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Cigars/How long can I store cigars?


Hi James,

About 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Cuba a number of times.  I was interested in the cigars, and eventually even arranged for a nice Casa del Habano shop in (on 16th St) to maintain a locker for me to reserve cigars that I wanted and which they didn't have in stock when I was there.  I ended up with some 60 boxes of cigars (mostly Cohibas, Bolivars, La Hoyos and Punch) which I now have at home, mostly stored in cedar-lined igloo coolers, and maintained at 70/70.  Since I smoke maybe a cigar a month, I obviously have a large stash.  My question is, what is going to happen to the quality of these smokes over time?  They are already 15 years old. Are cigars like wine, in that they reach a peak age and then slowly decline? Thanks for your attention.

Hello W. Gallagher,

When aging cigars long-term, cigars will become richer in flavours for the first several years and then eventually reach a peak and begin to mellow out.  Aged cigars usually develop richer flavours at the 2-3 year mark and peak at 8-10 years.  After that, they will become much more milder in terms of flavour and strength.  They will still be quite flavourful but the flavours will not be as rich as before.  This is caused by the natural oils naturally extruded from the cigar (plume/bloom) as it ages.  As a cigar ages, the natural oils in the tobacco amalgamates and creates a richer flavour.  Over time however, when these oils are naturally secreted from the cigar and becomes plume/bloom, the filler tobacco becomes more mellow in flavour.

Since your collection is about 15 years old now, I would say that the cigars are much milder than their original flavour.  They can still be quite flavourful but I would say the full-bodied cigars are now medium-bodied, your medium-bodied cigars are now mild-bodied and so on.  

If the humidor/storage conditions are ideal (70/70), you can store your cigars indefinitely but after they reach their aging peak, the longer a cigar ages, the milder in flavour it becomes.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.



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James Yee


My main area of expertise is Cuban cigars and I can assist you if you have questions pertaining to Cuban cigars. I can also assist you with the following:

- General cigar-related questions and advice
- Humidor maintenance and troubleshooting (How to treat humidor mold, correct high/low humidity, humidor seasoning, etc.)
- Accessory maintenance and troubleshooting (Cigar cutters, hygrometers, humidifiers, etc.)
- Cigar restoration, preservation and troubleshooting (How to treat cigar mold/tobacco beetles, restoring vintage/dry cigars, etc.)
- Cigar/Brand identification
- Cigar etiquette

Unsure of a certain cigar brand? Wondering what a certain cigar tastes like? Have a question about Cuban cigars? Having problems with a humidor or Just let me know! I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. (NOTE: My main focus is on premium, hand-rolled cigars and not cheap, machine made, convenience store cigars.) IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE CIGAR OR CIGAR-RELATED APPRAISALS. If you have a vintage cigar item and you want to know if it's worth something, please contact an antique dealer that specializes in "TOBACCIANA".


I currently have 19 dedicated years of cigar smoking and counting. I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. For 5 years, I studied with Cuban torcedores (rollers), catadores (taste testers) and revisadores (inspectors) on every aspect involving the production of the Cuban cigar and I am currently writing a book that will help beginners understand everything they need to know about cigars and cigar smoking.

Maple Leaf Gardens: Memories & Dreams 1931-1999 (1999; ISBN: 0920445616)
50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do (2006; ISBN: 0452286654)
The [London] Times (October 8, 2009)

East York Collegiate Institute University of Toronto

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