Aging experiment logs ( selection done )

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I will be logging the notes I have on the cigars that will be used in the experiment we discussed in the main thread. I have been smoking cigars for the past week with the mindset of testing if they are optimal for this test, and so far have excluded a few, such as recent production H. Upmann Conn. B  and recent production Partagas Series E no.2’s. I will continue this for the next month. 


Edit: as I have received many objections to using two boxes of the same vitola even with identical box codes and dates, I will be splitting the same box into two batches, one vacuumed and one in original condition. All boxes will have been samples and evaluated here before we officially start.


Edit 2: As I progress through sampling and determining which cigars will be included in this study, I have also received a number of concerns and valid points which I am taking into account as I finalize the mechanisms that will be in place and the structure of the reviewing phase and the study as a whole. As a reminder, we want this to be a a valid scientific study, you can help me and the community by contributing to the five steps when you are able in the other open thread, that would be greatly appreciated indeed!

As a recap of what makes for a scientifically valid study, Scientists use a dynamic, open-ended process to investigate questions. Please note we have simplified the questions and the types of storage methods we will be including in this study to be pragmatic and actually get as concrete data as possible.  Here are the five steps used in a scientific study:

1. Define a Question to Investigate 

Our question is “ Does air tight aging (vacuum sealing) add value in the cigar aging process? If so what are the potential benefits, issues, and effects does this method bring to the table?”

2. Make Predictions

Based on their research and observations, scientists will often come up with a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a possible answer to a question. It is based on: their own observations, existing theories, and information they gather from other sources. Scientists use their hypothesis to make a prediction, a testable statement that describes what they think the outcome of an investigation will be.

We have started this process already, in the form of the many discussions we have had on this and many other forums, as well as statements we have heard from industry specialist and hobbyist alike.


I have included my own predictions in each of the initial sampling notes I have included in this thread, and will state what the community is leaning towards here as an answer to our question:


Does air tight aging (vacuum sealing) add value in the cigar aging process? If so what are the potential benefits, issues, and effects does this method bring to the table?



Air tight aging will potentially   slow down the aging process, due mainly to the lack of oxygen hindering the chemical process organic material undergoes under normal conditions, as well as the lack of air exchange prohibiting the evaporation of various organic compounds in the tobacco ( often referred to as “oils” ) and gases ( most notably ammonia ) 

The potential benefits are:

1- Increase the lifespan of a particularly good vintage in terms of decades.

2- Enhance the aging process as is often claimed by supporters of this aging method, theoretically due to hindering the escape of compounds that flavor is attributed to.

3- By reducing the amount of oxygen to an extremely small amount, theories have been established that the tobacco beetle, and in some cases even mold, could not survive. I am very skeptical of this when it comes to beetles, and sure the claim regarding mold is untrue. We shall see.


Potential issues:


A. The extremely slow aging process could be too inconvenient for most smokers.

B. Lack of ability to sample the cigars would make it impossible to gauge their progress.

C. The introduction of an additional sick period weeks after removing the airtight seal is untested and difficult to ascertain.

D. Inability to examine the cigars, if they where sealed in their box, would make it impossible to detect issues such as the aforementioned beetles or mold and resolve them in time.


This section will be expanded based on additional input for the next month. 

3. Gather Data

The experiment we have decided on should provide enough data to answer the questions and prove/disprove the hypothesis.

as it stands, we will be choosing 5 well know cigar specialists with a known presence in the community. They will be testing 10 pairs of cigars that have been aged in 2 different methods, I have chosen the cigars to ensure they are optimal for this experiment, with variations in flavor profile, vitola, age when sealed or stored ( the issue of ammonia when very fresh is also to be analyzed ) and finally tobacco types and body. A question are will be developed and handed out with the 10 pairs of cigars.


the cigars are:

2017 LGC MdO no4


4. Analyze the Data

The same reviewers will be part of a larger panel that reviews and determines the outcome of this study. 

5. Draw Conclusions


Based on the outcome of the previous step, the panel will come out with a set of general guidelines and recommendations as to when use the air tight aging method, as it applied to collectors of different cigar investment capacity/intention.



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First cigar I sampled to gauge its potential for the experiment was one that was recommended by the community, and one I had not intended in including originally. My tastes have changed over the past 23 years, and although I once cherished the Hoyo Epicure No.2, I thought of it as forgettable for a long long time. Perhaps as I had become accustomed to heavier bodied cigars mostly, and when I wanted a lighter morning companion I would always go straight to the Quai D’Orsay 50 or 54 which I have had tremendous luck with, as opposed to all Elicure No.2’s from 2008 to 2016.


This sample from 2018 turned out to be a very pleasant surprise on the other hand, extremely full of flavor, smooth already, and with that distinct honey-cinnamon-toasted tobacco flavor that I remember from the pre-2000 days, this will be a great cigar to include in the study.

the cigar is already fairly smooth  but will benefit from additional aging, I would venture to guess that it could reach its prime in another 5-8 years, and it will be very interesting to see how the different aging methods impact the process. The draw was perfection, not too tight not too loose.


Cigars are uniform and of identical weight as per five tested samples, attractivewrappers are fairly dark and fairly oily, some blotches here and there.





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Partagas is an old dear friend of mine, many vitolas have been steady companions over the years, from the humble yet delicious Presidente to the elegant Lonsdales, from the convenient Shorts to the glorious E2, the brand has given me many pleasant memories and rarely if ever disappoints, I just new there would be at least two or three shovel for this experiment. Not to mention that we need fuller bodied cigars to get a clearer image on the effects different aging methods have on different types of cigars.


to start the evaluation process I opted for one of my absolute favorites from Partagas, the P2, a vitola that fits the flavor profile to a T, nothing quite hits the sweet spot like a well aged spicy Partagas torpedo after a well prepared steak and grilled vegetables dinner right? Right!


I had about 15 different box codes and dates  to choose from for this experiment and considered them all, but I have been rather disappointed with post 2019 production, which I had sampled previously for my own purchasing considerations. They seem muted and one dimensional, the pre 2016 boxes I have are wonderful but I am concerned they might have already been too aged to make the differences less noticeable for our considerations, so I chose two different box code from 2017 and 2018.


I smoked the 2017 earlier in the week, and the 2018 today after a  grilled salmon with butter garlic sauce and a side of home made bread, not a big seafood person usually but my wife has been insisting we eat more from the sea, the Partagas was a welcome sight afterwards.

From the very first puff, I knew this vintage won amongst its peers and would be the ideal candidate, an absolute explosion of flavor once lit, this might be the best P2 box I have had yet not counting the ones that come in tubes! I had not anticipated that as the wrappers where very ugly, blotchy dark and veiny, but flavor is magnanimous! I am very excited to see how these age. I anticipate both will be wonderful, with the vacuum sealed one requiring additional aging to reach their peak and the standard aged ones being very close to perfection.


I shouldn’t post overly detailed tasting notes as the perception of flavors is very personal, but I can’t help but point out the very delicious cherry note I got in the middle third in addition to the Partagas flavor profile, the spicy sweet package was very enjoyable and the cigar really kept my interest going. Yes there is allot to say for the delicate experiences an aged Fundadores or a Montecristo Especial can offer, but at the time of writing I really can’t think of another cigar I would rather have smoked, that includes limited and regional releases. Just phenomenal potential! I am pleased to offer the participants this cigar when the five year aging period has concluded, making these nine years old then, approaching peak I would venture to guess in standard packaging at least. The last third had some significant ammonia and harshness so again, optimal for this study as there should be noticeable difference between the different aging methods.


note: I thought about it and will also do a separate study on these, removing cigars from tubes and replacing them with samples from this box.


so 9 vacuum sealed, 10 standard packaging, and 5 in tubes. This will be the only cigar we test in three aging formats.




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We have to have an Edicion Limitada in this collection, for one thing the Maduro wrapper would add an interesting element to the mix, plus it seems the program is so successful it is going to be with indefinitely.


it didn’t take me long to land on which one of the Edicion Limitadas to choose, the Bolivar Super Coronas from 2014 seem optimal as they have not reached optimal smoking condition yet or close to it, upon the last tasting and todays, I would venture to guess they need no less than 3-5 years aging in standard format to be truly enjoyable, all Bolivars are full bodied but these have more potential than most to my tastes, I am sure the difference between vacuumed and non vacuumed samples will be substantial in five years time.


The sample I smoked today had hints of typical Bolivar flavors, vanilla, coffee, a bit of dry cocoa. The last third was far too harsh still. I hope they go through that magical transformation Bolivars go through in the next five years in both or at least the non vacuumed samples, it will be great to hear the reviewers opinions on these.



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The La Gloria Cubans Medalle D’or No 4, another staple in my smoking stock and a long time favorite of mine, a true gem that few for some reason cherish, perhaps because it’s size is no longer in vogue. I use them exclusively as aperitif cigars, particularly when traveling, as part of my vacation rituals me and the wife will always look for a few fine dinning experiences to commemorate the trips, there really is nothing in life quite like pairing fine cigars with great gourmet adventures, and this lovely cigar has kept me company many times while my wife would take her time getting ready. A fantastic way to prepare your pallet, or when the environment allows, a cigar to be enjoyed with the appetizer in a smoker friendly restaurant, to be following with a fuller larger cigar after the meal is how my ritual goes. 

I had a few vintages ranging from 2014 to 2018, this one from 2017 is nearly full and smelled absolutely wonderful, like a bowl of ripe berries.

For this tasting session I paired the cigar with a watered down home made ice tea, and the thought that immediately crossed my mind is that these are nowhere as popular as they deserve to be, if there ever was a cigar to prove that girth has nothing to do with flavor or intensity it’s this one, in fact I prefer this to all of the regional La Gloria’s I have, tremendous amount of honey and a sweet flavor I can’t quite place, some light spice to keep things interesting, and just enough toasted tobacco to remind you you are smoking a cigar, not eating candy.


the last third was sharp and Intense, there is definitely room for improvement with proper aging. I expect at the five year mark these will be in their absolute prime for my particular preferences in standard packaging, will be interesting to see how the vacuum sealed samples differ! These will be easy to differentiate I have no doubt. 






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  • Fakhm changed the title to Aging experiment logs ( first post updated )

I had this thought last week, that this experiment needs to be as diverse as possible, not just in terms of production years, brands, and tobacco types, but also price points. I don’t have allot of experience with the lower ranked cigars in the Habanos lineup as I always have been a firm believer in the “smoke less, smoke better” adage, even back in my university years, as a financially challenged student, I would rather save my money and smoke one premium cigar a week instead of three or four machine made cigars. I do keep one cigar always on hand for outdoor type activities, the RyJ Cazadores is a favorite of mine, but since the blend change I don’t think of them as less than premium anymore.


But since the purpose here is to extract as much useful data as possible, I decided to ask around, and was told that the Romeo no.1 and Mille Fleurs where highly regarded as affordable entry level cigars, so I got a box of each.


I have to say I was very very surprised by the Mille Fleurs! Despite their young age they where very approachable, more complex than anticipated, and really delicious on the whole! I had one with my morning coffee and it was phenomenally enjoyable.


The No.1 was fairly one dimensional but also far better than anticipated with more Romeo flavour than the MF and most other Romeos actually, I am very curious how these will age!


I was going to choose one to include in the lineup but based on the results I have decided to include both. I am glad I decided to test these cigars, in addition to adding a new dimension to the testing lineup I was taught a valuable lesion, with my previous arrogance towards lesser priced Habanos preventing me prom enjoying these tasty cigars that would serve perfectly to accompany a morning coffee!


even after 23 years of Habanos obsession, there are still surprises to be had! 



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Montecristo No.2, 2021


When I first thought about this study, and started contemplating which cigars I would include, the Monte #2 was naturally the first that came to mind. Not only is it now the most consistent and readily available cigar in the Habanos portfolio, but it’s also one of the most universally liked and a pure representation of the Cuban cigar experience.

Yes there are more refined or complex or elevated cigars, but when it comes down to simply wanting to enjoy an easy smoking, satisfying and indulgent cigar, none match the Montecristo No.2 ( maybe the Edmundo now, or at least it comes close). 

I was eager to get my hands on a recent production sample for this study for several reasons, I wanted to see if this legendary vitola had been modified in the same vein as the other post 2019 cigars I had tried, and if so to which degree. This is a cigar that I am very, very, very familiar with. It is my go to cigar, and I have smoked samples from every year from 1998 to 2019 up to this point, I would buy at least four boxes of this cigar every year, and it would be very easy to judge the changes.

I have to say I was very pleased with the one I smoked today after a delicious chicken rissoto lunch, paired with ice black tea to start and a black coffee for the last part. The cigar was very smooth and far more developed in general compared to cigars from previous years with the same aging time, far more. To the extent I don’t believe new cigar smokers will ever feel the same need to develop aging systems and invest in a large stock when they can simply pick up a box of these, stick them in a 50 count with a few assorted vitolas, and call it a day. The cigar really was very smooth, delicious, notes where obvious, and the aroma was intoxicating. The usual Montecristo flavors of Monte twang, chocolate, coffee, nuts, slight cedar and honey, and a bit of leather and spice in the last third. I would estimate these , at one year old, are smoking as well as a six year old sample from the 2008-2018 years would. I am very curious what the Cubans are doing differently and if it will impact aging potential!


These particular cigars will provide some very important data to this study, not only will it be easy to differentiate the vacuum sealed from the standard packaged samples, but it will also shed some light on aging potential of these new cigars, and if they deteriorate with age. I wonder if we will find the vacuum packed to be significantly more flavorful and the standard packaged ones to be heading downhill far quicker than previous production examples. 

If that turns out to be the case, we might need to vacuum pack all our pre2020 cigars to prolong their existence within our stocks and smoke these new versions as daily smokes. But I am getting ahead of myself again.




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Bolivar Libertaor, 2021


The Libertador was a revolutionary cigar, much like the person the brand was named after, it was one of the first truly large Cuban cigars when introduced as a regional release for France in 2006. Those where truly amazing cigars! In my experience most larger cigars tend to be lacking in the flavor and complexity departments, which might seem counter intuitive but that certainly has been my view. Take a Fundadores VS a Vigia, or a Cohiba Siglo Six VS a Siglo Three for instance, classic ring gauges always provide the better view of the blend to my tastes. Not the case with the original Libertadors, they where full, flavorful, and truely masterfully blended representatives of the Bolivar profile. 

The LCDH versions, though not quite to the same degree, where also very very good. I had a large stash from 2014 but blew through them in 2018-2020. They where just too delicious to resist, and served as a perfect post heavy dinner cigar. One of my favorite memories is when I would make my custom blend burgers ( heavy on fatty Wague! ) for the family and would retreat afterwards with once of those 2014’s, the heavy body and substantial flavors would pair exceptionally well with all that fat and cheese aftertaste. Only the 2012 E2’s I have could match that combo.


I also have a batch from 2017 wich are smoking well now, but unfortunately no where as good as the 2014’s. Very good cigars but nothing magical like the regionals or the 2014’s even. The one I sampled today for this study was from 2021, and I am sad to report that they where very disappointing, nothing particularly wrong with them and they where constructed very well, but everything from the overall profile to the flavors to the complexity seems muted and a step down from the previous years. A real blow as these had a special place in the rotation. 

I am still going to include them, even though they where not the Libertadors I remember, mainly because I am curious if aging them vacuum tubes could save them. Right now they are not as smooth as I like them ( the 2014 where smoking beutifully in 2018) and are relatively underpowered especially for a Bolivar. My thinking is that the standard packaged ones might be smooth but with weak flavors while the vacuum packing might provide the best aging condition to allow the negative elements to slowest escape while maintaining what flavor there is.


Current tasting notes: Some vanilla and cocoa in the first two thirds. Final third, though harsh, showed more of those two flavors in addition to a strong spicy coffee note. These might be going through a sick period or Habanos has watered down the Libertadors 



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Romeo Linea De Oro Cigars ( Nobles, Hidalgo, and Diana’s) all from 2022


I don’t have allot to say on this new line other than they are spectacular, I am amazed by how Habanos has taken the Romeo flavor profile and elevated it, all the while in doing so in popular new sizes. I didn’t think the Cubans still had the capacity to create truly great new blends but these and the Partagas Maduro certainly prove they still have it. 

I will be including all three formats as they are that good, plus the different vitolas, although if the same blend, provide very different experiences. Right now my favorite is the Hidalgo, but with age I am sure the Hidalgo will rise to the top. I wish they made a Linea De Oro Lanceros! I am very curious to see how these will age!


 Current tasting notes: in addition to the Romeo profile, the first third of the Hidalgo I had today had a flavor reminiscent of fresh bakery items, I don’t want to be taken away in a straight jacket otherwise I would have said pastry like, very sophisticated for a Romeo. The second third started showing beutifull coffee and chocolate notes with a spicy background, developing into a powerhouse smoke by the final third with all the previous elements magnified. That was a truly fantastic cigar that will be otherworldly in five years, I can’t even imagine why these will be like if vacuum packed for 15-20 years! I am definitely doing that with 4 of each vitola. I plan on having a happy retirement 



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  • Fakhm changed the title to Aging experiment logs ( selection done )

Is everything going 5 years?  I really think you should save half of them for a 10 year follow up.  The question really is how we can keep cigars tasting great 20 years down the road.    Had I known what I know now, I would have purchased 25+ boxes of Bolivar CG's.  Down to 4 full boxes, all vacuum sealed.

By the time I know the definite answer of 20-30 years, I'll be too old to fully utilize it.  I have boxes set for 35 years down the road

Anyhow, great work.  Lot of what you have done others such as myself has done, but you are doing a much more thorough job.  I look forward to your post in 5 years.

At this point, my contribution will be "Yup, a 25 year old Punch DC tastes great!".  No comparison to a version that was sealed. 

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Thank you for your suggestion.


This is meant to be a thorough study but not a fully comprehensive one unfortunately, I don’t have the resources or lifespan unfortunately to test every aspect to every time span. What we can do however, is test for a certain period, determine the answers to our assumptions in the first post, and based on the findings assume the outcome for other aging periods (10,15, etc) . This is a scientifically accepted method. 

The reviewers will be well known cigar specialists, we should be able to come up with a set of general guidelines that are backed up by actual broad spectrum testing, rather than general assumptions based on trial and error. The idea here is to come up with the most accurate guidelines on the shortest period.

that said, I invite anyone with the required resources to do a parallel study for a longer period. It would be fantastic if we could have results in five years, 10 years, and even 15 years.

I am content with my contribution as described.



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Yup, that seems like a lifetime undertaking, Fakhm. Which many of us are underway doing on their own mission, but surely and necessarily more anecdotal and with that personal bias. Hats off to you for tackling it and for providing the resources! 👍

May I ask about the stats, as I seem to have missed your original posting - how many replicates do you set away for each reviewer, and how many reviewers will there be in total? And the sampling point on the time line will be 5 years only? (a link to the original post might suffice, though).

This is your study, as you say, and it has to address and serve your personal needs and views obviously. But since you’re asking for comments, please let me throw in just a consideration (which may have been discussed before): A - rather limited - five-year span will almost certainly be too short to come up with a meaningful result as for long-term ageing (15 yrs plus). Own experience shows that a cigar deprived of - let’s put it more general - gas exchange for a five year span will almost certainly lose in direct comparison to a cigar that was allowed to fully “mature” during that initial period. The results however could be quite different further down the road. I do see the technical and logistical constraints that you were alluding to. But if you want to draw any general conclusion with regard to true long-term storage and ageing, then there seems no other way than to truly test “long-term”. No shortcuts from which could simply be extrapolated. One cannot ‘simulate’ the factor time in this case.

So, in a nutshell - I feel you put a lot of care and effort in the selection of a wide variety of cigars, while you select only one temporally limited point in time for sampling. That is, a lot of variety in the cigars to be tested but no variability at all in the most important variable, the temporal aspect. And that with the aim of addressing temporal effects of storage (i.e. ageing). I’d rather pick a limited three to five exemplary brands/vitolas only and try to sample at the 5, 10, 15, and 20 year mark. Even a set of 30 yrs could be included for our successors. Needs not be the same tasting panel for each sampling.

I think you are going to put a lot of thought, effort and means into this study. So much so that it deserves a thorough examination of the statistics, ie. numbers, replicates, sampling points, temporal scale, testing/tasting setup etc. to make the most of it.

Edit: Meanwhile found your original posting and see that some of this has been addressed before. I’d also support points made by e.g.@Bijan and @Monterey with regard to double blind testing and sample preparation.

Edited by Fugu
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7 hours ago, Fakhm said:

What we can do however, is test for a certain period, determine the answers to our assumptions in the first post, and based on the findings assume the outcome for other aging periods (10,15, etc) . This is a scientifically accepted method.

Yeah, I don't agree with that at all.  Fugu mentioned it well above.  You will learn little to nothing with just 5 years in regards to the impact of long term vacuum sealing.  So many people have already done 5 years.  Maybe over the years you will adjust, but unless you adjust and move to ten years, you won't be adding a lot to what is already known.  I can open a box from 5 years ago right now, but I know the result already.   

I would also consider some down time between opening the bag and tasting.  6 months at a minimum.   That is just a suggestion for any cigars vacuum sealed for any period of time.

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I think we might have unrealistic expectations here. Let me reiterate what we discussed in the original post as briefly as possible.


This is not to be taken as a definitive study, that simply is not possible within our lifetime or access to resources, what this is meant to be, is a scientifically accepted study that produces concrete results that can be used to define guidelines for aging cigars in an air sealed environment. 

The previous paragraph is important and summarizes the discussion we originally had. For example, if we definitely come to the conclusion that vacuumed cigars retain more flavor but age slower ( or almost none at all) then we can take that result and apply it to a set of recommendations that can be used for aging. If we find that a certain flavor note can be detected in sealed cigars or is gone in sealed cigars that would be something to note. The guidelines I imagine would result in smokers setting aside a portion of their stock in standard packaging for x amount of years, another portion in vacuum sealed conditions, based on personal stock size , preferences ( strength and flavor)  and other factors.


As mentioned in my original post in this thread, the assumptions have to be defined so we can extract data at the end of this study. You are invited to contribute to that while keeping realistic expectations from what can be done with this many cigars in a realistic time frame.

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Sure, I fully get that. But, with all due respect for your commitment, this is a bit like one saying, I’ll try to come up with a new method for making ice cream - well, I don’t quite manage to get much below freezing point due to technical constraints, but I will try at zero and -5 degrees centigrade and check for differences... (Exaggerating obviously, but you’ll get the point).

With the risk of repeating myself, in a time-related study such as this it is tricky, even potentially misleading, to simulate or extrapolate on the effects of time. The temporal aspect needs to be treated with utmost care here.

You’re approaching it with a pre-set expectation, while facing the risk of the study to render meaningless, despite all the love and effort that you’ll put into it. Which would be a shame!

“Preserving aroma” is one of those preset expectations. The freely aged cigars might have developed more aroma, more depth and complexity within a 5-year timeframe compared to the oxygen deprived ones. What to make of that then in the Results?

I think the - quite understandable - issue here is, you are coming from the smoker’s side, from the connoisseur/amateur’s, the collector’s end rather than from a plain study-oriented scientific approach. You love your cigars, and thus you are (too much) involved and focussed on the cigar (type of, that is). And I can totally relate to that!

Yet I am convinced you could very well do the 5-year sampling in order to produce a first (preliminary) data point. But there’s nothing that would or should keep you from adding a few more points in time. To compensate for costs, there’s a few options: Take a smaller variety of standard production cigars of proven consistency. Omit costly specialities. Reduce the panel of tasters from ten to five-six persons (but provide them with at least two specimen of each set of cigars to be tested). As it is now, you are over-emphasising differences in tobacco/blends as well as personal differences of testers, while you undervalue the effects of time. The study design appears unbalanced in this regard (that is, highly replicative in tobacco qualities but non-variate in the important variable ‘time’).

In the end, even if you / we won’t profit anymore practically from the outcome of later samplings, due to our limited lifetime, our dear younger fellows might. And you will still know at hindsight whether it was such a great idea to vac-seal (or to better free cigars from their suffocating straitjacket immediately 😄). Get someone or some”few” on board to form a team for the enduring logistics.

If you consider a 5-yr timeframe as the only “realistic“ timeframe, as you say, then, honestly, I’d reconsider doing it at all.

I hope this doesn’t come across disrespectful, I am truly not. But I am observing this from the sidelines thinking, oh my, this is so much love and effort going into it.... So, please don’t feel criticised by my (belated) comments. This should be taken (and I trust you do) as an honest contribution from another brother of the leaf, a fellow of kindred spirit!

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