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Cigar Aficionado

Two Cigars, A World Apart

I read James Suckling’s blog today about the H. Upmann Magnum 46. Just by chance, this past weekend, I also smoked one that was given to me by a friend on the golf course. It is a luscious cigar. The reddish-brown “Colorado” wrapper was every bit as appealing as the cigar itself. Deep and rich, and filled with earthy, spicy flavors. Before I’d read James blog, I had thought to myself on the course that it was 92 point cigar, at least.

When I read Mr. Suckling’s blog, I figured that his had some box age on them, since the cigars had been purchased by Gerard Pere et Fils in Geneva from a stash he’d put down a year ago. It reminded me that my comment to my friend on Sunday was that while the cigar was great, I thought it could still benefit from a year or so of aging to smooth out. I suggested that it was probably new production. Since I know my friend’s supplier, I checked with them. In fact, the cigars are probably from about the same batch as the one Mr. Suckling smoked, either February or May 2006.

There have been some questions about the age-ability of cigars on the Cigaraficionado.com forums recently, and how one determines whether or not a cigar needs a bit of time. Not all cigars have the quality to age, so it is a valid question. And, since reading those threads on the website, I’ve been paying very close attention to how I make those distinctions.

The cigar I had this weekend, while wonderful, and filled with a ton of flavor, also started out with what felt like just a touch of harshness on the back of my palate, on the far back roof of my mouth. It just seemed to be a little “hot;” Not burning hot, but a bit out of balance. As the cigar burned down, and began to smooth out, that tinge of harshness vanished. I almost always associate that disappearance with a young cigar, and given everything else being positive–flavor, performance etc.–-an indication
that it will benefit from some more aging.

It’s important if you’re going to age a cigar that it be maintained in the proper conditions. James and I disagree a bit about the perfect temperature/humidity balance. He prefers something closer to 65/65, while I prefer 70/70. The difference is evident usually in a slightly slower burn at 70, but he also believes that a cigar ages better, perhaps a bit more slowly, at the lower humidity. It’s a good subject for future blogs.

What we do agree on that those Magnum 46s available in Switzerland today are fantastic.

"I was perusing the contents of my humidor looking for a cigar to smoke after a dinner to celebrate my wife's birthday.What caught my eye was the imposing shape of a Trinidad Robusto Extra. "Hmm - that'll do" I thought - it had been sat in my humidor for 14 months. The dinner at the restaurant was excellent, and we moved through into the lounge area where we relaxed on a sofa in front of an open log fire - bliss! (well it was January in the north of England!!). At this point I reached for the Trinidad, cutter, cedar sticks and matches. I knew while I was warming the end of the cigar that I was going to be in for a treat - the aroma emanating from this cigar was sublime. Onto the main event and I was not to be disappointed. The main thing that struck me was the smooth creaminess which crept over my taste buds - absolutely delightful! and it complimented the coffee and Remy Martin perfectly. The smoke that I was puffing out was starting to fill the room, and I noticed a couple of envious glances being directed towards us! I was so impressed with it, I kept commenting to my wife (who is a non-smoker) how good it was! The burn was even and consistent right down to the last inch and a half which was when I layed it down in the ashtray. I have had other Trinidads (Fundadores - excellent; Coloniales - a touch harsh) but nothing compared to this Robusto Extra. I can only assume that the 14 months in the humidor made a huge difference to the smoking enjoyment that it delivered." —June 11, 2007 19:43 PM