One of the most common questions I get is how long do cigars last in a humidor. It’s a reasonable question as many people doubt the effectiveness of these storage devices and whether they are worthwhile. To clear up the misconception, let me state that cigars can last for YEARS if stored in a humidor.
Yes, these storage devices are that useful, and below, I delve into this subject and show you the power of the humidor and how it allows you to enjoy your cigars to their maximum potential for years to come.
The Role of a Humidor
If you buy a cigar humidor, maintain it, and keep your cigars in the ideal storage conditions, they can last for years and even indefinitely depending on the quality of your humidor. This means you can build a collection of different brands and enjoy them at your leisure as opposed to smoking through them in a rush!
Humidors do four things to prolong the longevity of your cigars:
- Control the humidity.
- Control the temperature.
- Protect the cigars from damage.
- Prevent external factors from affecting the flavor.
A built-in humidifier allows you to control the humidity and keep the cigars at the ideal rate which is between 65-72%. It may also have a thermostat so you can achieve the desired temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aside from the climate controls, humidors act as a physical barrier and prevent your cigars from getting damaged. The airtight container also helps preserve the flavor and aroma and stops external factors from drastically affecting your smoking experience.
Factors Influencing Cigar Longevity
The main factor affecting cigar longevity is humidity. The humidity has to be right and too much or too little humidity both have a negative impact on the longevity of your cigars.
Not enough humidity - Without the correct humidity (between 65-72%), cigars dry out. This means that they lose their amazing flavor and aroma but the wrapping and leaves can also degrade too and crumble when touched.
Excess humidity - Cigars can also have too much humidity and this is easy to identify as the cigar will feel too soft when you hold it and almost feel spongy. Too much humidity can saturate the tobacco leaves, but it also hastens the growth of mold. Mold can completely destroy your cigars and ruin the interior of your humidor too.
Upkeep Your Humidor for Maximum Cigar Longevity
So, how long do cigars last in a humidor? Years! But, you can’t simply place your cigars in a humidor and forget about them. To get the ultimate in smoking satisfaction and longevity, you need to do a little maintenance including:
- Humidity control
- Temperature control
A humidor is airtight and this is essential to control the humidity and temperature. However, you should aerate your cigars ideally every few weeks.
Many people pay attention to the seasoning of their cigars too and keep different brands separately. This is because, over time, cigars will take on and imbibe external aromas and flavors so if you place two different cigar brands next to each other, the smoking experience could end up different than intended.
Humidity and temperature control are the most important factors and you can keep an eye on these with the built-in hygrometer. The ideal temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while ideal humidity levels are between 65-72%.
Signs of Cigar Deterioration
There are two key signs to look out for that show deterioration of your cigars:
If the humidity is not controlled, the tobacco in your cigar will dry out and it will lose its aroma and flavor. Obviously, you won’t know how the flavor has been affected until you smoke the cigar, but you can smell it. If you notice a lack of scent then it could be a sign that the tobacco has dried out.
As a natural plant, tobacco is subject to degradation and the growth of mold. This should not be confused with cigar plume. A cigar plume is a series of small white patches that show that your cigars are actually maturing properly.
In contrast, tobacco mold usually has a blue or green shade and an unpleasant musty smell. The mold cannot be brushed off and it’s a clear sign that your cigars have degraded.
A Humidor Can Keep Your Cigars Fresh for Years
As you can see, if you want to get the most enjoyment out of your cigars, a humidor is vital. Without proper humidity control, the natural tobacco inside your cigar will dry out and lose its flavor and aroma.
Over time, the leaves can eventually grow mold too and it can get to the “point of no return” i.e., where you cannot re-humidify your cigars and they are essentially useless. So, to truly enjoy the flavor and subtle aromas of cigars, I advise investing in a quality humidor!