Cigars, like any natural product, must be protected from extremes of temperature. A cigar that is too dry will smoke hot and unevenly. A cigar that is too moist will be hard to light and just as difficult to puff.
The ideal humidity to store your cigars is between 65-75 percentage humidity. Ideally it is best to put your cigars in cedar boxes to enhance the flavor of tobacco over a period of time – the longer the better. This works great if you have a humidor large enough to handle storing your cigars within their own boxes. Make sure to remove the cellophane wrapper before placing the cigars in your humidor. This permits the cigar to breathe.
Many aficionados recommend rotating your cigars monthly so that they will all receive the same degree of humidification.
Keep them away from any direct heat. Find the coolest place you can in your house.
Aging cigars is similar to aging wine. Cigars can be aged for as long as ten to twenty years. However one to five years is the norm. Some tobacco will not age at all while some will have their flavors enhanced. Another reminder is to keep your Dominican’s away from your Hondurans or the cigars will end up tasting the same.
One more piece of advice: although a plastic container is okay for short term storage, it will not permit the cigar to age. It can actually cause over-humidification because the moisture has no place to go but into the cigar.
Properly stored cigars should be firm, yet resilient. When gently squeezed a cigar should make almost no sound, any significant crackling means the cigar is too dry. The generally accepted ideal conditions for cigar storage are 70F and 70-73 percent RH. Variation from these conditions can cause dryness, mold growth, bug infestation, split wrappers, and any number of other serious problems.
A cigar should be close to the same firmness over its entire length. Hard or soft spots mean the cigar is filled inconsistently.
If you don’t have a humidor (a container to maintain proper temperature and humidity) then leave any cellophane wrapping on to prevent moisture loss. Lacking proper storage, it would be best to smoke the cigar within 12-24 hours of purchase. If the cigar is in a sealed tube, then this period could be extended to several days, weeks, or even longer if you trust the seal on the tube.
WHAT’S THE BEST TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY TO STORE CIGARS?
If you keep your cigars at 70 percent relative humidity and 70 degrees F, they’ll dry out over a long period of time. To combat this, get a decent humidor, keep the cigars at room temperature, charge the humidifier in the humidor regularly and you’ll have no problem. For large walk-in humidors, remember that a manufacturer equilibrates cigars after rolling at room temperature and about 72 percent relative humidity. At this level of temperature and humidity, the three parts of the cigars are allowed to equalize in moisture content, to slowly, ever so slowly, dry down. So room temperature and 72 percent humidity will keep cigars over time and 73 percent humidity will keep cigars perfect forever.
As the temperature gets lower, the humidity has to get higher to keep the cigars fresh. Never let the temperature get high. High temperature and high humidity create an incubator atmosphere and before you know it, there will be little bugs flying around to ruin your entire selection or a white mold will develop, or both. Dry cigars have less flavor and aroma, are less mild and flake off in the mouth. Dryness is the major cause of unraveling wrappers, the second most frequent complaint among premium cigar smokers.
When you purchase that box of cigars for smoking, make sure your source has kept them properly. Otherwise, if they’re not in good condition, you’ll never be able to tell if they’re good or not good, consistent or inconsistent.
Aging a cigar is a matter of personal taste. Some prefer fresh cigars, those rolled within the last six months – others will age their cigars a full five to six years before smoking them. Whatever you decide, be it 20 years or more, cigars should be kept in a controlled environment, between 70 to 72 degrees with 70 percent humidity.
If different types of cigars are stored together in the same humidor, they may take on each others’ flavors. It can get expensive to purchase humidors for each of your favorite brands/types, so make sure your humidor has dividers.
A dry cigar will bum too hot and ruin its flavor. To re-moisturize, place your cigars in a humidor that has not been charged in the last week for two or three days. Fill the humidification system half way and let them lay for a week before fully charging the humidity regulator, this will prevent them from getting too moist too quickly.