Last updated on September 8th, 2017 at 05:25 pm
Purchasing a box of cigars is an investment. A cigar can be aged for many years, and its flavor will improve as it gets older; but only if it is stored properly. If it isn’t, however, a variety of environmental factors can result in your investment being ruined completely. This can take place in a remarkably short period of time.
Proper storage isn’t an option for a cigar smoker — it’s an essential part of being a cigar smoker.
To begin with, we need to realize that a cigar is a natural product that comes from plants. Every single part of a premium cigar is made from nothing but tobacco leaves except for the glue that holds the cap in place, and even that is vegetable-based. When you smoke a cigar, the flavor comes from the essential oils contained within the tobacco leaves, and if those essential oils leave the cigar, so does the flavor. The only way to retain the flavor of a cigar is to store it in an environment that mimics the one in which the plants were grown, and nothing can do this as well as a humidor.
The wonderful flavor of cigars is why we smoke in the first place, so the preservation of that flavor means everything. However, storing a cigar at the wrong temperature or humidity can physically ruin it, making it impossible to smoke regardless of the flavor.
Because cigars are a natural product, they are vulnerable to pests.
Some cigars may have the microscopic eggs of tobacco beetles on them.
At the correct storage temperature, this never becomes a problem.
However, at 79-80 degrees Fahrenheit, the eggs can hatch, and the larvae will immediately begin to bore holes through the cigar. Once this happens, nothing can be done to save it; it has to be thrown away. If this happens to a an entire box of cigars, the results will be even worse; all of the cigars inside will be destroyed, and you will have lost your money.
Humidity can be an even greater enemy to cigars than temperatures, though, because both high and low extremes of humidity can ruin a cigar. Since many American households are climate-controlled, low humidity tends to be the thing that ruins cigars that aren’t stored in humidors. As a cigar begins to dry out, the flavor-carrying essential oils leave it. Once this happens, the flavor is lost forever. If this continues, the cigar will reach the point where you couldn’t smoke it even if you wanted to. The thin wrapper will simply crumble away in your hand.
An over-humidified cigar can be just as bad. When a cigar is smoked after being in an environment that is too humid, the cigar can actually split open as the outside becomes dry, while the swollen inside stays moist. If that doesn’t happen, the swollen filler tobacco will make the cigar too tight, keeping it from allowing the right amount of airflow. Also, wet tobacco simply tastes foul.