I really don’t like posting reviews on cigars that many of you can’t get for one reason or another, but I always seem to get the question on whether aging cigars is worth or not. My answer is always the same. It depends. Usually cigars mellow out and get smoother as they age so if you like the way they are smoking now, then there is no reason to age them unless you want to see how they change. Cuban cigars have always been cigar you had to age if you were to really get any enjoyment out of them, or so everyone would tell you. Recently, many cigars out of Cuba are ready to go, but could go from good to great with some aging. I recently had a newer Punch churchill that was either 2012 or 2013 which had flavors of cedar, earth and a hint of spice with not much change from beginning to end of the smoke. I remembered I had a Punch churchill in my humidor that was gifted to me from 1998. Would there be a difference?
1998 Punch Churchill
The cigar looks quite good. The wrapper is a nice, even beige color with no spots and very smooth. The cap is well applied as well. I cut the cap and checked out draw which was perfect. This is what I was most worried about as Cuban cigars waver greatly in construction quality.
The first third of this cigar was completely eye opening. Right from first puff, I knew it was going to be special. The flavors of oak, mocha, white tea with a subtle sweetness immediately hit my palate. The tea note was a big surprise. It was so light of a flavor but easily picked out amongst the other flavors. Along with the other flavors, I got some nice floral notes that rounded out the flavors. Amazing.
Here is where the spice entered the picture. I started to get some white pepper at the start of the second third. I figured I would get some spice, but after not getting it in the first third, where I expected it, I wasn’t sure I would get any at all. It added a nice sharpness to the flavor profile. I was still getting the tea notes along with the sweet mocha notes as the oak notes seemed to take a back seat as well as the floral notes which seem to come and go.
The biggest change came in the final third. The sweetness completely faded away along with the tea and floral notes. The end of the cigar is very woody with more spice. It also started to get more earthy, but not too overpowering. While the final flavors were pretty good, they paled in comparison to the first two thirds of the cigar.
Well, for me, this is a clear answer……for Cubans. Every Cuban cigar I’ve ever smoked got immensely better with age. This is why I age every one of them I get for at least 3 years, but I try to aim for 5 years. It does make a difference. Sometime this backfires though. I had a box of La Flor Dominicana L200 that I bought in 2002 where the cigars lost all their flavor and were incredibly mild. Its like smoking notebook paper now, so, yes, you can age cigars for too long. It all comes down to the individual smoker. For me, I’m a patient person with cigars so I can wait on them to age. So did we answer the question on whether its worth it to age or not? Yes, it depends.
3 thoughts on “Is Aging Cigars Worth it? 1998 Punch Churchill”
Great write up and I loved the comparison.
Great review Ben! I’ve found that aged cigars smoke kind of similarly. The first third is made up of very mild flavors, and floral tones are common, then thing really hit a crescendo in the second third with great complexity, and more intensity. Then the final third gets very earthy/leathery and spicy. For some reason, I’ve also found aged cigars to burn much straighter than fresher cigars. Again, thanks for the write-up on your experience!
Ben, Its sound like you were smoking the Viaje Oro No. 5.