Cigars are a luxury item, and many cigar enthusiasts take pride in their collection. But as with any premium product, storage conditions are crucial for preserving quality.
Recent scientific research explains how improper humidity levels affect the flavor, aroma, and integrity of cigars leading to mold, dryness, or wetness.
In this blog post, we will guide you through the ideal humidity for cigar storage and the do's and don'ts of maintaining it. You will soon learn why a cigar humidifier is a a must have item!
How to Measure the Humidity of Your Cigar?
The first step in storing cigars is measuring the humidity levels. The ideal range for cigars is between 65-70% relative humidity because it keeps the outer layer supple, helping it to maintain its form, and allows the inner tobacco to remain moist.
The easiest, most reliable method to measure the humidity of your cigars is to use a hygrometer. They are inexpensive, and digital ones offer more accuracy than analog.
If you don't have a hygrometer, you could use a salt test method. Put pure sodium chloride in a bottle cap and add a few drops of water. Let it sit for 24 hours, and if it measures 75% humidity, then your hygrometer is accurate.
If you are curious how long a cigar lasts without a humidor read our article on that here!
The Ideal Humidity for Cigar Storage: A Comprehensive Guide
Using a humidor is the best way to store your cigars at a consistent humidity level. There are various options ranging from small travel humidors to large cabinet humidors, depending on the size of your collection.
Once you have chosen a humidor, you need to season it to attain the proper humidity level. To achieve this, clean the humidor with a damp cloth and place a shallow dish of distilled water inside for about 24 hours.
When the humidity reaches 70%, you're ready to add your cigars. The key is to ensure that the humidity levels remain consistent. Check your hygrometer regularly and add distilled water when the levels drop below 65%.
Effects of High and Low Humidity on Your Cigars
Not maintaining the correct humidity levels can cause severe damage to the quality of cigars.
If humidity levels are too high, it could lead to mold growth, causing the cigar to taste musty or bitter.
Too much humidity can also cause the wrapper to become too soft, leading it to unravel and destroy the cigar's form.
On the other hand, too low humidity levels will dry out the tobacco, making it brittle and unpleasant to smoke.
Too little moisture will also reduce the flavor intensity and make the wrapper crack, compromising a good smoking experience.
Moreover, sudden changes in humidity levels could cause swelling or cracking in the wrapper, leading to significant structural damage.
Humidity Control: Do's and Don'ts for Cigar Aficionados
To ensure your cigars remain pristine, keep them stored at an ideal humidity level between 65-70% relative humidity and use a hygrometer to check it regularly.
- Do store cigars in a humidor.
- Do use distilled water to maintain humidity levels.
- Do avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity levels.
- Do invest in a good quality humidor.
- Do use distilled water in your humidifier.
- Do calibrate your hygrometer to ensure accuracy.
- Do check the humidity level frequently.
- Don't store cigars in the refrigerator.
- Don't store cigars in the freezer.
- Don't spray water directly on the cigars.
- Don't use tap water in your humidifier.
- Don't expose your cigars to direct sunlight.
- Don't keep your humidor near sources of heat, cold, or drafts.
- Don't open your humidor too frequently.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Cigars
Cigar beginners and enthusiasts alike make these common mistakes that could affect the cigars' quality.
Firstly, they fail to season their humidor before use. Secondly, they use tap water, which could cause mineral build-up and affect the cigars' flavor.
Thirdly, they don't rotate their cigars regularly, leading to uneven humidity distribution. Finally, they don't give their cigar enough space, causing the wrapper to stick to other cigars, leading to damage.
Is 72% humidity too high for cigars?
Humidity levels for cigars generally range from 65%-70%, so at 72% humidity it is indeed too high. High humidity encourages microbial growth, which can lead to mold on the leaves and cause your cigars to spoil more quickly.
Additionally, higher humidity levels can cause stogies to become overly moist and difficult to smoke. On the other hand, if your humidor has low relative humidity, then that may also ruin your cigars by drying them out too much.
It's always best to keep a digital hygrometer in your humidor so that you can maintain an ideal relative humidity of between 65%-70%.
Should cigar humidity be 65 or 70?
The ideal range is between these two numbers. Experiment with taste and try to what works best for you. 65-70% is sweet spot as it keeps your cigars moist enough while still allowing them to retain their flavor.
Too much or too little humidity can ruin a cigar’s taste, so keep an eye on your hygrometer and adjust accordingly.
Is 60 humidity too low for cigars?
Generally speaking, yes - 60% relative humidity (RH) is too low for cigars. Cigars should be stored at a RH between 62-75%. At lower RH levels, the cigar will become dry, brittle and burn too quickly.
Conversely, higher RH levels can cause the cigar to become overly moist and pliable, leading to an unpleasant smoking experience. Ultimately for optimal flavor and texture when smoking a cigar you want to maintain a consistent RH level of 68%.
Is a Humidifier Necessary for Your Cigar Humidor?
Absolutely, the primary function of a humidor is to maintain optimal humidity levels, and a humidifier is integral to that function.
Cigars require a specific range of humidity, and a humidifier automatically regulates the conditions, preserving the quality of cigars for years.
You don't want too little or too much moisture in your cigar collection. Having a humidor and humidifier help maintain the right relative humidity inside for your premium cigars!
To be sure there is no excess moisture invest in an analog hygrometer or the more top line digital hygrometers to measure relative humidity. That way you know your cigars meet your personal preference for taste and prime condition.
If you want to learn more about whether or not a humidifier is good for cigars check out our article!
Cigar Aging: How Cigar Humidity Affects the Aging Process
Cigars stored at the ideal humidity levels can age gracefully and develop more complex flavors and aromas over time.
Aging cigars could take a few years, and it depends on the cigar's quality, origin, and blend. It's essential to maintain the correct humidity level to ensure that the aging process is not compromised.
Cigar smokers know that an aged cigar is perfect.
Storing cigars correctly is just as important as enjoying them. This comprehensive guide has provided all the information you need to become a cigar storage expert. Remember to choose the right humidor, measure and maintain the correct humidity levels using a hygrometer, and avoid the common mistakes that could affect the quality of your cigars. With these guidelines, you're sure to enjoy your cigars for a long time.