How To Store Cigars At Home
Published: September 19, 2023
Learn how to store cigars at home with our informative articles. Keep your cigars fresh and flavorful with our expert tips and techniques.
(Many of the links in this article redirect to a specific reviewed product. Your purchase of these products through affiliate links helps to generate commission for Storables.com, at no extra cost. Learn more)
Table of Contents
Welcome to the world of cigar aficionados! Whether you are a seasoned connoisseur or a novice cigar enthusiast, one thing is certain – proper cigar storage is essential to maintain the quality and flavor of your beloved cigars. Just as wine needs a proper cellar, cigars require a dedicated storage system to preserve their unique characteristics.
In this article, we will explore the importance of storing cigars correctly and provide you with valuable tips on how to maintain the optimal environment for your prized collection.
Proper cigar storage not only ensures that your cigars maintain their flavor and aroma but also prevents them from drying out or developing mold. Whether you are storing a single cigar or a large collection, the following information will guide you through the process of creating the perfect environment for your cigars to thrive.
Benefits of Proper Cigar Storage
Proper cigar storage is not just about keeping your cigars in a safe place; it offers a myriad of benefits that enhance your overall smoking experience. Let’s explore the top benefits of storing cigars correctly:
- Preserve Flavor and Aroma: Cigars are a delicate blend of tobacco leaves, carefully crafted to deliver a unique sensory experience. Improper storage can result in the loss of essential oils and flavors, leaving you with a lackluster smoking experience. By maintaining the appropriate temperature and humidity levels, you can ensure that your cigars retain their distinct flavors and enticing aromas.
- Prevent Drying Out: Cigars are made from natural tobacco leaves, and without proper humidity, they can lose moisture. Dry cigars are not only unpleasant to smoke, but they can also lead to cracking and unraveling of the wrapper. Storing your cigars at the correct humidity level helps maintain their moisture content and prevents them from becoming dried out and brittle.
- Avoid Mold and Beetles: Cigars are prone to mold growth and infestation by tobacco beetles, both of which can ruin an entire collection. Adequate humidity control and regular monitoring can prevent the growth of mold and deter tobacco beetles from infiltrating your cigars.
- Longevity of Aging: Many cigar enthusiasts appreciate the aging process, where cigars are stored for an extended period to enhance their flavors and complexities. Proper storage conditions are crucial for the aging process, allowing the cigars to mature gracefully and develop richer and smoother flavors over time.
- Showcase Your Collection: Cigar storage is not just functional; it can also be aesthetically pleasing. From elegant humidors to unique display cases, storing your cigars properly provides an opportunity to showcase your collection and add a touch of sophistication to your smoking experience.
By investing in proper cigar storage, you can enjoy the full range of flavors and aromas that your cigars have to offer, ensuring a satisfying and memorable smoking experience every time.
Choosing the Right Storage Device
Now that we understand the importance of proper cigar storage, let’s explore the different options available for storing your cigars.
1. Humidors: A humidor is the most popular and widely used storage device for cigars. These specialized boxes or cabinets are designed to maintain a consistent humidity level, usually between 65% and 75%, which is ideal for preserving the cigars’ quality and flavor. When choosing a humidor, consider factors such as size, construction material, seal quality, and the number of cigars it can accommodate.
2. Travel Humidors: If you are always on the go and want to carry your cigars safely, a travel humidor is a perfect solution. These portable humidors are compact, airtight, and usually come with a built-in humidification device to maintain optimal humidity levels while you’re on the move.
3. Humidification Bags: Also known as humidity control packs or Boveda packs, these are convenient alternatives to traditional humidors. Humidification bags contain a gel or solution that releases or absorbs moisture as needed, providing a hassle-free method of maintaining the desired humidity level. Simply place the bags in an airtight container with your cigars, and they will self-regulate the humidity.
4. Coolerdors: A coolerdor is a DIY option for storing cigars. It involves using airtight coolers or food-grade containers, such as Tupperware, with humidity control devices to create a makeshift humidor. Coolerdors are cost-effective and can accommodate a large number of cigars, making them popular among enthusiasts with extensive collections.
5. Cabinet Humidors: For those with a substantial cigar collection, a cabinet humidor offers ample storage space and a sleek display. These humidors resemble regular furniture cabinets but are specifically designed to maintain the ideal temperature and humidity for cigars. Cabinet humidors often come with adjustable shelves and drawers to organize and showcase your cigars.
When choosing a storage device, consider your needs, budget, and the size of your cigar collection. Remember that the key is to maintain consistent humidity and temperature levels to ensure the longevity and quality of your cigars.
Temperature and Humidity Control
Temperature and humidity are two essential factors in maintaining the quality and longevity of your cigars. Let’s delve into the optimal conditions for storing cigars:
1. Temperature: Cigars should be stored at a temperature between 65°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C). Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause the tobacco to expand and contract, affecting the overall smoking experience. Avoid storing cigars in areas prone to high heat, such as near heating vents or direct sunlight, as this can dry out the cigars and cause them to lose flavor.
2. Humidity: The ideal humidity level for storing cigars falls between 65% and 75%. This range ensures that the cigars remain moist enough to prevent drying out, but not too moist to encourage mold growth. Humidity levels below 60% can result in dry cigars, while levels above 75% can create a breeding ground for mold. Invest in a hygrometer, a device that measures humidity, to monitor and maintain the desired levels.
3. Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to temperature and humidity control. Fluctuations in these factors can be detrimental to your cigars. Aim to keep the temperature and humidity as steady as possible, minimizing fluctuations and maintaining a stable environment for your cigars. Avoid sudden changes in temperature, as this can cause the expansion and contraction of the tobacco leaves, affecting the cigar’s overall construction.
4. Humidification Devices: Depending on the type of storage device you choose, you may need to invest in a humidification device. Humidors often come with built-in humidification systems, such as oasis foam, gel-based solutions, or humidification beads. These devices help regulate humidity levels and maintain a consistent moisture content in the air surrounding the cigars.
5. Hygrometer Calibration: It is important to periodically calibrate your hygrometer to ensure accurate humidity readings. This can be done by following the manufacturer’s instructions or by using a salt test method. Calibrating your hygrometer allows you to make the necessary adjustments and ensure that your cigars are stored in the optimal environment.
By paying attention to temperature and humidity control, you can provide your cigars with the best conditions for aging, preserving flavor, and avoiding common issues like mold or drying out. Remember, maintaining consistency in these factors is essential for ensuring the longevity and quality of your cigar collection.
Seasoning Your Humidor
Before you store your prized cigars in a new humidor or after any prolonged period of disuse, it is crucial to properly season the humidor. This process ensures that the wood inside the humidor absorbs enough moisture to create the ideal environment for your cigars. Here’s how you can season your humidor:
- Prepare Distilled Water: Use distilled water to prevent any impurities or minerals from affecting the humidity levels in your humidor. Tap water or bottled water may contain additives that can compromise the integrity of the cigars. Pour distilled water into a clean container, ensuring you have enough to saturate the surface area of the humidifier or humidification device.
- Remove the Cigars: Take out all the cigars, trays, and any accessories from the humidor. It is important to start the seasoning process with an empty humidor to allow the wood to absorb moisture effectively.
- Wipe the Interior: Use a clean, lint-free cloth or sponge dampened with distilled water to wipe down the interior of the humidor, including the sides, bottom, and lid. This helps to remove any dust, debris, and odors that may be present.
- Place the Humidification Device: Put the humidification device, whether it is a humidifier, oasis foam, or humidification beads, inside the humidor. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific device you are using.
- Add Distilled Water: Now, add distilled water to the humidification device, distributing it evenly to ensure it is fully saturated. Do not overfill or allow excess water to pool in the bottom of the humidor as this can lead to mold growth.
- Close the Humidor: Close the humidor and let it sit undisturbed for 24-48 hours. This allows the wood to absorb the moisture from the humidification device, reaching the desired humidity level.
- Check the Humidity Level: After the initial seasoning period, check the humidity level using a hygrometer. It should be within the range of 65% to 75%. Adjust the amount of distilled water in the humidification device if necessary to achieve the desired humidity level.
- Reintroduce Your Cigars: Once the humidor has been properly seasoned and the humidity level has stabilized, you can return your cigars to the humidor. Make sure to space them out to allow for proper air circulation.
By following these steps, you will ensure that your humidor is properly seasoned and ready to provide the ideal environment for your cigars to thrive. Proper seasoning is an important foundation for maintaining the freshness, flavor, and quality of your cigars.
Arranging Cigars in the Humidor
Now that your humidor is properly seasoned and ready to go, it’s time to arrange your cigars inside. Properly organizing your cigars ensures that each one receives optimal air circulation and avoids potential damage. Here are some tips for arranging cigars in your humidor:
- Orientation: Place your cigars horizontally in the humidor. This allows for even distribution of moisture and prevents the cigars from drying out or becoming unevenly humidified.
- Don’t Overcrowd: Avoid packing your cigars too tightly in the humidor. Leave enough space for air to circulate around each cigar. Overcrowding can lead to uneven humidity and potential damage to the wrappers.
- Keep Similar Cigars Together: Group cigars of a similar size and blend together. This helps maintain consistency in humidity levels and prevents cross-contamination of flavors. Consider using dividers or separate trays to keep different types of cigars organized.
- Rotate the Cigars: Every few weeks, consider rotating the cigars within the humidor. This ensures that each cigar has equal exposure to the humidity and prevents any potential moisture imbalances that may occur with prolonged storage.
- Separate Infused Cigars: If you have infused or flavored cigars, it’s best to keep them in a separate humidor or in a designated section of your humidor. The strong scents and flavors of infused cigars can impact the other cigars if stored together.
- Ensure Proper Airflow: Make sure that there is ample space around the humidification device for the humid air to circulate. Avoid blocking the vents or obstructing the airflow within the humidor, as this can create pockets of moisture or dry areas.
- Check the Humidity Regularly: Regularly monitor the humidity level in your humidor using a hygrometer. If you notice any fluctuations or drastic changes, adjust the humidification device as necessary to maintain the desired humidity level.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your cigars are arranged in a way that promotes even humidity distribution, maintains the quality of the cigars, and allows for easy access when it’s time for a smoke. The careful arrangement of cigars in your humidor will contribute to a more enjoyable smoking experience.
Monitoring and Maintaining the Humidor
Once you have your cigars arranged in the humidor, the work doesn’t stop there. Proper monitoring and maintenance are crucial to ensure that your cigars remain in optimal condition. Here are some essential steps to follow:
- Check the Humidity Levels: Regularly monitor the humidity levels inside your humidor using a hygrometer. Ideally, the humidity should fall between 65% and 75%. If the humidity levels are too high, consider reducing the amount of distilled water in the humidification device. If the levels are too low, add a small amount of distilled water as needed.
- Refill the Water: Depending on the size of your humidor and the humidity levels, you may need to refill the water in your humidification device every few weeks or as necessary to maintain the desired humidity. Always use distilled water to prevent the introduction of impurities.
- Clean the Humidor: Periodically clean the interior of the humidor to remove any dust, debris, or buildup. Use a clean, damp cloth or sponge with distilled water. Avoid using any chemicals or cleaning agents that may affect the aroma or flavor of your cigars.
- Rotate Your Cigars: Every few weeks, rotate your cigars within the humidor. This helps promote even aging and prevents any moisture imbalances that may occur with prolonged storage. It also allows you to inspect each cigar for any signs of damage or mold.
- Inspect for Mold and Tobacco Beetles: Regularly inspect your cigars for any signs of mold or tobacco beetles. Mold appears as white or greenish spots on the wrapper or foot of the cigars. Tobacco beetles are tiny insects that can bore into cigars, leaving small holes. If you notice any signs of mold or beetles, remove the affected cigars and take steps to prevent further infestation.
- Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes: Keep your humidor away from areas prone to extreme temperature fluctuations. Sudden changes in temperature can affect the moisture content inside the humidor and the overall quality of your cigars. Aim for a stable environment to maintain consistent humidity levels.
- Replace the Humidification Agent: Depending on the type of humidification device you are using, you may need to replace the humidification agent periodically. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or guidelines for when to replace the device or refill the humidification medium.
By regularly monitoring and maintaining your humidor, you can ensure that your cigars remain in their best condition, ready to be enjoyed whenever you’re in the mood for a smoke. Proper care and attention will contribute to the longevity and quality of your cigar collection.
Alternative Storage Options
While traditional humidors are the most popular choice for cigar storage, there are alternative options available that can effectively maintain the quality and flavor of your cigars. Here are a few alternatives to consider:
- Tupperware or Airtight Containers: If you’re on a budget or have a small collection, Tupperware containers or airtight plastic containers can be viable options for short-term storage. Line the container with cedar sheets or use a small humidification device to maintain the desired humidity level.
- Ziplock Bags with Boveda Packs: Ziplock bags combined with Boveda packs offer a simple and affordable method of cigar storage. Boveda packs are humidity control pouches that maintain a specific humidity level. Place your cigars in a ziplock bag along with the appropriate Boveda pack, seal it, and your cigars will be kept at the optimal humidity level.
- Wine Coolers or Refrigerators: Wine coolers and refrigerators equipped with temperature and humidity controls can provide an ideal environment for long-term cigar storage. These appliances offer consistent temperature and humidity levels, making them suitable for storing larger collections. Ensure proper air circulation and use cedar trays or boxes for added moisture absorption and flavor enhancement.
- Coolerdors or Igloodors: Coolerdors or Igloodors are DIY alternatives that utilize coolers or ice chests as cigar storage units. These containers have excellent insulation properties and can accommodate large cigar collections. Use humidification devices or Boveda packs to maintain the desired humidity level, and include cedar trays or Spanish cedar sheets for added aroma and moisture absorption.
- Cabinet Humidors: If you have a significant cigar collection and prefer a larger storage option, consider investing in a cabinet humidor. These furniture-style humidors resemble cabinets and provide substantial storage space. Cabinet humidors often come with adjustable shelves, drawers, and built-in humidification systems for optimal cigar storage conditions.
When considering alternative storage options, it’s important to remember that maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels is crucial for preserving the integrity of your cigars. Regularly monitor and adjust the conditions as needed to ensure the optimal environment.
While alternative storage options can be effective, traditional humidors are designed specifically for cigars and offer the best control over temperature, humidity, and aesthetics. If you’re serious about collecting and aging cigars, investing in a high-quality humidor is the recommended choice.
Tips for Long-Term Storage
If you’re looking to store your cigars for an extended period, whether you’re aging them or preserving a special collection, here are some valuable tips to ensure their longevity and quality:
- Select the Right Cigars: Choose cigars that have the potential to age well. Full-bodied and complex cigars tend to develop richer flavors and complexities over time. Avoid cigars with fragile wrappers that may deteriorate during long-term storage.
- Temperature and Humidity Control: Maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels within the recommended range for long-term storage. Aim for a temperature of 65°F (18°C) to 70°F (21°C) and a humidity level of 65% to 70%. Fluctuations in these factors can affect the aging process and the overall quality of your cigars.
- Rotate Your Cigars: Periodically rotate your cigars within the humidor to ensure even aging. This prevents any moisture imbalances and allows for consistent development of flavors throughout your collection.
- Avoid Disturbing the Cigars: Minimize unnecessary handling and disturbance of the cigars during long-term storage. Touching the cigars excessively can affect the delicate oils on the wrapper and disrupt their aging process. Only handle the cigars when necessary.
- Keep Strong and Mild Cigars Separate: If you store both strong and mild cigars together over a long period, the flavors can potentially blend and impact the overall taste. To maintain the integrity of each cigar’s flavor profile, store strong and mild cigars in separate sections or humidity-controlled environments.
- Limit Sunlight Exposure: Protect your cigars from direct sunlight, as ultraviolet (UV) rays can degrade the wrapper and harm the tobacco. Store your cigars in a shaded area or use UV-protected glass in your humidor to minimize sunlight exposure.
- Monitor for Mold and Beetles: Regularly inspect your cigars for any signs of mold or tobacco beetles. Mold can appear as white or green spots on the wrapper, while tobacco beetles leave small holes in the cigars. If detected, remove the affected cigars to prevent further damage to your collection.
- Age the Right Cigars: Not all cigars are suitable for long-term storage and aging. Research different brands, blends, and vintages to determine which cigars are renowned for their aging potential. Certain cigars may require several years to reach their peak flavor, so plan accordingly.
- Patience is Key: Aging cigars is a patient process that requires time and discipline. Allow your cigars to age undisturbed for the desired length of time, keeping in mind that the flavors will develop gradually over months or even years.
- Keep Records: Maintain a record of the cigars stored, including their purchase date, brand, and any specific information related to aging or recommendations. This helps you keep track of the aging process and allows you to compare and appreciate the development of flavors over time.
By following these tips for long-term storage, you can ensure that your cigars age gracefully and provide you with a truly exceptional smoking experience when the time comes to enjoy them.
Proper cigar storage is essential for preserving the quality, flavor, and overall enjoyment of your cigars. Whether you are a seasoned aficionado or a beginner, understanding the importance of maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels is crucial for cigar enthusiasts. The benefits of proper cigar storage include preserving flavor and aroma, preventing drying out, avoiding mold and beetles, maximizing the longevity of aging, and showcasing your collection.
By choosing the right storage device, such as a humidor, travel humidor, or humidification bags, you can create the perfect environment for your cigars to thrive. Remember to carefully monitor and maintain temperature and humidity levels, ensuring consistency for the best results.
Seasoning your humidor is a critical step to prepare it for storing cigars. Wiping down the interior, saturating the humidification device, and allowing the wood to absorb moisture sets the foundation for optimal storage conditions.
When arranging cigars in the humidor, prioritize proper orientation, spacing, and organization. Avoid overcrowding and ensure appropriate airflow for all the cigars. Regularly rotate cigars to promote even aging and inspect them for any signs of mold or tobacco beetles.
Alternative storage options, such as Tupperware containers, ziplock bags with Boveda packs, wine coolers, and coolerdors, provide viable alternatives for humidors depending on your preference and collection size.
For long-term storage, follow tips such as selecting the right cigars, maintaining temperature and humidity control, rotating cigars, avoiding unnecessary handling, and keeping an eye out for mold and beetles.
In conclusion, proper cigar storage is a fundamental aspect of being a cigar connoisseur. By implementing these practices and maintaining a vigilant approach to monitoring and maintaining your storage devices, you can ensure that your cigars are always in optimal condition, ready to be enjoyed when the time is right. So, invest in a quality humidor, follow the guidelines, and savor the pleasures that each perfectly stored cigar brings to your palate.