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Written by Puff Staff

Thursday, 09 June 2011

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Tags:
aging tobaccotips and tricks
tobacco faq


ageing1To age or not to age, that is the question.  At least it’s the question I’m going to attempt to delve into today.  And it has nothing to do with how old I am either!  Aging tobacco can be a very polarizing subject.  There are schools of thought that say tobacco should only be kept for 1 to 3 years.  And there are other schools that say tobaccos will continue to improve for up to 20 or 30 years.  With the rising cost of tobaccos and the cost of living the price of tobaccos is only going to go up.  So, should we buy now and allow our precious leaf to age in order to smoke tobaccos at yesterday’s prices?  Personally, I say absolutely!

Tobacco cellaring has become more popular because of rising costs as well as the benefits you receive from smoking a bowl of a well-aged tobacco.  As a matter of fact, there are now on-line sites now that you can enter your tobaccos into and keep track of what you have and how old each tobacco is.  The one I use is one that was created by one of our very own Puff.com members.  You can find it at www.tobaccocellar.com.  I like it because it’s free to use and has lots of little tidbits of information that is compiled as individuals enter their tobaccos.

ageing2

Many people compare aging tobacco to aging wine.  For me, I tend to dislike the analogy as wine tends to, for the most part, be aged before ever being bottled.  Very little aging actually occurs once it’s individually bottled.  Tobacco, on the other hand, once tinned continues to go through a fermentation process that is what causes the aging.  So what kinds of tobaccos benefit from aging?

The general consensus, among all of the schools of thought is that virginias tend to benefit the most from aging.  As one of my other hobbies is making wine, this makes sense to me because in order to ferment, there has to be some kind of sugar.  Virginias tend to have the highest sugar content of all the tobacco varieties.  Knowing that and realizing that a large proportion of blends use virginias as a base, I now take the leap and say that most tobaccos will benefit from aging.  As many oriental tobaccos are descendants of virginias, I’d say they benefit second most.  And some research I’ve done backs that up.  Latakias will mellow as well but as Greg Pease says, if the blend is dependent on that pungent smokiness of the latakia, you may not want this to happen.  Burleys probably come next on that list and then aromatics tend to benefit the least from aging.

I’ve read that the Dan Tobacco representatives say that tobacco should only be kept for 1 to 3 years.  If you’ve read anything about the process of making pipe tobaccos or cigars this will really not make sense to you like it didn’t to me.  All tobacco has to go through some kind of aging process before it ever thinks about becoming something worth smoking.  After it’s harvested, it’s dried and allowed to settle down for anywhere from weeks to months.  Airborne microbials latch on to the wonderful leaf and begin the fermentation process.  From there it can be aged for even longer depending on the need for more settling.  Once the tobacco finally makes its way to a blend or a cigar, it’s once again allowed some time for the different tobaccos to get to know each other and form into something far more complex than the individual leaf.  After that it’s tinned and may sit in the manufacturer’s warehouse for a while before being shipped.  We know that many of the McClelland blends we buy seem to make it to the retailers with a couple years of age on the tins already.








   


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