Today I want to revisit the way we think about Humidity and Cigar Storage -why?
Well for the last 30 years I've always followed the 70/70 rule (70F or 21C and 70% humidity) - however (thankfully) as we get older we start challenging things and also there is now a lot of different types of tobacco being used that don't fit neatly into this one-size-fits-all 70/70 rule for cigar storage.
Being really simplistic, 30+ years ago it was fair to say the world was mainly dominated by Habano style tobaccos whereas today it'd be more realistic to say we have the biggest diversity in tobaccos in use within the cigar world.
Habano, Corojo, Criollo, Broadleaf, Cameroon, Shade, Sumatra, San Andres are the more typical ones I can think of without hitting Google; then these tobaccos change again because they're grown in several different countries and climates and then you can add Shade (covered) and Sun Grown (not covered) to really complicate things.
And that's without getting into the new hybrid tobaccos and then the new Cameroon tobaccos being grown in Honduras...
From a basic level in the last few years its largely been agreed that thicker wrappers like Connecticut Broadleaf, San Andres do better at being stored at lower humidity levels (~65%) and liter, thinner tobaccos (Connecticut Shade, Cameroon, Sumatra) are better at higher humidity levels (~69%).
Then to throw a spanner in the works, some crafty collectors use a lower temperate to almost stagnate the aging process of their cigars; as low as 12C (53F) with obviously a humidifier working overtime to keep the humidity around 65%... remember it is Relative Humidity - you need a base temperate to achieve your desired humidity and the two work absolutely hand in hand.
Have I confused you enough yet? Sorry.
What we are tending to do now, is recommend you store your cigars at closer to 65% humidity and not 70% humidity - we are certainly (personally) finding no issues with the change to a slightly lower humidity for our collections.
A bit like last weeks blog-post I am bemused to see some cigar sites recommending up to 75% humidity as "okay" and also 75F (23.9C) as "okay" for cigar storage; there is no way we'd ever endorse these high levels!
However - please remember New Zealand has some obvious humidity differences; Auckland is typically higher in humidity than the dryer South... Christchurch etc. we still recommend 72% Boveda's because honestly, most of the time they manage to produce a stable 68-69% humidity level; Auckland however, we would be starting to look at the 65% humidity packs.
Right now you might be fighting to get stable humidity in your humidor; remember it is winter and most homes will fluctuate in temperature depending on when the fire or heat pump is on etc. and where you store your humidor.
Ideally stick it in the walk-in wardrobe or a closet like that; as the temperate is generally less like to bounce up and down.
If your humidity is high, that is a big issue; if your temperate is high (in summer) that is a big issue too.
So what am I trying to say?
Rethink our reliance on the 70/70 rule; think about the dominant wrapper-finishes you have in your humidor and go lower or higher depending on that.
If you are like me and have an absolute hodge podge of a mix; then go 65-68% humidity if you can.
Remember this is just my new learnings; your personal location and your humidor storage location is going to have a big impact on your humidity.
You may have already discovered your ideal humidity - I'm keen to hear what works best for you.
Do you have cigars that tunnel?
Do you have cigars that don't burn evenly?
Do you have cigars that are "squidgy"?
These are things to think about, they are subtle signs you may need to adjust your humidity.
Remember (sorry, it gets messier) your cigars are made up of a mix of all the tobaccos I've listed; all cigars have a blend of tobaccos; they will all absorb moisture at different rates - thats the fun bit of blending cigars.
Overall, the Master Blenders do do a great job of making the blend burn as perfectly as they can; but that is subjective because that was when they were blending them in Central America at a much warmer and more humid environment overall from New Zealand...
Damn, why did I start this subject...
Next I guess we need to talk about dry-boxing and all that stuff too... sigh...
( you can Google dry-boxing cigars if you are curious by the way )