How Long do Cigars Last?

Jeff Miller
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Researching Your Favorite Cigar Brands

When you’re looking for a great cigar, there are many questions that spring to mind. Do you want to smoke it during a romantic moment with your significant other? When you’re celebrating a night out with the guys? Do you have a new cappuccino machine and want to try it for the first time with a cigar (or are you looking to do so again)? In this section of the guide, we’ll cover some of the most popular cigars and cigar brands to help you select a cigar that is just perfect for you and your situation.

Protecting Your Cigars-Proper Storage

Just as with any other type of cigar, properly sealing and protecting your cigar collection will ensure that it’s ready to smoke when you are. However, while there may not be a foolproof method to preserve them at their peak freshness, you can make your collection more durable. Here’s how to get started:

Use Humidor Accessories

Humidors are designed to keep your cigars humidified. To do this, they also help keep air circulating properties – two important factors in protecting your cigar collection from age. By using a humidor to protect your cigars, you will also be protecting them from dust, bugs, bacteria, and the elements.

Use Plastic Bags

Often overlooked, plastic bags can actually be very effective at preserving your cigars. This is especially true if you take out the air first by sealing your cigars in a Ziploc bag. Not only do they allow movement of oxygen, but they keep away harmful elements that affect the quality of your cigars. Not to mention they’re inexpensive, easy to find, and they are readily recyclable.

Life in a Humidor

The right humidity in a cigar humidor is essential to how long a cigar lasts. If a cigar is kept in a humidor that is too dry, then it will lose moisture, develop cracks, and eventually lose its flavor. On the other hand, if a cigar is kept in a humidor that is too moist, then it will develop mold and mildew.

In order to understand how long a cigar lasts, first you have to understand why they have an expiration date to begin with. Cigars only last if they remain in their original, unopened box. Once the seal is broken, they have a life expectancy of months.

In order for a cigar to be considered fresh, it should have the following qualities:

  • A sweet aroma should be detectable (if there is no sweet scent, it is likely that the cigar has become dry and lost a lot of its flavor and aroma)
  • The cigar should be firm to the touch and not brittle
  • There should be no visible signs of mold
  • The cigar should still burn evenly

You can usually determine how long a cigar lasts by the outside tobacco leaf. You should be able to notice the degradation or darkening of the wrapper.

The tobacco inside should still be of dark color and should not look faded or brown. That is usually an indication that the cigar has lost its aroma.

The Aging Process

Cigars consist of many different components. They can be made of different tobaccos each with its own unique characteristics. Inside the cigars are a whole host of tobacco seeds that come from vastly different places. They often have different soils and weather conditions, and therefore produce tobacco that emits unique flavors and aromas.

Outside the cigar is an outer wrapper made from tobacco leaves mixed with a variety of natural and artificial binders. The most common cigar binder is natural tobacco leaf, but in some cases a synthetic material like reconstituted leaf is used. There are times when cigar manufacturers use a combination of the two, which leads to optimum durability and consistency. Finally, a cigar band is placed around the cigar to indicate the brand, manufacturer, and sometimes the size, composition, or country of origin.

We know that cigars are made from a mix of different tobaccos as well as a variety of binders, but we rarely know anything about the cigar’s history. Because of this, we don’t know if it was under a bed for twenty years or if it’s been stored in a temperature-controlled humidor in an upscale hotel.

Final Thoughts

It’s a common misconception that the storage of cigars doesn’t matter. This may have been okay back in the day when cigars were shipped in large boxes. But now that cigars are often sold in hand wrapped, sealed boxes, proper storage is crucial to maintaining the flavor of the cigar.

The cigar’s taste, strength, and aromatic properties are all impacted by how well it’s kept. Proper storage will keep the cigar at a constant conditioned environment, which is ideal for maintaining the integrity of the cigar and its flavor.

Ideally, you would keep the cigar in a well-ventilated, enclosed room, not in direct sunlight. You should store it at a recommended 68‗70 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 72%. However, if this is not possible due to financial or accessibility issues, the next best thing to do would be to find a suitable humidor.

Being able to hold a humidity that is right for the cigar is important for proper tobacco maturation, preservation, and aging. A humidor that is too hot can result in tobacco drying that leads to a decreased sweetness. Too little humidity can result in tobacco mildew and molding.

A small temperature and humidity gauge is highly recommended for proper storage of the cigar, and a hygrometer will let you keep an eye on the humidity levels.