Every cigar aficionado knows the heartbreak of an improperly stored cigar. Proper storage isn't just about preservation; it's about enhancing flavor, ensuring a smooth burn, and prolonging the cigar's life. But what conditions are ideal for storing cigars?
2. The Basics of Cigar Storage
Humidity and Temperature: These are the pillars of cigar storage. Cigars thrive best in conditions that mirror the tropical climates where most tobacco is cultivated. Ideally, aim for 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). However, a range between 65-72% for humidity and 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit (18-22 degrees Celsius) is also acceptable.
Softness Misconceptions: A prevalent myth in the cigar community is equating softness with freshness. While a cigar should be somewhat soft to the touch, an overly soft cigar can lead to burning issues.
3. The Role of a Humidor
A humidor, often crafted from cedar or lined with it, is essential for any serious cigar collector. Cedar not only harmonizes well with moisture but also enhances the natural flavors of cigars. The primary function of a humidor is to regulate and maintain stable humidity and temperature levels. Most are equipped with a hygrometer, a device that measures and displays the humidity level, ensuring your cigars remain in their prime condition.
4. Humidor Alternatives
Not in a position to invest in a humidor yet? There are several effective alternatives:
Mason Jars & Tupperware: These should be airtight. Once you introduce a humidification source, they can serve as makeshift humidors.
Ziploc Bags with Boveda Packs: These specialized packs release moisture at predetermined levels, ensuring your cigars remain fresh. They're a hassle-free solution, especially for those looking at short-term storage options.
The Coolerdor: For those with an expanding collection, a clean cooler can be transformed into a cigar storage solution. Ensure a tight seal, introduce a humidification source, and you have a large-scale storage solution.
5. Common Queries
Plastic Wrapper: On or Off? If you're looking to age your cigars, it's best to remove the cellophane. However, for travel or short-term storage, keeping it on offers added protection.
Reviving Dry Cigars: Yes, cigars can be brought back to life if they dry out. The key is to reintroduce humidity gradually to prevent the wrapper from cracking. While this process makes the cigar smokable, it's essential to note that a cigar that has been dried out and then re-humidified may lose some of its original flavor and aroma. It's always best to store cigars properly to preserve their full flavor profile.
6. Mistakes to Avoid
While wooden boxes might seem like a viable storage solution, they often lack the necessary seal to maintain consistent humidity levels. Also, always store flavored cigars separately to avoid flavor contamination.
7. Tips for Cigar Storage
Rotation: This ensures even humidification. By rotating your cigars regularly, you ensure that all cigars receive equal exposure to the humidification source.
Clean Storage: Cigars are like sponges and can absorb surrounding flavors. Always store in a clean, odor-free environment.
Considering a Humidor? For those looking at long-term aging, a traditional cedar humidor might be a worthy investment.
The art of storing cigars revolves around maintaining the right conditions. Whether you're using a state-of-the-art humidor or a simple Ziploc bag, the focus should always be on the right humidity and temperature. With the correct knowledge and tools, every cigar can offer a delightful experience from start to finish.