I’d like to try some aged cigars…
If this is you, then welcome to the club. We’d bet a pound to a penny that once you’ve sampled the delights of a well-aged Havana, you won’t look back.
Your choices are twofold. You can march into Sautter and tell Magali or Rhys that you’re ready for something that’s slept the slumber of the righteous in the vaults for a few years; or you start to age cigars yourself.
This isn’t difficult. It just requires a smidgeon of foresight, a dash of courage, a pinch of imagination – and a healthy glug of self-discipline.
First, why not try with your favourite cigar? Buy a box, or a few singles, check them over, sniff their wonderful aroma like the Bisto kids used to do – and then stash them away at the bottom of your humidor and forget about them.
Don’t forget to look after your humidor, mind. That would be careless. But if you keep it at 70 degrees relative humidity and 70 degrees celsius or, preferably, a tad lower for both, your smokes will doze like magnums of the greatest claret known to mankind.
Set a note on your diary or tie a piece of string around your finger to remind you that in your chosen time frame – say six months – you should unearth the buried treasure and perhaps sample one of the dusty denizens within.
You may wish to leave it 12 months or so, it’s entirely up to you. The point is, you can do what you like, for they’re your cigars and you are Grandmaster of the Keep. Feels good, doesn’t it?
It may help you to drop a note into the box with a comment on how your chosen victim smoked. Cuban cigarmakers are terribly helpful because they kindly stamp each box with a date, but you may also want to note the dates you sample so you can get a bearing on how your cigar is developing.
And, as long as you can keep your grubby little mitts away from them long enough, you will discover a whole new world. A world where what you thought was a well-known and well-loved cigar morphs into something new. It may or may not be something you like, but note the difference, for this is the beauty of Havana leaf. It ages like no other on the planet.
It dips and soars, plateaus and rollercoasters. It has sick periods when you’re tempted to throw the box away and ethereal moments that bring a tear to your eye. Aged cigars are a whole new ballgame, ladies and gentlemen and one you need to welcome.
Come, emerge blinking into the sunlight and see this new cigar world for yourself. All you require is a modest outlay and the qualities listed in paragraph three. Good luck and do let us know how you get on – having insider knowledge on ‘what’s smoking well’ is the golden key to the majestic pastime of cigar smoking.