just in case

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Im sure most of you know this but i thought it may be a good thing to post. Seen it elsewhere, plus i believe some have seen it already. if not, i would like to know what you guys(& gals) think.

Sick Period - one month after production to around 2 years.

First Maturation - around 5 years

Second Maturation - 15 - 25 years

Third Maturation - 50 years up

He notes that there are "sick periods" were the cigars can go flat in between maturations. He speculates that this is caused by the complex oils in cigars breaking down into more simple compounds and the migration of those compounds thru the tobacco. This breakdown and migration is what causes "plume".

I personally don't like the term "sick period" so I don't use it. Since it's a matter of taste, I use the term "flat". That's how they taste to me. The cigar's flavors become muted and flat. There's still some flavor there, but it's off, muted, flat.

Some smokers seem not to mind this or can't really tell, so for them there is no sick period. Some appear to be less sensitive to it, so for them the period is shorter.

From my experience, habanos go flat around 1 - 3 months after rolling. THIS DOES NOT MEAN 1 -3 MONTHS AFTER THE BOX DATE. The box date is the date the cigars are packaged, not the date they were rolled. The dates usually are close but the box date can be a few months after the rolling date. The only way to tell is to smoke one. As long as the cigars don't have an ammonia smell to them, I'll try one. If they have that fresh "chincales" taste (a slightly bitey, fresh tobacco taste), I might smoke a couple. The rest will get aged for at least 9 months after the box date. Depending on the cigar, I'll try them then and maybe smoke them (like Party Shorts or Choix Supreme). Others I'll let sit for longer - sometimes up to 5 years depending upon my patience and stock.

Within the past few years I haven't received cigars with the ammonia smell. This was due to incomplete fermentation and post-fermentation processing. With new methods and some quality controls instituted by Altadis this seems to be a past issue.

As far as long term again (5+ years), I'll again side with Nee. A 5 year old cigar tastes significantly different than a 2 year old smoke. Ditto at 10, 15, etc. I've smoked a few 10 - 25 year old habanos and they do change significantly. I've also had some flat ones, let them rest for a while and they aren't flat. So I'll also buy his argument that there are additional flat periods between the maturations. Never had a 25+ cigar, but I hear they're amazing.

As far as N/C, yes they go thru a similar maturation. It's a bit different since most N/C is pre-aged before boxing (apparently to avoid the first flat period). A good example is Opus. Opus are reportedly aged 2 years before boxing, yet I still don't like them "fresh". I think they have an excessively hot-spicy flavor that overwhelms the other flavors (essentially they're flat to me - a one dimensional flavor). After about another year they begin to loose the excessively spiciness and start developing additional flavors. At 2 - 3 years they've hit a peak. And I've had orginal-release Opus that were amazing. These ages would closely correspond to Nee's First and Second Maturations.

These days I generally smoke "young" cigars only to try them and tell how they will age. If I like them I lay down an aging stock.

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