How to age your cigar?

Ageing cigars is an art that enhances their flavours and complexities, turning them into prized treasures for cigar enthusiasts. Properly ageing cigars involves careful storage and patience, allowing the tobacco to mature gracefully over time. By following essential guidelines – such as using a humidor with controlled humidity, avoiding temperature fluctuations, and selecting suitable cigars for ageing – aficionados can unlock a world of rich, nuanced flavours that develop and evolve with age. In this guide, we’ll explore the key steps to master the art of ageing cigars, unlocking a truly exceptional smoking experience.

What is cigar ageing?

Cigar ageing refers to the deliberate process of storing cigars under controlled conditions for an extended period to enhance their flavours and overall smoking experience. During ageing, the tobacco’s oils and flavours mature, allowing complex chemical reactions to take place. This leads to a smoother, well-balanced smoke with subtle nuances that evolve with time. 

Proper ageing requires a stable environment, such as a humidor, maintaining a constant humidity level of around 65-70%. Not all cigars are suitable for ageing, and the optimal ageing period varies depending on the cigar’s blend and size, and personal preference.

Do cigars get better with age?

Yes, cigars can get better with age. Properly aged cigars undergo a transformation that enhances their flavours and overall smoking experience. Over time, the tobacco’s oils and compounds interact, leading to a mellowing of harsher notes and the development of complex, nuanced flavours. Aged cigars tend to have a smoother, more balanced taste with subtle undertones that evolve throughout the smoke. However, cigars are similar to wines, and not all cigars benefit from ageing, as it depends on the blend, size and storage conditions. For those willing to wait and invest in proper storage, the rewards of aged cigars can be truly exceptional.

What type of cigars responds better to ageing?

When discussing what cigars respond best to ageing, it’s important to note that personal preference supersedes all recommendations. That said, high-quality, full-bodied cigars with complex blends generally respond better to ageing. Cigars made with aged tobacco leaves and intricate combinations of different tobacco varieties tend to develop richer flavours and smoothness over time. Maduro wrappers, with their naturally sweet and oily characteristics, can also benefit from ageing. 

Moreover, larger cigars often age more gracefully due to their increased tobacco volume and longer smoking time. 

How do you age your cigars?

When it comes to ageing cigars, many aficionados prefer lowering the humidor’s humidity and temperature levels slightly, typically to the lower to mid-60s. However, most store their cigars at around 63-65% RH (relative humidity) and 63-65 degrees Fahrenheit rather than the traditional 70/70 levels. This approach ensures greater consistency and fewer fluctuations within the humidor’s environment. In fact, drastic changes in temperature and humidity can cause cigars to expand and contract, leading to wrapper cracks.

Maintaining the humidor is also vital. Regularly refill the reservoir and ensure the hygrometer is calibrated and functional. You should also monitor conditions to maintain consistency. 

Next, rotate your cigars every two to three weeks, shifting them between the top and bottom rows. This prevents some cigars from being constantly closest to the humidification source. Make sure to leave around 20% free space in the humidor for improved humidity and airflow. 

How long should you age your cigars?

Ageing cigars is a subjective process that depends on your personal preference. With time, numerous cigars – especially the bolder ones – undergo a mellowing process, transforming into refined and approachable smokes. However, with milder cigars, prolonged ageing can make them excessively mild or even bland. 

Subtle flavour changes typically arise within a few weeks, followed by more pronounced shifts after a few months and certainly after a year or longer. When purchasing a box of your favourite cigars, indulge in one immediately and then allow the rest to rest in your humidor. Over time, these cigars will undergo a delightful evolution, unveiling new dimensions of taste and aroma.

Generally speaking, it’s rare for a cigar’s flavour to get better beyond five to seven years of additional ageing, but there are always exceptions, and it really depends on the cigar.

What effect do ageing cigars have?

Ageing cigars can have a significant impact on their flavour profile and overall smoking experience. Over time, the tobacco’s oils and compounds interact, leading to subtle yet transformative changes in taste and aroma. The cigars tend to mellow out and become more refined, especially the stronger ones, making them smoother and more approachable. The ageing process can also enhance the complexity and depth of flavours, introducing new nuances and notes that weren’t present when the cigars were fresh. 

Additionally, ageing can help cigars achieve a better balance, allowing the different elements of the blend to harmonise and create a more enjoyable and satisfying smoke.

If you’re looking to age your cigars, we can help to advise you on the types that will work best, guaranteeing you an optimal smoking experience.