Manufacturers recommend to store the cigars in a
constant environment of temperature (61º-64º F or 16º-18º C) and
relative humidity (65%-70%). These ideal conditions cannot be achieved
naturally, and hence it is necessary to look for a means to properly
store your cigars. Depending on the period of time that you want
to keep your cigars, there are different solutions to store them,
that are briefly explained here. There are a lot of web sites where
you can find more detailed descriptions of what it is being said
here. But in any case, never keep your precious cigars in the refrigerator:
it is simply too cold and dry for them.
Short-term storage can be accomplished in several ways. A simple
and cheap method consists on keeping the cigars in a cedar tray
inside a plastic container like a Tupperware. Put a humidification
device (like a dampened sponge) in the container, but do not allow
it to touch the cigars. As these plastic boxes are airtight, you
have to check for mold quite frequently, to avoid a musty taste
of your cigars.
For medium-term storage, it is advisable to look for a humidor box
with a wooden interior. A humidor is designed to contain a moist
environment without warping. The box has to be perfectly built,
with squared and fitted seams. Gaps provide an exit for moisture.
The lid should be heavy enough so as to keep the box shut tightly.
Cedar is the most suitable wood for lining the inside of a humidor,
and it should be unvarnished. If you don't like the taste of cedar
in your cigars, look for mahogany.
The humidification system should be capable of maintaining a constant
level of relative humidity within the box with as little maintenance
as possible. A hygrometer will help you to control the degree of
humidity inside the box. Take into account that cheap gauges are
quite inaccurate, so you will probably have to calibrate it from
time to time. Check for instructions on how to do that at the Cigar
Smoker's FAQ page.
When the reading of the hygrometer drops below what you consider
a minimum acceptable humidity value, you have to add water to the
humidification device. Be sure to use only distilled water, because
it will not leave mineral deposits behind as it evaporates. These
deposits can clog a humidification system, creating important performance
When using a new humidor for the first time, it is advisable to
humidify its inside prior to placing the cigars in it: break the
new humidor in by letting its interior wood to absorb the moisture
from the humidification device for a few days, and then introduce
your cigars little by little, and observe the hygrometer reading.
The cigars should humidify slowly to avoid the risk of splitting.
Put the driest cigars as far as possible from the humidification
system, to allow them to absorb moisture more slowly.
If your cigars are cellophane wrapped, it is your personal decision
to leave it on or put it off, for a short or medium term storage:
cellophane is actually quite porous and the moisture will penetrate
the wrapper. But if you want to age your cigars, the cellophane
should definitely be removed.
Desktop humidors have usually been considered as nice pieces of
furniture to use for temporary storing your cigar selections. They
are not normally designed for long term aging and hence they will
not function well as an aging vessel.
If you want to store a fair number of cigar boxes without investing
a large amount of money in a cigar vault, a possible solution is
to buy a big container like those used to keep food and drinks cool,
and add one or several humidification devices according to its capacity.
You can also line its interior with cedar sheets, or put some cedar
As these coolers are airtight, it is necessary to control the humidity
levels very often. A practical solution to do that is to put inside
the chest a radio-controlled hygrometer with an external alarm.
After several years of use, one of the compressors of my freezer/fridge
combi failed, and the cost of installing a new one was not worth
it, so I decided to buy a new combi and to keep the old one as my
aging chamber or "escaparate" for my cigar collection.
Its measurements are 6.5' tall x 2' wide x 2' deep, with a total
capacity of 365 Qt. (273 + 92).
I removed the two compressors and all the piping, sealing the corresponding
holes, but I maintained the internal cabling for if I wish to install
some electronics in the future.
Then I ordered some cedar-covered plywood to line the inside, as
well as two solid cedar trays (for singles). I also bought two Oregon-Scientific
cable-free thermohygrometers that, BTW, work very nicely.
I also took three transparent VCR-tape plastic boxes and drilled
their lids, putting some Velcro tape on their other side, filled
them with Oasis and added the 50% mixture of distilled water and
Finally, I adhered two VCR boxes and one thermohygro inside the
fridge, and the remaining box and TH inside the freezer.
Once the humidity inside the fridgeador was stabilized, I filled
it up with my precious cigars... and then... you can see the
Would you like to see my cigar boxes with a higher
resolution?. Click here
for details of the fridge contents (200 kB), and
here for the freezer (124 kB).