Sometimes there’s just nothing better than a good cigar, and like any carefully crafted piece of art, a good cigar must be cared for under the right set of conditions. Certain environmental factors can influence how a cigar smokes and tastes, and the way you store your cigars has a big impact on these factors.
Depending on how much money you’re willing to invest, there are various devices and techniques that will enhance the quality of your cigar storage, but the first thing to understand is why cigars require the specific conditions that they do.
The tobacco used to roll your favorite cigars is grown in tropical Latin countries like Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. These regions are historically humid, and the tobacco grown in these regions must be kept in similar conditions in order to remain enjoyable to smoke. Storing a cigar in too dry of conditions can cause the tobacco to burn quicker and harsher, resulting in an unpleasant smoking experience. Keeping a cigar moist, but not too moist, is the key to maximizing its flavor, temperature and burning speed.
What is a humidor?
Most cigar aficionados make use of a humidor, which is any sort of container that has a device for artificially controlling humidity levels. They can range in size from a desktop model that can fit five or six cigars to an entire room like you’d see in a cigar store. Humidors work by using a solution consisting of water and a chemical agent to maintain a consistent level of moisture inside the container.
Ideally, cigars should be stored at a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) at a humidity level between 67 and 71 percent. All you need to do is set your system to the proper conditions and make sure to add water every so often depending on the size of your unit. It’s important to make sure that your humidity levels remain consistent. Even slight differences can result in a too-dry or too-wet cigar.
What if I don’t have a humidor?
If a humidor isn’t in the budget, there are other methods of the “do it yourself” variety to keep your cigars fresh. You can make your own “humidor” out of any old airtight plastic container (a piece of Tupperware will do just fine). Keep your cigars from getting too dry by placing a damp sponge or paper towel in the sealed container and remove it if you find the humidity level too high. Similar to a regular humidor, you should store the container in a dark area at a temperature of approximately 70 degrees. This method may not keep your cigars fresh as long as a humidor does, but it’ll work for a considerable amount of time.
Cigars on the go
When transporting your cigars, humidity isn’t so much of a concern as long as you’re planning on smoking them reasonably soon after they’re removed from their preferred conditions. What you need to be concerned about is your cigars getting crushed or broken while in transit. To prevent this, you can buy portable cigar travel cases that provide varying degrees of protection for your cigars while you’re on the move.
You pay good money for high-quality cigars, so naturally you want to have the best smoking experience possible. By taking the proper steps, you can ensure that you’re getting the best flavor you can get.
Jeff Borysiewicz is the president and founder of Corona Cigar Co. He enjoys fine cigars and good whisky.
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