Rotating Cigars in Your Humidor

Gary KorbHere’s a nifty topic that crosses my path every now and then – rotating cigars in your humidor. According to a poll administered by Cigar Advisor Magazine, 54% of cigar smokers surveyed said they rotate their cigars on a regular basis. So what is “rotating cigars,” and what are its benefits?

Not unlike the way tobacco leaves are rotated on pilons in the cigar factory during fermentation, rotating cigars is simply moving the cigars in the lower rows of your humidor to the upper rows. There are areas in your humidor that can restrict moisture from getting to your primos. And because air circulation is important during the aging process, rotating cigars allows them to get a more equal distribution of moist air. This is also why it helps to leave some space between your cigars. Trying to pack them in tightly like they are in their factory cigar boxes can be detrimental to their survival. There’s no specific method to rotating cigars, as long as you’re able to shift the majority of the sticks from point A to point B.

Here’s how I do it: About every 6-8 weeks, I bring the humidor out to a table where I have plenty of room to spread out. Because I’m kind of a neatnik, I lay the cigars out by row on either paper towels or wax paper. The latter is better because wax paper won’t leave any lint on the cigars. Noting which cigars were taken from the top row, I begin placing them back in the humidor. Sometimes I replace them by size, but mixing them up can also help create more air flow around the cigars.

One hitch is, if you happen to have a high-capacity humidor that’s well-stocked, it can take a while before you get through all of them. So, sometimes I enlist the help of my younger son, and he actually enjoys it because he

rotating cigars

Rotating the cigars frequently in your humidor will help keep them fresh

says they remind him of Lincoln Logs. The other hitch is, if you remove the cellos from your cigars, you have to be careful. I’ve damaged several good sticks during the process over the years, so now I keep the cellos on my most expensive cigars.

Although it’s still a good idea to rotate your cigars on a regular basis, if you can get the air circulating in your humidor 24/7 you may not have to rotate them as often. Some cigar smokers actually add small computer fans to their humidors to help circulate the air. However, Cigar Oasis, a company that makes electronic humidifiers, includes fans in all of their models.

Many aspects of enjoying premium cigars have to do with patience, and though rotating your cigars may be a bit time-consuming, as the saying goes, “The end justifies the means.”


Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.


  1. Katmancross says:

    I completely agree with you, Gary. My 4 humidors ebb and flow with quantities. I get the cold sweats when it’s time to rotate the sticks. Some wrappers are so delicate. An no matter how careful I might be, I will damage a stick. I get really angry with myself. And do the dance of suicide. 1-2-3 cha cha cha. I have to lay them on my bed which is nice and soft and no chance of lint. The sticks bring my 13 year old cat out like it’s catnip. I often move the cigars from one humidor to another. I use the crystal unscented cat litter in a media mesh bag for humidification. Cheapest and easiest way to humidify. One 4lb bag of litter lasts years. Anyway, good article!

  2. discounted cigars says:

    Before putting any cigars in your new humidor, you need to create the appropriate climate. Temperature of 70° and humidity of 70% are considered to be optimal.

  3. Danno says:

    Rotating is a good thing. I always keep the cello on, as I know this protects the cigars. One additional thing I do is to use the cedar sticks from boxes to make spacers. I just space them out in the opposite orientation of the cigars I am placing on them, and alternate as I work my way to the top.

  4. Twolips says:

    What about cigars that come with individual cellophane and then wrapped in together with another thick plastic cellophane (flat) to a bunch say, about 5 together)? Do we leave it wrapped like that to store?

  5. Gary Korb says:

    Hi Twolips,
    No. Remove the outer cello and remove the individual cigars. You can choose to keep them in their individual cellos, or remove them. Too much cello could possibly prevent additional and much needed ventilation.

  6. Michael Osucha says:

    Thanks for sharing such information.
    Really very informative.
    Keep going.