How to Keep Cigars Fresh

Premium Cigars; like fine wine; are refined delicacies that improve as they age. Cigars however, need the proper method of preservation to ensure they age well. Controlled humidity and temperature are paramount to preserve and enhance cigars’ aromas, flavors, and moisture. If cigars become brittle and dry, they would lose their moisture; thus burn unevenly, tear, and lose their intended taste. Remember; whether you are a connoisseur or a casual smoker; you have invested handsomely in your cigar collection, it is a wise investment to preserve them well. Through this guide, we will share with you the best tips to keep your cigars fresh.

Understanding cigar preservation

As we mentioned above; the right humidity and temperature are the main conditions for the ideal cigar preservation, besides some practices that we will share with you. The rule of 70/70; a phrase that is easy to remember, yet speaks the magic words; 65°F to 70°F (18°C to 21°C) is the temperature range ideal for cigar preservation, and 65% to 70% humidity is the ideal range of humidity. Now that we know “what” the right conditions for preserving cigars are, we will delve into “how” to create those conditions.

Preserving cigars with humidors

Humidors are compartments that are designed to create controlled humidity. They are the prime devices that guarantee long-term storage of cigars while preserving their quality. Those compartments have quality seals that prevent humidity from escaping and ensure a consistent level of humidity. Special materials that aid in preserving humidity are also used in constructing those compartments like Spanish cedar wood. Specific types of gel or solution are also placed in the humidifiers and are consistently refilled to induce the desired humidity. Humidors come in all shapes and sizes that serve different purposes. Some are large like cabinets for huge collections or commercial establishments. Some come as desktop humidors; which are the most popular for personal collections and can be fit into cabinets, desks, on top of shelves, or countertops. And some are sturdier, and compact ideal for traveling; for those who would rather move around with their favorite cigars on them; travel humidors can fit in suitcases or vehicles. Regardless of the size and type; most humidors come with hygrometers to accurately measure the humidity, and all of them are designed in a way that allows you to reach for your cigars easily; thus you can also rotate them regularly which is an essential practice to keep humidity distributed well within all the cigar.

Desktop cigar humidors

Desktop cigar humidors have always been the standard and most popular option for the long-term preservation and storage of cigars. They are convenient; since they are big enough to fit plenty of your favorite cigars, yet compact enough to fit anywhere, keep your cigars at an arm’s distance, are aesthetically pleasing when placed into a cabinet or a desk, and are easy to maintain. And Lucky Cigars Desktop humidors have all those mentioned benefits but also with top-of-the-line quality.

Travel cigar humidors 

For the lot of you are always on the move; you don't have to distance yourself from your favorite cigars, but let them tag along and embark on all of your voyages. With the travel humidors, keep your cigars fresh wherever you go. Not to mention, although compact, our Lucky Cigars Travel humidors are also very aesthetically appealing and stylish.

Ways to keep cigars fresh without a humidor

For short-term cigar preservation, one can resort to different preservation methods. These practices will keep cigars fresh for a short period of time, and although they aren't suitable for longer storage periods, they are still better than keeping cigars around without any preservation measures.

Plastic wrap

Cellophane wraps, or ziplock bags slow down the drying of a cigar. A wrapped cigar will have the moisture within it trapped beneath the plastic. However, this method only serves a short period of time because it won't completely preserve the freshness of the cigar; since it just slows the dissipation of humidity rather than maintains it. Thus, the cigar is losing freshness but slightly slower than when placed in open air.

Tupperware method

Slightly bigger and sturdier than plastic wraps, Tupperwares are excellent in giving cigars a sealed environment where their moisture is preserved a little longer than when left in the open air. However, none of the methods mentioned can substitute for a humidor when it comes to long storage. Humidors maintain humidity whereas plastic wraps and Tupperwares only slow down the drying of a cigar. Thus, we stress the importance of investing in a humidor to enjoy the ultimate freshness of a cigar.

Things to consider before buying a cigar humidor

Before we delve into the points to consider before buying a humidor, it is necessary to remember that cigars are delicate and should be handled with care. You should hold them without exerting a lot of pressure, make sure your hands are dry and neither sweaty nor oily, and carry the cigars with your full palm from underneath them in a way that wouldn’t cause tears or unwrapping. Using cases to move cigars around is also useful in preserving the integrity of the cigars.

Pick the right size

Size matters when it comes to cigars. You should consider the size of your cigar collection; both the current collection, and the cigars you intend on adding to your collection in the future. Various types of humidors; whether a travel humidor or a desktop humidor, come in different sizes to accommodate your specific needs.

Humidifier types

There are plenty of humidifier types that serve the same purpose but vary in application. Decide which suits you best based on your willingness to constantly maintain it and the size of your investment. 

  • Sponge-based humidors are cost-effective but need more monitoring and refilling with humidifying solvent. 
  • Gel-based humidifiers are slightly more costly but are low maintenance and the intervals between refilling them are longer. 
  • Electronic humidifiers use electronic sensors and controls to regulate humidity levels automatically. A built-in fan or atomizer disperses moisture into the humidor when needed. They provide precise humidity control and are ideal for larger humidors for those who have a large cigar collection. These humidifiers are more expensive but such is the investment in your peace of mind; since they need less maintenance and the intervals of refilling with humidifying solutions are longer.
  • Boveda packs are a mixture of water and special salts that release or absorb humidity. Thus are designed to give the right humidity needed for cigars. They are easy to use, aren’t messy nor pricey, but are disposable and useful for just short intervals of time.
  • Hybrid humidors use a variety of the humidifier types mentioned above to ensure ideal humidification. 

Lastly, remember to use hygrometers to monitor the humidity levels consistently.

Wood type 

Many humidors are made of cedar wood, mahogany, cherry, or walnut wood. While they all look aesthetically good, the best remains the Spanish cedar wood. Other types of wood need more sealing to prevent moisture loss, while Spanish cedar naturally absorbs and releases moisture, and is also insect and mold-resistant. Yet the best feature of Spanish wood is that it preserves the aromas of the cigars and even adds the satisfying cedar aroma that enhances aging and improves flavor.

Common mistakes to avoid

Avoid buying cheap humidors

Premium cigars aren’t cheap, and placing them in a cheap humidor is like disposing of a considerable investment. Cheap humidors are made of poor materials that can’t retain humidity. Cheap types of wood could lose humidity, might not be pest-resistant, and wouldn’t provide the right seal, hence definitely leak out humidity. Most come with no hygrometers and your cigars would either end up too dry or too moist, thus ruining their flavor and integrity. Cheap humidors wouldn’t have the same durability as premium humidors and although initially cheap, the cost of repairing them would be a bigger investment than buying a premium humidor. And the last but certainly not the least point to make, is that cheap humidors usually don’t look or feel aesthetically appealing.

Do not store in the fridge or freezer

Storing cigars in the fridge or freezer is counterintuitive. Remember, cigars need 70°F and 70% humidity to stay fresh. Fridges or freezers are neither humid enough nor warm enough for cigars. Cigars would dry up faster, thus losing their flavor, aromas, and overall quality, they may even tear or get unwrapped. Freezing cigars changes the chemical composition of cigars, and the condensation of ice would make the cigar brittle, damage the wrapper, and end up burning unevenly when smoking.

Do not use tap water

Some fill humidors with tap water instead of the special humidifying solutions, or distilled water, which are recommended for humidors. Tap water will allow the humidifier to maintain the humidity levels, but it has contaminants that could ruin the flavor and aromas of the cigars. Dispersed contaminants in the form of moisture could carry bacteria or form mold which would damage the cigar collection. Not to forget, the humidor could get clogged due to residues in the water, with time the humidor will need serious repairs.

Frequently asked questions 

How long can cigars last without a humidor?

If your cigar is still in its wrapper it could last for little less than 30 days. But it would be losing quality slowly depending on the ambient temperature and humidity of the room it's placed in. Without a wrapper, the cigar would be better disposed of in around 3 days. If the cigar was resting in the open for a few hours, you will notice the change in its flavor. Place your cigar in a ziplock bag or a Tupperware for a short storage period, that is way more helpful than just placing it out in the open. Yet again, why would you keep cigars out of the humidor unless intended for use?

Can I revive dried-out cigars? 

That depends on the degree of the dryness of the cigar and its physical condition. If the cigar was too dry, or the wrapper looks cracked and torn, or it has developed mold; it is most probably not salvageable anymore. If the cigar’s integrity was intact, we could place the cigar in a humidor but gradually increase humidity, slowly and patiently. If we place a dried cigar in a humidor with high humidity instantly, the cigar wouldn’t properly rehydrate; but rather swell and tear. We should point out however that rehydrated cigars wouldn’t give the exact flavor and aroma as a fresh cigar, although rehydrated; it did lose some of its flavor irreversibly when it dried up.

How often should I check on my stored cigars?

That depends on the type of humidifier that your humidor has. You should check the hygrometer as often as you can to make sure that everything is running smoothly. As for refilling and maintaining the humidor; different types of humidifiers serve different intervals of time before needing refilling as we explained earlier. You are in Luck with Lucky Cigar however, because our humidors are the types that need low maintenance and are of the best quality, so you can rest assured that everything is indeed running smoothly.

Is it necessary to rotate cigars within a humidor?

Yes, it is a very recommended practice. The distribution of humidity within a humidor isn’t uniform; the airflow and proximity from the humidifier cause fluctuations of humidity within the humidor. Rotating cigars ensures that they get even moisture, which is essential for ideal preservation and aging. Also rotating cigars will prevent having flat spots where the cigars rest on the shelves. Flat spots could cause undesirable, uneven burns when smoking.