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27th February 2019How to Store You Cigar without Humidifier?
Cigars are made of rolled, fermented and dried tobacco leaves. These leaves are harvested from tropical environments. To protect the quality of your smoke retaining the moisture balance of the leaves is key.
The most common and effective means of retaining the appropriate moisture balance is a humidor, basically a humidity-controlled space which can monitor ambient conditions, with hygrometers and thermostats. Sunlight too can have a damaging effect so a good humidor maintains lower light levels. Portable humidors in boxes achieve many of these functions although their size naturally limits storage capacity.
Of course, not everyone is going to have space for a full-size walk-in humidor. If you’re still in the process of negotiation with the other inhabitants of your house about the vital necessity of a built-in humidor, here are the basics you need to store your cigars in the meantime.
Temperature and Moisture
Tobacco is grown in warm, humid conditions and cigars have been designed to be stored in the climate of South America. Warm and moist is the order of the day. To maintain these conditions, find a container or bag you can seal and set the appropriate level of moisture by moisture pack. You want the air around the cigars to be moist but that doesn’t mean the cigars should be wet so make sure that there is space between the cigars and whatever you are using to create moisture. Then you’re looking for a room or cupboard that typically stays around 22oC.
Watch out for mold. Where there is moisture, mold is a risk. Using distilled water reduces the probability of introducing unwanted spores. Some people will tell you to keep the cigars in the fridge to prevent mold forming. Unfortunately, this is great for mold protection and terrible for your tobacco so finding a way to seal and protect your cigars, such as a resealable freezer bag is a far better option.
If you are storing lots of cigars, make sure not to put them in one big bag. Each cigar has its own unique flavor profile and over time the aromas will begin to fuse. Further, any stray spores that have come in on one cigar risk damaging the whole batch. Individually sealed bags will allow you to better control humidity and avoid cross-contamination. If you prefer not to use plastic, bear in mind that whatever container you choose, especially if kept moist, will gradually impart its scent to the cigars. This includes some non-food-grade plastics. Some people like glass jars if they can be properly sealed for their stable properties.
Most cigar humidors come with an in-built hygrometer and humidifier. If you’re making your own, these devices can be bought separately. Humidifiers prefer distilled water to tap water since it contains none of the minerals and chlorine that tap water does. Hygrometers need to be calibrated when you first start using them and intermittently thereafter. Once you’ve got it up and running, maintain a humidity level of 68% to 72% in your storage container.
It can be fun designing and managing storage spaces for cigar storage and learning the craft will only help if one fine day you get the walk-in humidor of your dreams.