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BLOG: Cigar Storage 101

As we approach another hot summer across New Zealand, I thought a quick BLOG-TIP on storing your cigars is in good order;

First up - do you own a humidor?
It is not necessary, but if you were a casual cigar aficionado and now find yourself with several zip-lock bags with cigars in them; it might be time to look at a humidor.

Humidors are lined with Spanish Cedar (spoiler, it's not actually a Spanish cedar) which helps regulate humidity (a little bit) and helps with aging/storing process through it being a neutral wood.

If you store more than a handful of cigars at a time, it's well worth the investment to protect your cigars (let's face it, they're not cheap).

Regardless of humidor or no humidor, you want to always ensure your cigars are stored at 20 degrees or a little less; anything over 20 degrees may cause catastrophic damage to them.

Next - if you do, how do you regulate the humidity?
The key to cigar storage is humidity, temperature and RH (relative humidity) play a big part here; in the cigar world you will hear the term 70/70 (70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% humidity) which is considered the "ideal" conditions for cigars.

There are three basic types of humidity solutions;
Oasis florists block with 50/50 solution - provides humidity as the solution evaporates but doesn't provide any regulation at all (hit & miss)

Gel-jar with 50/50 solution - much like the oasis block but the gel-jar's do attempt to control the humidity a bit more; but they cannot re-absorb humidity if/when the weather and RH (relative humidity) changes.

Boveda packs - now considered to be the best solution for cigars, these packs have a unique solution within them and can increase and decrease the humidity to provide an exact level (69% and 72% are considered the best for cigars).
They are the first 2-way humidity solution.

Overall though the key is outside temperature and RH will alter the humidity levels within your humidor; with my controlled room I never see any major changes in humidity; but if there is a prolonged period of rain or dry days, I will see it alter a bit.

Too much humidity, your cigars may swell and split; too little humidity and and they will become dry, possibly crack; but worst of all, it will not taste as great as it can when stored correctly.

Same also applies when you pluck a cigar out of a 20 degree room and perfect humidity and sit outside on a cold day or extremely hot day; the cigar will react with the environment - after all, it is just 100% pure, natural tobacco leaf and it's going to react to changes, quickly.

 

Temperature - this is the big thing
Regardless of using a zip-lock bag, Tupperware container or a humidor; summer it's all about the heat I'm afraid.

Anything over 21 degrees (70 Fahrenheit) and you start to run risks of tobacco beetles and large humidity changes.

The majority of cigars I import have been frozen before export, so the risk of tobacco beetles is a lot less than say Cuban cigars that do not go through that process; so that's good a start.

Luckily we have a temperature controlled walk-in humidor for our cigar storage.

So, if you have Air-conditioning, you will probably be running that during summer and your cigars will enjoy staying in a relatively cool and stable temperature.

If you don't - you need to find the coolest place in your house and move your precious cigars there; you might not get them down to 20 degrees, but they'll be less than the maximum of the day.

Another trick I used to do (back when I had just 10 or so boxes of cigar stock) was to place the cigars and/or humidor inside a chilly-bin; the insulation of the chilly-bin will keep the cigars another couple of degrees cooler; it's better than nothing...

It might sound silly, but if you have air conditioning at work; take your humidor to work for the day!

 

Other quick tips:-

Digital Hygrometer
I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have accurate information; throw the analogue hygrometer away and get a reliable digital one, TODAY!
Xikar Digital hygrometer
Boveda packs
Again, take the guess work out of your humidor and get some Boveda-packs, they last 6+ months and ensure your cigars are near-perfect
Boveda 320g 72% Humidification pack
Humidor Maintenance
This is also really easy and must be done every 3 to 6 months; using your 50/50 solution, re-season the lips of your humidor; it makes a huge difference in the storage and seal of your humidor
Xikar 50/50 solution
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