How to Store a Cigar

You purchased a box of your favorite cigars now, you will need something to store them in. The box they came in will not do.

Cigars must live in an environment, (warm and very humid); similar to where they were born and the best way to simulate that environment is with a humidor. A humidor will vary sizes from the small wooden boxes to the large wooden cabinets. Before purchasing a wooden humidor perform the “whoosh test” by lifting the lid about three inches, let it drop and listen for a “whoosh” of air escaping which prevents the lid from slamming. A “whoosh” means the humidor is crafted well enough to create a tight seal.

Another option, if for some reason you don’t want to purchase a nice wooden humidor, is to use a plastic container (Rubbermaid or Tupperware); however, plastic containers don’t allow your cigars to “breathe” and a modest amount of air flow is needed to help prevent mold and keeping your stogies fresh. Open the plastic container once a month to check for the proper moisture.

Cigars kept in a Ziploc bag are only good for a couple of weeks before they experience any ill effects.

Along with your humidor (whether it is made of wood or plastic) purchase a humidifier. There are several different types of humidifiers ranging from the cheap florist foam which is enclosed in a vented plastic piece to the built-in which is usually attached by a magnet to the lid of the humidor. Read the Manufacturer’s instructions on the proper way to moisten your humidifier. Usually you will need to moisten your humidifier by either dunking it into a bowl or use a small squeeze bottle filled with distilled water.

The other item you will need for your humidor is the hygrometer, which is used to measure the humidor’s humidity levels. The hygrometer is helpful; however, you should perform the “pinch test” (every two weeks) to help make sure your cigars are humidified properly. Based on how your cigars feel, you will be able to determine whether or not to add or remove moisture from your humidor.

A good rule of thumb is the 70/70 Rule, 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21.1 degrees Celsius and 70% humidity.

The problem with having cigars that are too wet will not only make them susceptible to mold but, also be harder to light and keep it lit.

If the cigars are too dry the wrapper will crack, it will burn hot with a harsh taste. With dry cigars the essential oils within the cigar will evaporate leaving you with a bland and tasteless smoke.

If you don’t want you cigars to end up dry and tasteless, before placing any stogies in a humidor you must first stabilize the humidor by following these simple steps.

  1. Charge your humidifying device.
  2. Place a calibrated (salt tested) hygrometer in the humidor.
  3. Place a shallow dish of distilled water in the humidor. Some people rub the sides of the humidor with distilled water, don’t do this, as this will only bring up the grain of the wood.
  4. Place the humidification device inside the humidor.
  5. Check the humidity every day. When it reaches and stays at 70%, it's time to add your cigars. It may take a few days to a few weeks to stabilize.

Several reasons why your humidor may take a while to stabilize:

  1. You live in a dry area.
  2. The humidor’s wood is very dry.
  3. The humidor doesn't seal well.

To ensure you don’t have a leaky humidor place it inside a Ziploc bag and if it comes up to humidity in the bag but, not outside the bag then the humidor is leaky.

After your humidor is stabilized, you will only need to add distilled water to the humidifying device before it is completely dried out (check the manufacturer’s instruction sheet).

Now, calibrate your hygrometer:

  1. Place the salt in the bottle cap (or other small container).
  2. Dampen the salt with water. Do not put so much that the salt is "sloppy". You want a damp pile of salt in the bottle cap.
  3. Place both the hygrometer and the bottle cap full of damp salt in the Ziploc bag and seal it well. (It is important not to let air on or out while the test is going on.)
  4. Let everything sit like this for over 8 hours.

After 8 hours in the damp salt environment, the hygrometer should read 75%. If your hygrometer has a control to adjust it, set it to 75% right after it has been calibrated. Test the hygrometer every 6 months or so to be sure it is accurate.