Talk to some cigar enthusiasts, and they’ll tell you a good humidor is key to storing cigars. While that’s true in some ways, it’s not the whole story. Knowing how to keep cigars fresh is about more than just good humidor care.
In this guide, we’ll look at how to store cigars to get the best smoking experience every time. We’ll cover cigar care in full detail, from how to store cigars with or without a humidor, to some of the other cigar accessories you’ll find.
STORING YOUR CIGARS
When people talk about how to store cigars, it’s often assumed that you’ll be storing them for a long time. If you smoke your cigars within weeks of buying them, rather than six months or more down the line, short-term storage is a much more important issue in your approach to cigar care.
For short-term storage and transport, cigar cases are the go-to option. Typically designed to hold a single cigar or up to three fingers, cigar cases are available in leather, stainless steel, and carbon fiber, allowing you to accessorize whichever way you want.
In a pinch, you can even store cigars for short periods in Ziploc bags. It’s nothing like humidor storage, but it will keep the cigar’s humidity on the level for a brief period. You might still want to consider putting the cigar in a carry case or even using a plastic Tupperware container to prevent the sticks from getting damaged in transit.
A good humidor is the solution to long-term cigar storage. This will maintain a relative humidity of 60-70% and should ensure the tobacco in your cigars holds around 14% humidity. Too dry and your tobacco will burn fast and hot; too wet and it will burn too smoky and provide a difficult draw.
For the best long-term storage, keep your humidor well stocked. Once a humidor has reached the sweet spot of internal humidity, it’s more likely to stay there if it’s between half and three-quarters full, so don’t forget to order more cigars if yours is below 50% capacity.
Routine humidor maintenance can keep the humidity where it should be — make sure your hygrometer is giving an accurate reading, too. Let’s look at how to organize your humidor so that all of your cigars get the conditions they need to be truly ‘top-draw’ when you decide it’s time to light them up.
ORGANIZE YOUR HUMIDOR
A well-organized humidor is an excellent first step toward better cigar care. Knowing how to store cigars in a humidor can help you to enjoy them at their best, as each stick should end up closer to that magic number of 14% humidity.
Some of the most basic principles of humidor storage include:
- Don’t overcrowd your humidor. If your cigars are pressed together, consider upgrading to a bigger humidor.
- For even better organization, choose a humidor with a cigar bed. The cigar bed has gold finger pulls for easy removal, and the humidor’s glass top means you can see your collection without disturbing the environment inside.
- Use dividers to separate different cigars.
Good humidor organization depends on your collection: how many cigars you store, how long you store them, and how many different cigars you have at any given time. Dividers help to keep things separate, so each cigar retains its original flavor profile.
Cigar rotation doesn’t mean you smoke your oldest cigar first. While that’s not a bad idea — apart from any vintage sticks you’re saving for a special occasion — this is actually about rotating the cigars you have stored in your humidor so that they all experience the same environment over the long term.
Even the best humidors on the market can contain certain spots that get more or less humidity than others. When your humidor is full of cigars and cedar dividers, it is even more likely that humidity will not circulate entirely freely.
The solution is straightforward and doesn’t need to be done more often than once every 2-3 months, although you could choose to make it part of your monthly maintenance plan as you remove each cigar to check its condition and inspect the wrapper for mold.
Either way, all you have to do is take the cigars out of your humidor and put them back in a different position. Shuffle the deck, bringing the bottom cigars to the top and vice versa. You’ll even out the environment for your collection as a whole, one of the easiest and most effective methods of cigar care if you store sticks long-term.
Monthly maintenance is a good humidor care habit to get into. With just a few simple steps, you can check on the condition of your cigars and your humidor alike, putting in place the actions needed to keep everything at its best for as long as possible.
Some monthly humidor maintenance to carry out includes:
- Check for signs of mold. Remove moldy cigars immediately. Look for evidence of the mold having spread to the humidor itself.
- Check the humidor’s fluid level and top up with distilled water as needed. If your humidor has a humidifier, it needs a water supply.
- Check the hygrometer reading is accurate and calibrate or replace it if necessary. Make sure your humidor is well sealed.
Ultimately, good cigar care is just about checking your cigars are in the correct environmental conditions. Humidors are a big help in achieving that and should need very little maintenance of their own, especially if you follow the three-step plan outlined above on a monthly basis.