“Young” cigars are simply what the name suggests; they’re cigars that are not far removed from the manufacturing process. In other words, they’re fairly freshly formed.

Typically, cigars are given a rest--usually for around 60 to 90 days or so--before they’re released for sale. Cigar tobacco is moist when rolled; allowing cigars to sit for a while before they’re sold allows them to dry out and for their distinctive flavors to develop and mature. But not all cigars are allowed to rest for this long. Some manufacturers ship their cigars fairly quickly after they’re rolled. This doesn’t mean that they’re not ready to smoke, but it can mean doing some additional aging on your own before they suit your smoking palate. Everybody’s taste is a little different; a cigar that might seem on the young side to you might be perfectly suited to another smoker.

If you’re new to cigar smoking it can be a little difficult to distinguish young cigars from ones that have been allowed to sit before release. Sometimes you have to go by gut instinct--if a certain cigar simply doesn’t look or feel the same as one that you know has some age on it--giving it some time in your humidor, maybe another couple of months or so, is probably the way to go. If you’ve bought a box of cigars that seem a little young, you can smoke one just to be sure. If the taste seems off (you might want to describe it as sour or acrid or even grass-like), it isn’t burning evenly or it goes out frequently, put the rest of the sticks away. A little down time is probably in order. Try another one in about a month, and if it’s still not where you think it should be, put the rest away again.