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Can a Premium Cigar’s Scent and Flavor Change?


Cigar smokers are often drawn to different premium cigar scents and flavors due to a combination of personal taste, cultural factors, and the intricate qualities of cigars themselves.  Not to mention, the pursuit of new cigar smoking experiences, coupled with that sensory richness of smoking a stogie to begin with.  However, have you ever noticed your premium cigar’s scent and/or flavor start to change, either right way, in the middle of, or at the end of your cigar smoking session?  If so, you might be wondering why that is?  Well, we’re going to cover why this is and what you can do in order to preserve that scent and flavor longer.

A Quick Recap on the Components of a Premium Cigar

A cigar is composed of three main components: the filler, the binder, and the wrapper. Each part has a crucial role in the cigar's overall flavor, burn, and construction.

Component #1: Filler

This is the innermost part of the cigar, consisting of tobacco leaves. The filler tobacco can be a blend of different types or originate from a single variety.  The type, quality, and origin of the filler leaves contribute significantly to the cigar's strength, flavor, and aroma.

There are two types of filler:

  • Long Filler: Whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar. Cigars with long fillers are generally of higher quality.
  • Short Filler: Consists of chopped-up leaves, stems, and other bits of tobacco. Short filler cigars are usually less expensive.

Component #2: Binder

The binder is a tough and resilient leaf that holds the filler together.  It's wrapped around the filler to maintain the cigar's shape and ensure an even burn.  The quality and type of binder leaf can also affect the cigar's flavor and burn quality, but its primary function is structural.

Component #3: Wrapper

This is the outermost layer of the cigar and the most visible component.  The wrapper leaf is usually the highest quality leaf used in the cigar, as it needs to have an appealing color and texture, as well as be free of blemishes and veins.  The wrapper significantly influences the cigar's overall flavor and can contribute up to 60% of the cigar's taste.  It also impacts the cigar's burn and overall aesthetic appeal.

Other Things a Cigar Might Have

In addition to these primary components, some cigars might have a cap or a tip, which is a small piece of wrapper leaf attached to the head of the cigar to keep it from unraveling and to provide a finished look.  The way these components are combined, along with the origin, quality, and preparation of the tobacco leaves, defines the character and quality of the cigar.

What Exactly is a Premium Cigar's Scent and Flavor?

The scent and flavor of a cigar can be quite complex and vary significantly depending on the type, quality, and origin of the cigar.


The scent of a cigar before it is lit, often referred to as its "pre-light aroma”, can range from earthy and woody to floral and fruity.  These scents are influenced by the tobacco's country of origin, the conditions under which it was grown, and how it was processed and aged.

Common notes include:

  1. Earthy: Scents like soil, moss, or leaves.
  2. Woody: Cedar, oak, or pine.
  3. Herbal or Vegetal: Fresh grass or herbs.
  4. Sweet: Cocoa, vanilla, or fruits.
  5. Spicy: Pepper, cinnamon, or nutmeg.


The flavor of a cigar once lit is usually more complex than its scent.  The taste can change throughout the smoking experience, commonly referred to as having different "thirds" or stages.  The flavors can be influenced by the blend of tobaccos used (including the types of leaves and where they're from), the construction of the cigar, and how it's smoked.

Common flavor notes include:

  1. Woody: Cedar or oak flavors, often with a certain richness.
  2. Earthy: Tastes reminiscent of soil or mushrooms, sometimes with a mineral quality.
  3. Leathery: A rich, robust flavor that can be quite pronounced.
  4. Creamy: Smooth and rich, often with hints of butter or milk cream.
  5. Nutty: Flavors resembling almonds, peanuts, or cashews.
  6. Sweet: Notes of chocolate, vanilla, or caramel. Sometimes fruit flavors are also present.
  7. Spicy: Peppery flavors or warm spices like cinnamon.
  8. Floral: Light and fresh, sometimes with a hint of perfume.
  9. Coffee or Cocoa: Ranging from bitter dark chocolate to sweet milk chocolate or rich, roasted coffee beans.

Is it Possible for a Premium Cigar’s Scent and Flavor to Change and What Could Influence This?

Yes, a premium cigar's scent and flavor can certainly change, as it is a combination of art and science to maintain the ideal conditions for storing cigars and ensuring their scent and flavor are preserved or even enhanced over time.

Factor #1: Aging

Just like wine, cigars can improve with age if stored properly. Over time, the flavors in the cigar can become more mellow and refined. The aging process can lead to a melding of the flavors present in the tobacco leaves, potentially leading to a more pleasant and complex smoking experience.

Factor #2 Storage Conditions

The environment where cigars are stored plays a crucial role in their scent and flavor. Humidity and temperature must be controlled in a humidor to maintain the cigar's quality.  If the conditions are too dry, the cigar may burn too quickly and have a harsh flavor.  If it's too humid, the cigar might become too moist and have a moldy scent and taste.

Factor #3: Construction and Quality

The way a cigar is made (its construction) and the quality of the tobacco leaves can impact its flavor and scent.  Higher quality cigars made with superior leaves and proper construction techniques will likely provide a more enjoyable and consistent smoking experience.

Factor #4: Pairings

What you pair with a cigar can also influence its taste.  Drinking a beverage or eating certain foods while smoking can bring out different notes in the cigar.

Factor #5: Cutting and Lighting Technique

The way you cut the end of the cigar and light it can affect the smoking experience. A bad cut or uneven lighting can cause the cigar to burn unevenly and alter its intended flavor profile.

Factor #6: Chemical Changes

Over time, the organic and chemical composition of the tobacco in cigars can change, especially if exposed to varying conditions of humidity and temperature.  These changes can alter the scent and flavor of the cigar, sometimes in unpredictable ways.

Can You Restore a Premium Cigar’s Flavor and Scent?

Reviving the scent and flavor of a cigar, especially if it has dried out or hasn't been stored properly, can be challenging but not impossible.  Luckily, there are some steps you can take to try to restore a cigar's quality:

  1. Proper Storage: The first step is to ensure that the cigar is being stored properly. Cigars should be kept in a humidor at around 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If a cigar has dried out, slowly reintroducing humidity over time might help.  This should be done gradually to prevent the cigar wrapper from cracking.
  2. Re-humidifying a Dry Cigar:
    • Place the dry cigars in a humidor.
    • Start with a lower humidity, around 65%, to slowly reintroduce moisture.
    • Over the course of a few weeks, gradually increase the humidity. This slow process helps to prevent the wrapper from cracking and allows the cigar to evenly absorb moisture.
  3. Handling Mold and Bloom: If a cigar has mold (which typically presents as fuzzy spots), it's often a sign of too much humidity and poor air circulation.
    • Moldy cigars might be salvageable if the mold is only on the surface, but they should be isolated to prevent the spread of mold spores to other cigars.
    • Bloom, on the other hand, appears as a white powder and is a sign of the oils within the cigar crystallizing, which’s generally not harmful.
  4. Eliminating Odors: If the cigar has developed off-odors from its environment, placing it in a humidor with a piece of cedar might help. The cedar can help absorb some of the unwanted odors.  However, this doesn't guarantee the restoration of the original scent and flavor.
  5. Consulting Professionals: Sometimes it's best to consult a professional tobacconist. They might have additional insights or methods for restoring cigars, depending on the specific condition of the cigar.

Note: While these methods might help improve the condition of a cigar, they might not fully restore the original scent and flavor. The aging process and initial storage conditions play a significant role in a cigar's aroma and taste.

Final Premium Cigar Scent and Flavor  Thoughts

Keep in mind, the experience of smoking a premium cigar is highly subjective, and individuals may perceive scents and flavors differently.  Moreover, the complexity of a cigar's flavor profile is often appreciated by more experienced smokers, who are better able to identify and savor the subtle nuances.

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