Humidors are like element-controlled treasure chests, housing and protecting our most valuable premium cigars. How we monitor the activity inside of said humidor is key for the best possible smoking experience. We always hear about humidification and temperature, but these alone don’t keep your premium cigars happy and healthy. Just like our significant others tell us, “It’s the little things that count”, the same hold true for our beloveds in a box. Aging, rotation and organization are the butterfly kisses and hand holding of our cigar love affair.
The humidor at my house.
Much like cooking a soup or sauce, the longer the ingredients can “stew” with one another, the richer the taste. When cigars are rolled in factories, many sit in special aging rooms for several months to years before they are even shipped to retailers. Aging not only helps the flavors marry to create a more balanced smoke, it also mellows out a cigar. So, while there is nothing wrong with enjoying one immediately, it never hurts to let your favorite cigars stew a bit longer.
As with aging wine, no hard or fast rules apply and every premium blend is different. For me, a year or two years tends to do the trick but some choose to age their cigars for five years and beyond.
If you are planning on aging premium cigars, start with a fuller-bodied blend. It will naturally mellow over time and flavor that is created will be more noticeable…while still having some oomph when you smoke it.
Try buying a box of your favorite premium blend. Smoke one every few months until the cigars have aged to your liking before enjoying the rest. Note how long this took and begin trying with other favorite blends.
Though our hygrometers tell us the temperature and humidity of our humidors, these measures only refers to the area where the device is located. Cigars on the bottom of a full humidor are not getting the same access to the humidity and moisture as the cigars on the outside. To avoid any drying, regularly rotating cigars is a must. There is no prescribed amount of time that cigars should sit on top, middle or bottom of your humidor, but keep rotations consistent. Every two months is a good rule of thumb.
One storage question that is consistently raised is whether to keep the cellophane on cigars. No matter how many aficionados polled, you will likely always get a 50/50 response. And that is for good reason.
Cellophane is a porous material so humidity can reach your cigars, allowing them to age properly whether it is left on or not. However, many argue leaving the cellophane on helps protect the cigars when handling and rotating them. The cellophane also keeps the flavors of different cigars from marrying quite as quickly. It often comes down to aesthetics. Some aficionados consider cellophane an eyesore and want to open their humidor to uncovered aroma and rows of pristine, natural shades of brown. Others just want them safe and don’t care about a trough of plastic! Whichever way you choose, it boils down to one thing; personal preference.
Enjoying cigars requires patience and time and so does cigar maintenance. There is no need to rush the experience. Being deliberate and methodical in how cigars are stored and aged can enhance and maximize your cigar experience. I think you’ll find the perfect smoke worth the practice and effort.