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The Stogie guys have a great post today on labeling high-end cigars with aging dates. Having in the past made a fantastic argument on why cigars should embrace the wine model of labeling by breaking down not only aging dates but information on the tobacco used in the blend.
We couldn’t agree more and find it a bit odd that the industry hasn’t already embraced this type of labeling. The main function of such labeling would be extremely useful when gauging if a cigar has been aged long enough to truly enjoy. The auxilliary function would be to educate the consumer on aging, and more specifically, giving them as much data on exactly what they’re smoking and where it came from so they can make more informed purchases in the future.
Of course, the cigar manufacturers are hesitant for a number of reasons. The status quo is to smoke a cigar right out of the box on the release date. If people took aging into account, they might wait a bit longer to smoke, which means waiting a bit longer to order more. This is not to say you can’t smoke a cigar right out of the box. But as the article points out, in Cuba most boxes contain the date they began aging, usually becuase cigars are rushed out of the factory before their prime. Often times, people who find they dislike Cubans because of an “ammonia” taste are smoking them way too soon after manufacturing. Non-Cuban cigars have a greater focus on aging for smokability right outside the box, but including aging dates gives cigars a more “vintage” status that can only increase their value and collectability.
Finally, cigar manufactures wax ecstatic on the disparate blends masterfully combined to create a signature stogie in their marketing material, but this information is rarely included on the box. In a way, Cameroon is a lot like Champagne. Some cigars that don’t come from Africa are still referred to as Cameroon even though technically they’re not. Just like Champagne, many cigar descriptors have become genericized trademarks. More distinct labeling and more strict guidelines as to what exactly constitutes a Maduro, Double-Maduro, Triple-Maduro, etc. could only benefit the customer.
We’re sure the manufacturers have their reasons to remain a bit mysterious when it comes to aging and blend information. But we expect to see more experimentation with the information packaged together with our cigars. All it takes is one major manufacturer to include a card with aging and packing info and the others will follow suit.