If you ever had the opportunity to taste a well-aged cigar, you will know that it has an incredible taste and leaves you wanting more. If you are an avid cigar smoker, you will also know that the taste changes with age.
While some prefer a young and fresh flavour from their cigars, other smokers see the benefits of taking the time to age their own cigars to develop complex and balanced notes.
So, if you want to see if ageing will make your cigar stash taste even better, we are sharing our guide on how to age your cigars at home.
Do You Need To Age Cigars?
First up, let’s explore the obvious question: should you age cigars? As premium cigars are already aged during the production process, you don’t have to age cigars once you’ve bought them. They are sold to be enjoyed as bought.
However, leaving cigars in a humidor to age does have an impact on the flavour and smoking experience, and some cigar lovers enjoy smoking a box of cigars over several months or years to see how they develop.
Ageing cigars can be useful if you’ve bought a large collection that you can’t smoke fast enough! There are other reasons to consider ageing cigars too, which you can discover in our previous post:
What Do You Need to Age Cigars at Home?
If you’ve decided to age your cigars at home, then there are things you need which will ensure that your cigars remain in the best condition while ageing.
Most important is a place to store your cigars at the right level of humidity. The best thing for this is a quality humidor. For long term ageing, you need something that can maintain consistent conditions, so a wooden humidor is your best bet; although you could go as far as to turn a room into a walk-in humidor if you’re a serious aficionado!
What Sort of Humidor Do You Need for Ageing Cigars?
It is best to use a cedar-lined humidor, as this absorbent wood helps to prevent mould from developing in the humidor. If your humidor isn’t cedar-lined, you’ll need to open the lid more frequently to refresh the air in the box.
The size of the humidor you use should be roughly twice the volume of cigars. There should be at least 20% of the space free when the cigars are in the humidor.
If you don’t have a humidor to hand but have excess cigars to store, then there are ways to store cigars without a humidor, such as creating a tupperdor or coolidor.
What Humidity Should Cigars Be Aged At?
When ageing cigars, you need to keep the conditions as consistent as possible. There needs to be good airflow, an average humidity of 68% and an average temperature of 21°C.
Maintaining a stable environment for your cigars is the key to success, and a constantly fluctuating environment can ruin them. Fluctuations in temperature can make cigars expand, which can cause the wrappers to crack. If they do crack, this can disrupt the ageing process.
Maintaining Your Humidor to Age Cigars
While ageing cigars, you need to maintain your humidor to ensure the conditions are right. Regularly check that the hygrometer is calibrated, the reservoir is filled and that there is enough room in the box for humidity and air to circulate properly.
When checking on the humidor, you should also rotate the cigars inside. Every couple of weeks, move any cigars from the bottom row to the top row to ensure that all of the cigars you are ageing are being equally humidified.
How Long Should You Age Cigars For?
The amount of time you want to age your cigars for is a completely personal preference, but for the optimum effect, age them for at least a year. Remember that only you will be able to tell when the cigars you have been ageing reach their “perfect” state for your palate preferences.
When ageing cigars, you should notice differences in the taste after a couple of weeks. A few months of ageing will bring noticeable changes, and after a year, you’ll definitely see a big difference in flavour.
People have aged cigars for decades, but anything over ten years usually has only a slight effect on the taste. Generally speaking, a cigar’s flavour won’t develop much beyond 5-7 years of ageing.
Many aficionados who choose to age cigars like to purchase a box to be aged and smoke one when it is first opened and place the rest in a humidor to age. They then smoke one after a month, one after six months, one after a year, and so on. While smoking each cigar, you should take notes on the flavour and smoking experience to compare with previous and future aged versions of the same smoke.
What Type of Cigars Should You Age?
There are some cigars which are naturally better for ageing, and generally speaking, thicker cigars will age a lot better than thinner ring gauge smokes.
Larger format cigars also tend to be less affected by fluctuations in temperature and humidity than thinner cigars, and due to this, they are usually chosen for long-term ageing.
Thicker cigars that contain a blend of filler tobacco leaves are also great for ageing, as the variety of tobacco leaves create some incredible flavours after ageing.
When you age cigars, they tend to mellow and become milder in strength and flavour. While this can make stronger cigars less harsh and more smokeable, it can make cigars that are already mild too bland. Therefore, the best type of cigars to age are thicker, stronger, full-bodied smokes.
It is important to remember that low-quality cigars won’t improve from ageing.
If you are ageing cigars wrapped in plastic, you should leave the wrap on, but if you want to take it off, this may accelerate the effect of flavours from the different tobaccos in the cigars.
Mixing Cigars In Your Humidor
During the ageing process, you can experiment with how different cigars affect each other. If you’re not ageing a whole box of the same cigars to see how they develop over time, you can absolutely mix cigars in your humidor. Over time, the flavours of each cigar will impact the others, creating new smoking experiences.
Of course, you could just buy cigars online which have already been aged. However, there is something extremely rewarding about lighting up a cigar after the hard work you have put in by ageing them yourself. We have a great range of cigars in our online store, which are ideally suited for ageing, so be sure to take a look!