Q: I really enjoyed the “Why do we put off smoking some of our best cigars?” article. There were comments about extreme aging of Padrón, Cubans, and others from 1999. I am wondering what the effects are of aging a fine cigar for 14 years or more. I noticed with the aging I do, that after about 2 years a strong cigar becomes kind of mellow. Wondering if you have any thoughts on long term aging of cigars.
– Steve Johnston in East Stroudsburg, PA
A: Thank you, and yes, it’s true. The longer the cigar is aged, the strength, as well as the more flavorful nuances of the cigar will flatten-out. The two-year window is about right, but it also depends on the cigars and the conditions. If I remember correctly, the Davidoff Store in London has a specially-made humidor where they only keep vintage cigars, many of which are decades old. I understand it’s extremely cold in there, too. If your cigars were over-mellowing, they may have been mild from the start. If it was a full-bodied cigar, as you described, it would have more staying power.
Earlier this year I did an interview with a leading tobacco grower/broker who, in his opinion, felt 4-5 years is the maximum time you should age cigars. Though I have many cigars that are older than 5 years, they seem to be quite good. I even have some Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Toros from 2006 that are still holding up. The difference in the taste is noticeable, but not in all cases. It seems to come down to the blend and the type of tobaccos used. Though I have read articles about cigars aged for as long as 50 years that claimed to be great, I would try to smoke my aged cigars within that 1-5 year period. Anything older than say, 10 years, you smoke at your own risk.