Here’s the first thing to know about cigars: They were first made in a Caribbean-type climate, and that sort of climate is where they belong. It’s believed that Mayans in Central America made and smoked the first cigars.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have cigars in other parts of the world, but they are sensitive to temperature and humidity. If you want to store your cigars so you can enjoy them over time, you’ll need to keep them fresh. That way, they’ll smoke properly and taste good.
There are a number of effective ways to store your cigars and keep them fresh, and we’ll cover the most popular here.
Before we cover various storage methods, let’s talk about what your cigars need to remain ideal for smoking. They should be stored between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Store them at lower temperatures, and you can damage the tobacco. Store them at higher temperatures, and you may find your cigars infested with Lasioderma serricorne: cigar beetles. Yes, these ugly critters, which are about two to three millimeters in length, are real.
They should also be stored at between 60 percent and 72 percent humidity. Any higher, and mold can grow in the cigars. Also, the cigars can expand, so that if you let them dry out to smoke them, the body of the cigars can shrink, and the wrappers will get loose and peel away when you go to smoke them. Cigars that are too moist are also hard to puff. If the cigars get to dry, they’ll smoke unevenly, too hot, and too fast.
The absolutely ideal temperature for most cigars is 68 degrees, and the ideal humidity is 70 percent.
You’ve no doubt heard about humidors. These are boxes designed to keep cigars at an ideal temperature and humidity level. Many are made of cedar, which is great for absorbing excess moisture, should there be any. Humidors come in a variety of sizes, from small enough to hold 25 or so cigars, to coffee table sized, to cabinet size, like you might see in a cigar shop. There are also acrylic humidors. These seal well, and you can purchase humidity regulator packs for them, similar to silica gel packs.
The great thing about humidors is they’re designed to create Caribbean-type temperature and humidity conditions. Prices vary greatly depending on type and size, of course. If you can afford it, consider getting a digital humidor. These are more reliable than their analog counterparts.
Wait, what? Tupperware? Yes, we mean those air-tight containers you put your leftovers in. They can work great for storing cigars as well.For every 25 cigars in the container, put in a damp paper towel and store the container on a shelf. If you do this, we recommend checking on the cigars every few days.
You can use airtight coolers as well. Often called “coolerdors,” these work on the same principal as tupperware. Instead of damp paper towels, however, we recommend putting in a humidifier designed to keep 250 or so cigars at the right humidity, and a digital hygrometer to monitor the humidity and temperature inside. Make sure the hygrometer comes with a calibration kit, so you can make sure the readings are accurate.Oh yes, for all these options, make sure you use only distilled water.
If you can’t keep your cigars at home for any reason, we recommend putting them in your self storage unit. Of course, they’ll need to be stored in one of the containers described above, preferably a humidor or coolerdor.
It’s also critical that you get a unit with climate control. While your container of choice are designed to provide an ideal environment for your cigars, if the temperature, or humidity, get too high or low inside the storage unit, this might affect the conditions inside the box, too.
Whether you store your cigars at home or in a storage unit, check on them every couple of weeks, and turn them over about every three months. Cigars require care to stay in optimal smoking condition, but now you have the tools to keep them that way.
For advice on how to store numerous other possessions, check out our many other helpful articles.