Have you ever noticed that some cigars are great when they first come out and then a year or so later they aren't as good? Well, I have, and I have a theory. Now, as we all know, cigars are a natural product dependent on various climatic conditions to achieve their optimum taste. The cigars that you smoke when they are first rolled are the perfect combination of growing conditions. When this batch of cigars is exhausted and the manufacturer decides to continue the blend they will be using a totally different batch of tobacco which was grown, supposedly the exact same way (to the best of the manufacturer's ability), but it is very difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate the same growing conditions. Things like the amount of sunlight, rainwater, and temperature vary from year to year. Although many cigar manufacturers come very close to duplicating their cigars from year to year there are some cases where there is a distinct difference, and to the smoker who is accustomed to a particular taste from the cigar it can be troublesome. I'm sure you've run across this from time to time. For me, in recent years one case really hit me. Now, I love Nicaraguan tobacco as you know if you've read any of my blog posts. Because of this I have always been a huge fan of Don Pepin Garcia's cigars. Several years ago, when the Pepin Blue label's came out I absolutely loved them. Recently, about a year or so ago, I noticed the wrappers of those Pepin Blue's were much darker than the originals. No big deal I thought, so I purchased some and smoked them to see if they tasted the same. Well, they didn't. They weren't bad, mind you, but they were not the same. After discussing this with other cigar aficionados I learned that Pepin ran out of the original wrapper and was using a different one. Was it the same wrapper from a different year or was it totally different? I don't know but my guess is it's the same wrapper that is from a different year's production. I really miss the old Blue's and if any are out there I'd love to get some more. This example is but one as I am sure there are others, but the point is this type of thing makes me urge you to do this; if you find a new cigar that you find particularly tasty and absolutely must be in your "go to" cigars...buy as many of them as you can! If not you run the risk of having a let down when the next year's production comes out.
Now, this does not apply to every cigar brand, as we all know. Some cigars seem to never change. They always taste the same, which if you like the cigar is a very good thing. An example of this would be the Oliva V, another Nicaraguan cigar. I've had many Oliva V's over the years and they are very consistent. This may be due to the Oliva family being master growers of tobacco for years.
If you think about all that goes into making a great cigar it's quite mind blowing. When you pick up a cigar from the shop you probably don't think about all that goes into making that cigar. It takes years and many people worked on the production of that cigar. It's quite an art. Thinking about all that goes into making cigars makes me appreciate them all the more.
Most of you probably don't think that deeply about the cigar you're smoking but it's all true. Bottom line; buy cigars that you like, as many as you can. There is no guarantee that next year's crop will be the exact same cigar. Place your bets!