the beholder. I've smoked many cigars, aged and young and the ones I've enjoyed most have been the younger ones (in general, not always). There are others who will have the exact opposite preference but in a place like this the majority of comments will be that you need to let the large majority of Cuban cigars rest for a decent amount of time. 

Also a good point is that it doesn't necessarily make the cigars better, it just makes them taste differently, and to a lot of peoples tastes, the change the cigar goes through is more to their taste.

Whichever works for you, enjoy it and don't be put off by what other people "insist" on you doing. Smoke you you prefer, if it turns out that "fresh" NC are your thing, stick with that, those CC you have may bloom over time if you stick to NC and in the future you may get a pleasant surprise when you dig one out to try again.

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Accepting charity sticks at your leisure... 

My questions to you (out of sheer curiosity) is, what flavor profiles do you love from the NCs you have smoked in the past? I think this will help you find the right CC that can be smoked young and ones that don't develop until much later.

I'm a newbie, so I can't provide any meaningful comment outside of levity. good luck!

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Best suggestion look for aged stock, there are some Cubans that don't need alot of age ( monte 2, lusi, JL2) it's all on what you prefer and what you like. You have your own palate and know what you like. 

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Being a huge Padron and other NC fanboy before coming into the CC world, I can identify with your experience.  I liked the strength, I liked that the flavors and aromas were so in your face that you knew exactly what you had.  Retrohale was a different story lol. Nothing like a grown man being reduced to tears after trying to retrohale a Padron 80 year or fresh Opus X.  It took me a while and a few different cigars to really 'get' Cubans. 

The difference for me was the nuances and subtlety in taste. I think what really got me was an SLR Regio that a shop owner gave me.  And I recall tasting fruit and flowers and honey for the first time and the ability to actually retrohale and get more out of the whole experience.

The best thing I would say is to really try as much as you can to find something that you like. After all these years I still don't really enjoy Hoyo, Cohiba, or Romeo, no matter how many times I try them or people rave about them. And I find that sometimes the cheap and cheerful offerings can be just as good as anything else. Point being, taste is subjective. No one can tell you what you like, and honestly no amount of aging may actually transform your sticks into something magical. 

Don't be concerned. And at the end of the day, smoke what you like.

 

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I didn’t see anything in your post about your storage and smoking conditions. Tell us about that. 

Also, you said you let them “properly rest 4-6 weeks”.  It should be more like 8 weeks at a minimum.  Try letting them rest at least two months, three is better, at low 60’s rH at around 70 dF.  CC’s benefit from aging in lower rH than NC’s, & the longer you can wait, the better. 

On the other hand, CC’s and the patience required to reap the benefits may not be for you. 

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In my time here, I can recall a few members who, though giving it time and an honest try, never cared for Cuban cigars. Nothing wrong with that.

With absolutely no offense intended, I do find it a little head scratching that one would acquire that many cigars (or anything, really) without trying them out - test driving, if you will - first.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone. I should caveat my post by saying that I have enjoyed most of what I've tried (which is quite a bit) and the stuff I've acquired will be smoked by yours truly, and enjoyed thoroughly at that. I guess for the most part I wanted to voice some frustration with the whole resting/aging paradigm.

Then again, I decided to just say F it this afternoon and smoke a PSP RyJ Churchill that's been sitting in the humi for only a couple weeks, and it was really, really delightful. So there is hope yet!

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And your tastes might change too. 

Example I took a 13 year hiatus from cigars, only smoked non Cubans for the first year back, discovered Liga and Padron to be my favourites. 

Fast forward another 6 months, I cannot get enough of that sweet communist leaf, never really looked back since.

At this point in time now, I have enough CC experience to be disappointed every time I smoke a young Cuban, because I can see the unfulfilled potential and think what a waste of a smoke this was had I waited another 2 years I’d have been so much happier, the disappointment of young cigars past is what gives me the strength to wait for the delayed gratification

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Another point of note is that all Padrons use aged tobacco, the 1926 and family reserve lines the longest, so though NC’s are generally aiming to be smokeable right away ageing tobacco may still have a role in the experience of cigars you know and love. That said, to me, nothing in the Cuban portfolio really does what a Nicaraguan Maduro does, and for that reason I still smoke some Padrons and Olivia’s though I have largely switched to a Cuban humidor. Though I enjoy Cohiba’s Maduro 5 line they aren’t the same animal. In contrast I believe that Cuba generally does everything the DR does, but better.

My personal guide seems to be 90 days rest after shipping and 1 year of box age seem to really increase the percentage of cigars in a box I find “really good” and almost eliminate those I find unsmokeable. I certainly think there is benefit from waiting past then, and shared your impatience initially but my experience has shown I have more often than not felt many of the cigars smoked prior to this point were wasted.

Perhaps keep buying NC’s for the short term and keep sampling your Cuban stash from time to time and see if they become more to your liking if money is not a concern. As others have said if they aren’t your thing that’s perfectly legitimate, but as someone who shared your initial impression I implore you to try to have some patience and see if you have some wow experiences. I know I have now.

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I also have smoked my share of Padron’s and other NC including the My Father line (cedros deluxe enimentes....love them) and Tatuaje. I also enjoy Dominican puros. I would say for myself that CC are not BETTER than the others mentioned, just different. I constantly switch what I smoke. I do smoke 1 cigar everyday and rarely smoke the same cigar 2 days in a row. I would like to cut down to a few a week and I’m working on that. But back to your topic, with all the CC you have why don’t you just put several boxes away for a couple of years or more and enjoy mixing it up while those sit. I have found big changes with letting them rest for at least a year from the box date and even more so as time goes on. I have a 1/2 box left of pd4 from feb 16.........big changes as I have smoked them spread out since 2017. Experiment with them. Big changes.....not like our NC or DC. Have a great weekend.

PS......and I have learned through this forum when you get them, let them rest for at least a month or two. They have been traveling in different temps and humidity. Sometimes I would try one right away and it would be ok and sometimes horrible, rancid like. But the rest would change anything negative about the flavor and body.

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I have some hard core cigar buddies who just don’t like Cubans all that much. Like mentioned earlier, Cubans are a milder, more nuanced and richer cigar but don’t have that brute power of some NC’s that so many people love. Also the construction problems and inconsistency is a big issue for them too. 

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Lots of good advice here already. Could very well be that cc are just not your thing. But I would persevere.

Those transcendent cigar experiences that we all seek are, by definition, rare.

Time is on your side...and when it happens, all doubt is erased

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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You don’t know how lucky you are? there are people here with secret credit cards that have to sneak boxes in the house when someone’s not looking.....and much worse.

Getting floored by a CC used to be a daily occurrence for me, sadly it’s something that happens very rarely now. And getting your hands on a great box of CC’s these days is almost a gift from the gods, especially since you, like me, don’t get to go into a store and pick our own cigars. At least you’ve come to the right place and upped your odds. 

If your a Padron fan you like big powerful tobacco, usually the powerhouses in CC’s come in small packages. Getting a large format box of powerhouse CC’s is a gift from the gods gods. I would try some Bolivar Coronas Junior or PC’s, small cigars but they pack quite a punch. For a large cigar I’d suggest the Lusitania’s.

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This was mentioned above, but is worth a second round. 

CC’s should be smoked at a much lower humidity. Don’t know what you are smoking them at, but I have found that storing at a lower humidity (60-62%) is much more important than aging a cigar.

There are several threads on dry boxing. Search for them and try it if you haven’t already. 

 

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