‘How to store cigars’ is one of the most talked about topics within cigar forums and the cigar community-at-large. The simple reason why such importance is placed on the storing of cigars, is because they are hygroscopic.
This means that they are greatly affected by humidity, both too much and not enough. Too much moisture in the air causes a cigar to turn soggy, making it difficult to light them up. Wet cigars also tend to grow molds, making a cigar unsafe to smoke.
Of course, with too little humidity in the surrounding area, the moisture contained within cigars evaporates causing them to dry out. Cigars that have lost their moisture can become brittle and/or burn out too fast, usually leaving a strong bitter taste in the mouth—ruining the experience.
With these scenarios in mind, knowing how to store cigars is something you should take seriously.
How to Store Cigars: Key Conditions to Monitor
When it comes to cigars, there are two things to monitor frequently: humidity and temperature. These two conditions can be controlled easily through the use of a cigar humidor.
Cigar humidors are purposely designed for storing cigars and prolonging their shelf life, by keeping a consistent and ideal humidity level and temperature setting.
Optimum Humidity Settings
Cigars usually come from countries that are very humid. These countries have a humidity reading of about 68-72%; these conditions should be maintained for your cigars to avoid them drying up.
Humidifiers which sit inside humidors usually keep the relative humidity constant, but not all humidifiers are made the same and therefore require monitoring. This is where the key humidor accessory – the hygrometer – plays an important role. Hygrometers help monitor the level of humidity inside the humidor.
Although most humidors—even the budget ones—come with a humidifier, hygrometers may not always be included.
For expert cigar smokers, a touch or light squeeze of a cigar is often enough for them to determine if their cigars are moist or fresh enough to smoke. For the less experienced, a hygrometer is a must.
To prolong the life of your cigars you ought to invest in a humidor that has both an accurate humidifier and a hygrometer. If you do not keep the relative humidity levels, you will end up with dry cigars which burn too quickly and lose their rich flavours and aromas.
Keeping watch over the humidity levels only requires a weekly routine. And don’t forget to calibrate your hygrometer once in a while. You do this to make sure the readings are still accurate and reliable.
Finally, make sure to check and top up the evaporated distilled water in the humidifier, at least weekly, or more if you live in areas where it is arid, to prevent your cigars from drying out.
Optimum Temperature Levels
Relative humidity is the most important factor to monitor when storing cigars, but another factor to also keep an eye on is the temperature. Store your humidor with the cigars inside in a cool place, away from direct sunlight to maintain a constant temperature.
Make sure that the temperature level never exceeds 72°F or 22°C, because this can give rise to a cigar smoker’s worse nightmare: tobacco beetle infestations.
To keep an eye on the temperature inside a humidor, many cigar aficionados suggest investing in a good thermometer that is specially designed for humidors. This will help monitor the internal temperature of your humidor and ensure that you avoid any beetle infestations.
Aside from the pesky tobacco beetle, a constant temperature ensures your cigars kept in a humidor will be at the best relative humidity.
Other Tips on How to Store Cigars Properly
Balancing both the humidity and the temperature are two important conditions to manage when learning how to store cigars. When you can keep these two factors in check and at a constant level, you’re as good as gold. Here are a few more tips for storing your cigars, you might find useful:
- Get a humidor that will store the right amount of cigars for you for better control and less effort. If you plan on keeping many cigars for long periods of time, get a large humidor. If you intend to store just a small amount of cigars at a time, a smaller humidor will work well for you.
- Choose a dark area in your home as a spot to put your humidor. This will help keep the relative humidity level required. The bottom of a cupboard or a cool spot in the home or office is ideal.
- Do not spill or wipe any amount of tap or natural spring water inside the humidor. Distilled water is the only type you should ever use to touch the interior surface of your humidor; and never pour directly into the humidor itself, either.
- Never freeze your cigars unless it’s the last resort to avoid the spread of tobacco beetle infestations. Make sure you thoroughly clean the interior of your humidor if you do have an infestation, to avoid spreading to all your cigars.
- In case you spot tiny holes on one or more cigars, immediately remove them from the humidor to avoid the spread of infestation.
- Use salt to check the calibration of your hygrometer.
- Calibrate as often as required or purchase a new hygrometer, if faulty, to ensure accuracy at all times.
Cigar appreciation is one of greatest pleasures in life and like many good things, it requires a little attention to detail and commitment. It takes time to become a cigar aficionado but the journey is worth it, as it is all about the pleasure and enjoyment of discovering the many different cigars available.
Mastering the techniques mentioned above will prevent you from making avoidable errors and losing your valuable cigars in the process. As cigars can be quite expensive knowing how to store cigars properly will be in your best interest.
So, if you are planning to enjoy the cigar lifestyle and seriously commit to it, our advice is to decide on the best humidor for your purposes, to keep your cigars safely stored. Happy puffing!