CHOOSING YOUR CIGARS

Getting Started - Storing Your Cigars

Now that you have been to your local cigar shop and found some cigars, let’s talk about how to store them. It is absolutely imperative that from this point on you take good care of these precious wonders by letting them rest in an environment that will do two things for them. First, they will be kept in a condition that makes them just right for smoking. In other words, not too dry, not too humid. Not too warm, not too cold. Second, they can now continue the natural process of aging further. This means that down the road some day if you have properly stored them, they will make you very happy! In fact, just the other day I took out a Cuba Aliados Piramide that had been sleeping rather soundly in the "treasure chest of joy." When I awoke this sleeping beauty, it was truly breathtaking! She had rested well for almost seven  years and really came to life in a way that I never could possibly imagine. This was a tremendous cigar experience.  I can't begin to tell you how many times I have taken a cigar out of my humidors after several years and really enjoyed them to the point of giving  new meaning to the phrase "Holy-Smoke."

These are the reasons for properly storing cigars: If you do not store them properly, they become much less than the manufacturers make them to be. There is a lot to be said about smoking cigars that have been stored with the optimum conditions. I will always ask someone that complains about a particular cigar, (especially if I have enjoyed one and think it was a great smoke), whether or not it had been properly stored until being smoked. Like many other things, this can certainly make the difference between a good cigar and a great cigar experience.

Let’s talk about short-term storage first. I am sure that most people who read this will probably be interested in a smaller desktop humidor. Unless you plan on getting into large collections and long-time storage, you will want to invest in a good desktop humidor. The key word here is INVEST. There are a lot of humidors on the market. When I say invest, I AM NOT SAYING ONE SHOULD SPEND A FORTUNE ON A HUMIDOR. I say invest to mean make sure you purchase something that will do a good job of providing the proper environment for your cigars. Personally, I believe there are two categories in the world of desktop humidors: Those that have been created to provide the best environment using a nice, but simple construction, and those that have been created to also serve as a piece of furniture by the excellent craftsmanship that has gone into them. If the humidification system is good, then either one will probably do the job, providing the construction is indeed sound. Therefore, one must ask the question, “What am I looking for?” Personally, I have several desktop humidors. Remember, I collect anything that has to do with cigars. Some of my humidors are simply functional. Others are very clearly functional works of art that add a certain ambiance to my cigar room because of the way they are displayed. Regardless, they can all perform very well with the right system inside.

Desktop humidors are now coming in a large variety of shapes and sizes. Traditionally, they are rectangular boxes that will hold anywhere from twenty-five to two hundred fifty plus cigars, depending on the size of cigars being stored. Most are wood exteriors with Spanish cedar lining. This is to ensure the humidity levels can stay where they need to. Lately though, many humidor makers are trying new exterior materials such as plastic, and glass tops in order to see the cigars. Remember, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts! Of course, there is a certain beauty that comes from a very pleasant presentation with respect to the exterior. You be the judge! Regardless of what you prefer in style, just make sure the unit inside to keep the humidity level correct, works well. To a cigar, this can be a matter of life or death. Cigars should be stored somewhere at 70 to 72% humidity, with a temperature of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. A simple and good way to remember this is simply trying to get the storage space to equal 70-70. If both conditions are 70, there should be no trouble. Another aspect of storing cigars before you smoke them is the consistency of the humidity and temperature. Once those levels are stabilized at 70-70, make sure they stay there. It is critical to avoid sudden or major changes in the humidity and temperature levels. If cigars are exposed to such extreme changes, they often will crack because like everything else, changes in temperature and humidity (especially sudden and drastic) cause things to expand and contract. When the inside of a cigar tries to expand with a sudden change of temperature, it can, and often will, cause the wrapper leaf to crack. If this happens, your cigar might well need “Last Rites” if you know what I mean! Below are a few pictures of some of the humidors I have around the cigar room that are desktop models.



The other style of humidor is a cabinet storage system. These are really for people who get real serious about building up supply and storing cigars for the long haul as well. Obviously, these beauties are going to cost more. However, I know about several desktops that were much more expensive than my cabinet models, due to the fact that they are also works of fine art. One of the nice things about a cabinet is the fact that they have a natural beauty of themselves. After all, if you have a cabinet humidor, you already have a major piece of furniture right? It also goes without saying that when you purchase a cabinet humidor, you will be paying for the craftsmanship of the system as well as the craftsmanship of the furniture. Most of the cabinet styles are very attractive. They come in many different sizes and are really set up to store boxes of cigars more than individual cigars. Some do come with drawers for individual storage, but the real purpose is to be able to store large quantities by the box. Currently I have over 300 boxes stored in my cabinet humidors.  So if you are going to get really serious about storing cigars, you might look into a cabinet style humidor. Let me tell you, it will make all the difference in the world. I own four  J.C. Pendergast models. I personally don’t think you can get a cabinet style humidor any better than this. Not only does it look nice, but it is very well made and does a stellar job of keeping my precious little darlings in tip top condition, year round. The only thing wrong right now with my Pendergast humidors is the fact that I have run out of room in them. Guess there's only one thing I can do...That's right, get another one!

So, it is now time to check into properly storing your cigars! Remember, if you want the best possible smoke from your cigars, they must be stored in the right conditions. As I said before, this will truly make all the difference in the world when it comes to enjoying your cigars.

Got questions? Send them my way!

Keep Your Smoking Holy!