Spotlight: Should I Store My Cigars in a Cool Place?
After such a hot scorching weekend, we felt it was justified that we wrote an advisory piece on storing cigars in the prospect of upcoming warmer months. Since there’s nothing sadder than when you buy Cuban cigars and their potential is wasted because you’ve stored them incorrectly.
A closer look at the perfect form of some of the Cuban Cigars we stock which have been stored in optimal conditions.
In every box of Cuban cigars online bought through EGM Cigars there is a small leaflet from Habanos S.A. which advises you to keep your cigars stored in temperatures of 16-18 °c. Which, during the winter months, might seem perfectly achievable, but as the thermometer slowly rises this might seem a little more difficult; particularly for those that do not have air conditioning systems or cellars in their homes.
An example of one of the instruction leaflets found in boxes of Cuban Cigars distributed by Habanos S.A.
We’re going to analyse all of the arguments for storing cigars within these two strict temperature levels and decipher whether it actually has any practicality.
- It will help maintain the aroma and benefit the post-ripening of the cigars
It may come as a shock to individuals who favour an aged cigar over a fresh cigar, but many publications claim that cigars are at their very best when they are initially released. This can be true of some and not of others.
This is because over time the ammonia in the cigars will evaporate and the complex sugars will become simple giving it a little fresher flavour on the palate. This development can be slowed down by storing them in an aluminium tube (see our previous blog post How to Store Tubos Cigars on our Cuban Cigar Blog).
If you buy cigars online such as the Cohiba Behike, and then store them in an open environment where they are exposed to fresh air, the cigars will lose their aroma quicker than properly stored cigars. Nevertheless, the same results would be found from cigars that have been left in 18°c or 25°c. So, it’s justified to say that it is not the temperature that will maintain the aroma, but the humidity and amount of fresh air it is exposed to. Nevertheless, to ensure the cigar keeps its aroma, we recommend cigars are stored in their boxes and that you avoid storing them individually. This is excellent for cigars that are to be smoked within the next year or so. If you would like to smoke them at a later date then we recommend exposing them to as little fresh air as possible and ensure humidity levels are around 70% and the temperature is kept at around 20°c.
- It will protect your cigars from mould and cigar bloom.
The optimum conditions for growing mould is a damp and cold place in temperatures of 5-15°c. Therefore, it could be said that whoever gave this hypothesis was on the right track. Most mould that is found on cigars is more often than not a fungus. This fungus is known as Eurotium.spp which grows in environments which have humidity levels over 60% (frequently found in mattresses). This fungus is regularly confused with cigar bloom, but it is completely harmless and can be easily removed by wiping it clean. If cigars are stored in colder temperatures with a high humidity, the risk of this fungus grows higher. Therefore, we can say confidently it’s actually not true that storing your cigars at a lower temperature and high humidity will protect your cigars from mould. If your cigars have mould on them, we recommend relocating your unharmed cigars into a new environment whilst you clean the mouldy one with isopropyl alcohol, air it out and the re-humidify it before putting them back.
- Less likely to bloom
When you first experience cigar blooming, you’ll want to reach for the nearest bin thinking your cigars have rotted and need to be thrown away. But unlike mould, bloom usually denotes that your cigars are ageing well. Many experiments connote that lower temperatures has little to no affect on the percentage or probability of blooming on cigars.
- Provides protection against pests.
This is the most frequent and accepted belief, but unfortunately cooler temperatures will not fight off many pests, particularly not the pesky tobacco beetle a.k.a Lasioderma Serricorne.
These are the arch nemesis of any Cigars online, with the larvae and its insatiable appetite creating deep circular holes in the cigars making them un-usable. Cigar importers will usually make sure that as soon as they receive the cigars they freeze them for a couple of days. This is because temperatures of -35-45°c kills off the beetle larvae. Consequently, temperatures between 16-20°c will not stop this, as the larvae only become sedentary at temperatures below 5-6°c (which will in turn dry out the cigars). Another myth busted. We would recommend hoping that you don’t get these pesky pests in your humidor and try your best to keep optimal conditions for your cigars.
Is there really any point in keeping cigars cool then?
In all honestly, we would say that the best thing to do is make sure the temperature and humidity levels of your humidor are kept constant, so in the summer months it may be best to keep them a little cooler and humidity levels higher to ensure that the external temperature does not warp the cigars’ shape, causing them to tear or dry out.
We recommend the following:
- Keep humidors out of very warm rooms, of course unless the room is dry.
- Put the humidor in a cool room with a similar temperature to the humidor.
- Many walk in humidors have a built in air conditioner and a humidifier. To ensure a balance in maintaining this one must control the de-humidification and cooling, keeping moisture levels in check at all times.
Our humidors for sale provide the optimum home for all of our Cuban cigars, for instance the Montecristo Cuban Cigars, including the Montecristo 80th Aniversario cigar will thrive in the environment these world-class humidors provide.