A cigar is a living thing and it should be treated as one. A cigar is not at all like a cigarette, and not at all like a pipe. It is a work of art unto itself, which can be made well or made poorly, and it can be treated well or treated poorly, and it can be smoked well or smoked, well, very poorly. Treat a cigar right and even a poorly made cigar will treat you right. Treat a cigar poorly, and even a top-shelf churchill can split or spit or literally explode at your breath-and-touch. A good cigar is like a fine bottle of wine, it should be protected from swings in temperature or exposure to light.
Here are some simple tips on how to store your cigars right.
1; Temporary storage for the weekend smoke
If you have cigars which you are planning to smoke in couple of days it is a good practice to keep them in sealed or closed plastic (best in ziplock) bags. The cigars can keep their humidity for up to a 5 to 7 days without any humidification as long as they are in sealed environment. Keep away from the fridge or freezer! This is a common a misconception that cigars are best stored in fridge or freezer. Fridge is a very dry environment and tends to dry the cigars. Keeping cigars in room temperature is fine. Anything below 22 'C / 70Fahrenheit.
2; Tubes, Travel Cases and Humidors
To transit your cigars for your holiday abroad or weekend at golf resort is good to have a small travel humidor for up to 15 cigars. These are great for keeping your cigars for more than a month as far as you regularly check the humidifiers provided in humidor and refill them with distilled water.
The aluminium tubes are also great, as they are relatively sealed and contain cedar wood lining to maintain the humidity for the cigar. However, it is not recommended to keep cigars in tubes more than 60 days. They will eventually dry out, which will considerably change their taste.
Cigar cases are fashionable and they look good to keep them in your pocket or in your car. They can keep your cigars in good condition for a week or two but not more.
If you are a Cigar Aficionado who smoke considerate number of cigars per week and also started to collect cigars for different occasions or to experiment with different strengths, tastes and shapes, it would be best to get a large humidor for your stogies. Choose your humidor on the amount of cigars you are planning to keep. To keep your cigars fresh is best to have humidor always full or at least two thirds full of its capacity. Make sure that your humidor is lined with cedar, which helps to regulate the humidity and the airflow in the humidor. Humidifiers usually comes already inside humidors together with manual how to season and maintain the humidor.
The quick tip on seasoning your humidor is to wipe the interior with wet / damp cloth, close the humidor and let the cedar wood absorb the moisture for a day or two. To maintain the right humidity is to regularly check the hygrometer and change or refill the humidifiers accordingly. This depends on how often you open your humidor and the type of surrounding environment.
There are many types of humidifiers and you should always choose according to the storage you are using, whether it is a plastic ziplock bag or a wooden humidor. Most humidors come with humidifiers already, so not much worry there. For all other type of storage you should be looking to get something to keep your cigars humidified.
Our tip for a DIY humidifier would be a thick sponge or florist foam. These should be soaked in water just enough that the water doesn't drip out, placed in small sealed plastic bag, pierced several times for evaporation and placed together with your cigars in another separate sealable plastic bag, box or wooden humidor. These types of humidifiers should be checked at least once a month and re-saturate with water.
The other, more sophisticated humidifiers are made out of small absorbent crystals. These are the best humidifiers out on the market at the moment. They are low maintenance and consistent in humidification. They keep your cigars in right conditions of 70% humidity for up to 90 days without any replacement or re-saturation. They come in many sizes for different amount of cigars and size of humidors.
5; Ageing cigars
In Europe countries, and particularly in Great Britain, where it’s called ‘laying down a cigar,’ ageing is a time-honoured practice. The North American continent is just starting to embrace the practice. Fine stogies are like fine wines, they often get better with age.
Here are some facts about the time frame of ageing cigars.
• 3 weeks – stabilizes the mechanical tensions and moisture of a cigar, making it smoke better, particularly if it was shipped
• 3 months – allows the oils to begin their natural dissipation so that the flavours of the blend ‘marry’
• 3 years – (in a temperature / humidity controlled environment) allows some more complex chemical processes of true ageing to take place, creating deep, rich and subtle layers of flavour
• Beyond 3 years – carefully stored, cigars just keep getting better and better
Most of the Cuban cigars are already aged in boxes couple of months before they reach the end customer. See the outer bottom of your cigar box to see the date of release. Cigars aged great in their boxes when they are full and kept closed or sealed. Once couple of cigars have been removed, its better to store them in a humidor, as the box itself doesn't have humidifier and have larger space for air circulation, which dries out the cigars.
To be able to age your cigars right you should invest in good quality humidor, hygrometer and humidifiers.
Once you've done that, fill your humidor to the max and place it somewhere cold and dry with relatively constant temperature. Humidor should be checked only once a month. It is a good practise to turn and move around the cigars in humidor. Check the humidity in humidor and if in need, re-saturate the humidifier.
Ageing cigars is very slow, time consuming process and should be done with lots of patience, but the results are worth it. Cigars come out mellower, smoother, more complex and richer in their aroma and taste.