Storing Your Cigars

humidor is a specially designed box for holding cigars. It's most often made of Spanish cedar and contains a hygrometer to maintain a constant humidity. A constant and proper humidity is essential to keep cigars from drying out or from being too moist and developing mold. A consistent temperature of 68°-70° F and a relative humidity of 70-72% keep your smokes in perfect shape. Proper storage at the appropriate humidity and temperature is the most critical factor in maintaining the quality of cigars.

What you should look for in a good humidor

Make sure the box is perfectly squared and that all seams fit without gapping - gaps inhibit your humidor's ability to maintain a constant humidity. Unfinished Spanish Cedar is considered to be the best wood for the interior. The lid should close tightly and evenly and with a snug fit. The humidification device should maintain a constant and consistent level of humidity with as little maintenance as possible.

What temperature is best for storage?

The best temperature is 70° F, although slightly cooler storage temperatures are all right as long as you maintain a reasonable relative humidity. There is a difference between stable storage and true aging. Lower temperatures will store your cigars fine, but they won't age. This means they won't mature, mellow, or develop the complex characteristics of well-aged smokes. At temperatures too much below 70° , the blended tobaccos will not "marry"; as a result you won't get the subtle changes in flavor many cigar connoisseurs seek.

Horizontal or vertical; how should I store my cigars?

Even if you're not ready to make the investment for a good humidor, you should still store your cigars horizontally. In a still environment, moist air is very slow to mix with drier air. The air will stabilize eventually, but with frequent opening and closing of whatever container you keep your cigars in, this layering effect could make your cigars burn irregularly. If you store cigars horizontally, you can minimize this effect. You can also minimize this effect by not opening your storage box too often. Standing cigars on their end can cause damage, especially if you stand a cigar on its cap. If you don't have a humidor and are serious about storing and enjoying your cigars, you ought to make the investment. A small humidor doesn't cost much more than a few premium cigars and is well worth the price.

Other ways to store your cigars

As mentioned above, you don't have to have a humidor to store your cigars (though to properly age them, you'll need one). Some smokers use a Tupperware container or even a sealed jar. For short-term storage (not more than a year) such containers work fine as long as you properly maintain the proper temperature and humidity.

While suitable for short-term storage, these containers aren't suitable for aging. The porous nature of wood used in a humidor allows for some seepage and mixing of the inside air. This slow mixing results in what is termed "marrying". This is when the varying qualities of different cigars (filler, wrapper and blend) mix with each other and produce unique tastes. You don't get this effect with a sealed container.

How to care for your humidor

Proper care of your humidor will help to give you years of smoking pleasure. The following are basic guidelines for humidor care. (If the vendor has provided initial instructions for them and refer to these instructions for long term maintenance.)

1. Do not put cigars in the humidor until all steps have been completed and the humidity level has been stabilized. If the humidor does not come with a gauge (hygrometer), we recommend purchasing one to correctly monitor humidity levels.

2. To activate the hygrometer, wrap it in a warm, damp towel for 30 minutes. Upon removing it from the towel, you must calibrate the hygrometer by adjusting it until it reads 95 - 97% (by use of a screw on the back or other method--the documentation that comes with the hygrometer should explain how to do this). If it already reads 95-97%, then you are ready to go. Now install it in the humidor and proceed with prep instructions.

3. Use only distilled water or, 100% Mystic or 100% Thompson solutions in you humidor. Place humidifier in a bowl and fill with distilled water or, 100% Mystic or 100% Thompson solutions. Submerge the humidifier halfway, face down in the bowl of water for 2-3 minutes. Remove the humidifier and wipe off excess water with a paper towel.

4. Dampen a new sponge or towel with distilled water or, 100% Mystic or 100% Thompson solutions and wipe the interior (sides, bottom, inside of lid, and any dividers or trays). Do NOT soak the cedar. Dampen only enough to darken the wood.

5. Place a plastic bag on the bottom of the humidor. Place the damp sponge or towel (not dripping) on top of the plastic.

6. Install the humidifier and gauge (hygrometer) to the inside lid. Leave the humidor lid closed for 12-24 hours.

7. Open the humidor and remove the sponge and plastic. Refill the humidifier (step 3) and reinstall in the humidor.

8. Leave the humidor lid closed for 12-24 hours. This will season the wood and raise the humidity level to between 65% and 75%.

9. Do not be concerned if the humidity level is high. It takes a period of time for the level to stabilize and the gauge to adjust. Place cigars in a humidor only when level has decreased to between 65%-75%. To lower level open the lid of the humidor for 1-2 hours. Close the lid and periodically check the humidity level with a gauge.

10. If humidity level is below 65%, follow steps 1-7 again.

Long term maintenance to achieve the best results from you humidor.

1. Periodically rotate your cigars (once a month).

2. Keep your humidor away from direct sunlight, heat/air conditioning ducts, and direct interior lighting. Dust only with a cloth (polishes may affect the wood and cigar flavor).

3. Open your humidor as little as possible to maintain the humidity level.

4. If cigars are wrapped, remove from cellophane to maintain freshness and enhance curing.

5. Periodically check humidity level and remoisten humidifier (step 3) with distilled water or, 100% Mystic or 100% Thompson solutions to maintain 65%-75%.

Should you require any other information, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-237-2559.

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