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Cigar 101

Are Fresh-Rolled Cigars Better?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Are fresh-rolled cigars better? The fast and easy answer is no. Let us explain why. Watching a cigar roller roll a cigar is a sight to witness. Filler leaves are assembled in precise ratios. The filler is rolled into the binder leaves. Lastly, the entire composition is cloaked in an aesthetically pleasing wrapper leaf after the roller trims it with a chaveta. It happens fast, but the process takes many years to master. Each step in making a premium cigar is carefully orchestrated. Not to mention, the tobacco has been fermented and aged for several months or years before it reaches the roller’s bench.

A cigar that is handed to you direct from the roller’s hands is special indeed. But is a fresh-rolled cigar better than one you buy from a retailer? There is a fair amount of misconception regarding cigars and “freshness.” Consumers can be easily misled if they buy fresh-rolled cigars from a guy at the beach when they’re on vacation.

A Few Myths About Freshness

It’s not uncommon to smoke a cigar that’s just been rolled if you’re at a cigar event where a roller is present. There is some novelty involved, however. Fresh-rolled cigars contain far more moisture than the typical cigar you buy at a cigar shop. That’s because the tobaccos the roller works with are moist and malleable, which is necessary for creating a cigar’s shape and for placing it in a cigar mold.

More moisture or humidity does not equal more “freshness,” though. Premium handmade cigars need to be aged for an extended time after they are rolled. If you’re ever handed a freshly rolled cigar, smoke it right away, unless you plan to wait for a few months. Roughly 24 hours after a cigar is rolled, it will begin to expel ammonia, which leads to a very unpleasant taste. This process lasts for 60 days or more. Other unwanted impurities are also shed during this critical aging period.

Why Aging Cigars is Best

Cigars that you buy in a cigar shop have already been aged long enough to expel undesirable elements. Cigars are rested at the factory in cedar cabinets or rooms before they are banded and boxed. Once enough time has elapsed, the cigars can be banded and packaged for shipment to the retailer. During the aging process, temperature and humidity are carefully monitored. Consistent conditions bring cigars into equilibrium. The best premium cigars will deliver optimal taste and aroma when they arrive at the retail environment. Cigars continue aging when you store them in your personal humidor at home.

Smoke a Fresh-Rolled Cigar

Smoke a fresh-rolled cigar if you’re given the opportunity. But, don’t be fooled into thinking all cigars should be smoked fresh off the rolling table. The cigar-maker’s goal is to create a cigar that results in exceptional flavor after the aging process is complete. The fresh-rolled cigar you taste may be good, but it’s flavors are fleeting and it will not be the same cigar after a few months have gone by.

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