Quality cigars are definitely worth the effort that it takes to preserve them. Proper care and maintenance will ensure superior freshness and taste, regardless of how long you wait to enjoy them. Given that cigars are made from organic and moisture-vulnerable materials, with improper storage, they can rapidly dry out, break down, and lose their overall appeal. There’s no point in paying for a top-drawer, hand-rolled cigar if you’ll never get the chance to experience it at peak flavor.
Just as poor maintenance and improper storage conditions can leave your favorite cigars dried and bitter-tasting, they can also lead to over-plump, damp cigars that are difficult to light, and offer virtually no draw. So, in the spirit of making sure that your cigars taste and burn just as good as you expect them to, following are five essential things to know about ongoing cigar care.
- Diligently Protect The Thin Wrappers On Your Cigars
The thin wrappers surrounding your cigars are their most delicate part. When handling these, always use great care to avoid damaging them. Even a slight rip or tear in this thin, lightweight material can lead to problems with drying or plumping. More importantly, compromised wrappers will negatively impact how these products burn and their ability to provide a good draw. Keeping cigar wrappers intact is a critical part of your ongoing maintenance whether you choose to use a humidor or not.
- Only Rely On Cigar Boxes For Storage For A Very Short Period Of Time
If you’re new to this particular indulgence and have only begun building your cigar collection, it’s important to limit your reliance on cigar boxes for storage. Cigar boxes can help keep your investments fresh and good-tasting for a period of about four to five days, so long as their thin, outer wrappers remain perfectly intact. These simple containers offer a relatively stable environment, but they do not have the ability to provide reliable humidity control in an ongoing fashion. For long-term storage, you’ll need a quality humidor that’s suited to both your general smoking habits and the types of cigars that you normally buy.
- Season Your Humidor Properly
Most humidors need a little attention before they’re ready for use. For instance, if yours is made from Spanish cedar that’s been kiln-dried, this unit will continually absorb the moisture from any cigars that you’ve stored in it until it’s been properly seasoned. Seasoning dry cedar will ensure that a good balance of humidity can be consistently maintained at the unit interior.
- Don’t Forget To Rotate Your Cigars
Storing your cigars in a well-designed and well-maintained humidor isn’t enough to guarantee long-lasting freshness. Although the overall area of the average humidor isn’t very large, there can still be varying levels of humidity throughout. Rotating your cigars will ensure that the available moisture is evenly distributed. While cigars in cigar boxes are stacked to maximize the available space, you want the cigars in your humidor to be stacked for maximum airflow throughout.
- Check Your Cigars For Mold
Losing cigars to mold can be disheartening, but it’s also a surprisingly common occurrence. Problems with mold may be an indicator that you’ve chosen the wrong humidor for your needs, or it could be simply indicative of an overly humid environment all-around. Before enjoying your cigars and during the process of rotating them, always take the time to check the foot of each product for evidence of mold development or plume. When issues with mold persist, consider investing in a new humidor, altering the storage area for your humidor, or changing your in-humidor stacking strategy.
It’s worth noting that all humidors and cigars can have very distinct requirements for maintenance and care. When you invest in expensive or rare cigars, it’s worth learning any product-specific information that the manufacturer has to offer. This same is also true of the humidor that you’re using. With the strategies above, you can avoid frustrating problems with mold, drying, excess moisture, and diminished taste.