most smokes, both N/C and Cuban. Aging “rounds out” the cigar,
making it far smoother. A well-aged cigar will usually taste quite
different than a fresh smoke. This even holds for N/Cs that are
factory aged. The flavors will be more blended and mellow making
them far less abrupt and sharp than fresh. In very strong cigars,
aging can bring out more subtle flavors that are overpowered when
fresh. But, it will reduce the nic strength of the cigar and can
mute the flavors if aged too long.
typically age mild smokes maybe 3 – 6 months, medium smokes 6
months – 1 year, and full smokes 1 – 4 years.
X is a good example. While many love the jalapeno spiciness and nic
power of “fresh” Opus X (which are reportedly factory aged 2
years!), I don’t. I think they’re overly strong and so spicy
that they overpower the underlying flavors. I typically age them
another 1 – 3 years depending on size. I’ve likened an aged Opus
to a Don Carlos on steroids. The jalapeno spice has mellowed to a
hot cinnamon, the nic strength has dropped to tolerable levels, and
they also develop delicious sweetness and cedar flavors that you
can’t taste at all when they’re fresh.
typically only works on better smokes. “You can’t make a silk
purse out of a sow’s ear” applies here. Bundle smokes are not
going to magically turn into fine Cubans sitting in your humi. At
most they might be a little less sharp tasting, but cheaper smokes
aren’t made with the best and most flavorful tobacco to begin with
so they’re likely to go flat.
do you decide which smokes to age? I think that’s simple. If you
like the smoke when fresh, if it has good flavors, then it’ll
probably age to your taste. Buy a “fiver” and sit 3 back. Try
one at 3 – 6 months depending on initial strength. If they’re
still fairly flavorful, let the others go a little longer. You’ll
soon hit the optimum age you like for that smoke.
Courtesy of HeavyMetal and Cigar-Review.com