Cigars are a natural product like food or wine and require appropriate storage conditions. The ideal environment for cigar storage is 65 – 75°F (18 – 24°C) with a humidity level of 70 – 73%, protected from direct sunlight and salt air. Fluctuations of temperature and humidity should be kept to a minimum. A good humidor is essential for the proper storage of premium cigars. Preserving the optimum moisture balance in the cigar keeps it at the peak of aroma and flavor. Although some recommend storing cigars in plastic bags, the boxes they came in, or even the refrigerator, these are make-shift solutions at best. The serious cigar fancier understands that improper storage impairs the quality of a fine cigar. Just as you would take care to store fine wines in climate-controlled conditions, so too should you do for you cigars.
With the wide selection of humidors that are available, choosing one is no simple task. A few guidelines may be helpful:
Look for quality construction. A good humidor should have an accurate hygrometer, a reliable humidification system, and a closefitting lid. An unfinished, natural cedar lining is a great plus.
Select the appropriate size. Your humidor should hold a one or two month supply at most. More than that, and the constant opening and closing of the humidor over a longer period term may have a deleterious effect. If you have a larger cigar reserve, you may want to invest in a cabinet or have your tobacconist store them for you in his humidified room.
Look for details: Trays and dividers make rotating your stock easier, as well as separating different cigars from each other. A drawer to hold your cutter and lighter can be helpful.
Choose one that harmonizes with the appointments of your smoking room and which suits your taste.
Placement of your humidor is also important. The ambient temperature should remain in the optimum range of 65 – 75°F (18 – 24°C). The humidor should not be placed near radiators or other heat sources, ventilators, or direct sunlight. Monitor the humidity level every other day for several weeks to establish the reliability of your humidifier and a refill schedule. Use only distilled water to fill your humidifier to avoid precipitated mineral dust from settling on your cigars.