What makes certain cigars, such as Honduran or Cuban cigars vintage and what does the term ‘vintage’ mean exactly when it comes to cigars? There’s no agreed definition of the word as it applies to hand rolled cigars. Growers, makers and retailers alike in the cigar industry all have their own definition it appears.
Juan Martinez, executive president of the world’s oldest cigar brand Joya de Nicaragua says, “For us, vintage means an aged cigar from a renowned brand that has been properly stored in order to increase its value, both economically and smoking-wise. We think that this, plus proper ageing conditions, are what differentiates a vintage from just any old stick”.
Eddie Sahakian of Davidoff London releases a very small number of vintage cigars each year, which can sell for thousands per cabinet. He says, “A vintage cigar will need to age at least ten years beyond its box age. The exact number of years is somewhat arbitrary, as different brands and sizes will mature differently, but ten years seems to be the average time taken to noticeably change a cigar’s flavour and strengthen profile”.
Difficulties involved with naming a cigar a vintage is in maintaining the consistency of flavour, with tobaccos from different crops in different areas and even different countries. If this was in terms of wine, the grapes would all be from the same area and same quality harvest. Cuban Cigars for example age very well and they can become extraordinary when they are well kept and aged. This can be as long as 50 to 60 years. This is why vintage cigars have a premium.
Vintage does not necessarily mean it’s a classic, one-off item but more the quality it has that perhaps can’t be found elsewhere, or in any other cigar in this concept.