Something about gathering with friends and enjoying a good cigar together feels special to me. And, of course, there’s nothing quite like the taste and aroma of a good cigar.
But as with anything else in life, any smoker has a lot to learn when it comes to cigars. Cigars should be handled and stored delicately in the right environment – including the right temperature and humidity levels – if you want the best experience.
So, what’s the best humidity for cigars? Cigars that are too dry will burn too quickly and taste harsh. On the other hand, cigars that are too moist are difficult to light and don’t stay lit. The solution is all about striking the perfect balance.
What Should the Humidity be in a Humidor?
A humidor is a special place where you can store cigars to keep them fresh. The perfect humidity in the humidor will keep the cigars in good condition.
The ideal humidity for a humidor is between 65-72%. If the humidity is too low, the cigars will dry out. If the humidity is too high, the cigars will become too moist and might start to grow mold. Either way, it’s not the experience you want, so pay close attention to a humidor to ensure all the settings are correct.
You can buy a hygrometer to measure the humidity in your humidor. However, the best humidors feature self-regulation abilities that can adjust as needed to ensure humidity levels stay within the ideal range. In my opinion, if you’re going to use a humidor, you might as well invest in one that can handle the hard work for you.
Seasoning the Humidor
When you first get your humidor, remember to season it before storing cigars inside. Don’t get too excited and throw in your favorite cigars immediately. Seasoning the humidor helps ensure the right humidity level for cigars, so do it first before getting any cigars involved.
To season a humidor, first, wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. Then, fill a bowl with distilled water and place it inside the humidor for 24 hours. After that, remove the bowl and let the humidor air dry for another 24 hours.
Once the humidor is dry, you can add a humidity pack to help maintain the ideal humidity levels. Check on the humidor regularly to ensure it’s working properly and that the cigars are staying fresh.
What Is the Best Temperature for Cigars?
In addition to paying attention to the humidity, you need to store your cigars at the right temperature. The ideal temperature is between 69-73º Fahrenheit.
If you store your cigars at a temperature that’s too cold, they might dry out or break as soon as you light them due to the sudden temperature increase. If the temperature is too hot, the cigars can start to unravel and fall apart. Or worse – it could lead to an unwanted cigar beetle infestation or rotted cigars.
You can use a thermometer to help monitor the temperature inside the humidor and ensure it’s within the ideal range. Since most humidors don’t come with temperature gauges or controls, using your tools is essential.
You also want to be mindful of where you place your humidor in your house. I learned from experience not to place it in direct sunlight, which can quickly raise the temperature of the humidor throughout the day.
Avoiding Cigar Beetles
Cigar beetles are an unfortunate risk when storing cigars. While cigar beetle infestations don’t just “happen,” they can seem to appear out of nowhere. They are typically brought in through an infested product that didn’t get caught early enough.
If temperatures are warm enough, over 72 or 73º Fahrenheit, cigar beetles can begin to hatch from their eggs, which are typically laid directly on or inside of a food source (including the tobacco leaves that make up a cigar).
They will begin to eat away at the cigars, creating small punctures in the cigars and living for five to ten weeks. The cycle will continue with new eggs and new beetles eating away at your precious cigars if you don’t solve the infestation fast enough.
If stale or rotten cigars aren’t enough of a worry to make you ensure the proper temperature and humidity for your cigars, maybe the threat of beetles will drive the point home.
How to Lower Humidor Humidity
If the humidity in your humidor is too high, there are a few things you can do to lower it.
First, try opening up the humidor for a bit each day to allow some of the moisture to escape. You can also remove any humidity control packets or other humidity sources from the humidor for a day or two. Remember to check the humidor often to ensure the cigars aren’t drying out.
If you live in a particularly humid area, you might need to take more drastic measures, like using a dehumidifier in your home or office. You can also try storing your humidor in a cooler or fridge for a short time to help dry it out. Again, check on the cigars often to ensure they’re not getting too dry.
How to Increase Humidor Humidity
If the humidity in your humidor is too low, you can increase it by adding a Boveda packet or using a damp sponge.
Adding a humidity control packet is the easiest way to raise the humidity, as it will do all the work for you. Check in on the humidor regularly and replace the packet when it gets dry.
You can also try using a damp sponge to raise the humidity, which is a more hands-on approach, as you’ll need to check on the sponge frequently to ensure the humidor doesn’t get too humid or completely dry the sponge out.
How Long do Cigars Last in a Humidor?
Cigars can last for years when stored properly in a humidor. However, they will begin to lose their flavor after about six months to a year. Trust me when I say you don’t want to smoke a cigar that’s been sitting in a humidor for five years. If flavor and experience are important to you, opt for a cigar that’s been stored in a humidor for 3-6 months.
While you can still smoke cigars that are past their prime, they won’t taste as good as they did when they were first stored. If you want to enjoy your cigars at their best, rotate them out of the humidor every few months.
Of course, it all depends on the type of cigar you’re smoking. Some cigars are meant to be aged and will improve with time. If you’re unsure, ask your tobacconist for guidance on how long to age your cigars.
Another point to note is that these storage estimates are based on a humidor that’s at the appropriate humidity and temperature levels. If your humidor isn’t properly maintained, cigars will dry out and go bad much faster, which is why you’re incentivized to keep the settings in line.
Want to preserve the true flavors of different cigars in the same humidor? Use a humidor with separate compartments for each cigar type, or group them by brand using dividers to prevent the cigars from absorbing other flavors. With this tactic, you can age them all to perfection without the flavors mingling.
Cigars won’t last as long if they’re stored outside of a humidor since there’s not enough control over the temperature and humidity. Even with careful monitoring of temperature and humidity levels, storing your cigars in your home will leave them susceptible to small changes that naturally occur when doors and windows are opened, the thermostat gets adjusted, the sun heats the home, and the seasons change.
Which States Have the Best Humidity for Cigars?
The states with the best humidity for cigars are generally those located in the southeastern United States, which includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. These states have an average humidity of 70% or higher, which is ideal for storing cigars.
If you don’t live in one of these cigar-friendly states, don’t worry. There are still ways to maintain the proper humidity in your humidor or in your home. By using a humidifier tool and keeping an eye on the temperature and humidity levels, you can ensure your cigars are properly stored no matter where you live.
Remember that cigar storage is all about finding the right balance. Too much or too little humidity can ruin your cigars, so find the sweet spot and maintain it as best you can. With a little effort, you can enjoy cigars that are properly aged and taste great no matter where you live.
Storing cigars is a delicate process, but it’s crucial if you want to enjoy them at their best. By keeping the temperature and humidity in your humidor at the right levels, you can age your cigars properly and keep their great taste. With a little effort, you can have a humidor perfect for storing your cigars no matter where you live.
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