One of the most frequently asked questions from new smokers is about storage.
Many newbies are reluctant to invest in a humidor since they are unsure if they will enjoy the pleasures of cigar smoking. Many others invest in a humidor only to find they are unable to maintain a proper humidity of 68-72%.

For someone that is just starting out, or those with financial limitations, I recommend Tupperware of zip lock bags. The only issue with either of these two methods is having over humidified cigars. This can actually be more damaging to the cigar than having them under humidified. Unless the oils have completely disappeared, a dry cigar can be brought back to life with some patience. An over humidified cigar on the other hand, can rarely be salvaged.

Over-humidification results in split wrappers due to the swelling of the tobacco. Since tupperware and ziplocks are airtight, it is exceptionally important to not raise the humidity too high. I’ve read in cigar books to put a shot glass of water in with the cigars. I couldn’t disagree more. By placing a constant source of 100% humidity in an airtight container, the humidity will rise well above the suggested levels. Instead I recommend one of several alternatives. A wet paper towel that is rung out and only slightly wet is a great alternative. You can also ask your neighborhood cigar store if they can give you a humi-pack that comes in several brands of cigar boxes. My favorite method of maintaining constant humidity though is through preset humi-packs or jars. I prefer the Madeline jars with their refillable silicon jell packets.

You can either use propolene glycol (to prevent the growth of mold) or distilled water. The jar is engineered to maintain a constant 70% humidity. If you prefer, there are also preset packets ranging from 62-72%, depending on your taste. Cuban cigars should be smoked around 64%. You can also place cedar strips in with the cigars to enhance their flavor. If you have decided that cigar smoking will become a part of your life, it is now time to buy a humidor. Your needs should dictate the size of your humidor(s). I recommend starting off with 100 count humidors or more.

This size allows you to age cigars as well as buy several boxes usually at reduced prices. Whatever you decide it is very important that you cureyour humidor before storing cigars. I recommend wiping the interior down for three consecutive days with a damp cloth of either propolene glycol or distilled water. Place in the humidor the source of humidification you will be using and close the lid tightly. T

his should insure the cedar lining is moist and will not leach the moisture from the cigars. Now is finally the time to add your cigars. There are two schools of thought on keeping or removing the celephane wrapper from the cigars. I take mine off but I separate my cigars from each other, if they are different types, with strips of cedar to prevent the bleeding of taste. Remember, store all cigars/humidors out of direct sunlight and keep the temperature at as close to 70 degrees as you can.

By George Odell

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