Aging tobacco improves its quality. Of this there is no doubt. Is it necessary, however? Just how much fresher are aged tobaccos? Are some aged tobaccos better than others?
When you blend a few different tobaccos together, you have to “marry” them before smoking. Tobaccos of different ages come from different countries, with different soils, drying techniques, and processing methods used.
Whichever tobaccos you have are probably very different in terms of flavor and herbal makeup. For a balanced taste, they must be united in a tin for a couple months, at least. And that’s just the starting point of the aging; the next part can take years. Tobacco takes a long time to mellow out. If smoked prematurely, you wind up with tobacco which cannot be easily lit and may have a vegetable-like taste to it.
Tobacco Aging is not just for the manufacturers.
Some consumers age their tobaccos longer than necessary. More time in the humidor means extra time to marry and mellow, extra time which can release flavors in the smoke that you hadn’t noticed: deeper, sweeter flavors akin to molasses or dark chocolate—the characteristics of a mature cigar.
A humidor isn’t always needed
Of course, not all cigars should be aged extra in the humidor; immature tobaccos, for one, require immediate smoking. Some tobacco brands just don’t age well: Ghurka, My Father cigars, Rocky Patel. They’re not bad brands, just brands which work better when smoked right away.
If a cigar has a darkened wrapper, don’t expect its contents to taste fresh after months of sitting on the shelf. It will probably taste sour. Same goes for any cigars that are moist and designed to draw pleasantly right out of the box: the taste will diminish, as will the ability to smoke it without effort.
If you wish to test which cigars will age well, try it yourself. Leave a few in the humidor and test some at different stages of aging. If you wish to age pipe tobacco, the process is different but just equally viable.
Aging bulk tobacco
The preferred method for aging bulk tobacco is mason jars, but it isn’t done the same way you age pickles. After filling the jar about a third of the way—leaving enough air space for maturation—fill your sink with hot tap water and place the jars inside so that the water is level with the tobacco. Let the jars sit in the water for fifteen minutes or so, then remove them and screw the lids in place.
As they dry, a light vacuum should pull the lids tightly into place. Some people use a vacuum sealer and bags; like vacuum-sealed tins, however, this will probably leave too much air exchange, causing the tobacco to dry out.
There’s a wealth of sophistication in the world of high quality tobacco and we plan to share the goods right here at The Pipe Boutique. Sign up for the Newsletter, Follow us on Social, and browse some of our House Blend Tobacco.