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View Full Version : To Age (NC) Or Not To Age


badbriar
10-04-2015, 08:29 PM
I've been curious about this since I saw a few posts from some experienced brothers offering opinions that aging NC cigars is pretty much not worthwhile. In contrast, aging CC's is pretty much the accepted norm. I've found in a few cases where it seems that putting certain NC cigars away for a while seems to mellow them out a bit and results in a smoother, more enjoyable smoking experience. Now, this may well be subjective and could be that the palate is having an off day with the new sticks. Maybe this is one of those YMMV things? Opinions? :confused:

Ogre
10-04-2015, 08:36 PM
I have found quite a few of NC that improve with age, and only a couple I didn't like. When I buy a box, I smoke a couple then space the rest out over time. It surprising how the flavor changes.

AdamJoshua
10-04-2015, 08:44 PM
Edit: NM think I was just confusing similar posts. Rock on :tu

pnoon
10-04-2015, 08:57 PM
I've been curious about this since I saw a few posts from some experienced brothers offering opinions that aging NC cigars is pretty much not worthwhile. In contrast, aging CC's is pretty much the accepted norm. I've found in a few cases where it seems that putting certain NC cigars away for a while seems to mellow them out a bit and results in a smoother, more enjoyable smoking experience. Now, this may well be subjective and could be that the palate is having an off day with the new sticks. Maybe this is one of those YMMV things? Opinions? :confused:

IMHO there are few NCs that improve with age. And by age, I mean beyond a couple of years. OpusX come to mind.
:2

badbriar
10-04-2015, 08:57 PM
Edit: NM think I was just confusing similar posts. Rock on :tu
Adam, brother... You sampling from the still again? :hy

shilala
10-04-2015, 08:58 PM
Depends on what a brother gets.
For me, I sit nc's for about 8 months to bring them down to around 65%RH.
The smokes from big places like CI are generally wet and very fresh. I can't take the ammonia, wet, barnyard that comes with that.
If I've gotten them from a trade or a B&M that keeps smokes well and they're ready to go, I smoke them.

Just trust your nose. You can compare and sense wet very well. You'll be surprised.

The type of smokes guys like to age are generally very strong ones like Opus and Anejo.
Maybe some others that come from very good tobacco.
Time can make them not so crazy strong, and bring out softer notes that are enjoyable.

Other NC's, after a few years, taste like nothing.

So the rule of thumb is generally to smoke them reasonably quickly (within a year or so) and not to keep too many.
I used to get a box, let it set 8 months, start smoking from it, and order another to get it ready. That was for my staples, nc's that I always liked to have around.
Good Luck!!! :tu

pnoon
10-04-2015, 08:59 PM
Depends on what a brother gets.
For me, I sit nc's for about 8 months to bring them down to around 65%RH.
The smokes from big places like CI are generally wet and very fresh. I can't take the ammonia, wet, barnyard that comes with that.
If I've gotten them from a trade or a B&M that keeps smokes well and they're ready to go, I smoke them.

Just trust your nose. You can compare and sense wet very well. You'll be surprised.

The type of smokes guys like to age are generally very strong ones like Opus and Anejo.
Maybe some others that come from very good tobacco.
Time can make them not so crazy strong, and bring out softer notes that are enjoyable.

Other NC's, after a few years, taste like nothing.

So the rule of thumb is generally to smoke them reasonably quickly (within a year or so) and not to keep too many.
I used to get a box, let it set 8 months, start smoking from it, and order another to get it ready. That was for my staples, nc's that I always liked to have around.
Good Luck!!! :tu

Wise words.

mosesbotbol
10-04-2015, 10:41 PM
How long do you consider aging? If it's under 3 years, then go for it. For longer term aging, do not go for refined smooth cigars; they'll taste like rice paper in the future. More robust and tannic cigars like from Nicaragua are a good candidates IMO.

Sweet_Leaf_PDX
10-05-2015, 12:43 AM
With NCs it really depends on your personal tastes and the cigar. I have generally found that many My Father cigars do well with some age (3 years or so). There are many NC cigars that really change for the better after about 1 year of being stashed away in the humidor. I have found that once you it the 4-5 year zone they start to decline.

Generally if you start out with a cigar that is on the more mild side, it only going to get milder. If you start out with something on the stronger side then it has the potential to mellow out a bit and develop over time.

All that being said. I purchase NC cigars with the intention of smoking them within the next 1-3 years.

shilala
10-05-2015, 01:42 AM
My Father's are a Pepin cigar.
They're gonna hold up because he uses the best of the best, and he's totally awesome.
I agree with you 100%, Jason. Just wanted to add that little reason why.

Seriously, now that the thought rattled around a bit, Pepin is the perfect maker for Rob to chase right now.
You made a top shelf point, my brother. :tu

Buckeye Jack
10-05-2015, 09:45 AM
Always had good luck with aging Fuente stuff for some reason.....probably because that was my main (and kinda still is) goto NC smoke if I'm going to have one.

Hemi Maduro's, Anejo, Sungrowns, Opus......

T.G
10-05-2015, 12:07 PM
For the most part, I've never set out to intentionally age NCs, yet it inadvertently happened all the time to me. Some of the ones that I found which improved the most were the x000 series Padrons (the tobacco in the Padron Anniversary cigars is already aged for 5-7 years, so why bother) as did some of the more mundane Pepin cigars - like the Blue. Tatuaje and Fuente cigars age well too. I've had some old JdNs which were nice, I've also had some that went plonk. Same for DE. The stunner though was an old cheapie from Honduras, it was one of Puros Indios's off-brand exclusive bundle cigars for some retailer back when RR sr. was still alive. Must have been lying in one of my coolers for 6 years. I lit it just for the heck of it, wasn't expecting much. Was actually surprised how much it changed, not an award winner, but it was smooth and smokeable, which was leaps and bounds more than it ever was before.

heyferg
10-05-2015, 04:15 PM
Depends on what a brother gets.
For me, I sit nc's for about 8 months to bring them down to around 65%RH.
The smokes from big places like CI are generally wet and very fresh. I can't take the ammonia, wet, barnyard that comes with that.
If I've gotten them from a trade or a B&M that keeps smokes well and they're ready to go, I smoke them.

Just trust your nose. You can compare and sense wet very well. You'll be surprised.

The type of smokes guys like to age are generally very strong ones like Opus and Anejo.
Maybe some others that come from very good tobacco.
Time can make them not so crazy strong, and bring out softer notes that are enjoyable.

Other NC's, after a few years, taste like nothing.

So the rule of thumb is generally to smoke them reasonably quickly (within a year or so) and not to keep too many.
I used to get a box, let it set 8 months, start smoking from it, and order another to get it ready. That was for my staples, nc's that I always liked to have around.
Good Luck!!! :tu


I second this sentiment. I like to let my NCs "rest" for about 6 months after I get them home because I don't know what they've been through with shipping and sitting around in warehouses or whatever. I find that after letting the stabilize in my humidor for a while, they smoke much better.

The only ones I've aged for more than one year are some VSGs and some God of Fires. Both of those improved with age. :2

Hope that helps.

Weelok
10-06-2015, 02:26 AM
I would say I don't intentionally age NC but I tend to buy more then I can smoke or I jump on a fad cigar that is at a good price and rinse and repeat and some just get forgotten.

If you like full power full body NC then aging is probably to be avoided as the nicotine will for sure roll off over the years. If you enjoy medium body and strength cigars then age some of the power houses and hope they mellow but it's not a guarantee at all!!

I'm smoking a Viaje Satori right now that I bought last year from a brother here and I recollect it to be a 2012 cigar and it's just as rich and full as any Satori I have ever smoked so I can't say if or when it's going to roll off but Satoris aren't power houses to begin with so that's no help. I tend to not be very good at handling power house cigars and get nicotine hang overs so I generally like the nicotine to roll off. I have had some sit too long and the paper taste kicks in or worst, a musty flavor comes out which is probably the cigar entering a sick phase? You would need or more experienced smoker to weigh in on that but those would be Viaje Honey and Hand Gernades which I thought smoked great fresh but even a year later don't taste all that good so they are sitting longer in hopes they get to good.

Your best bet IMHO is smoke them if you have them and unless you have too many cigars, I probably don't advise saving NC premiums for years waiting for that special day as you might wait too long.

RJrocker
10-06-2015, 10:52 AM
i always just smoke one every few weeks to see how they progress. NC lose a lot of their punch with age IMO

Tio Gato
10-06-2015, 07:33 PM
Way back in the old Jungle I read a great post that likened aging to wines. It made a lot of sense.
Very mild and light cigars are like champagne. It's usually ready to go and doesn't improve much with age. Light to mediums are like white wines. They do improve with age but sometimes limited to how good they get. Big bold reds can get fantastic over many years.
I've found that the dark strong cigars benefit greatly from age like a strong red. I know it sounds silly but that has worked for me.:2

mosesbotbol
10-07-2015, 12:03 PM
Way back in the old Jungle I read a great post that likened aging to wines. It made a lot of sense.
Very mild and light cigars are like champagne. It's usually ready to go and doesn't improve much with age. Light to mediums are like white wines. They do improve with age but sometimes limited to how good they get. Big bold reds can get fantastic over many years.
I've found that the dark strong cigars benefit greatly from age like a strong red. I know it sounds silly but that has worked for me.:2

Not trying to bash your post, but...

I would not compare aging cigars to wine as your examples aren't very accurate. Grand Cru Champagne and many white wines can age for decades while some reds, even very bold ones can barely make a decade.

I would relate components within a cigar that are in wine that effect age-worthiness like tannins.

Da Klugs
10-07-2015, 12:25 PM
We all have our own personal set of references on the subject. Mine have evolved a bit over the past 10 years.

The simple answer is it depends on "what do you like" and it relates to "how do you smoke?" If you are a mouth only smoker with no nasal exhale aging NC's, which are typically stronger will definitely change them, but you might not appreciate/notice or like the change. Getting milder, more rounded might be experienced as "going flat" if you are not doing the nasal exhale.

For me, aging of some NC's (typically high end for me) has mellowed them to the point where I can do more nasal exhale and I enjoy them more. But, typically still have the same problem, it takes conscious effort to modulate the nasal % of smoke and makes it hard to relax when smoking one. Invariably I get distracted and do too much and get zapped.

I think there are some awesome NC cigars that over time become "the poo" Padron anniversario's, OPus X come to mind. And like Cubans you will find random stuff that just gets great for reasons unknown to us.

The economics are interesting though. I tend to compare high end NC's to pedestrian Cubans both fresh and aged. Smoked a 15 year old party short and a 15 year old Opus x the other day... both were good but would choose the party short 10x out of 10 and it was $ 4 vs $15 at time of purchase. Part of my preference was that the Opus still was "potent" and required thought and conscious control of the nasal % at all times, vs the short that I could nose to my hearts content.

Maybe our frame of reference is just not complete enough. Another 10-20 years and we might all be kicking ourselves for not collecting and aging NC's for their then realized 40 years to get good/mellow enough for us nasal exhalers to love. :)

shilala
10-07-2015, 12:37 PM
Moses, on the direction you're headed, I just had a thought...
There need to be components left in the tobabbo via the fermentation process that preserve potential greatness.
If the process is not done carefully, the leaves aren't washed with care, aren't dried under stringent conditions, aren't baled, unbaled, and restacked faithfully, many tannins and hydrocarbons are already lost before the tobacco is rolled.
The potential is down the drain.

Although wine-making isn't the same, it still relies on controlled fermentation, just like tobacco.
It costs FAR more to do it and create a superior product than it does to knock out Mogan David or a (insert generic cigar name here).

It's cool to chase the whole picture, and I know you (and many others here) know this stuff, I just had a minute to type it for other folks who may not know. :tu

WhiteMamba
10-07-2015, 05:30 PM
Just out of curiosity I know there were some aged boxes of NC's in the last troop auction. Anyone have any reviews of how those were for reference?

timj219
10-13-2015, 11:43 PM
No expert but I have inadvertantly kept some cigars for 2-3 years. I like what happens to the Oliva O serie with that amount of age. I like Tat browns too with 2 or 3 years.
Also, never tasted one but I've seen people jump at the chance to buy old Oliva cloth bands so someone must like them even after 10 years.

JohnnyFlake
10-14-2015, 12:21 PM
I have offered this information before, many times, over the years and I'll do it again, one more time. For whatever it's worth, the advice I have picked up over the years from many, many old timers is that all blended NCs will improve within a year, even two years, from the day they are produced. The big, big problem, is that it's almost impossible to know that date, as NC Boxes & packaging do not normally provide that information.

You need to smoke one or two from a box to determine if they are really young or have some age on them, 6 months plus. If they seem young, some ammonia and bright spices, they will probably age well for a couple of years, before starting to go in the opposite direction. If they seem smooth, with deeper spice and the smoke is heavy & creamy, they are probably over the six month point, but should still age well for at least a year.

Now, with respect to Puros, all tobacco used is from the same country, they can age very well, for many years, five or six, at least and even many more, depending on the quality of the tobaccos used. Cuban Cigars are known for aging well, long term, and the simple reason being, they are all Puros!

RWhisenand
10-24-2015, 12:53 PM
Cuban Cigars are known for aging well, long term, and the simple reason being, they are all Puros!

Even those rolled with Domincan tobacco? :tf

JohnnyFlake
10-24-2015, 02:02 PM
Even those rolled with Domincan tobacco? :tf

To my knowledge, and historically, no/zero Cuban Brand Cigars are rolled using tobaccos from any other country. In fact, unless their laws have changed, Cuba does not even allow for the importation of bulk tobacco leaf from any country. They do allow for the importation of pre-rolled cigarettes.

CEC_Tech
10-24-2015, 02:48 PM
It seems to me like the stronger / richer smokes age well and mellow with some age on them. (2 yrs or more). Fuente stuff of course and drew estate sticks like Liga Privada and Undercrown do well with some more age on them.

Like others, I buy a box and have a couple and put the rest away. When your collection starts to grow, you won't get to any of your "aged" smokes for a couple years anyway. If you buy regularly or don't smoke as often, you will get to a point where your smoking your oldest stuff first. Use a first in first out method in your rotation.

At least that's what I do. Just my .02

Ashcan Bill
10-24-2015, 04:44 PM
So the question is whether it's worthwhile to intentionally age NC cigars?

I don't really know and the true answer may lie with your own personal preferences, but I can share with you some of my own experiences regarding older NCs. I have a fairly good sized humidor that I toss loose NCs into. I've owned this particular humidor for ten years, so it has ten years of cigars of various age sitting in it. It's had a chance to accumulate a wide range of NCs over the years. Usually a half box of this and a half box of that that I picked up to try and then lost interest in. And I still occasionally add to it.

While it was never my intention save and age NCs, it has become an interesting time capsule to reach into and pull something out of one in a while. I have found a couple of older cigars in it that had unexpectedly improved. One is the Pepin original Blue Label, which has turned into a quite enjoyable smoke. The other was a real surprise - some old inexpensive Fuente Maduro Privada No. 1s that developed a somewhat sweet and complex profile. The Privadas are 10 years old and the Blue Labels around 8 years.

On the other hand, I tried an old Diamond Crown Maximus that I thought was well past it prime and pretty flat. And there are a few pedestrian Padrons in there that I think are also flat, though a buddy who prefers milder smokes really loved a couple I threw his way. These are also in the 9-10 year range.

The only NC I have set aside to intentionally age are some Fuente Anejos. I do believe they improve considerably with time. And I know I have a box of Fuente Don Carlos something or the other put away I need to drag out and try, and probably toss into the NC humidor.

If you have time and the inclination, you might get a good size tupperware container and start tossing stuff into it. Then start firing things up in about ten years and get back to us with your impressions. Who know what you'll discover. ;)

smokin5
10-24-2015, 05:59 PM
I typically don't smoke my NC cigars until they've had at least 2 years of rest.
Many have 6-9 years on them.
I find I like them better, but that's me.
Some I've found do NOT improve with age, so I now smoke them within a year
of acquiring. Included are Punch Gran Puro, Rocky Patel (1990 & Decade),
and Carlos Torano in general. Most my other inventory smokes better, especially
Padron x000 series, Pepins, Fuentes, Camachos & Perdomos.
As they say, tho, YMMV.

RWhisenand
10-24-2015, 06:36 PM
To my knowledge, and historically, no/zero Cuban Brand Cigars are rolled using tobaccos from any other country. In fact, unless their laws have changed, Cuba does not even allow for the importation of bulk tobacco leaf from any country. They do allow for the importation of pre-rolled cigarettes.

You are correct, unless you follow some of the conspiracy theories, rumors that Cuba dose indeed import tobacco to keep up with demand. Who would know if half of the tobacco rolled into Upmanns and RyJ machine made cigars were made with Dominican leaf? Would you know? I sure couldn't tell.

Our government breaks its own laws, all governments break their own laws. Is Cuba any better?

mosesbotbol
10-25-2015, 07:57 AM
I've only had two different cigars brands rolled with Cuban and Non-Cuban tobacco mixed; both are European brands (Dutch and German).

RWhisenand
10-25-2015, 10:43 AM
I've only had two different cigars brands rolled with Cuban and Non-Cuban tobacco mixed; both are European brands (Dutch and German).

Did you like them? The proposition that blends could be made from both NC tobacco and CC tobacco is interesting to me.

mosesbotbol
10-26-2015, 09:43 AM
Did you like them? The proposition that blends could be made from both NC tobacco and CC tobacco is interesting to me.

Yes, I like P.G.C. Hajenius cigars (http://www.hajenius.com/nl/). Very European style cigar, usually short filler. The mix of Indonesian and Latin tobacco's gives a real "complete" flavor this is easy to smoke. They've been making cigars for a long time and know what they are doing.

There are some other Euro brands sold here that probably don't have Cuban tobacco (they very may well have some and no one noticed) that taste similar to Hajenius that worth giving a go if you've never tried their style cigars.

The other brand I had, I can't remember the name, but the packaging was very similar to Davidoff and was long filler. Not as distinctive though (this goes back to late 90's when I tried it).

RWhisenand
10-26-2015, 10:39 PM
Thanks Moses! What a cool site, I couldn't read too much of it since it was in Dutch, bummer, my last name is from a very old and prominent Dutch family. A little sad that I haven't kept up with my roots since when introduced, my last name raises some eyebrows with old school Dutch people.

Been there a few times, just not at all fluent!

AdamJoshua
10-26-2015, 11:20 PM
There is a link to the English version.

http://www.hajenius.com/en/links