What is vintage?

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Cuban Cigars Post

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. πŸ™‚

La Escepcion Selectos Finos jar

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Cuban Cigars Post

I slipped again. Back in 2016. It’s been a while but I guess there is no time-barring when it comes to a self-inflicted buying abstinence, right? Well, I was weak. I was unprepared. I really caught me in a very weak moment. I was on vacation. I was in a good mood. I have not bought cigars for a long time. I thought I was safe. I forgot about the mesmerizing odor in walk-in humidors.

What can I say? My guard was down. The selection in the shop was surprisingly wide. And there it stood. The embodied, ceramic temptation. A jar. It just stood there. On the top shelf. I lost it. I did not even ask for the price. Just told the shop assistant that I will take this one with me and reached for my credit card. A few days later I kind of woke up. The haze lifted. I checked my cc bill online to see if I really did this. Or if it was something like a weird dream. And there was the transaction (and might I add a hearty “ouch” here). I went to the humidor. And there it was. A jar. On one of the shelves. Standing there. In my humidor. I believe, I did not even have a look at the sticks in the shop. It did not even open the jar to take a nose full. It all went so fast.

But what a jar! A simple and yet elegant jar. Tall and curvy. Full with 30 sticks. 30 elegant Cuban cigars. I knew the cigars. I smoked some of them as everybody in my virtual vicinity raved about it I smoked some young specimens. I liked the brand from before it got revived to be used for the Edicion Regionales concept. I have smoked some very powerful and tasty vintage cigars from La Escepcion. I like the thinner ring size a lot too. And I believe it is one of the better Edicion Regionales. So getting the jar was the logical next step. Even if taken at a very late (or shall I say, expensive) time. Getting the jar was like committing to this cigar. Like a formal obligation. After all I still feel this is a great cigar and I love jars. Right?

Can anyone blame me? I guess so. Do I feel bad? Yes, a little. Did I overpay? Probably. Funny thing is, this jar did not interest me, back when it came up for sale in Italy. The boxes of La Escepcion Selectos Finos were for sale for quite some months, if I remember well. And then Diademas S.A. offered a free jar if you bought two boxes of 25. A free jar! A free ceramic containment with such elegant curves. But I was not interested. But that has changed. That has changed on this beautiful day in late spring 2016. It has changed on that day when I was driving back from Italy. Driving home. Not thinking about what would hit me when I made a short stopp. What can I say. That day, I slipped again.


Candela wrappers

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Cuban Cigars Post

Not sure if I have enough information on this to sensibly fill a whole blogpost with this subject. On a second thought, that did never stopp me before, didn’t it? However I am a 100% sure that I do not have pictures to back this one up. I do have one or the other cigar that has a green spot or two. Maybe even a cigar that is on the verge of being so little brown that it almost is green. But I do not posses a Cuban cigar with a nice, juicy green candela wrapper. The only cigars I own that have a green wrapper, were gifted to me by a dear person a long time back and come from somewhere in Asia (I actually forgot from where). Those cigars are pictured above. Both of them were bone dry when I got them and up until this day they smell so strong of non-tobacco ingredients that I keep them somewhere stowed away in a drawer. Anyway, those cigars are having this green wrapper color. So I thought it would make sense to put up a picture of a green cigar. The other two pictures in this post have been photoshopped. And might I add horribly photoshopped as I have no clue how to do this. So please just go with the flow. πŸ™‚

And now back to Cuban cigars with candela wrappers. If I recall correctly green wrappers were quite hip at the turn of the 19th century. In particular in Florida. For some reason the tradition got lost (or did it not) when customers asked for brown wrappers. When in Cuba in 2010 we had the rare opportunity to talk to a lot of people involved in the process of creating the cigars that we all like so much. And at one opportunity I noticed that there was a bunch green wrappers hanging from a ceiling. I always was very curious about what a candela wrapper does to a Cuban cigar and of course I asked about this bunch. The answer I got did not come very spontaneously but I was told that this was just a private experiment. Nothing special and nothing noteworthy. But I remember this bunch of candela wrappers up until today as if I would have seen it last week. In my mind I even put a conspiracy theory together that the Cubans are investigating or better said learning again how to produce candela leafs again in order to bring something new to the market in a few years. But I guess this was simply me being very curious to taste a candela cigar and my train of thought never even was close to the truth as today, almost seven years later I don’t think there are serious signs of the Cubans doing this nor did we see candela cigars from Cuban. A shame actually as I am still very much interested in smoking such a cigar. And who knows, maybe people actually would pick up to a candela cigar coming in a limited bunch, maybe as a “Edition Traditional” as I suggested earlier?

But again I guess I am a helpless geek and this is even one of my top “geekeries”. Or how many candela cigars do you have in your humidor? Or would you even be interested in smoking one? I guess not many people are. But I am! So if you have one, I am very interested in it!!! πŸ™‚