Any cigar connoisseur will, of course, own a humidor (or two or three). However, there are times when you may be caught without a humidor, or perhaps you’re not a regular cigar smoker, but you’ve been gifted a cigar, at a wedding say, and you don’t want to smoke it right then, but you know you will someday.
The problem is that if you don’t have a humidor to store your cigar in, it will dry out and become un-smokable in mere days. Storing cigars correctly becomes especially important if you live in a cold-weather or desert climate where too much dry air will dry the cigars out in next to no time. Fortunately, if a humidor is not within quick reach, there are a few viable alternatives that are cost-effect and efficient.
Ideal Conditions for Cigars
Cigars ruin due to fluctuations in the humidity or temperature of the environment. It can affect a cigar’s ability to burn and change the taste. The ideal conditions for a cigar are 70% humidity and 21°C, but a general range between 65 to 72% humidity and 18 to 23°C is acceptable.
Cigars should exhibit a soft firmness with a little give when gently squeezed with your fingers, but not so much that the wrapper leaf cracks. However, not all cigars are the same, and some blends are rolled more densely or tightly, whereas other brands may be softer.
Make a note of your cigar’s condition when you purchase it; this is the ideal shape and condition that you want to try and maintain. Humidors are perfect for this; they retain humidity and temperature levels so cigars don’t change taste or feel, even as they age. Humidors vary widely in price depending on brand and size.
Tupperware and Humidification Pouch
A Tupperware box (or a jar) can make a great improvised humidor. Make sure that the lid is airtight so the moisture does not dissipate. Humidity pouches are small packets meant to maintain optimal conditions for cigars on the go and can be bought from most cigar stores.
Clean the Tupperware thoroughly and place the cigars and the humidification pouch inside and seal closed. Make sure you regularly rotate them and air the Tupperware. Keep them at room temperature, so don’t leave them in a hot car or in any extreme temperatures for a long period of time.
Zip-Seal Bag and Sponge
If a humidification pouch is unavailable to you or you can’t get hold of one in time, basic methods can be used. Wet an unused kitchen sponge with distilled water and place in a clean zip-seal bag along with your cigars and zip it closed. Monitoring the humidity level won’t be an exact science with this method – without the hydrometer the humidor provides – but it is a simple and effective method to keep cigars from drying out. Just keep an eye on the sponge and occasionally check to make sure it hasn’t dried out.
If you want to keep your cigars for more than a few months, or you’ve started to collect more than can reasonably fit in Tupperware boxes, but you still haven’t gotten around to getting that humidor yet, a cooler can be a great option.
Usually designed to keep food and drinks cold at a picnic, coolers can make a great humidor-alternative. Make sure it’s clean, and that seal is perfectly airtight, so it keeps the cigars fresh. A humidification unit with a digital hygrometer is recommended to mimic what is used in a typical humidifier. However, you can also stock the cooler with humidification pouches as an alternative.
Humidors from JJ Fox
While there are a few ways to keep cigars fresh, humidors are by far the most effective method. If you’re looking for a humidor, James J. Fox’s collection of humidors are the perfect complement to your cigar collection. With a 20 to 75 cigar holding capacity on average, each one is designed and engineered to store cigars and related tobacco products. We also offer travel humidors and humidor accessories like digital hygrometers, humidor bags and propylene glycol solution.
And if you need some cigars to stock your humidor, we have a wide range available on our site and from one of our London stores. If you’re looking for Cohiba cigars or Cuban cigars, contact JJ Fox today.