QUOTE(Investment @ Nov 10 2005, 11:32 AM)
Tips on keeping your cigars in top shape.
Cigars fresh out of the box are generally to young to smoke. While some things like lettuce are best enjoyed fresh, cigars taste bitter when smoked without proper aging. I recommend that cigars are kept in a humidor for about a year and allowed to rest and release any toxic gases like ammonia which may be lingering in the leaf. some cigars keep better for longer times, such as a good Cuban like a Bolivar, or Monte Cristo. Some better brands of Dominican or Honduran cigars hold up to aging well: strong wrappers are a must. Aging your cigars will bring out the best flavors and can turn a fair cigar into a winner using the magic of time.
While you can keep your cigars in the box they came in from the store, unfortunately they will dry out and become stale in a matter of weeks. A low cost remedy for this daunting problem is to go to your local Winn-Dixie, or Target, and pick up a small Tupperware container. Ask your local tobacconist for a couple of solid Spanish cedar boxes. For example, I have a Leon Jiminez box that is unvarnished and makes a perfect place to keep cigars. I place the cigars inside box and place the box inside the Tupperware with a wet sponge. Although this is an inellegant looking solution, it works nevertheless.
The best place to store your fine cigars is in a humidor. Good humidors come in a variety of materials and sizes. You can find them made from exotic woods like Canarywood, or from pleasing grain woods such as cherry or maple. The inside should be Spanish cedar and have method of testing the humidity. Larger humidors have partitions to separate your various cigar brands. When purchasing a new 'dor one should pay special attention to the hinge hardware. In addition you may want to consider a locking mechanism to keep your stash safe from your "friends".
The most important thing to know about storing your cigars, is that they must be store at 65 to 70 degrees of humidity and at a temperature of approximately 70 degrees fahrenheit. Just remember the 70/ 70 rule. Good humidors come with a device to maintain the proper level of humidity. The brand known as Credo has a filler which holds the moisture and is one of many offered in the marketplace. They require refilling with a mixture of polyetheylene and water which can be bought through a tobacco retail store.
The purpose of keeping your precious cargo in a humid atmosphere is to re-create the tropical climate of the Caribbean. There must be care taken when humidifying cigars, as excessive moisture can cause mold to grow, which will ruin everything in the box. A good strategy is to rotate your stock from top to bottom, which will help evenly distribute the moist and dry cigars within your humidor. If you buy a box, and they are green or 'fresh' you can lay them away, and test one cigar every three to 6 months.
The tiny dots which may appear after a time, are called bloom. A certain amount of bloom is a sign of proper aging. Brush it off and enjoy your cigar.
If you see little bugs running around in your cigar box you have a problem. You need to separate out the offending area of cigars, and may require you to dump your entire inventory. The combination of over humidification and higher than recommended temperature will cause Lacioderma bugs to hatch. Keeping your humidor at 70 or below degrees farenheit at 70 degrees humidity will help avoid this from happening to you. It is a rare event, so relax and don't worry about this at all.
Travel humidors are also good to have if you want to smoke a cigar when away from your home. The hard plastic ones are best as the leather ones make the cigars taste like cow hide. A funky alternative is the solid pewter combination booze and cigar holder. The good stuff went into a bottle in one have, while the cigar was safe on the other side.
Good storage techniques will keep your investment safe and sound. Letting your cigars age will result in greater enjoyment when flame hits leaf. Let me and the other readers know if you have any tips on storing or aging good or great cigars!!!