From a few cigars as a Christmas gift to a few dozen, your collection quickly escalates. Smoking cigars goes from a shared-experience with the guys on holidays to an enjoyable daily ritual. With your new-found hobby, you want to keep them as flavorful and fresh as possible. What is the best way to keep cigars fresh? Although there is some debate on how to properly store cigars, the average conditions are 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You want your cigars to be exuding a little oil, not too dry, and not too moist. And even if you use cigar wraps, you need that moist to roll your cigar perfectly. Excessive moisture can cause mold and insects. If you prefer a higher temperature, the humidity should be on the lower end. Conversely, setting at a lower temperature, your humidity should be higher. There is also the question of where to store cigars. It may seem confusing. No worries. Here are a few simple tips about how to store cigars at home.
Using a Humidor for Storage
A humidor is the optimum storage device to keep cigars fresh. It can be anything from a whole room to a small box. Inside, the environment is humidity and temperature controlled, the best way to store cigars. There are three main types of humidor materials best for keeping cigars fresh, wood, acrylic, and metal. Wooden humidors are often constructed of either Spanish cedar or mahogany. Spanish cedar is used for its natural ability to repel cigar beetles, an insect that causes damage to cigars. Humidors come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. The largest is the walk-in version. Often, this is a room found in cigar shops and lounges. For some lucky souls, they can also be found in homes and offices. Furniture humidors are another type of storage unit. This type of humidor is often a cabinet or table. This may sound space-saving, but a furniture humidor shouldn’t be used for anything other than storing cigars. Too much weight on top could damage the integrity. Items placed on either side or underneath could cause unwanted airflow, humidity, and temperature changes. A furniture humidor can generously hold from a couple hundred to a few thousand cigars. Personal humidors or boxes are the most common. They are available in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and styles. Depending on size, a personal humidor can hold from a couple of dozen to several hundred cigars. How to keep a cigar fresh when you only want a few? Use portable humidors! Travel humidors are small enough to fit into luggage or a briefcase. Golf caddy humidors attach to your golf bag or your belt. Vehicle humidors are pre-installed in luxury cars, in the glove compartment or center console. One of the smallest types of humidors is the pocket humidor. With no environmental control, this is good for storing cigars for short periods of time.
Maintaining your humidor is essential for your cigars’ freshness and longevity. A balanced and steady humidity and temperature are what keep your cigars at their best. Placing your humidor in a cool, dark area ensures sunshine won’t change the temperature. Just as the sun hitting the box would affect the environment inside, so does the weather outside. If you live in a location with extreme temperature changes or excessively high or low humidity, you need to make adjustments to your humidor. It would help if you placed your humidor in a location by itself. There should be nothing on top, below, or on either side to ensure the airflow and temperature are even. The number of cigars in the box also matters. Cigars will soak up any moisture in the air. Other than travel type humidors, find a perfect place for your humidor and leave it there. The less they move around, the better.
Seasoning a Humidor
Seasoning a humidor creates the most beneficial environment inside the box for storing your cigars. Depending on the humidor’s size and material, the average time to properly season is three and five days. There are several steps to season your humidor:
- Calibrate your hygrometer. Although not necessary, a hygrometer is a device that reads the humidity level inside the box. It takes about 8 hours to calibrate,
- Fill your humidification unit. Place the device in a dish and fill it with propylene glycol solution. Pour the liquid into the humidification unit. Distilled water can be used as an alternative. Never use tap water.
- Alternatively, use humidity pouches or soak a sponge in cold distilled water, ring it out just enough so it’s not dripping wet, and set the sponge on a plastic bag inside the humidor. Be sure to remove the sponge once seasoned. Place your hygrometer into the box. Close the lid and wait 3 to 5 days to open.
- In 3 to 5 days, open the lid and check your hygrometer. Once it reads around 75 %, fill the box with your favorite cigars. Be sure not to overfill. You want the air inside to circulate.
- Maintain the moisture at a steady level, preferably between 65% to 75%. To do this, you can either use a humidification device or humidity pouches.
How to Store Cigars in a Humidor
Knowing how to store cigars in a humidor can make a difference in their freshness and longevity. You can store different types of cigars together. Do note that they will absorb the taste and aroma of what’s around them. This is especially true for flavored cigars. You may want to separate your cigars in different humidors. You can also place flavored cigars in a plastic bag with a humidity pouch to ensure the flavor and aroma won’t spread to the other cigars. Unless you plan to travel with your cigars, taking off the cellophane wrapper before placing in your humidor is best. This allows the cigars to age their flavor and aroma fully. Rotate your cigars, bottom row to the top and top to bottom for the best circulation. Leave plenty of room for air circulation. You don’t want to over-fill your humidor.
How to Store a Cigar With No Humidor
You can store cigars without a humidor. There are alternative ways on how to keep natural tobacco cigars fresh. Several techniques require no added expense and use products you already have at home. How to store cigars without a humidor can be as simple as a plastic bag. Ziploc bags are an ideal temporary home for a few cigars. Use a humidity pouch that is between 62% to 72% to maintain moisture. Keep the bag securely closed and stored at room temperature. Containers or jars are suitable for cigar storage. Make sure your choice is clean and has an air-tight seal. To maintain the moisture level, you can use a sponge dampened with distilled water placed in a plastic bag, or a humidity pouch. Coolers are a viable solution for how to store cigars at home. Yes, the same type you use for cold beers. A new cooler is best, with a tight-fitting lid. For maintaining moisture, you can either use humidity pouches, or a humidification device.
What Not to Do When Storing Cigars
- Don’t store cigars in a refrigerator or freezer
- Never store cigars in a car or truck, or anywhere outside
- Never let your cigars dry out.
- Never let your cigars get too moist. Too much humidity can cause mold and insects.
Knowing how to preserve cigars will enhance the flavor and aroma. The best place is in a humidor with a slightly lower temperature and humidity. Age a good brand of cigars for two or three months. For a more mellow taste, you can store cigars in a humidor for a year or more.