Cigars are like bottles of wine—they get better with age.
However, how well they age will all depend on how you take care of them, particularly when it comes to storage.
Cigar aficionados often use a humidor to store their cigar collections and let them age, but how long do cigars last in a humidor?
If you’re wondering about the same thing, we’ll help you figure out whether or not your humidor is really helping your cigar age.
Are Humidors Really Necessary?
Cigars have an entire culture on their own.
From cigar etiquettes like proper cutting, lighting, and smoking to rituals like what to pair them with or how to age them, all these affect your smoking experience.
That said, you have to remember that cigars are made with crushed leaves and are also wrapped in them. This means the crispy tobacco leaves are, in fact, perishable.
Additionally, cigars are coated with natural oils.
While these provide the stogies with fragrance, tenderness, and moisture, they can also speed up the deterioration of the cigar.
Over time, these oils can evaporate into the air, diminishing the benefits your cigars receive from them.
On the other hand, they can also seep through the leaves and affect the overall quality of the cigar.
Without proper storage, even the finest cigars will turn into nothing more than sticks of dry and bitter rolls of dead leaves.
This is where a cigar humidor becomes paramount.
How Long Do Cigars Last in a Humidor?
If you do it right, cigars will generally last for decades inside a humidor.
However, if you do it wrong, your cigar will quickly deteriorate even if you store it in a quality humidor.
In fact, premium cigars will provide the best flavor profile five years after aging them in a solid, well-built, and well-kept humidor.
On the other hand, if you leave your cigars out in the open, even for only short periods, the changes in temperature will cause them to become infested.
It might take several days or a few weeks, depending on the environment, the extremity of the temperature, and the sunlight that reaches the cigars.
Keep in mind that you don’t want your cigars moist, but you also don’t want them dry. The best kinds of cigars are those that sit somewhere in between.
A dry cigar will have wrapper leaves that crack under considerable pressure. On the other hand, a moist cigar will look damp.
To check your cigar’s moisture levels, a good rule of thumb is to, in fact, use your thumb to gently press against the cigar’s body.
After a few moments, the cigar should regain its shape.
Bad cigars exposed to high humidity levels or lack thereof will take a lot of time and effort to revive.
However, there is no saying whether or not you can bring back its original quality.
How To Age Your Cigar
In general, different brands of cigars will let their stogies mature for six months before sending them out to distributors and cigar shops.
Unfortunately, some cigar brands disregard this process to free up their inventories, use their resources to produce more cigars, and boost sales.
Your beloved cigar will produce a more balanced flavor if you let it age.
Therefore, cigar enthusiasts suggest you age the cigar for at least three months before lighting it.
Get to know your cigars.
The best collection of cigars often gets better after decades of storage.
Still, it’s important to note that individual cigar brands will behave differently during the aging process.
To ensure you age them properly, get in touch with the manufacturer to ask about the proper way to age your cigars.
Leave the wrapper on.
Some cigar smokers prefer leaving the cellophane wrapper on. We won’t lie to you. This practice indeed has a few benefits.
One of the most notable advantages to this is uniform aging for the entire cigar.
Additionally, if you don’t have humidor walls inside the cigar storage, the cellophane helps keep the original flavor of the stogie.
However, we should also mention that this can affect the intensity of flavor within your cigar.
That’s because aging the same type of cigar together will allow them to exchange essential oils and aroma.
Unwrapping the stogie before placing it in the humidor provides the cigar with air that circulates inside the storage unit, which is necessary for the aging process.
The cellophane cigar wrapper prevents the air from reaching the tobacco.
Use the right humidor.
Some iconic cigars are wrapped in Spanish cedar.
This material intensifies the aroma, absorbs moisture when it is too high and releases it when it is too low.
That said, it is almost always a matter of personal preference regarding how long you want your cigar to age.
We recommend you invest in large cigar boxes so you can store multiple stogies of the same brand.
This allows you to take one of them out after several months and test out how the aging process is affecting the cigars.
How To Season Your Cigar
What you need to know is that whatever is in your cigar’s immediate surroundings and its atmospheric conditions will affect its flavor and aroma.
If it is exposed to sunlight, it will quickly deteriorate. When kept in an airtight container with other cigars, it will flourish.
That’s why it is essential that you ensure they age in a balanced environment. Still, it is not always just about keeping cigars in proximity to one another.
If a mild-bodied cigar is kept in a humidor tray with a full-bodied cigar, you potentially ruin the flavor profile of each of them.
What we recommend is you keep the stogies in the boxes of cigars that they came with.
The compatibility of the brands, flavor strengths, and overall qualities are best maintained if they are kept with their kinds.
Then again, we have different tastes, and no one’s stopping you from experimenting.
Some cigar enthusiasts try to mix and match their collections. These unusual arrangements for seasoning can draw out different flavors you never knew your cigar could have.
Whether or not they are good or bad is up to you.
Nonetheless, you also want to learn how to season your humidor, as this will significantly affect the flavor profile of your cigar.
How To Store Your Cigar
Generally, a traditional wooden humidor will suffice to keep your cigars fresh.
But if you don’t live in a region with a tropical environment, you may want to be extra careful.
Those who experience different seasons, like chilling winters and scorching summers, may find that the extreme temperatures ruin their cigars.
If this is a common problem for you, it is best to invest in electronic cigar humidors.
These storage options are often equipped with humidification devices, digital hygrometers, and temperature control.
This combination allows you to maintain a consistent internal temperature inside the unit.
You can also adjust the level of humidity and monitor how the atmosphere inside the storage unit is affecting the cigars.
On the other hand, if you use a traditional wooden humidor, we suggest turning the cigars every one to three months.
The internal humidity levels of the humidor can sometimes cause excess water vapor at the base of the trays, causing an irregular aging process on the cigars.
Doing this is particularly important if your piles of cigars tend to reach the humidor lid.
Storing Cigars in a Humidor
So, how long do cigars last in a humidor?
Generally, they have virtually unlimited lifespans when kept inside a high-quality humidor.
However, the flavor profile in different stages of the aging process is another matter altogether.
At least three months of storage is essential.
For the best results, you should age them inside a humidor in a balanced environment for around five years.