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How To Store Cigars


Cuban cigars originate from the Caribbean, which has a tropical climate very different to Europe. As a natural product, your Havana cigars need to be kept carefully. They are used to being in a warm climate with a relatively high humidity.

Therefore they will need to be protected from extremes of temperature and humidity (particularly low humidity). This is particularly difficult to achieve in air conditioned and centrally heated buildings, where the air tends to get de-humidified and cigars can dry out very quickly. Some cigars come in aluminum tubes which can help preserve them in dry climates, however they tend to mature at a much slower rate than 'naked' boxed cigars.

Maintain a temperature of 16 C to 20 C and a relative humidity of 65% - 70%.

In the UK you will need a humidor to maintain the humidity of your cigars at various times of the year:

Humidity

At the least, keep your cigars in a tight fitting cupboard, drawer or box, away from radiators and other sources of heat. Pick the coolest indoor spot in your house. Leave the cigars in their original boxes as this will help preserve them, stop them from being damaged, and prevent any cross-tainting of flavours between different varieties of cigars stored in the same area. If the humidity in your make-shift humidor is low, a damp sponge in a cup will serve as a basic provider of humidity.

When you purchase your cigars from Tomtom, they will be packed in an airtight zip-loc bag, which will maintain the humidity of your cigars while you transport them from the shop to your humidor. These bags are a very efficient short term humidor, however we would not recommend that you leave your cigars sealed in these bags for more than one month. Although humidity will be maintained, cigars also need to be exposed to some fresh air to allow them to 'breathe' and age correctly.

A variety of desk-top and travel humidors can be purchased (see 'Accessories') and are an essential item for the dedicated cigar smoker (more information below).

Temperature

The danger of excessive temperature (combined with too much humidity) is that the cigars can either go moldy or be damaged by weavil attack. If cigars go moldy, this is generally not a problem, as long as it is spotted reasonably soon and the mould (or bloom) only appears on the wrapper leaf. The mould can be removed with a soft brush (e.g. a badger shaving brush) and then the cigar can be returned to store in the correct conditions. If mould gets into the end of the cigar, we recommend that you do not smoke it. Weavil, or tobacco beetle, is a more serious problem. If you see any small holes in your cigar, you should take immediate action. Please call Tomtom for further advice. Never store cigars near direct sunlight or for long periods exposed to sea breezes (salt will not enhance your smoke). The lower the temperature, the higher the humidity required to compensate.

Desk-Top Humidors

There is a very wide selection of these humidors on the market. The basic design requirements are that they are sealable (and generally lockable!), but allow the cigars to breathe. This is normally achieved by leaving the base of the box unvarnished: and no portion of the inner cedar box should be laminated. The box contains a fitting, which provides the humidity: this is normally a pad containing a sponge or chalk, which can be dampened. The box may also contain a dial showing humidity and temperature.

As a rule of thumb, the smaller the box, the harder it is to maintain a steady level of humidity within its confines. These humidors do not regulate temperature. The price range starts from about 125 for a plexi glass humidor, which will hold approximately 50 cigars to 2000 and above. A comprehensive selection is shown on our accessory page. Fabulous humidors can also be created out of antique boxes which many families have inherited as writing slopes or medal cases and which have since become redundant. This is a very cost-effective way of storing your cigars in a unique and personal humidor.

Travel Humidors

Ranging in price from 100 upwards. These are not suitable for long-term storage of cigars, however they are essential if you are moving about: the wrapper leaf on a handmade cigar is very thin and delicate and will easily damage. The safest way to prevent this is to keep the cigars in their original box, in tubes or in a purpose-built travel humidor.

Cigar Cases

Generally these do not offer humidification systems built in, but will protect your cigars if you take them in your pocket for the day. There are some metal tubes with hermetically sealed screw tops that will act in the same way as a cigar tube and seal in moisture. The majority are made from leather and offer protection from damage as well as limited protection from fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

Reviving Dried-Out Cigars

This is not an exact science and not always successful. Dry cigars need to be rehumidified very slowly and with care. We suggest you speak to us

Footnote

We do NOT recommend that cigars are kept in a refrigerator for storage. It is likely that the cigars will be dried out by this process and irretrievably damaged.

Submitted by:

Mike Keesling

Mike Keesling is a freelance writer and cigar afficiando. His favorite cigar emporium is Ceniza Lounge http://www.cenizalounge.com in Pasadena, California.





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