Notes on aging: It’s not every day that i smoke a cigar with a bit of age on it, certainly not every day i smoke a cigar that has aged this well over the last 7 years (+2 years age on the tobacco used to roll it = 9 years since the tobacco was cured!). But after a week of smoking regular production, current range cigars, to have something this good is just mind blowing because the difference is so obvious, it’s like night and day.

Aging a cigar is not a simple act. One doesn’t just throw it into their humidor and hope for the best. A lot of things can happen (and probably will) during the aging process. This particular cigar survived water damaged and was nursed back to health over a period of 6 months. It’s the last from the box, and i daresay, it’s the best stick from the box, having smoked the 2nd last stick more than 2.5 years ago.

Aging cigars is not for everybody, i realize. It requires quite a bit of patience, and a lot of aforethought (unless of course you have the financial muscle to buy cigars that were aged by someone else, such as during Mitchell Orchant’s world famous cigar auctions). But it is very rewarding: the cigar that emerges is often times a different beast altogether. The HDM LE 2004, in 2005, was a bitter, dark cigar, wild with unclear flavours and so unlike the sweet woodiness of the rest of the regular HDM line. Today, this cigar has metamorphed from it’s cocoon into a gorgeous experience – balanced, refined, incredibly sweet with remarkable rum and raisin tones. A fantastic, top class cigar. I daresay, it’s impossible for a young cigar to taste as good as this, no matter how good the blend or brand.

If there ever was an endorsement for the aging of cigars, this would be it. But a box of LEs 2009 or 2010. Put it in your humidor and forget about it. In the years down the road, you will reap what you have sown, and it will be a bountiful harvest.

Verdict: 94/100. The very best cigar i’ve had in quite a while. I’m almost at a loss for words to describe how good it is. Fruity, sweet, a touch of woodiness, complex, delicate, a sensuous massage of the palate and the olfactory senses — it’s the sum of the parts that make it a truly mystical cigar smoking experience. This cigar is a poster boy for LEs everywhere — i’m now a firm believer now in the tale that HSA created the LE for aging to reward it’s customers who have the patience and skill to nurture a box through the years.