Cigars are crafted art forms that deserve proper care and attention. Since most cigars take more than 30 minutes to complete, it is necessary for one to store his cigars in a safe place for good keeping. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the proper steps to store your cigars in a wooden humidor and explore alternative methods for those who may not own a humidor or are traveling. We’ll also highlight some common mistakes people make while storing cigars and provide quick-fix alternatives. Caring for your cigars is one of the most important aspects of cigar smoking as it will ensure you get the best smoking experience, flavors, and enjoyment out of each cigar.
The Importance of Proper Storage:
Cigars are intricate blends of carefully cured and aged tobacco leaves, and how you store them can drastically impact their quality. Unlike cigarettes or other tobacco products, cigars are hygroscopic in nature, which means they can absorb and hold moisture from their environment. That’s why maintaining a specific level of humidity is critical for preserving the complex flavors and construction of the cigar.
- Humidity Levels: Maintaining an optimal humidity level between 65-72% is vital for your cigars. Too much moisture, and you risk mold and a bitter taste; too little, and your cigars will dry out, leading to a harsh, unpleasant smoking experience. A dry cigar burns hotter and quicker, deteriorating the subtle flavors that cigar makers work hard to achieve.
- Temperature: Alongside humidity, temperature also plays a significant role in cigar storage. The ideal temperature range for storing cigars is between 65-70°F (18-21°C). A higher temperature can cause cigars to age prematurely, while colder temperatures may lead to cracks or splits in the wrappers.
- Flavor Preservation: Cigars are like wine; they age and mature over time. Proper storage allows the flavors to blend and mature, enhancing your smoking experience. Poorly stored cigars can lose their character and unique blends, depriving you of the luxurious experience for which you paid.
- Longevity: Cigars can last for years and even decades if stored correctly, making it even more critical to focus on proper storage solutions.
In summary, the right storage environment is crucial for preserving the integrity, flavor, and longevity of your cigars, ensuring that each smoke is as perfect as the artisan intended.
Recommended Cigar Humidors
Storing Cigars in a Wooden Humidor (Preferably Spanish Cedar):
A wooden humidor serves as a controlled environment for your cigars, offering a stable humidity level and temperature. While various types of humidors exist, wooden ones are commonly used for their aesthetic appeal and effective moisture retention. Below are the steps to ensure your wooden humidor maintains the best environment for your cigars:
- Seasoning the Humidor: Before placing any cigars inside, a new humidor must be “seasoned” to achieve the desired internal moisture levels. This usually involves wiping down the interior with distilled water and placing a water-filled dish inside for a couple of days. Some people also use a specialized humidor seasoning kit, but this isn’t necessary. Just get distilled water and you’ll be fine.
- Placing Cigars: Once seasoned, you can start placing your cigars in the humidor. Store them horizontally and try not to overcrowd them. Good airflow is crucial for maintaining consistent humidity throughout the humidor. If your humidor has trays or dividers, use them to separate different types of cigars.
- Monitoring Humidity and Temperature: Most humidors come with a built-in hygrometer and thermometer. Keep a regular check on these to make sure they are within the ideal ranges. Some modern humidors offer digital hygrometers that are more accurate and easier to read.
- Long-term Maintenance: Maintaining a wooden humidor requires regular checks on the humidification system. Refill the humidifier as per the manufacturer’s guidelines and recalibrate the hygrometer periodically to ensure it’s accurate. Consider rotating the cigars within the humidor every few months for consistent aging.
By following these steps, a wooden humidor will provide the best environment for storing your cigars, keeping them at the peak of their flavor and structural integrity. It serves not just as a storage unit but as a long-term investment in your smoking pleasure.
Three Common Mistakes in Cigar Storage:
Even with the best intentions, cigar enthusiasts can sometimes make errors when it comes to storing their prized cigars. Here are the top three common mistakes people make, and how to avoid them:
1. Incorrect Humidity Levels:
One of the most common mistakes is not maintaining the correct humidity levels in the humidor or storage container. Either extreme—too humid or too dry—can wreak havoc on your cigars. Over-humidified cigars can become too soft, potentially leading to mold, while under-humidified cigars can dry out, leading to a harsh smoke and cracked wrappers.
How to Avoid: Make it a practice to regularly check the hygrometer in your humidor. If you don’t have one, invest in a reliable digital hygrometer for accurate readings.
2. Fluctuating Temperatures:
Another common mistake is subjecting cigars to fluctuating temperatures, which can result in the expansion and contraction of the cigar wrappers, leading to splits or cracks. Some people mistakenly store their humidors near heating vents, windows, or air-conditioning units, which can cause temperature fluctuations.
How to Avoid: Always store your humidor in a stable environment away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, and any other sources of temperature fluctuation.
3. Mixing Different Cigars in the Same Storage Area:
Cigars can absorb flavors and aromas from their surroundings, including other cigars. Mixing different types or flavors of cigars in the same humidor can lead to ‘flavor bleeding,’ where milder cigars might take on the characteristics of stronger, more potent cigars.
How to Avoid: Use dividers or trays to separate different types of cigars within the same humidor. If you have flavored or infused cigars, it’s advisable to store them in a separate humidor altogether to prevent flavor crossover.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your cigars remain in optimal condition, ready to be enjoyed at their very best whenever the occasion calls for it.
Alternatives to a Wooden Humidor:
Not everyone has the luxury of owning a wooden humidor, but that shouldn’t stop you from storing your cigars in optimal conditions. Here are three alternative methods that can serve as viable temporary solutions:
1. Tupperware Container with Humidification Element:
A well-sealed, airtight Tupperware container can function as a makeshift humidor. Place a humidification element, such as a Boveda pack, inside the container along with your cigars. Make sure the container is clean and odor-free before use.
- Airtight seal maintains humidity levels
- Not as aesthetically pleasing as a wooden humidor
- May require frequent monitoring of humidity levels
2. Ziplock Bag with a Humidity Pack:
For a short-term solution, especially useful when traveling, a Ziplock bag can work. Place your cigars and a small humidity pack inside the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
- Highly portable
- Low cost
- Not ideal for long-term storage
- Less effective in maintaining stable humidity levels
3. Coolerdor (Cooler + Humidor):
A larger cooler can serve as a ‘Coolerdor,’ a budget-friendly alternative to a wooden humidor, particularly when you have a more considerable stash to store. Just like with a Tupperware container, include a humidification element and perhaps a hygrometer for monitoring conditions.
- Spacious, good for storing larger quantities
- Effective in maintaining humidity for an extended period
- Bulky and not easily portable
- Aesthetically less appealing than a traditional humidor
Remember, while these alternatives can be effective, they are generally considered temporary solutions. For long-term storage and optimal aging conditions, investing in a quality wooden humidor remains the gold standard.
Travel Tips for Cigar Storage:
Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or taking a weekend road trip, as a cigar aficionado, you’ll want to enjoy a great smoke wherever you go. Traveling presents its own set of challenges when it comes to maintaining the quality of your cigars. Here are some travel-friendly solutions to ensure your cigars stay in top condition during your journey.
1. Travel Humidors:
Travel humidors are compact, sturdy, and designed to withstand the bumps and jostles of travel. They come in various sizes, from holding a couple of cigars to up to a dozen or more. Many are equipped with a small humidification system to maintain optimal humidity levels during your trip.
- Durable and protective
- Maintains humidity levels
- Can be somewhat bulky depending on size
- May require pre-seasoning like a regular humidor
2. Cigar Tubes:
Cigar tubes made from aluminum or glass can be a good option for transporting a small number of cigars. While they don’t offer humidity control, they do provide a physical barrier against damage.
- Compact and lightweight
- Protective against physical damage
- No humidity control
- Suitable only for very short trips
These are hard plastic cases that provide a solid layer of protection for your cigars. Some come with foam inserts to secure each cigar in place, and many have a small area for a humidification element.
- Robust protection against physical damage
- Some offer a space for humidification elements
- Bulkier than cigar tubes
- May not maintain humidity as effectively as a travel humidor
While each of these travel options has its pros and cons, they offer effective solutions for various situations. Whether you’re an occasional traveler or frequently on the go, these options ensure you can enjoy your favorite cigars without compromising on their quality.
Cigar Humidor FAQ:
1. How long can cigars be left out of a humidor?
- Answer: Generally, cigars should not be left out of a humidor for more than 2-3 days. After that, they will start to lose moisture and may become dry, affecting the quality and flavor.
2. How long should I wait to put cigars in a humidor?
- Answer: It’s crucial to season a new humidor before placing any cigars inside, which usually takes about 2 weeks. For pre-seasoned humidors, allow 24-48 hours for the humidity to stabilize before adding cigars.
3. How often do I need to put water in my humidor?
- Answer: This depends on the type of humidification system you’re using and your local climate. However, typically, you may need to add water every 2-4 weeks.
4. Why does it take 2 weeks to season a humidor?
- Answer: Seasoning a humidor is essential for achieving the desired moisture levels that will keep your cigars fresh. The process allows the wood to absorb moisture evenly, providing a stable environment for your cigars. This typically takes about 2 weeks for optimal results.
5. What happens if I don’t use distilled water in my humidor?
- Answer: Using non-distilled water can introduce minerals and impurities into your humidor, possibly leading to mold and ruining both the humidor and your cigars.
6. Can I use tap water in my cigar humidor?
- Answer: It’s not advisable to use tap water due to the risk of mold and mineral build-up. Always use distilled water or specialized humidification solutions.
7. Can you over humidify a humidor?
- Answer: Yes, too much humidity can lead to spongy cigars, mold, and even cigar beetles. It’s essential to maintain a balanced humidity level, usually between 65-72%.
8. Can I use bottled water in my humidor?
- Answer: No, bottled water still contains minerals that can damage your cigars and humidor over time. Always use distilled water.
9. How many days should I season my humidor?
- Answer: Seasoning a new humidor usually takes around 14 days for optimal moisture levels. Always use distilled water during this process.
10. How do I keep my humidor at 70% humidity?
- Answer: Maintaining a stable 70% humidity involves regular monitoring with a hygrometer, adding distilled water or humidity packs as needed, and ensuring good air circulation within the humidor.
Shop Cigar Humidors
This FAQ aims to address common questions and concerns about cigar humidors, helping you to maintain the quality and longevity of your cigars.
Proper cigar storage is vital to preserving the quality and flavors of your cherished sticks. Whether you’re using a classic wooden humidor or seeking alternative methods, keeping your cigars at the right temperature and humidity is key. At Hiland’s Cigars, we’re committed to helping you enjoy your cigar experience to the fullest, which is why we offer a variety of storage solutions for every lifestyle. As always, we carry the best brands of premium cigars every day at discount prices. We would love to help you with your cigar choices or with any questions you might have about cigar storage.
Don’t let improper storage ruin your smoking experience. Shop for your perfect cigar storage solution at Hiland’s Cigars today!