A good cigar needs to be seasoned - this is a rule of thumb, which all true aficionados or those, who want to become like that, should follow. Of course, every stogie is aged at the factory in order to dry and normalize. This procedure will enhance the aroma, the burn and draw of a cigar. Usually, the process of stabilization lasts for 6 - 8 weeks which is considered to be sufficient; still it would be better for your cigars to undergo a longer ageing process as this will allow their fragrances melting and blending into a unique smoke.
However constant seasoning does not mean your cigar is doing well. Each stogie has a certain ageing period - once achieved a specific level, the cigar does not acquire any advantage from further ageing. Thus, here is our advice: keep the golden mean!
You should always check and know the age of your cigars. The younger the stogie is, the more intense is the influence of seasoning period on it. Remember: several months of ageing are beneficial to an immature cigar while the same period means nothing for a 15 year old stick.
So what's the perfect time?
Of course, there is no certain time limit as every cigar box is unique and reacts to seasoning in different way. However, here are some approximate bounds:
1 year If you want to reach the so named Chincales type savor, you should smoke freshly rolled cigars over the period of several weeks they've been rolled; if not - season them all for a year at least.
2 years Best term to start smoking those wonderful Cubans. This is considered to be the culmination of the majority of light bodied smokes.
2-5 years These are top years for the major part of other cigars, especially for those full-bodied which become better with time, for example: Bolivars, Partagas, and Ramon Allones.
7-10 years The peak ageing for all cigars. After that period, most of them become overripe and loose the flavor.
10 and more Here we enter the period where most stogies loose all their useful qualities whereas some rare, vintage sticks blossom. They possess some special features, such as moldy smell, a savor which resembles snuff and sometimes even smelly cheese which one can feel before lightning. It may sound pretty odd but these cigars are very highly appreciated by aficionados chasing after vintage cigars. The one thing to mention here is that solely strong cigars are capable of becoming valuable smoking after years.
Of course the above system does not apply to every cigar. It is an approximate direction for use which you yourself decide to follow or not. You should know that every hand rolled stogie ameliorates with time, therefore prior to throwing away any stogie you consider unworthy, let it apart for a while. It will astonish you how beautiful and tasty these 'bad' cigars become with seasoning.
Any way, time isn't able to improve a stick that is rolled from tobacco of low quality or is not rendered a proper treat.
Some tips to not miss that peak ;)
If you want to define the ageing influence on your stogies, just smoke one from the ageing case and try to feel all the aromatic nuances. You will certainly discover a striking change in the quality of cigars while ageing. Nevertheless, when you find a box that no longer improves with time, just take time and enjoy smoking!
As time passes, you will notice that your stogie will tighten allowing you to shift its ring up and down without rubbing. This is a sign that the cigar is well-matured and is ready to be smoked. The cigar, along with better burn and draw, will also give you a gentler savor with its unique flavors.
One more sign of a well-seasoned cigar is bloom (or plume). This is a white tiny web developing on the stogie due to its excessive oils on the wrapper. This plume, which is often confused with the harmful mold, is a good indication that your cigar is ageing well. Of course, not all stogies reveal bloom on them, only those with an extra amount of oil. Those sticks which are covered with plume are usually very aromatic.
Another step to take in order to properly age your cigars is to keep to the right 70% humidity versus 70% temperature level. A little more and your babies will grow musty; any less and the ageing process will stop at this phase. Keeping a permanent climate is a key to successful seasoning whereas an unsteady environment can become a complete catastrophe to ageing.
A perfect cigar is a properly aged stogie which is highly appreciated by experienced aficionados and is a luxury item which most of the smokers hardly ever recognize.