How to Store Cigars and Aging Your Cigars
Like the aging of a fine wine, maintaining a constant “Cigar Climate” is an important aspect of the cigar experience, ensuring that each cigar delivers the optimal level of consistency, taste and overall satisfaction. To start with, a Humidor is simply a storage container that will help preserve tobaccos or cigars in a humidified state.
A humidor may come in all shapes, sizes or materials, but what is the most important aspect of a humidor is the humidification device contained within. Ideally cigars should be kept at roughly room temperature and between 68% and 72% humidity. This is the perfect range for tobacco, as it helps lock in the tobaccos flavor as well as keeping the tobacco pliable enough to hold its shape. Under-humidification will cause dry and brittle tobaccos that can lose flavor as well as crumble apart. Over-humidification, especially with warmer temperatures, can wreak even greater havoc bringing about a swell in the cigars size causing it to split or causing the bane of cigar aficionados everywhere, mold. These no-no’s, as well as severe fluctuations in climate will severely affect the cigars draw, all but destroying a cigars ability to deliver the proper smoke. Bottom line: Consistency in both temperature and humidity will ensure a consistently satisfying smoke each and every time.
“So how do we maintain the proper level of humidity?”
Since temperature is fairly easy to maintain, the main focus is on keeping the humidity at the proper level. There are many humidification devices available that are created specifically for cigars ranging from simple pre-calibrated gel packs to precision-engineered electronic devices for larger cigar stashes. It simply comes down to the amount of cigars you need to humidify, your budget and ultimately your personal preference.
Humidors are as varying as the cigars they contain, being made from wood, metal, glass, plastic and beyond. A humidor should be large enough to contain your average cigar consumption, while allowing for a few extras you might pick up along the way. About the size of a shoe box, the average size humidor usually will accommodate between 25 to 50 cigars or roughly 1 to 2 boxes of cigars. Wooden humidors are the classic cigar humidor, lined with Spanish cedar or sometimes mahogany. The cedar helps maintain moisture while also helping continue the aging of the tobacco, as well as helping to repel unwanted critters such as the infamous tobacco beetle. Metal or glass humidors may often be found with cedar linings as well as cedar-lined travel cases and tubes. Cedar is not an absolute necessity, yet it is a great option to have available. Whether a wooden humidor with a capacity of 300 or more cigars for the serious connoisseur or a simple 5-stick pocket humidor for the travelling enthusiast, humidors indeed come in all shapes, sizes and materials, so there will always be just the right one for you.
To learn how to properly season a humidor, check out this guide and infographic here.
What are the types of humidors available?
Desktop: Desktop Humidors are the most common of humidors, coming in the basic all-wood box to the glass-top humidors that will combine the functionality of a wooden humidor with a more elegant form that puts your magnificent smokes on display in all their glory. When selecting a desk top humidor, consider the size, style and its placement in the room. It is after all a piece of furniture and should be treated as such, so if it will be on display consider how it fits with your overall décor.
Travel: Travel humidors are ones that will accommodate a handful of cigars that can be easily transported. Travel humidors come in various sizes, the most popular humidors range from five to fifteen cigars, although there are many other travel humidors that will contain many more.
Cases: Cigar cases are generally not for humidification purposes, yet strictly for protection of you smokeable treasures. From plastic to leather to carbon fiber, cigar cases are great idea for those out on the town or out on the links. Although most cases will accommodate a variety of sizes, it is always a good idea to consider what the average size of your usual cigars and then select a case that will hold ones slightly bigger. This way you have greater flexibility in your selection! Many connoisseurs will have different cases for different sizes if their tastes are too broad for one “do-it-all” case.
Tubes: Cigar tubes are another way to protect cigars from your travels. Like cigar cases, the more stylish tubes can put an exclamation point of class on any special occasion. Although some tubes have the ability to humidify the cigar, most are simply a matter of convenience.
The process of aging cigars is a favorite pastime amongst connoisseurs and can be a fun and fulfilling hobby. Aging cigars is quite simply stashing away cigars in a properly maintained humidor for months or even years. Quality tobacco, like fine wines, will continue to age, developing nuances in taste and body that only come from the patient hands of time. Although extremely rare these days, cigars still exist from the 19th Century that are, not only smokeable, but better than ever before because they have been properly cared for. So if you have the time and the space, designate some cigars for aging duty and if you can wait it out, become part of a cigars character! Plan a get-together with your fellow aficionados, pour some libations and have a tasting party, smoking the same type of cigar that has gone through varying degrees of aging and discuss the differences of each. Who says serious research can’t be a good time!
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