December 28, 2020 7 min read

Cigar enthusiasts are no strangers to the reality that preserving cigars which are quite precious and sensitive can be a tricky feat to pull off.

As expensive and refined as they may be, cigars are like wine, made with precision and technique, and require proper maintenance and a cabinet humidor to fully enjoy every element in it.

You can take shortcuts and find cheaper alternatives to keep them around a little longer, but that would dampen its overall quality, and every cigar connoisseur wouldn’t dare take the risk.

Cigars are very sensitive to their environment and must be stored with controlled temperature and moisture kept in mind. Thus, the need for you to consider the most optimal storage solution—a humidor. Let’s dive into some of the consequences of poor storage and lack of a humidor cabinet.

Negative Effects of Not Using a Humidor

It’s important that you understand that a humidor is the best way to store cigars. Unfortunately, not everyone has a humidor for cigar storage. If you don’t, here are some of the negative things that can happen to your cigars.

Close-up of tobacco in cigars

1. Cigars will get moldy or crack

For those who do not dabble in smoking or collecting cigars, you may not know that a cigar is more like a delicate flower. If you leave cigars out in a room with air conditioning or direct sunlight, they will eventually dry out in a day or so.

Cigars that are especially left out during the summer, specifically in hot, sunny, or windy weather could ruin a cigar’s overall quality and smokability in just a few hours. It will eventually taste like ash and no one wants to smoke ash.

Many people wonder, do cigars go bad? There is a much better chance of something going wrong if you’re not storing them properly. 

Cigar aficionados will tell you that they own more than one humidor to give the cigars the best possible upkeep. Since it’s all about moderating moisture and humidity, a humidor cabinet can make a huge difference and even preserve your cigars for up to three years if you’re consistent and careful.

2. Essential oils will evaporate

As temperature wildly affects the quality of a fine and well-aged cigar, it’s important to remember that moisture level is key. The gradual heat that seeps through the cigar will enable the oils and sugars in the tobacco to blend properly.

However, if you leave the cigar out in hot temperatures, the extra heat can make the smoke rather acrid and eventually remove the aroma of the cigar. The essential oils will then slowly evaporate, which will cancel out the sweet touch of flavor and bring you a bitter aftertaste. 

It’s important that you always store cigars at the proper temperature (around 70 degrees) and out of direct sunlight if you can’t keep them in a humidor.

Cigars on top of table beside a humidor

3. Tobacco leaves will dampen

When you aren’t storing cigars in a humidor or a humidor cabinet the tobacco leaves will swell fast.

This is a common problem that first-time smokers or cigar collectors encounter. Since cigars contain various types of tobacco leaves, individual flavors of each leaf are scattered and create multiple layers of flavor. 

When you leave the tobacco out in the heat, more moisture goes in and the duller the smoke will be. That’s why you need humidors to regulate the moisture and temperature with the help of a digital hygrometer.

4. Damp cigars are prone to tunneling, canoeing, and running

When cigars are damp, all the elements are compromised. This usually makes it difficult to enjoy your cigar at all. Although damp cigars can still be salvaged, not everyone knows how to get back their original quality. 

When a cigar is burnt in its core but looks completely intact and still fresh outside, the volume of the smoke is eventually lessened, a process known as tunneling. 

There are also situations where a damp cigar’s burn is only evident on one side, which means you would have to smoke what is left of it very quickly. This is called canoeing, which also brings a  pungent change in the cigar’s taste. 

Running unwraps the envelope of the cigar. This happens when the combustion of the burn is seen along the side of the cigar which reaches down to the cigar’s foot.

5. Poorly stored cigars could double your risk for respiratory disease

Cigar care applies even beyond the enjoyment and quality of your experience. It also applies to your health. 

Although there are lower rates of lung cancer and coronary heart disease in cigar smokers compared to cigarette smokers, it could still severely affect your respiratory health if you smoke a poorly preserved cigar even just once. 

You may not even smoke cigars often, but when you fail to properly store your gifted cigar, the risk of smoking something even more dangerous to your lungs becomes a greater possibility.

This is exactly the case when you smoke a damp cigar wherein the molding has already set you up with a thicker smoke. It can overwhelm olfactory receptors in your nose which will only heighten the unpleasant taste and aroma.

Since cigars are larger than cigarettes and are more than seven inches in length, they will naturally have more tobacco in them. A large cigar can have between 5 to 20 grams of tobacco and can take an hour or two to smoke. Thus, smoking a damp cigar could worsen the impact of the cigar smoke, even if you rarely smoke it.

Cigars inside a desktop humidor6. The Ziplock method will not preserve your cigars long-term  

For casual cigar smokers, or even those who just received some cigars usually resolve to the Ziplock method. Although it’s a quick hack, it’s not a long-term one that will help preserve the Montecristo you’ve been trying to save for the holidays. 

At most, cigars stored in a Ziplock will only last three to four days and will require to be smoked as soon as possible to enjoy their quality.

Even then the quality is not the same as when purchased and if you’re not a cigar aficionado and don’t mind the fading flavors, then so be it. However, cigar enthusiasts will tell you how even a small humidor can be a great investment for casual cigar smokers.

How Do Humidors Work?

Humidors can change the way you enjoy your cigar and finding the right one is the secret. Its core purpose is to allow controlled airflow. To further preserve the fine tobacco, internal humidity should be maintained from 70 to 75% in a narrow range between 20 to 21 degrees Celsius.

Observe the texture of the cigars in the humidor, if they ooze with a little oil, then that indicates the condition of the cigars is close to perfect. 

Another significant distinction to remember is that the humidor isn’t the solution to perfect cigars. Without proper monitoring and consistent maintenance, cigars are still bound to mold so you need to space them out properly and avoid crushing them in a box.

Periodically, keeping the humidor clean with distilled water can aid in proper and consistent storage of the cigars.

How Long Do Cigars Last Without a Humidor?

To get the most use and enjoyment out of your cigars, you will need to store them properly. Cigars out of the wrapper and without any preservation methods will not last any longer than two days, at the most. For people buying cigars, this is not a very long period of time. 

If you’re buying large quantities of cigars and those of extremely high quality that cost top dollar, then you are going to need to preserve and store them in the correct manner.

Cigar humidifiers or humidor cabinets are the best options for keeping your cigars fresh the longest. They will help you enjoy your cigars longer, without fear or worry that they will go bad before you get to enjoy them.

In a cigar humidor, your cigars are known to last for up to five years. This type of lifespan means you can buy bulk cigars and spend top dollar amounts on luxury cigars without ever worrying they will go wrong.

So no matter if you are a lifelong cigar enthusiast or just someone starting to enjoy the hobby of collecting cigars, you’re going to benefit from the right cigar humidifier or humidor cabinet. This is because all cigars are going to thrive in the proper type of humidifier or cabinet.

How to Start Investing in a Good Humidor

The key to finding the best humidor is to consider the overall performance and value for money. Although humidors are expensive, there’s no point in wasting good money on a bad humidor that can’t do its job well.  

Consider the frequency, how often do you smoke your cigars? Do you smoke once a week or do you save them for a special occasion? This will help you determine the size of your humidor and how often you would have to keep opening and closing the humidor, which may affect quality altogether.

Casual cigar enthusiasts will appreciate a Spanish cedar humidor, which can accommodate two dozen cigars. The freshness of the cigars will be supported by the cedar wood lining and a built-in humidifier

If you’re a frequent smoker, then a 50-cigar humidor with an external hygrometer on the front will help you manage your cigars properly. The externally mounted hygrometer will help you keep your cigars moist in the long run since it requires less opening and closing of the lid. 

Travel humidors are also a thing of modern invention that many on-the-go business folks would appreciate. These are portable, usually lined with leather, and come with a humidifier and hygrometer. Sometimes it’s placed on the lid or the upper hood of the casing. Travel humidors usually keep around a dozen cigars, ideal for a month-long excursion elsewhere.


Stack of cigars beside desktop humidor with hygrometer

How to Tell if a Cigar is Bad? 

One of the first things you want to look out for is moldy cigars. If the cigar smells musty or sour, it is usually a sign of fermentation. 

Check the appearance of your cigar and look for any discoloration. If the cigar feels dry or brittle to the touch, it might not be good to smoke. 

Whule you’re smoking the cigar, pay attention to the draw. Good cigars will draw easily. If your cigar has a tight draw, it may have been rolled too tightly or it could be too dry. 

Cigars stay fresh when stored in a humidor and that’s why we recommend this so heavily. When stored properly, you never have to worry about the quality of your smoking experience

How to Store Cigars Properly

It’s all about consistency at the end of the day. Keeping cigars is done in many possible ways but the way you want to do it is the right way. 

Think long-term and consider how much of the quality and essence of the cigars you are going to lose. Looking for all sorts of Cigar humidor cabinets, lockers, & desktop humidors? We got you covered.

Cigar humidors may seem like another thing you would never consider buying, but once you’re hooked into the cigar game, then maybe it’s time to start thinking long-term and purchase a personal humidor today! 

And remember, nothing goes better with a humidor than a smoke eater.

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