Best Way to Store Cigars to Keep Them Fresh
There's nothing like enjoying a high-quality cigar on your back porch or at your favorite Brewery. When you gather with friends and take the time to savor the taste of a great cigar, time moves slowly. Such an experience like this needs to be maximized by keeping your cigars in the best condition. When your cigars are kept in just the right state, they don't dry out and keep their wonderful flavor. When you go to a tobacco store, you will notice that cigars are kept under precise conditions. Higher quality establishments will have separate rooms called humidors that keep all their cigars in an environment with elevated humidity levels.
Since you are not a business that can spend thousands of dollars on a walk-in humidor, how can you store your cigars to keep them fresh at home? How do you keep them in good condition if you must put them in storage for a season? This guide will answer some frequently asked questions about how to store cigars so that they stay fresh.
What conditions do my cigars need to stay in good shape?
Before we discuss storage methods, it's important to know what your cigars actually need to stay in good shape. Therefore, you can weed out any options that do not provide these conditions for your cigars. Overall, cigars need to be stored at 70 % RH (relative humidity) and a comfortable interior temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Only a humidor can retain these conditions for your cigars year-round. However, there are some other solutions that cigar smokers stand by. Are they legitimate? Let’s find out.
Is it OK to keep cigars in the refrigerator?
Theoretically, it’s OK to keep cigars in the refrigerator— but only for a few days. Though the average moisture level of a refrigerator is 65%, which is slightly higher than the typical home, it’s not a proper humidor. Not only is its humidity level too low, but its low temperatures, which range from 32-40 degrees, are too cold to promote long life in your cigars.
Admittedly, there is some confusion about using fridges to store cigars because some cigar smokers swear by it. However, the cool and dry air in refrigerators will eventually dry out your cigars because refrigerators were originally designed to keep food fresh by taking away moisture.
Will cigars stay fresh in their box?
Yes, cigars will stay fresh in their box, but only for a limited time. When they are prepared for shipment, they are wrapped carefully to lock in humidity to keep them fresh in transit. Cigars in their factory boxes can stay fresh for up to a month — even after opening them. If you want to keep them fresh for as long as you need, place the entire box in your humidor. You should also pay attention to what temperature you store you cigars while they are in their factory box. Conditions that are too hot or too cold can affect their longevity.
What is the best way to store cigars without a humidor?
The best way to store cigars without a humidor involves many low-cost items that you may already have at home. These are not long-term solutions but can get you through a season until you can obtain a proper humidor. Any container that can be totally sealed after you introduce a source of humidity is ideal. Airtight containers like mason jars, Tupperware, coolers, or even plastic bags can be sufficient for a month or two.
How Long Can You Keep Cigars in a Humidor
The duration you can keep cigars in a humidor largely depends on several factors, including the quality of the humidor, the condition of the cigars when placed inside, and how well you maintain the humidor's humidity levels. A well-maintained humidor provides the optimal environment to preserve your cigars' flavor, aroma, and overall quality.
Under ideal conditions, cigars can be stored in a humidor for several months to years without significantly losing quality. When stored properly, premium cigars can be enjoyed even after a year or more. However, some cigars, especially those with delicate wrappers, may benefit from shorter aging periods.
It's important to note that cigars can continue to develop in flavor and complexity over time, much like fine wines. Aging cigars for a few years can enhance their character and richness. Regularly monitoring and maintaining the humidor's humidity level, usually around 65-70%, is essential to prevent the cigars from drying out or becoming overly moist, which could lead to mold growth or loss of flavor.
Additionally, consider the type of cigars you have. Mild cigars may have a shorter aging potential than stronger, more robust ones. Factors like the tobacco blend, origin, and individual preferences also play a role in determining how long to store cigars in a humidor.
How long will a box of cigars last without a humidor?
A box of cigars that’s not in their original factory packaging will last 3 days before drying out. However, cigars that are carefully wrapped and placed in an alternative airtight container can last for a few months at most. If you keep your cigars in their original packaging, they can last for up to a month without any supplemental packaging.
To get the most accurate picture of how long a cigar will last, contact the manufacturer to find out their personal recommendations for short-term storage. Overall, you don't want to keep your cigars without a humidor for too long. But if you need to keep them safe in a temporary situation, You should definitely get some humidity sticks to put in your mason jars, Tupperware, or other storage solution that you have on hand.
Can I use Tupperware as a humidor?
Yes, you can use Tupperware as a humidor, but with the use of humidity packs. If you don’t have a humidor, a Tupperdor, or a Tupperware container that has been enhanced with humidity packs, is an excellent alternative. To make sure yours works the best, invest in an airtight Tupperware that locks shut and doesn't have any leaks or holes. You should also purchase a humidity monitor to verify the humidity levels inside the Tupperdor and switch out humidity packs when levels fall below 70%, which happens every 2-6 months. This DIY method is affordable, accessible, and easy to transport. Cigar lovers often stand by this choice to keep their cigars in good condition when a humidor isn’t available.
How a Humidor Works
A cigar humidor is a specially designed container that creates and maintains the optimal environment for storing cigars. Its primary purpose is to control humidity levels, temperature, and air circulation to ensure the cigars remain pristine. Here's how a cigar humidor works:
Regulation of Humidity: The primary function of a cigar humidifier is to regulate and maintain a specific humidity level within a cigar humidor. Cigars are sensitive to changes in humidity, which can affect their flavor, burn, and overall quality. A humidifier prevents the humidity level from dropping too low or rising too high.
Water Reservoir: A cigar humidifier typically consists of a reservoir or cartridge holding distilled water. The reservoir is designed to release water vapor slowly into the humidor, creating a controlled and stable humidity environment.
Humidity Control Mechanism: Humidifiers come in various types, including electronic and passive options. Electronic humidifiers feature built-in sensors that detect humidity levels within the humidor. When the humidity drops below the desired level, the humidifier's mechanism releases water vapor from the reservoir. On the other hand, passive humidifiers rely on the natural process of water evaporation to maintain humidity.
Hygrometer Integration: Many humidifiers work with a hygrometer, which measures humidity levels. The hygrometer provides real-time information about the humidity conditions inside the humidor. This integration allows users to monitor and adjust humidity levels as needed.
Even Distribution of Moisture: Cigar humidifiers are designed to ensure an even moisture distribution throughout the humidor. This prevents moisture from accumulating in one area while leaving another section dry.
Maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the effective operation of a cigar humidifier. Users must refill the reservoir with distilled water when it's low to continue providing moisture to the humidor. Additionally, cleaning the humidifier periodically prevents the buildup of mineral deposits and mold, which could affect the quality of the cigars.
Calibration: Some electronic humidifiers offer calibration options, allowing users to fine-tune the device to maintain their desired humidity level.
How to Buy the Right Humidor
Selecting the right cigar humidor is crucial for preserving your cigars' quality and flavor. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed purchase:
Humidor Size and Capacity: Consider how many cigars you plan to store. Choose a humidor with ample capacity to accommodate your collection. Selecting a humidor with a slightly larger capacity than your current collection is recommended to account for future additions.
Humidor Material and Build: Opt for a humidor made from high-quality materials like Spanish cedar. Spanish cedar helps maintain a stable humidity level and imparts a pleasant aroma to the cigars.
Seal and Lid Fit: A proper seal is vital for maintaining humidity levels. Ensure the lid fits snugly and forms an airtight seal when closed.
Humidity Regulation System: Humidors typically include a humidification system. Choose between sponge-based systems, gel systems, or electronic systems. Electronic systems offer precise control but require power.
Hygrometer Integration: An integrated hygrometer helps monitor humidity levels. Ensure it's accurate and easily readable.
Humidor Style and Design: Humidors come in various styles, from classic to modern. Choose a design that matches your preferences and complements your décor.
Spanish Cedar Lining: A humidor with Spanish cedar lining helps regulate moisture and imparts a subtle cedar aroma to the cigars.
Divider and Tray: Look for a humidor with dividers and a tray. These help organize cigars and prevent contact, which can lead to flavor mixing.
Reviews and Reputation: Read reviews from fellow enthusiasts to gauge the humidor's performance, durability, and customer satisfaction. Reputable brands are more likely to deliver quality products.
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