If properly stored, cigars can remain in perfect smoking condition for many years to come. Like a fine wine, a fine cigar can even improve with proper aging. However, all cigars (even those in cigar tubes, cellophane wrappers, and cigar boxes) can only last a week or two outside a humidor before they dry out. A dried out cigar will burn too fast, taste stale, and may even crack or split. In order to collect and properly age cigars, you'll need a well-maintained humidor.
Before putting any cigars in your new humidor, you need to create the appropriate climate. Temperature of 70° and humidity of 70% are considered to be optimal. Minor variances from these numbers are OK, but try not to go over these numbers, if possible. Too much humidity can cause your cigars to mold or grow fungus and too much heat could cause a hatching of tobacco beetle eggs. Proper location of your humidor is important. Never keep your humidor in direct sunlight or interior light, near heating/cooling vents, or in a damp basement. A cool, dry location that has consistent temperatures, and no direct lighting, is ideal.
In order to create a stable, correct humidity level in your humidor, you'll need to do some prep work. The first thing you need to do is charge the humidifier by saturating it in either distilled water, or a Propylene Glycol (PG) pre-mixed solution. Never use tap water, as it will leave behind chemical residue that will alter the smell and taste of your fine cigars. You can saturate the humidifier by placing it face down in a bowl of distilled water or PG solution for a few minutes. Then dampen a new (make sure it's new) sponge or towel in water or solution and wipe the insides of your humidor. Make sure you are just lightly dampening the wood enough to darken the color slightly. Don't soak the wood. The next step is to place a small plastic bag (i.e. sandwich bag) on the bottom of the humidor, and set the damp sponge or towel on the bag. Close the humidor, and let it sit for about 2 days.
After the 2 days are up, open the lid and remove the sponge and bag. The humidity level at this point should be a tad high. Allow the humidor to set until your hygrometer reads 70%. At this point, re-charge your humidifier, and add your cigars to the box. If your cigars are wrapped in cellophane, we recommend that you remove the wrappers to help your cigars cure. Check your hygrometer once a week, and re-charge your humidifier as necessary. If you live in a dry climate, you may need to do this more often.
If you've done everything right, but seem to have a hard time reaching the ideal 70% humidity level, you should calibrate your hygrometer. To do this, wrap it in a clean towel that has been dampened with warm water. Let it sit in the damp towel for about 30 minutes. When you remove it, it should read around 95%-97%. If it doesn't, adjust your hygrometer using the directions supplied by the manufacturer. The less expensive analog gauges can be off by as much as 5% or more. If you find this to be the case, you might want to invest in a better gauge. They're much cheaper than a box of your favorite puros.
You should open your humidor as little as possible to help maintain the humidity level. If you're the type that must peruse your collection regularly, you might want to get a humidor with a glass top or doors so you can do so while it's closed. About once a month you should rotate your cigars and allow some air circulation. When cleaning the exterior of your humidor, just dust with a dry cloth. Using polishes could affect the wood, and therefore alter the flavor of your cigars. With the right preparation and maintenance, your humidor should keep your cigars in perfect smoking condition for many years to come.
Find good humidors to keep your cigars fresh.
If you're looking for a high quality humidor that will double as a piece of fine furniture in your living room or office, visit Adorini Humidors. These humidors are some of the finest we've seen. If you're just looking for something to hold your cigars, this isn't for you, but if you're looking for a humidor that is also a fine display piece, look at Adorini.
"A cigar ought not to be smoked solely with the mouth,
but with the hand, the eyes, and with the spirit."