Good cigars are expensive, so it’s important to keep them as fresh as possible before use. Cigars are fairly vulnerable to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, so controlling those elements is the key to keeping a cigar fresh until it is ready for use. There are special pieces of equipment for storing cigars that make it easy to keep them in good condition, but those aren’t the only option, and they may not be the best choice for people who only need to store one or two cigars for a short period of time. Ultimately, the best results will come from looking at every option and choosing the one that fits your situation.
The easiest and most secure way to store a cigar and maintain freshness is to use a specialized humidor, which is designed to keep cigars as fresh as possible for long periods of time. Fundamentally, a humidor is just a box or cabinet that seals relatively tightly and has a system for controlling humidity.
These devices vary massively in both size and complexity. People who only need to store a small number of cigars for relatively short periods can get a simple model, whereas people who want to keep a large collection fresh for months at a time will need to get something on the higher end. They tend to be fairly affordable, but there are cheaper options for people who are just starting to experiment with cigars and aren’t sure if they want to invest in a dedicated humidor.
The Bag Method
Smokers who only need to store a couple of cigars for a little while, such as during transportation, can use the bag method. It is the cheapest options, since it only calls for a Ziploc bag, a little bit of water, and a tiny sponge.
Simply take the sponge and let it soak up a little bit of water. Wring it out to make sure that it isn’t excessively wet, then put it in the bag along with the cigars. The sponge will help to maintain a constant humidity, while the bag will offer some protection from the environment.
While this method is simple and functional, it does take some skill. In particular, most people will need a little bit of trial and error to get the moisture level right. Since the bag doesn’t offer a huge amount of protection, it is also important to keep it in a secure space that doesn’t get too much light.
The Jar Method
People who need more space or security can scale up the bag method by replacing the bag with a sturdy jar. The sponge should be a little bit bigger, but otherwise this method is basically the same as using a bag. That having been said, it can be a good idea to use some distilled water instead of tap water for the sponge because this method is more vulnerable to mold and flavor contamination from the water.
The Cooler Method
The next iteration on the bag and jar methods is replacing the jar with a cooler. A sponge can still work with this container, but you will get better results by upgrading to a real humidifier. At that point, you have essentially made a small humidor of your own. It won’t be quite as good as a traditional model, but it will be cheaper and you can take it apart later if you need the cooler for something else.
Things to Avoid
There are a couple things to keep in mind regardless of your storage method. Tobacco beetles are a common pest in many areas, and they will eat your cigars if you let them. A solid seal on the humidor will keep them out. Cedar wood repels them naturally, which makes it the best choice for building humidors.
Light can also damage cigars, so they should be stored in a shaded place. If you use a humidor that includes a light, be sure to avoid putting any cigars directly on top of it. Finally, flavored cigars need to be stored separately from unflavored cigars. If they are stored together, the circulating air will cause them to contaminate each other and ruin the taste.