Cigar Storage

Submitted By: SenorPablo    Date: 06/14/2014 12:00 AM    Views: 2125

Cigar Storage

This article is aimed at describing proper storage conditions and techniques.  While there are many ways of storing cigars it is hard to say any one is better than others.  As long as storage meets the ideal conditions of humidity, temperature, and light, many things could be considered ideal.

"Ideal" ConditionsHumidity
Humidity is by far the most important factor is cigar storage. Ideal humidity is a funny term because it is frequently a source of disagreement between avid smokers.  While there are some broad guidelines for accepted humidity, it can come down to preference and the cigar you are smoking.  The industry talks about a 70% humidity as being the goal to maintain.  In general, I have found that I enjoy most cigars at an average 68% humidity.  This seems to be a good number to keep for aging of cigars as well.  However, some people may prefer to have their smokes drier at 64% or moister at 72%.  The truth is that some cigars actually smoke better at different humidities.  Part of the fun of smoking cigars is determining how you like them.  Generally, keeping your humidity between 66% and 72% will typically keep your cigars in decent condition.

Temperature is the second most important factor in cigar storage but not nearly as important as humidity.  In general you want to keep the humidor in an area not warmer than 75 degrees and typically not cooler than 55 degrees.  The industry accepted standard for temperature is 70 degrees.  The temperature has an affect of the aging process of the cigar.  The cooler the temperature the slower the cigar will age.  When deciding where to put your humidor, keep in mind any external factors that might affect the temperature.  Do not place it near heating or air conditioning vents or near your plasma TV.

Light is the least important factor in cigar storage.  The biggest effect of light is the extra heat it generates.  Light will also cause the cigar wrapper to fade, losing its natural color.  Avoid storing your humidor in direct sunlight.  It is generally accepted that cigars will age better in darkened conditions.  If you are using a standard humidor it will seal off any external light so this is not so much of a worry.  Just don't leave on your end table in front of a window that receives direct sunlight.

Cigars can be kept under ideal conditions in anything from a humidor, to Tupperware (tupperdor) to an Igloo cooler (coolidor.)  Whatever the container is, it will need to be air tight.  A poorly stored cigar will not smoke well.  It's flavor would be less enjoyable and the burn will be off.  A common misconception is that you must spend a lot of money to get a proper humidor.  It is more common the case that a more expensive humidor will make your life easier by more properly maintaining the ideal atmosphere for your cigars than a lesser expensive humidor.  However, this is not always the case.  I have seen some fairly expensive humidors that have been a nightmare to keep stable for various reasons.  It's a good idea to ask people their experiences with various brands and models.

Cigars will typically "intermarry" with other cigars in the humidor.  This means that they take on flavors that other cigars have.  Many people believe this to be a valuable part of cigar aging that provides improved flavor and aroma.  You should keep this in mind when storing your cigars.  It is unlikely that you will want to store flavored cigars in the same humidor as natural cigars unless you really want the natural cigars to take on some of the taste of the flavored cigars.

Some cigars manufacturers ship individual cigars wrapped in cellophane.  This is a good way to protect the cigar from breaking but some experts believe that cigars do not age well when kept in cellophane.  If you are confident in you humidor then you may want to remove the cellophane from the cigars.

The humidifier is the most important part of your humidor and requires the most maintenance.  This is what helps you maintain the humidity.  A dry cigar will smoke unevenly and hot.  A wet cigar will be hard to draw on and can get moldy.  There are two basic types of humidifiers - passive and active.  The passive humidifier is the most common type that comes with humidors.  They contain a material that absorbs water and will release vapors into the humidor to maintain the humidity.  These are fairly inexpensive and do a decent job.  When you add distilled water to the humidifier, it is important not to over charge it.  It should be moist but not drenched.  Most passive humidifiers are composed of Oasis gardening foam or synthetic clay packaged in a plastic or metal grill.

The active humidifier is a more expensive electronic version that essentially performs the same function but typically employs a sensor that determines how much and how frequently water vapor needs to be released into the humidor.  These are typically found in much lager professional humidors.

A hygrometer is used to measure the Relative Humidity (RH) of your humidor.  It is very important that your hygrometer be in proper working condition and accurate.  This is the device you will frequently consult to check the humidity of your humidor.  There are two main types of hygrometers - mechanical and electronic.  The mechanical type is more prevalent with smaller personal humidors.  The electronic ones are more frequently found in larger or more professional humidors.  Most people believe the electronic ones are more precise and accurate.  While this is true for most, it is not always the case.

Water is the element in the humidor that creates the humidity.  Your humidifier will store water and release it slowly over time.  You should only use distilled water in your humidifier.  Any other water will contain elements that are detrimental to your cigars and may cause mold.

Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol is a chemical that is typically "pre-charged" in your passive humidifier.  This acts as a regulating mechanism.  When the humidity falls below 70% it will release moisture into the atmosphere.  Conversely, it will absorb moisture from the atmosphere when it grows above 70% humidity.  You should not have to add this to a new humidifier but should maintain it at least every year or sooner.  To reintroduce it to your humidifier, you should completely rinse and dry the sponge and then moisten it with solution of half distilled water and half propylene glycol.  After that, you will only need to add water.  The propylene glycol will evaporate much more slowly than water.

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