So, you finally decided to reward yourself for that promotion and got yourself a nice pack of cigars? Or maybe you were given a fine set of Cuban cigars by a dear friend. But if you are not a regular smoker or wish to save those cigars to light them up on a special occasion, you need to know how to keep them nice and fresh. Not storing your cigars properly could cause them to lose flavor. If the air is too dry, they could dry out which would cause them to burn quickly, while if it is too humid, it would cause your cigars to absorb moisture making them difficult to burn. Needless to say, smoking them would be a bad experience.
The best way of keeping cigars fresh is to store them in the same conditions that they were rolled in. Although that seems like a complicated endeavor, keeping your cigars fresh and flavorful is not rocket science. By following the right steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can make sure that they remain just as fresh as the day they were rolled. Read on to find out more about how to properly store your cigars.
This is Cigar 101. Apart from the obvious and not breaking them into two, there are two factors that you need to consider while storing cigars – Temperature and Humidity.
The rule of thumb is that most cigars are happiest when stored at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 70%. This is called the 70/70 rule. This temperature and humidity combination will keep your cigars healthy till the day you finally get to kick back on the porch and enjoy the sunset. Being able to control both the factors would be ideal, however, if you can only control the humidity, you should vary the humidity based on the temperature. A simple way of doing this is to increase the humidity by one percent for every unit drop in the temperature. This, however, is just a rule of thumb and you would be best off by setting the humidity and temperature to the exact values recommended by the manufacturer of the cigar.
Storing Cigars Using a Ziplock Pouch
If you don’t smoke cigars too often and only need to store a few cigars, a simple way of doing that is to use a Ziplock pouch. A Ziplock pouch is air locked and can help maintain the humidity required to keep your cigars fresh. In addition to a Ziplock pouch, you will also need a sponge. The purpose of the sponge is to maintain the humidity of the air. To do this, you first need to wet the sponge with water. It is better to use distilled water for this purpose. The sponge has to be placed in the pouch along with the cigars after squeezing out the extra water. Also, the size of the sponge will depend on the number of cigars you wish to store. This method should be able to keep your cigars fresh for a few weeks. Once every few days, it is important to check that the sponge has not become dry. If the sponge does become dry, you can repeat the same procedure.
The Best Way of Storing Cigars – Humidor
While a Ziplock bag or a Tupperware box with a wet sponge would be suitable as a makeshift arrangement to store a few cigars for a few weeks, it would not be ideal for those who frequently enjoy the pleasures of smoking fine cigars. You could store a one-off gifted cigar in a Ziplock bag for a few days. But if you own a collection, you need to invest in proper cigar storage containers.
Humidors are humidity-controlled containers that are specially designed for storing cigars. They are available in various sizes and materials and their cost depends accordingly. Humidors are generally equipped with trays and sections to properly arrange your cigars and to easily retrieve them. Depending on their size they could be designed to store anything from tens to hundreds of cigars.
Most humidors are often equipped with passive humidity control systems that are based on evaporation and diffusion. Such passive elements could be foam-based, gel-based, or bead-based. They function in a manner similar to the sponge in the Tupperware box, but obviously, are a lot better in keeping your cigars fresh. The experts at Crownhumidors.com, however, recommend using active humidors with electronic humidifiers that can exactly maintain the humidity based on what is needed to keep your cigars fresh. They use electronic hygrometers that measure the humidity at fixed intervals of time and correspondingly adjust for any changes. Some of the larger humidors are also equipped with temperature control. Using active humidors is probably the best method of storing your cigars.
Humidors are useful not just for storing cigars but also for aging them. If a newly bought cigar is difficult to burn, it could be because of extra moisture that is added in factories to keep them fresh for longer. Such cigars can be placed in a humidor for a few days before smoking to correct their moisture content.
Storing Cigars Using Airtight Containers
Although a Ziplock bag will be able to maintain the humidity, it will not offer any additional protection. It would probably be a good idea to instead use an airtight box, like a Tupperware container, that can offer some physical protection as well. Once again, make sure that you use distilled water to wet the sponge. Unlike regular water, distilled water prevents the formation of mold and does not have any chemicals that could tarnish the flavor of the cigars. Further, you should roll the cigars and check the wetness of the sponge in the box every few days.
It is important to store your cigars properly if you wish to enjoy them. If you do not smoke frequently and only wish to store a one-off cigar, a Ziplock pouch or an airtight container should do the trick. But if you are a cigar aficionado, you should invest in a Humidor for the best experience. Cigars can be quite expensive and not being able to light a cigar that you have been saving up for your special day can be quite heartbreaking.