Cigar & Tobacco

HOW LONG CAN I STORE CIGARS IN A CIGAR HUMIDOR?

There are a few factors to consider if you would like your cigars to be at their best for years on end. How long you can store your cigars for optimum flavor is a matter of how much you like the tobacco to mature, what you consider the best age for a certain brand to be, what other cigars you would like to marry them to in time, your particular storage conditions and how diligently you perform your regular check-ups.

Cigars come shrouded in a cloud of pomp and ceremony. Cutting, lighting, and inhaling the cigar are matters of etiquette more than anything else, but the rituals extend far beyond the crispy tobacco leaves. Even cigar humidors are subject to some degree of decorum, and these essential cigar accessories have become symbols of status, perhaps just as much as the iconic cigar, itself.

The importance of humidors lies mainly in the delicate nature of the tobacco leaf. Cigars are made of organic matter, and are therefore prone to deterioration, but if stored appropriately, they are generally better with age, just like wine. Yet, it is not only the perishable leaf that makes it essential to store tobacco carefully. The natural oils which keep the leaves moist, tender, and fragrant, will eventually seep through the leaves or evaporate, unless a humidor is used. Not even your finest cigar will escape the dreadful fate of turning into a bitter, dry, dull hulk of tobacco rolls, if it has not had the pleasure of settling inside a humidor.

Cigars will typically start yielding their best flavors after about 5 years, provided they have been stored adequately. Unless they are stored in a humidor, they can dry, rot, or become infested in a matter of days, depending on the type of temperature and sunlight they are exposed to. It is ultimately up to you to decide how long you should store your cigars, but it is always a good idea to buy larger boxes and to take the odd cigarette every few months to sample and test for optimum flavors.

A good cigar should not be moist or dry, but somewhere in between. In other words, the essential oils should not seep from it, nor should the leaves crackle under pressure. A good rule of thumb is to press the press the cigar gently with your thumb and to check that the leaves regain their shape. A dry cigar will take weeks and considerable effort to revive, and the results are not always satisfactory.

CIGAR AGING

Before they can be relished, cigars need to mature over the course of six months before being shipped to tobacco shops, but some producers and distributors bypass this stage for obvious reasons. Because cigars develop a more refined and balanced flavor during the aging process, cigar enthusiasts should store cigars for at least 3 months in a cigar humidor, before they can draw their first smoke.

Some people like to keep the cellophane wrap on cigars when storing them, but this is somewhat counterproductive. The whole point of using a cigar humidor is to have the air circulating freely around the cigars. The cellophane also tends to create a greenhouse effect and slightly raises the temperature within it. When there are no dividers, however, wrapping is quite effective in keeping the original flavors pure. Premium cigars will be delivered in wrapping made of Spanish cedar, to intensify the aroma. It is ultimately up to the owner to decide how to store the cigars.

Cigars have an unlimited lifespan, and if stored properly, can outlive even the most hardened centenarian. Premium cigars are cherished particularly because their tobacco flavors unfurl after many years or decades of storage. But a cigar’s longevity ultimately depends on your personal preferences because each cigar brand will age differently.

CIGAR SEASONING

As you store your treasured tobacco rolls, keep in mind that cigars seem to thrive on the fragrance of their environment, so surrounding objects will eventually impart their scent onto the cigars. To minimize the tendency of cigars to have their aromatic qualities tainted, dividers are used in cigar humidors. However, it is recommended that different cigar brands be stored in their original boxes and that these boxes should not be opened in the humidors. This is especially important for cigars that have different countries of origin, and therefore, altogether incompatible flavor strengths.

Some cigar aficionados like to experiment and to marry various types and brands of cigars, and to store them for several months in unusual arrangements to obtain a certain flavor.

Cigar enthusiasts will tell you that the best humidors are made of mahogany, which is much more resilient to warping than most types of wood. The ideal lining is Spanish cedar, which does not spoil the tobacco’s aromas, like other types of cedar could, and it keeps tobacco beetles at bay.

There is nothing like that Spanish cedar aroma to bring out the best in your robust cigars, but you should not settle for classic mahogany boxes just because it is common practice. In fact, even cigar humidors can be made with Spanish cedar. What is more, they can be much more affordable than regular cabinets and boxes because they can hold hundreds of rolls.

REGULAR CHECK-UPS

It is common practice for cigars to be turned every 1-3 months because humidity levels inside a standard cigar humidor tend to peak in proximity to the humidifying system and plummet in the small recesses at the base of the dividers or trays. This is especially important with humidors that are filled to the brim. You should be looking out for three important factors: air supply, temperature, and humidity levels.

AIR SUPPLY

All cigar humidors should be aerated at least once every 14 days unless they have built-in ventilators. Of course, they must also be air-tight to ensure a constant internal humidity level. It is also best to have a humidor with thick walls and seamless joints, so that the chambers stay airtight and shielded from sunrays.

It may not have crossed your mind, but the size of your cigar humidor does matter when it comes to the longevity of your cherished cigars. Humidor ads will typically state a capacity based on the number of Corona or Corona Extra cigars it can hold, but if you prefer larger ones, you may be in for a bit of a shock.

Therefore, as you scout the market for that perfect humidor, look for something a little bit larger than what you would normally use, just so that you can have a bit of leeway if a friend turns up with a gift of cigars that are slightly larger than your own. The humidor needs to be practical and spacious if you want your cigars to enjoy a carefree life. Moving them about from one compartment to another or from one shelf to the other may not seem like such a big thing now, but if you carry on like this for days on end, you will eventually notice a change in the taste and feel of your cigars.

After you have bought your cigar humidor, you can use the extra space as an excuse to expand your collection. Remember, though, that it is extremely important to make sure that the cigars you have now can enjoy ample space for the humid air to flow freely between them.

You will need a cigar humidor large enough to accommodate two essential cigar accessories: a humidifying device and a hygrometer. These are useful accessories, but they will need to be replaced regularly to keep protecting your cigars. The lift-out trays, dividers, and shelves should create stable, generous compartments that facilitate airflow and allow the right levels of humidity to reach the tobacco leaves; no more, no less.

STORING CIGARS WITHOUT A HUMIDOR

NO HUMIDOR? NO PROBLEM

We have all been there: the bachelor party/wedding/birth of your buddy’s child where someone hands you a cigar you may want to smoke someday. The problem is if you do not have a humidor to store it in, that cigar will dry out and become un-smokable in a matter of days.

Whatever you do, do not follow your uncle’s advice, and use a sponge method or put it in the freezer or refrigerator — that WILL ruin it.

Luckily, there are several easy ways to keep cigars fresh without an expensive humidor, using items you probably already own along with a very affordable humidity packet called Humidi-Cure™.

ZIPLOC BAG

If you are just looking to store a cigar or three, a common Ziploc bag and a moist Humidi-Cure™ are all you need. Just take a large freezer bag and place the sticks inside. Next, purchase a new Humidi-Cure™. Place the Humidi-Cure™ in the bag and seal tightly. The Humidi-Cure™ will keep the setup humid for several months.  Just be sure to check in on the cigars occasionally to make sure the Humidi-Cure™ did not dry out by using the provided indicator card.

TUPPERWARE CONTAINER OR JAR

For a little added protection, a Tupperware container or glass jar can make for a genuinely nice makeshift humidor. These can be especially nice if you want to store more than a couple of cigars. You then use a new Humidi-Cure™ to keep the humidity up—it helps prevent mold and ensures that the cigars will not be exposed to any chemicals found in standard tap water that could affect the flavor when you choose to use a sponge method which is not recommended.

SMALL COOLER​

If you plan on keeping the cigars around for more than a few months, the best option—outside of a humidor—would be a standard cooler. Any size cooler can work depending on how many cigars you are looking to store. A cooler will do a nice job of keeping the relative humidity where it needs to be to be for an extended period. While a wet Humidi-Cure will certainly do the trick, you may want to consider picking up a gallon of distilled water, a proper humidification device, and a hydrometer. For less than $20 bucks, you can have a full-time humidor that requires extraordinarily little babysitting.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR TOBACCO FRESH?

Tobacco smoking is a pleasant experience if you treat it right! I say this because tobacco smokers know it is not enjoyable if the substance is too dry or wet. The ideal state of your tobacco should be moist and fresh, and that is the way you can enjoy every puff and have lasting smoke. If you are a regular buyer at Windy City Cigars, you would have noticed that our tobacco always come moist and fresh because we care about your health and enjoyment. But the trouble is when you have purchased your pipe tobacco, especially in large quantity to give you enough supply if you live where it’s difficult to replenish your stock of smoke.

You can save more money when you store more tobacco

Apart from smokers who live in remote areas where it is challenging to get tobacco supply, regular smokers should consider bulk tobacco to get some price advantage too. In this discussion, we will look at how you can store a large quantity of tobacco to save money and keep it fresh and nice for a longer time.

KEEPING TOBACCO FRESH: TIPS AND TRICKS

No tobacco goes stale – they dry out! When it dries out, it becomes harsh in taste. You may not know this, but the tobacco production method is intended to make the leaves dry out. It is when the leaves become dry that chemical changes to take place to make the smoke smoother and less harsh when you smoke it. Therefore, when we talk about keeping your tobacco fresh, we are simply saying it is not suitable for the substance to become completely dry out. The tips and tricks we would discuss here will help to halt the process of your tobacco drying out completely. This process takes rehydrating the substance to keep it in moist and fresh condition continuously for longer shelf life.

 Before we discuss the tips and tricks, I need you to understand that you cannot stop your tobacco from drying out because it is made that way. The moment you open the pack, the drying process will commence. Your only effort should be to keep it fresh to make it pleasant to smoke. Tips to keep tobacco fresh Open with care. Remember that your tobacco drying out process accelerates the moment you open the pack. This means to keep your tobacco fresh, do not damage the package to continue having it remained in its original bag safely.

Be careful storing in freezers. Your goal is to keep the tobacco humid and not dry out, but the air in the freezer is too dry to help with your purpose.

USE AIRTIGHT CONTAINER

If the original packaging with which the tobacco was supplied has been damaged or it’s not airtight, you need to get an airtight container to store your tobacco. For this purpose, I will recommend a glass container as it works best than any other type out there. Before keeping your smoke in it, make sure to sterilize it in hot water and completely dry it using a tea towel ensuring it is free of water before storing the tobacco and keep it tightly closed. Label the container showing the date you put the tobacco in it for storage and store it in temperature, not more than 70 degrees F.

USE A ZIPLOC BAG.

The Ziploc bag is a convenient way to store your tobacco, open it and keep it locked up in an airtight environment again. The reason this bag is so useful is that you can manually moisten the content by sprinkling water on it. However, you need to be careful not to wet the leaves to prevent mold and other fungi element growing on your tobacco which will become toxic with time. Get a humidor. A humidor is a container which controls the quantity of moisture in the air inside it. Using a humidor can save you the trouble of manually wetting your tobacco to keep it hydrated and fresh for smoking.

There are tons of DIY ways to keep your tobacco fresh and pleasant to smoke. In a nutshell, anything moist will keep your tobacco fresh; however; the above tips will help you get things going without the need to worry. Apart from the suggestions already discussed, there are tricks people use to achieve the same result, and I will discuss a few of them next. However, in term of tricks, be warned that it works differently according to the environment and your understanding of the use. Here are some tricks you should know.

THINGS NOT TO USE TOBACCO FRESH

Because man has heard of old methods to keep tobacco fresh, does not mean its right to do so. In fact, it is extremely risky to use these old tricks, as they often can turn good tobacco into bad tobacco.

From cotton balls to orange peels, to sponges to apple peels, and clay discs, man has unknowingly ruined great tobacco over the years. Things you should know by using these methods and what is at risk when trying to freshen up your smoke.

Cotton Balls or Sponges – The problem with these methods you do not know how much water and moisture you are using in the sponge or cotton ball. Thus, the higher levels of moisture in a cotton ball or sponge can lead to mold and mildew quickly. Once it grows you have ruined your tobacco and if you smoke it know this. Tobacco is clearly a source of fungal spores. The mycotoxins found in mold are not destroyed when tobacco is burned. They will transfer into the smoke, and the person smoking this mold infected tobacco will ingest these harmful, and potentially deadly toxins into their lungs where it will then enter their blood stream. Even temperature treatments, such as cooking and freezing, do not destroy mold mycotoxins.

Apple Peels – By cutting up some apple peels and adding it into the tobacco pouch and storing it in the freezer. You never want to freeze tobacco. Like anything else you keep in the freezer, tobacco and herbs are no exception to freezer burn. And freezer burn will pretty much ruin the product, as the oil and ingredients can completely dry out with no hopes to get it back.

Orange Peels – The more peels you add in a tobacco container, the more humid you get and he fresher your smoke, right? WRONG! There is one major problem that presents itself in this scenario: mold.

Mold is something that people pay thousands of dollars to have removed from their homes because it’s generally accepted that mold growth can be harmful to one’s health. Despite the food industry’s efforts to introduce preservative agents to produce, like oranges, for example, vegetables and fruits will most certainly grow mold if not consumed within a reasonable window of time. The fact of the matter is, bacteria are inherently attracted to oil, and what is an orange other than a big ball of oil? Okay, maybe that is not what we think of immediately, but we can all agree that oranges excrete orange oil — “an essential oil from orange peel or orange flowers” — to which bacteria will eventually be drawn. Thus, by introducing a bacteria covered orange peel to a sealed bag of tobacco will only promote the growth of mold, and not just on the orange peel, but on your tobacco as well.

Clay Discs – You can get these at tobacco shops for couple of bucks. The problem is when you soak them and place it where your tobacco is kept you can be over moisturizing or under moisturizing. So, you have no way to understand really how much humidity and moisture you are putting into the tobacco. Thus, as a result you could be growing mold or mildew. More importantly using basic tap water, your adding chemicals from the water into your tobacco, which will change the taste of your tobacco and what you are breathing in.