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Tobacconist University
Accoutrements College

Accoutrements College: Cigar Humidors

 
CONDITIONING vs. FRESH

A fresh cigar is not the same as a "well conditioned" or "well kept" cigar. "Fresh" refers to a cigar that was just made: "right off the bench". Typically fresh cigars are at much higher humidity levels and are not ready to be smoked: a post production aging (Añejamiento) will be necessary for the flavors to blend and synergize.

Under proper conditions, a cigar can age and develop for a lifetime. Essentially, aging cigars is the very slow process of organic decomposition, also known as Añejamiento. In that process, the flavors of the leaves will continue to marry and refine. Over time the cigar and wrapper will exude oils and develop a richer, glossier sheen. The flavor and aroma changes a cigar will go through will vary by brands and are impossible to predict. For that reason, cigar connoisseurs enjoy aging their cigars to experience the surprising nuances that develop.

A humidor is merely the container which will house the cigars and contain the humidity. It can be made of wood, plastic, glass, or any other material which will not contaminate the tobacco. The humidity is provided by a humidifier and measured with a hygrometer.

Cigar Humidor     Cigar Humidor     Cigar Humidor





HUMIDORS

Cigar HumidorA humidor is any container intended to store cigars at the appropriate humidity.

Cigars are hygroscopic in nature, which means they will readily release or absorb moisture from the environment until they are in balance. The optimal environment necessary to store cigars long term is 70% relative humidity (RH) and 70° Fahrenheit. Some people prefer to smoke cigars kept at 65% RH or lower. This is a matter of personal preference and it may vary for different cigars. Ultimately, 70% RH is still ideal for long term cigar aging which could span years or decades.

Storing cigars in a refrigerator or freezer will damage the tobacco and retard the aging process. Conversely, keeping cigars at higher temperatures can lead to the hatching of tobacco beetles. At higher temperature and humidity levels, the tobacco beetle larvae will hatch and the beetles will infest and eat through the cigars. In addition, significant changes in temperature and humidity will cause expansion, contraction, hydration, and dehydration that will negatively impact the natural harmony and construction of a great cigar. Consistency is ideal for proper storage.





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