Cigar lovers will know that time can affect cigars – as they age and mature, flavours can develop. With vintage cigars becoming a more sought-after investment for cigar lovers, we take a look at what can make a cigar ‘vintage’, and what sets vintage cigars apart from those that have just been aged!
What is a Vintage Cigar?
There isn’t really a strict definition of what makes a cigar ‘vintage’, but the general agreement within the cigar industry is that a vintage cigar needs to be aged. Like with vintage wines, a cigar being vintage can also be more to do with the rarity and availability of the cigar than it is about the age. Juan Martinez, Executive President of Joya de Nicaragua, claims that a vintage cigar is ‘an aged cigar from a renowned brand that has been properly stored in order to increase its value, both economically and smoking-wise’. Likewise, Eddie Sahakian from Davidoff London states that ‘a vintage cigar will need to age at least ten years beyond its box age’. This reveals that a vintage cigar needs to be a fairly desired cigar to start with, that has been aged for around ten years under ideal ageing conditions.
However, as mentioned, age is less of an issue for a cigar to be vintage, with no set rules as to how long the ageing process is needed. For example, while five years or ten years can be sufficient for the majority of cigars, there are some Cuban smokes out there that have been aged for around 60 years! This commitment to ageing cigars under the right conditions for so long is why vintage cigars are a premium good.
How Long to Age Cigars?
There is great debate amongst cigar aficionados as to how long a cigar should be aged for, if it all. Some smokers will choose to age their cigars for a year or two, whereas others will be in for the long-haul, ageing them for ten years or more.
In the past, cigar ageing was not as big a practice as it is today. As the tobacco will be aged for a set amount of time in the factory before being sold, many cigar smokers do not see the need for ageing the majority of cigars. However, over the years, the concept of ageing cigars has become something most aficionados want to explore. This is an exploration that has certainly paid off though, as many cigars will present a difference in flavour between a recently purchased one and one that has been aged for several years. The cigar will mellow, fading away some of the nicotine taste, to reveal the full flavour potential of the blend.
To age your cigars successfully, you need to slow down the maturation process, by storing the cigars at a lower temperature and humidity. If you want to age your cigars at home over a longer period of time, then it is well worth investing in a top of the range humidor.
Why Should You Buy Vintage Cigars?
Part of the fun of vintage cigars – and therefore, a reason to try them – is the thrill of tracking down and sourcing the cigars. A vintage cigar will be a well-aged, high-quality cigar with a hint of uniqueness, which can be pretty rare to find. So, to find a vintage smoke, you might need to do a bit of hunting. Once you find what you’re looking for, it will make the smoking experience all the more rewarding.
Another reason to purchase vintage cigars is due to the opportunities they can present as an investment. The longer a cigar is aged, the rarer it becomes, especially if the cigar was limited edition, or the factory ceased production. Many cigar lovers will now splash out and buy two boxes of cigars when they are released – one to keep and try themselves, and another to keep sealed and sell on in future! Whether you buy cigars and try to create a vintage stogie to sell on, or find something special to invest in for your collection, there are many benefits to owning vintage cigars.
How to Enjoy a Vintage Cigar?
As an aged cigar is typically a lot milder than what it used to be, some cigar lovers have found a way to get the best out of the smoke. They believe that the best way to smoke an older stogie is to blow some of the smoke out through your nose, as this can offer you a better appreciation of the flavours and tobacco types used within the cigar.
Another benefit of enjoying an aged cigar is that it allows you to eat alongside your smoke, as the cigar is mellowed and milder. The cigar shouldn’t overpower the taste of the food you have chosen, and the nibbles can help to enhance or complement the flavours of the cigar.
Where Can You Find Vintage Cigars?
One of the easiest ways of finding a vintage cigar is to check on suppliers and cigar store websites, such as Havana House. When a new cigar is launched, some suppliers will choose to hold a few boxes back, no matter the demand for the cigar at the time. This allows them to age these cigars until they can be classed as ‘vintage’, at which point they can be sold on as collectors’ items – with added rarity, age and uniqueness. Buying from a cigar vendor can be better than ageing cigars yourself or purchasing from another type of seller, as a dedicated cigar vendor is more likely to have the right equipment and knowledge to expertly age the cigars to perfection! You can check out Havana House’s range of rare, aged and vintage cigars here!