To Freeze or Not to Freeze??


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On a sunny Friday afternoon Rob and I hatched a plan to start a research organisation focused on cigar development. Investigating different construction methods, flavour profiles and cigar cutting techniques will be all part of the organisation. “Pour more wine” Rob cries, “we are on a roll we can’t stop now, this is a revolution to the cigar industry.” I franticly jot notes down trying to keep up with Rob’s ideas, “a panel of tasters around the world meeting regularly I exotic locations to discus our findings, quick book our flights to Tahiti for the first meeting.”

I wasn’t sure when the evening of ideas finished my hand writing went down hill quit badly and the only indication of the evening was the copious amounts empty red wine bottles greeting us Monday morning on the deck. Reviewing my notes the only thing I could read was about freezing cigars, does the flavour profile change? Let us do this start small and build from here Smithy, find a couple of good cigars and throw them into the freezer. Give them five days then pull them out and we will do a side by side tasting

As apposed to that beautiful sunny Friday afternoon, this Friday was a miserable rainy afternoon that didn’t fit this occasion. To assist us in this tasting were regular Friday afternoon suspects Arthur and Alain, who both understood the gravity of the task in front of them.

The cigar was a Juan Lopez Selection No 2, first cab off the rank were the frozen ones. A beautiful cigar that was a little on the light side of flavour I felt. Not the traditional rich flavours associated with a JLS2. Rob said he had dusting of cocoa and sweetness, Alain agreed along with a touch of citrus that quickly dissolved. Arthur was lost in the dropping share market but said sweet coffee opening, and I agreed with Rob hints of cocoa and chocolate.

As the cigar progressed the intensity redeveloped and the cocoa dusting disappeared and we were presented with a more coffee cream and milky flavours. Alain hinted at sea salt and cardboard. This coffee profile carried through till the end slowly building in intensity. A good all round cigar that belongs in any good cigar collection.

Now for the standard JLS2, what will the difference be? The first flavour character that was only hinted in the frozen cigar was citrus. More intense in this second cigar and longer lasting. Those first notes of cocoa are missing in this cigar. As it progresses the citrus died down to open up with well rounded milk coffee, building in intensity for the remainder. Alain claimed that the second cigar was 10 times the power with a gun powder nose to it, my suggestion to Alain is to stop licking the barrel after you have fired the gun its a dangerous practice.

In my humble opinion, minus the first third of the frozen cigar which was full of sweet cocoa and chocolate the final two thirds of this cigar was the same as the second control cigar. Why the freezing processed sweetened the cigar is a project that has been returned to the research organisation for another Friday afternoon.

85/100

Photos will shortly be posted.

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Smithy, please clarify whether you are returning the cigars to stable humidity by refrigerating them for a day or two after freezing, then outside the humidor, then back into the humidor for x amount of time and then experimenting. Are you doing this as opposed to straight from the freezer to the torch? Was this one cigar for each of you from each side (frozen vs unfrozen)?

I love the idea of expanding on different variables that no doubt effect the cigar in one way or another whether it be taste, construction, combustion, etc...

I would love to be involved in experiments where shipping the cigars is involved.

Thanks and please keep the info coming.

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I have always noted a "dusted cocoa" aroma and nuance to frozen cigars that have been brought back properly from the deep freeze.

The difference is there. It is marginal but there. What I would love for members to do is put a cigar in the freexer for a week and bing it back to proper smoking conditions over two weeks (or more). Keep a cigar from the same box as a reference. Smoke them one after the other or on subsequent days. Let us know what you think.

We will continue to do like experiments on frozen stock.

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Done this experiment last year with Partags P2 and Magnum46.

I could not find ( That's why I'm not part of the R&D panel :-D ) any specific difference.

But my worries, and I believe the worries of many collectors, is what happens to the cigars that have been frozen after a 10/20 year period? Will there be a development of aromas and flavours ?

Habanos SA does it (frozen ) for premium cigars and some national distributors do it again once they get in their country.

Now the R&D has to work on it :-P

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I had an infestation that required freezing of my entire inventory about 9 weeks ago. I did hold back several samples (includng Partasgas P2, Monte No 2, Monte No 4 and RASCC) for post freeze comparisons.

I began comparing the fozen and not frozen specimins at the 4 week point. At that time the P2s and the Monte No2s did seem just a bit "duller" than the non frozen specimins. The Monte 4s and the RASCCs seemed to pick up right where they left off flavor wise.

I smoked a Monte No2 over the weekend (8 weeks post freeze) and it appears they have also gotten right back in the pre freeze groove. Will try one of the P2s over the next week or so.

Guessing the larger ring smokes take a little longer to get their juices mixing again.

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