To the occasional smoker, cigar storage may not seem like a big deal. But cigar aficionados know that is far from the case.
Storing cigars properly is vital to improving the quality of your cigars. And even if you only smoke casually, putting a little forethought into that can mean the difference between a rapid burn and an enjoyable experience.
Simply put, keeping cigars fresh for a long time requires storing them in an environment similar to where they were manufactured. The process isn’t always easy or straightforward, but it does deliver results with the right consistency.
Keep these tips in mind whether you’re storing your cigars in a ziplock bag or a humidor.
Tip #1: Consistent Temperature and Humidity
There is no smoking experience like smoking a cigar in the place where it was made. That’s like walking into a factory and smoking one of their cigars—the experience just delivers in every way.
Though the problem with this is that it’s neither feasible nor practical.
A blanket rule on cigar storage is that most cigars maintain freshness with a relative temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity. The season determines how difficult or easy these figures are to maintain. Hence, a range of 62 to 72 percent humidity is acceptable.
Ideally, humidity is varied based on temperature. Experts recommend adding a percent of moisture for each degree the temperature is reduced.
Tip #2: For More Accuracy, Use a Humidor
Nothing beats a humidor. There, we said it. It’s the most practical storage solution for cigar collectors who don’t want their precious sticks going stale.
These boxes can be tweaked to mimic the environment a specific kind of cigar needs to maintain its freshness. It also takes into account the number of cigars you’re storing when adding or removing moisture.
Humidors are especially ideal for keeping aging cigars fresh, as ziplock bags may no longer do the trick. Some newer cigars also call for humidor storage for the best smoking experience.
If your cigar is new and burning poorly, that could be because it may have accumulated extra moisture from its journey from the factory to the dealer. Stabilize the bunch using the humidor, and wait a week before trying them out. You should find the batch much improved by then.
Tip #3: Use a Humidistat and Hygrometer
These two relatively inexpensive tools can help keep your cigars fresh for a long, long time.
A humidistat is basically a small humidifier that lets you maintain humidity without electricity.
On the other hand, a hygrometer shows the humidity levels of a specific area. It is available in digital and analog, with the latter being the cheaper but also, the less reliable purchase. Digital versions are more expensive, but you can count on them to be extremely accurate.
Tip #4: Learn To Store Cigars On the Go
While humidors provide the most straightforward means of storing cigars properly, not everyone opts to have them. Or, you simply may not have gotten around to buying one yet.
Whatever the reason, you are in need of a way to keep your box of cigars fresh. Remember, sealed cigars can only maintain their freshness for about a week without a humidor. And if you’ve opened the box, they shouldn’t last more than a couple of days inside a ziplock bag without added humidity.
Here are a few steps for storing cigars on the go:
- Once the box has been unsealed, place your cigars inside a sealed plastic container or ziplock bag.
- Soak a clean sponge with water and place it inside along with the cigars.
- One saturated sponge covers at most 25 cigars, so add as necessary.
Using this method, you should be able to get your cigars to last between a month and one year without a humidor. Granted, using a humidor should still preserve the quality over time more than any other method.
Tip #5: Preserve Cigars That Have Dried Out
Better a cigar dries out that gets too damp. That’s because it would simply be easier to revive should that be its fate.
You can add back moisture to the cigar by placing it inside the humidor and gradually increasing the humidity within the box.
Don’t be worried about splitting the cigar, as that won’t happen when you do things correctly. And by “correctly,” we mean waiting at least six months for the cigar to come alive again.
That said, it is worth noting that even when dried-out cigars regain their moisture, their burn and flavor may still be compromised.
Yes, There Is a Point of No Return
Cigars that have gotten too damp and swollen are best thrown out. Removing moisture from an already moist cigar can result in the peeling, shrinking, and cracking of the wrapper. This, in turn, would impact the smoking experience detrimentally. Not to mention, you’re potentially exposing yourself to mold smoking these practically “rotten” sticks.