What to Know About Aged Cigars
4 Weeks - Cigars should be smoked within a few weeks of being rolled if you desire that "chincales" or "fresh roll" type of flavor.
6 Months - 1 Year - After 4 weeks, I think it is important to allow cigars at least 180 days of rest if they are not smoked directly after their manufacture. I strongly suggest 6 months for milder blends and at least a year for stronger ones. Without exception, cigars smoke and taste better when allowed a year to age.
1 - 2 Years - This is a good time to start smoking those heavier Nicaraguan and Hondurans. This is also the peak period for many Dominicans, and most light bodied smokes.
2 - 5 Years - These are the peak years for most other cigars. Typically the stronger, full-bodied cigars age better over a longer duration. This is why Bolivar Fuertes, Ashton VSGs, and many Havanas are all considered cigars that age beautifully. The same logic applies to cigars of substantial strength regardless of their country of origin.
7 - 10 Years - This is about the maximum aging time for me on almost all cigars. After this point, I find most cigars become too mellow and too pale in body for me to enjoy.
10+ Years - At this point we enter the realm of "vintage" cigars in my book. Many of these cigars will be so flat and boring they are worthless to smoke, while others will take on unique characteristics that will make them enjoyable smokes. One such trait is a musty smell and a taste that is similar to snuff. Another rarer long-term aging trait is cigars taking on an odd scent that is commonly referred to as the "stinky cheese-like smell." This odd reference is due to their pre-light bouquet being faintly similar to a wheel of Stilton cheese. Though it may sound unappealing, these cigars are a delight to smoke and are highly prized by vintage cigar collectors worldwide. Many pay top dollar to secure these smokes. Regardless of the flavor characteristics of vintage vitolas, rarely do any of these cigars maintain any quantitative strength at this level of aging. Also, only the fullest bodied cigars have any chance of being worthwhile smokes after this many years.
- Little Bro