Havana Cigars must be stored and maintained in correct conditions to be enjoyed at their full potential. Like exceptional wines, they develop and improve over many years and so storing them correctly is vital, even if over a relatively short period of time.
A dry cigar may burn too readily and taste harsh and hot when smoked and can also be extremely brittle and susceptible to damage. The natural oils contained in the leaves will dissipate over time, so even if the cigar is revived, it will leave a bland and tasteless smoking experience.
Conversely, a cigar that is exposed to too much moisture risks the filler leaves expanding and splitting the outer wrapper. It will burn unevenly and be difficult to keep alight. Cigars kept in excessively humidified conditions can also result in a diluted or muddled taste (it’s a very sensitive business you know).
The ideal conditions to store Havana Cigars are between 16°c and 18°c and in a relative humidity of 65-70%. To make sure they are stored correctly; they are kept in units known as humidors. These can be anything from a small desk-top box for about 10 cigars, to a walk-in room storing several hundreds.
You need to check your cigars regularly to ensure they are not too wet or too dry (like Goldilocks, it needs to be just right). Let the cigars tell you when to water the humidor by gently squeezing them between your thumb and forefinger. Cigars in ideal condition should be firm but springy, it's possible to monitor the humidity levels in your humidor using a hygrometer; however, many smokers insist that the old fashoned method of testing cigars by hand is the most reliabe.
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