Cigar storage and maintenance are crucial for preserving the quality and flavor of premium cigars. Here are expert tips to ensure your cigars remain in optimal condition:
1. Understanding Humidity and Temperature
- Ideal Conditions: Cigars should be stored at a humidity level of 65-72% and a temperature around 70°F (21°C). This mimics their natural tropical environment. We recommend sticking to a humidity closer to 65% for Cuban cigars, as they smoke better on the dry side. We recommend keeping your humidity around 68-70% for the best smoking experience for most New World cigars.
- Hygrometers: Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your storage space. Digital hygrometers are generally more accurate than analog ones. Make sure you properly set your hydrometer for accurate readings (click here to learn how to set your hydrometer the right way)
2. Choosing the Right Humidor
- Material Matters: Cedarwood humidors are preferred amongst aficionados because they maintain humidity levels effectively and add a pleasant aroma. However, other options are cost-efficient and work just as well. For example, you can use an airtight Tupperware container with a humidification pack (like Boveda), and your cigars will maintain proper humidity. (Click here for a list of all different types of humidors)
- Size and Space: Ensure the humidor is large enough to hold your collection without crowding, allowing air circulation. It is important to allow room for proper airflow, or some cigars must be adequately humidified.
- Seasoning Your Humidor: Before using your cedar humidors, be sure to season your humidor. We recommend using an 84% Boveda pack for 3-5 days (depending on the size of the humidor). Some people will wipe the interior with a damp cloth and let it sit in a small water container for a few days to reach the desired humidity level. However, you must be careful to keep your cedar cool, as the wood can expand, lead to cracks, and ruin the seal.
3. Maintaining Your Humidor
- Regular Checks: Regularly check the humidity and temperature. Refill the humidifier with distilled water or propylene glycol solution, or replace your Boveda packs.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Keep the humidor away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as these can dry out cigars. The heat can also lead to cigar beetles hatching. Cigar beetles will ruin your cigars and deem them unsmokable.
4. Rotating Your Cigars
- Rotation Routine: Rotate your cigars every few months. This ensures that all cigars get equal exposure to humidity.
5. Handling Cigars with Care
- Gentle Handling: Handle cigars gently to avoid damaging the wrapper. Use a sharp cutter for a clean cut when you’re ready to smoke.
6. Troubleshooting Common Issues
- Mold and Beetles: Inspect cigars regularly for mold and tobacco beetles. If you find any, isolate the affected cigars and adjust your humidor’s conditions.
7. Long-Term Storage
- For Aging: Some aficionados have aged cigars for several years. This requires stable, long-term humidity and temperature control. When aging cigars for years, it is recommended to keep the humidity around 65% to avoid the cigars becoming too humid.
- Traveling: Use a travel humidor or a ziplock bag with a small humidification device for short trips.
8. Expert Consultation
- Seek Advice: Don’t hesitate to consult with experts at cigar shops for personalized advice.
9. Creating the Right Environment
- Ambience: Creating a pleasant environment for storing and enjoying cigars can enhance the experience. Consider the aesthetics and practicality of your storage space.
Proper storage and maintenance are crucial to enjoying premium cigars at their best. By controlling the environment and carefully handling your cigars, you can ensure they remain flavorful and enjoyable for years to come. Remember, the goal is to recreate the natural conditions where cigars thrive, and a little attention to detail can go a long way in preserving their quality.
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