Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Inventory

I’m getting ready to re-stock my personal cigar inventory. I’ve been fortunate in that most of the cigars I smoke are at work, and supplied as part of our tasting reports. But you’ve all seen my humidor at home. It’s got a mix of cigars from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Cuba. There’s also a drawer full of “assorted” cigars, most of which are not my favorite smokes, but my friends appreciate getting them on the golf course, or as part of one of our after-dinner rituals at my house.

But thanks in part to a steady, if not rapid, consumption of my personal stock, and a tragic beetle infestation that took about 100 cigars to an early grave, I’m in the acquisition mode, especially for Cubans. Frankly, I haven’t purchased Cubans in a number of years because of my concerns about the construction quality, and even the tobacco quality, of their cigars. That period of questionable quality seems to be in the past.

So, I can tell you that I will be looking for larger cigars, and maybe a box or two of lanceros, one of my favorite sizes. In the double corona category, we’ve had some great Lusitanias recently, and since that’s always one of my favorites, so I’ll be searching for them. And, I’m always partial to Romeo y Julieta Churchills; they’ll be on my shopping list too. Believe it or not, one of my current favorite lanceros is the Vegueros, which are not always available, but they are a great value and usually pretty full-flavored. I’ll let you know as my stock gets re-built.

One thing I will do is buy enough so the bulk of the boxes can age for at least a year, and maybe longer. I keep discovering cigars in my humidor that are beyond five years old, and I’m almost always amazed at how smooth they are even if they were blockbusters when I first got them.

Do any one of you stock your humidors with the idea of keeping an aged inventory on hand? Are you laying down things that aren’t necessarily your every day smoke? Are you buying new brands on a regular basis just to try them out? How many cigars do you keep?

Let me know.

"Gordon,Sorry about the infestation. Always a shock. I always buy with aging in mind. I also buy heavily in the original release of cigars that both CA and I rate highly. Illusione, My father, R.Patel decade/15th, Padron 45 and 80, Lito GomezSalamones, etc. I also have tons of Opus X going back 10 years. I have two large pendergast cabinets and about twice as many cigars as I will ever use. Still it is difficult to resist a great new release. I have been mostly dissapointed with Cubans,even now that they are more reliable. I miss the old pre 1995 tobacco. I have several boxes from that time and earlier along with aged Opus X's, which are my favorites. I find it a real luxury to be able to go to the cabinet and not only find the cigar and size that I want, but also the age. " —August 26, 2010 20:01 PM
"I actually dedicate one of my two humidors for aging. I usually take the cigars out of the cello just to where they age faster. I currently have about 200 cigars, I wish I had a nice fancy cabinet like you, but I'm still working that battle with headquarters. As for new cigars, I will usually pick something up I haven't tried when I visit my local cigar bar. Sometimes I like what I get, other times...not so much. But you won't know if you don't try. I see you are going to be buying some more Cubans soon, any interest in the Cohiba Behike? It's rather $$$ but CA has rated it well...I also understand that Cubans seem to leave the island a little green, how much age would you put on your avg Cuban cigar? Behikes? Long ashes my friend, Chris" —August 23, 2010 11:17 AM
"Gordon,Aging is a fantastic thing, isn't it? I have a cabinet humidor which houses about 600 cigars that have age ranges between 3-12 years. I check them every day to be certain that you are ok. I normally pull one out each day at the end of the day to enjoy. It is amazing how much smoother cigars can be will a year or two under their belt.I also have about 6 table top humidors that I use for daily consumption for the ride in the morning and for my golf. I usually don't let these age as long as they are my every day cigars but because of the number of cigars I have, they will age just because I can't get to them.The Cubans seems to mellow the most but I must say that I have found that the wrappers tend to be a bit more fragile than what I find with many of the Dominicans I enjoy. I have a collection of about 400 Behikes but they need to be examined regularly as I find they are very prone to cracking if you don't watch the humidity on a regular basis. Tatuajies also age incredibly well.Good luck on restocking!" —August 30, 2010 18:10 PM
"Dear Gordon,I have the good/bad luck to live in Mexico City... and I mean good/bad luck because all my country obvious problems apart, in the cigar terrain I can find all cuban cigars i like. But in the other side, I can¿t find any of the well known, extraordinary nicaraguan, dominican or hondurean brands, or the tax for these brands are ridiculous. (10 dlls cigars are 20 dlls) I have been smoking and storing cigars almost 15 years now, getting about 100 boxes (almost 2500 cigars) in three long cabinet humidors, almost any decent brand. In my opinion are absolutely right. The quality control for the cubans makes a risk to buy for the box, but cubans age like a charm (except maybe maduros). For routine I smoke half of the box in the fresh state and keep the other half for aging -no regrets-. I try to buy any new brand to taste it, almost always based in the cigar insider or cigar aficionado ratings, and then buy the whole box. To Chris, I think 5-7 years for cubans would be a very good time to age, specially the Behike (extraordinary cigar in my opinion). If I could recommend the new R&J wide churchill, i think it would be great for aging. Stay well, Hope to see all of you Gentlemen in the Big Smoke...Regards, " —August 30, 2010 16:34 PM
"I prefer to only age cigars which are good fresh. Time and time again I receive aged Cubans that were from bad years, they were not good 10 years ago and now they are still not worth smoking. I think aging a cigar is a gift to yourself for having the patience to wait. If you are aging to make something just smoke-able instead of amazing you are missing the point. I must say the current Cubans I have smoked lack richness, therefore the aging of them would only hurt the smoke. The worst part is that old blends are being discontinued for new Cohibas or Montecristos. The Cohibas are often good but with an insane price, and the Montecristo Open was not needed because that was the point of the Diplimatico (a milder Monte).I would stock most Cubans from 03-07 or perhaps 1st runs of smaller companies from other countries. The first production of the Aston VSG was well worth the aging.Anyways hope this helps." —August 23, 2010 13:37 PM
"Gentlemen,I do like to age cigars, even the ones that the manufacturers say are ready to smoke when you buy them. I just find even a year really rounds out a smoke. And, take a La Aurora 100 Anos, which I have some that have five years or more on them--they are fabulous today.I agree about only aging cigars that are good when they are young too. I have a few 1995 Cuban Punch Double Coronas which have a Habana hybrid wrapper on them...they were tart and a little bitter young, and they still are. Now there are some really strong cigars young that mellow as they age and become better balanced, but if there is a off flavor (like bitterness) they most likely won't ever really improve that much.As I said, part of the reason my Cuban stock has gotten low is that I do feel they went through a long period of less than top quality, and the older ones I had were really in their prime. But those are running out. Behikes are just too expensive for my home budget--but I would say the couple that I've had show some of the traditional Cuban potential for aging." —August 25, 2010 14:53 PM
"I always try new things. I often buy 5 packs of stuff I wouldn't normally get just to give something a fare shake. I have discovered things I like that surprised me. It feels good to find something you wouldn't normally think about. I unfortunately don't age cigars because I just don't have the room to dedicate to it. If I had a few more humidors and time, I might consider it. By the way, can you get me a few Cubans since your going shopping for them? I would appreciate it!Best RegardsDanny" —August 23, 2010 13:04 PM