When can a cigar be considered as a vintage cigar? Difficult question, isn’t it? Is it after 5 or 10 years? Or is it even more. Or is a cigar vintage once the year has passed, when the cigars were boxed? I guess there are various sources for the definition of what vintage is. And getting the following out of the way straight away, there is no clear definition. For instance I’m sometimes really surprised when I look at list that vendor put up or mail around. Cigars with less than three years of age are declared as vintage. A cigar that has less than three years of age still shows signs of its youth. Be it by having an unstable/uneven burn or it being harsh.
Googling and reading wikipedia, vintage means old-fashioned, old or classic. It could be used to say something about a genre, a style or movement. The Cambridge dictionary actually goes even further and says it is a sign of high quality, long lasting value and that it has typical aspects that are represented in the object with the title vintage (no direct quotation). While this is all good and I can especially relate to the “representing” part, this still does not say what age a cigar does have to have to be vintage.
The cigar bible from Min Ron Nee often speaks of “chunks” of five years, e.g. “let rest for at least five years”, “better after 10 years”. I like the increment of five years as I feel below or in between nothing much spectacular happens to a cigar. Actually I still make a point, if possible, to not smoke a cigar that is younger than five years. But I still don’t think that a cigar deserves the title vintage after only five years.
From the wine makers and the wine universe vintage not only declares that the wine is old if not it is used for particular good years when everything fit up perfectly and the product was of very high quality. I like that way of looking at it too. But vintage cigars from a particular good year are not so realistic right? Often tobacco from various years is rolled into one stick and so the vintage term cannot really be matched up well with Habanos, not even with the Gran Reservas where the year sometimes is openly declared. The years used there normally only go for the wrapper leafs and not the binder or the bunch. But I admit, I’m not a 100% sure and might be wrong here.
So as said in the opening, there is no precise definition and I guess everyone has to come to terms with vintage by her- or himself. In my book, to be truly vintage, a cigar has to have 20 years as its minimal age and it still has to be appeal and smell so nicely, that I am looking forward to smoke this baby. Everything else is just aged. 🙂