Why You Should Keep Cigars in a Humidor
One of my favorite aspects of a cigar is the fact that it is a handmade product. A fine, hand-rolled cigar showcases the ingenuity, talent and time that went into creating it. It is not merely rolling leaves into a cigar shape. It takes craftsmanship, insight, and patience to create that perfect cigar experience.
Being a hand-made product, cigars cannot be simply stored in a cabinet like a box of cookies. They aren’t artificial items created in some industrial factories, and so they needed some tender love and care in order to thrive.
The best way to care for your cigars is to store them in a humidor. Let’s take a look at what a humidor is and why it’s so vital to caring for your cigars.
What is a Humidor?
In short, a humidor is any device used to store cigars. While it is most commonly a wooden box, in theory, a receptacle that can correctly store your cigars is considered a humidor. This ranges from your average desktop humidor to plastic travel humidors, and heavy-duty pelican cases.
The most important thing to remember is that you must be able to control the two most important properties of cigar maintenance; temperature and humidity.
Temperature and Humidity
In case someone out there is confused, let’s explain the difference between temperature and humidity and why they are so important to taking care of your cigars. Temperature is the degree or amount of heat apparent in the atmosphere, while humidity is the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
Cigar tobacco is typically grown in Central and South America, areas of the world close to the equator. These locations, such as the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua are known for being both quite warm and very humid. In order to correctly maintain your cigars, you need to mimic these atmospheric conditions in a controlled setting.
The perfect setting for your cigars would be around 72°F and a humidity level between 68-72%. If they are under that, you risk the cigars drying out and losing the oils that help keep them together.
If your humidor goes above those numbers, the cigar can become equally distressed. Having a humidor that is too hot or humid can create mold, foster tobacco beetles, or create a cigar that is too damp even to light. It is important to keep your humidor around these settings at all times.
Up until recently, maintaining your cigars and your humidor required several different pieces of equipment and to be honest those practices had a tendency to be hit or miss. However, with modern technology, maintaining a proper humidor is easier than ever before.
I maintain my humidor using a digital hydrometer and humidity packs from a company known as Boveda. These are simple gel packs that are calibrated to different levels of humidity depending on your needs. You simply toss the packs in your humidor walk away. They last a few months and then are easily replaced.
In order to optimize your cigar experience, it is important to put in the time to take care of them. As the saying goes “a healthy humidor is a happy humidor”. No one ever said that, but it’s true.