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Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

This is a discussion on Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar within the General Cigar Discussion forums, part of the The Cigar Lounges at Puff category; I've probably bored the Dickens out of most of you with my rantings about resting, aging, final fermentation effects, etc. ...

  
  1. #1

    Disinterested


     

    Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    I've probably bored the Dickens out of most of you with my rantings about resting, aging, final fermentation effects, etc. Most people just want to smoke cigars and not be bothered with whether it's rested, or aged, or whatever. Most of us just want to walk into our B&M, or bust open our latest online purchase and spark-up. Sadly, most who do this are oblivious to how a truly, properly-rested cigar tastes.

    First off, ammonia is a byproduct of fermenting tobacco. Tobacco is fermented several times during the manufacturing process. The blender sniffs and tastes the mature tobacco, comes up with his masterpiece and sends it off to the roller. Here's where things get dicey. All that "perfectly aged" tobacco has to be re-wet in order to roll. This wetting kicks off another, final fermentation, which can last up to two years after the cigar is rolled. It gets even trickier than that! You can grab a cigar, straight off the rolling bench and smoke it and never taste the slightest hint of ammonia! This is simply because there hasn't been sufficient time for fermentation to occur, thus, no ammonia! It's only weeks, even months afterward, that the ammonia begins to be released.

    Depending on how mature the tobaccos and how aggressively they're wetted, this ammonia can be anything from a kick in the face, to a very subtle, "off flavor". Ammonia is not easily detected by the tongue, but very easily detected by the olfactory sense. The ability to train the mouth to detect what the nose knows takes years.

    Here's my quick and dirty method for discerning ammonia (and therefore an immature cigar). Light the cigar as you normally do and smoke it down until you've warmed the wrapper. As you smoke, smell the warm part of the wrapper. The heat will release whatever ammonia is left in the cigar and you will definitely smell it! One clue is if the cigar tends to taste a little "dry" or astringent. This is a motivator for me to sniff behind the cherry and more times than not, ammonia is revealed.

    I try to leave everything alone for about a year, before I smoke it. In rare cases, I get really new cigars that haven't had time to enter the final fermentation and I will smoke one... and they can be fantastic. BUT! There is no getting around the fact that, eventually, every cigar will enter a final fermentation and release ammonia. Let them have a good nap. The result will be ever-so worth the wait.

  2. #2

    Ole Crusty Spiked Fish tpharkman's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    I love your idea and I think you are absolutely correct but what in the heck do I smoke in the mean time?
    Agnes, have you seen my Don Diegos?

  3. #3

    Disinterested


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Quote Originally Posted by tpharkman View Post
    I love your idea and I think you are absolutely correct but what in the heck do I smoke in the mean time?
    Padrons

  4. #4

    Nee "Tashaz" Mante's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Never boring Don, just educational. Well worded & explained once again. I think we are going to have to start calling you DON-101. To that end I am hot for teacher's avatar, not teacher!
    Refuses to remain the Droid they were all looking for.

  5. #5

    Not Here


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Quote Originally Posted by tpharkman View Post
    I love your idea and I think you are absolutely correct but what in the heck do I smoke in the mean time?
    Don is correct in his assessment however, what he is describing is more commonly noticed by the end user in Cuban cigars. While all tobacco goes through this process most non-Cuban cigars are aged for some time after being rolled. This of course varies between manufacturers but it does allow time for many of the gases to dissipate whereas Cuban cigars are basically rolled and shipped before this natural occurence has time to take place.

    While you may still detect ammonia in some non-Cuban cigars it is much rarer than it is with Habanos.
    BIA!!!

  6. #6

    Easier without the hat. Bigtotoro's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Thanks. +1

    I have no use for RG.

  7. #7

    JGD
    JGD is offline
    Formally "jadeg001" JGD's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Yes. Like always Don, well done.

  8. #8

    Highland Park SingleMalt salmonfly's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashaz View Post
    Never boring Don, just educational. Well worded & explained once again. I think we are going to have to start calling you DON-101. To that end I am hot for teacher's avatar, not teacher!
    + 100% on what Warren has said, Don I learn a lot from just reading your threads/posts Bro.

    CC SENSEI/DON
    FOR THE ATTENTION OF ALL SMOKING SINNERS, ENJOY YOUR SMOKE OR YOU WILL FEEL THE RAPH OF THE GODS!! THIS GUY GOING LOCO (((((FTA O ASS)))))

  9. #9

    Puffer Fish with some spikes jakecartier3's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Very good information, thank you.

  10. #10

    Leading Puffer Fish Suzza's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Another valuable thread from Don! I say this one deserves a sticky.

  11. #11

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish ongreystreet's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    I have to agree and disagree. I agree that all cigars NC and CC benefit from some extra aging, and not just because it magically makes them better.

    But I also think that cigars can actually go thru multiple cycles of fermentation depending on how long they are stored and under what conditions (higher temp and humidity) and that smoking after or between these periods makes the cigar taste better because it's not in the process of fermentation and because it has already released some more harsh gases and nicoteen.

    I've found that often over humidified smokes from your typical B&M are better smoked right away for rested.

    I also have to disagree with the idea that NCs don't benefit from extra aging. I've had premium smokes go thru some heavy fermentation periods in my humidors to the point they've had to be relocated to their own humidor and the smell could burn your nostrils.

    This is a great post because I often feel like there are way too many people on this board that miss out on some of the simple sciences of cigars(or just science in general) and it's a lot easier to care for and enjoy your cigars once you understand a few things about how and why a big ole green leaf can taste so good when smoked (and why it can also taste so bad).
    "Like drinking a beer underwater"

  12. #12

    Puffer Fish with many spikes Stinkdyr's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Devils Weed cigars are a classic example of stix you will want to rest for quite a while b4 you smoke them. That dry feeling in your mouth, slightly bitter taste, tingling tooth fillings.........it's all there.......ammonia.

    Still, the cigar had some flavor that I can tell will be enjoyable....SOME DAY, just not yet.

    So, I will push those to the back of my coolerdor to age for a year, then revisit.

  13. #13

    Maturing Puffer Fish clintgeek's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Quote Originally Posted by Herf N Turf View Post
    Padrons
    Why Padrons?

  14. #14

    Puffer Fish with many spikes Stinkdyr's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar

    Quote Originally Posted by clintgeek View Post
    Why Padrons?

    They are already aged perfectly when they arrive ROTT.

  15. #15

    Aussie Tiger Shark Benji's Avatar


     

    Re: Ammonia and the Un-rested Cigar


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