If you’ve ever attended an event at a cigar lounge, a wedding, or some other occasion where there was a cigar roller on site providing fresh-rolled cigars, you’ll know that a fresh cigar can be a great smoke. Not only does the “live” element of seeing the cigar created before your very eyes add to the experience, but the fresh tobaccos of a newly-rolled cigar offer a unique flavor all of their own.
So why is it then, that nearly all premium cigars are crafted using “aged” tobaccos and not fresh leaves? That, dear reader, is what brings us here today.
When someone hands you a cigar that is straight off of the roller’s table, you should envision a ticking timer that comes with it. A fresh cigar can certainly provide a pleasant smoking experience, but only if you smoke it right away.
This is because after about 24 hours of being rolled the tobaccos will begin to expel harsh ammonia and other impurities that have a severe impact on the cigar’s flavor. By “severe impact”, I mean that the cigar will taste like hell, and this process of shedding undesired elements, known as the “sick period”, continues for 60 days or more. The tobaccos are very moist when being rolled, and as the finished cigar is allowed to dry, this transformation takes place. That’s why premium cigars are typically aged at the factory for at least 60 days and often significantly longer after coming off of the roller’s table and before being packaged for sale – they need to undergo this period of development to reach their full potential and deliver the taste and aroma that the blender intended when they hit shelves. This bit of science makes the act of smoking a fresh-rolled cigar somewhat of a novelty, as it needs to be enjoyed right away in order to experience the fleeting “fresh cigar flavor.”
If, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to smoke your fresh-rolled cigar right away, there’s still hope. If you store that cigar in proper temperature and humidity conditions for 60-90 days, it will again be ready to light with no fear of funky taste. However, for all intents and purposes, it will be a different cigar than it was when it was first rolled. As impurities are released and the different tobaccos inside the cigar are given time to “marry” properly, the cigar’s flavor will develop and mature accordingly.
When you buy a box of premium cigars at Best Cigar Prices, the cigars inside have already gone through their intended aging process at the factory and are ready to light and enjoy. Some cigars are aged for multiple years to achieve desired results, and manufacturers often advertise this on their packaging as it is recognized as a sign of superior quality. So why do so many cigar-lovers then store them in cigar humidors for extended periods to age them even further? Because there are undeniable benefits to letting your cigars get some extra rest before smoking.
All cigars will change over time, in different ways, and to varying degrees depending on the tobaccos used in the blends and how long you age them. For example, strong cigars tend to mellow and become smoother when allowed to age. Some types of tobacco age like a fine wine, developing deeper complexity and nuances in flavor as they are allowed to mature. Different cigars take different amounts of time to reach their “peak”, and one of the most fun elements of the cigar hobby is experimenting with aging different types of cigars for different lengths of time and gauging results. It’s easy to go down this particular rabbit hole, as the fruits of aging can be very rewarding. This type of experimenting can really help you hone in on your tastes, just be careful – you could become a cigar snob who only smokes 3-year aged barber pole-wrapped Dominican torpedos before you know it.