Cigars are prized by aficionados for their intricate flavors and aromas. One question that often arises is, “how long do cigars last?” The truth is, cigars can last indefinitely if stored properly. This article will cover the factors affecting cigar longevity, ideal storage conditions, and signs that your cigars are aging well. We’ll also discuss how to revive a dried-out cigar and conclude with some frequently asked questions.
How Long Do Cigars Last: Factors Affecting Cigar Longevity
Since cigars were invented people have been trying to find the best ways to make them last longer. Here are some of the most popular factors that affect cigar longevity.
Humidity plays a significant role in cigar preservation. Cigars require a relative humidity (RH) of 65-72% to maintain their freshness, as it prevents the tobacco from drying out. Too much humidity, on the other hand, can lead to mold and unpleasant odors. So moisture is a key factor to control for all cigar lovers.
Temperature is another crucial factor, as it impacts the aging process and the development of flavors. A stable temperature of 65-70°F (18-21°C) is ideal for storing cigars.
The way you store your cigars directly affects their longevity. Improper storage can lead to dry, flavorless cigars, while proper storage can enhance and preserve their unique characteristics.
How to Store Cigars So They Last Longer (Use a Humidor)
Whether you are a cigar beginner or a seasoned cigar aficionado, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on how to store your cigars to maximize how long they stay fresh and actually taste good.
A humidor is a specially designed container with a built-in hygrometer to monitor humidity levels that is used by many cigar lovers. The interior is usually lined with Spanish cedar, which helps regulate humidity and enhances the flavors of the cigars. Humidors come in various sizes, making them suitable for both small collections and large cigar inventories, for premium and not so premium cigars alike.
Cigar coolers are temperature-controlled units that provide a stable environment for your cigars. They often have built-in humidification systems, allowing you to adjust humidity levels easily. These units are particularly useful for those living in areas with fluctuating temperatures or high humidity.
A tupperdor is an affordable alternative to a humidor or cigar cooler. It’s a simple airtight plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, containing a humidity control device such as Boveda packs. Tupperdors are perfect for beginners or those on a budget.
Signs Your Cigars Are Aging Well
A well-aged cigar will have a rich, pleasant aroma. Over time, the flavors meld together, creating a more nuanced and complex scent.
The wrapper of a properly aged cigar should be slightly oily and have a smooth texture. This indicates that the oils within the tobacco leaves have migrated to the surface, enhancing the flavors and overall smoking experience.
A well-stored cigar should feel firm to the touch, with a slight springiness. If it’s too hard, it’s likely dried out, while a soft, spongy cigar indicates excessive humidity.
How To Revive A Dried-Out Cigar & Keep Cigars Fresh
If you discover that your cigars have dried out, don’t panic! You can attempt to revive them through a gradual re-humidification process. This involves placing the cigars in a container with a humidity source, such as a Boveda pack, set at a lower RH than the target level (around 60%). Over the course of several weeks, gradually increase the humidity level by replacing the pack with a higher RH (up to 70%). This slow process helps to prevent the cigars from cracking due to sudden changes in humidity.
In summary, cigars can last indefinitely when stored under the proper conditions. Factors such as humidity, temperature, and storage methods all contribute to their longevity. By maintaining the ideal environment and monitoring the signs of aging, you can ensure that your cigars remain fresh and flavorful for years to come.
- How long can cigars last without a humidor?
Cigars can last up to a month without a humidor, depending on the climate and humidity levels. However, they are likely to lose their freshness and flavors over time. It’s best to invest in proper storage to ensure the longevity and quality of your cigars.
- Can I store cigars in the refrigerator?
Storing cigars in the refrigerator is not recommended, as it may cause them to dry out due to low humidity levels. Instead, opt for a humidor, cigar cooler, or tupperdor to maintain the ideal storage conditions.
- How can I tell if my cigar is too dry?
A dry cigar will feel hard and brittle to the touch, and it may crack when squeezed gently. The wrapper may also appear dull or have visible cracks. Smoking a dry cigar can result in a harsh, unpleasant taste.
- Is it possible to over-humidify cigars?
Yes, over-humidifying cigars can lead to a host of issues, such as mold growth, tobacco beetle infestations, and unpleasant odors. It’s essential to maintain a balanced humidity level of 65-72% to prevent these problems.
- Do cigars get better with age?
Most cigars benefit from some aging, as the flavors meld and mature, creating a more complex and enjoyable smoking experience. However, not all cigars age well, and some may lose their distinct characteristics over time. It’s crucial to store your cigars properly and monitor their aging process to ensure they remain at their best.