Cigar Humidification

2022 CA REPORT: How Long Will a Sealed Box of Cigars Remain Fresh?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Updated February 2022

CIGARS WILL STAY FRESH IN THEIR BOX LONGER THAN YOU THINK

It’s a question that has no doubt crossed the mind of many a cigar smoker: How long can you keep a box of cigars fresh without a humidor? The simple answer: if the box is still sealed, they can stay fresh up to about six weeks. Experienced cigar smokers know that if stored within certain temperature and humidity parameters, sealed or not, premium cigars will keep almost indefinitely.

cigar advisor how long will a sealed cigar box stay fresh - boxes wrapped in cellophane
These Rocky boxes still have their factory cellophane wrapping. It’ll keep the cigars fresher longer, but not forever.

On the other hand, most opened cigar boxes will begin to dry-out in about 30 days. It also depends on the climate both inside and outside your house. However, if the box is still sealed in shrink-wrap and kept in a cool, dark space, you can probably buy another 10-14 days. If the factory added a Boveda pack to the box, you could stretch it to two months, give or take a week. (Note that some Boveda packs have been in their cigar boxes so long, they may be mostly dried-out by the time you open the box.) But if the box remains sealed at room temperature and has no humidity pack, you could be looking at almost certain death in around three months. So as you can see, there are a number of factors that play into the lifespan of a sealed box of cigars.

cigar advisor how long will a sealed cigar box stay fresh open box of cigars
Some boxes are wrapped in a thin layer of cellophane to help keep the humidity stable during shipping. If you’ve removed it, or your cigar box doesn’t have one, the clock is ticking…

When premium long filler cigars have reached a very dry state, there’s little more than a slight chance they can be re-humidified. As cigars dry out, the moisture goes first. After that, their natural oils start to evaporate. As a result, even if they can be resurrected, said cigars may have lost some or most of their original bouquet and flavor profile.

 

Is There a Best Way to Store Cigars?

Call me “old school,” but I believe that a Spanish cedar-lined humidor with a well-regulated humidification system ranging from 65 to 70-degrees Fahrenheit and 65-72% relative humidity is the best way to store cigars. Yet not all cigar smokers keep their stash in traditional cigar humidors. Storage options include everything from factory boxes to large zip lock type bags, to big and small plastic storage tubs, picnic coolers (“coolerdors”), and electronic cigar humidors. All of the aforementioned storage ideas will work fine as long as the temperature and humidity are monitored on a regular basis. Be sure you have a good quality hygrometer, preferably digital, with a temperature readout, and enough humidification to cover the number of cigars in your particular setup.

cigar advisor how long will a sealed cigar box stay fresh - ziploc bag of cigars
Ziploc-style bags are a cheap and easy solution for keeping your cigars fresh.

 

How to Extend the Life of a Sealed Box of Cigars Without a Humidor

Let’s say that somehow you ended up with a few sealed boxes and don’t have the means to humidify them. Here are some things you can do to keep them fresh until you’re ready to open them.

  • You can freeze them, but here’s the thing—unless they’re infected with beetles, I’m not a fan of freezing cigars. For one, I don’t like subjecting cigars to freezing temps. Plus, the defrosting process is time consuming.
  • A cool, dark space, like a garage or a basement will help keep your cigar boxes pretty fresh as long as the temperature is fairly consistent. 50 to 60-degrees should be pretty safe but try not to leave the boxes in this environment too long.
  • A solution I’ve tried myself is to add an extra layer of protection to the sealed box by placing it inside a plastic bag with a 69% Boveda pack. Here again, keep the box in a cool, dark spot, and the pack will keep the atmosphere in the bag stable.

Boveda 69% Humidity Pack

cigar advisor how long will a sealed cigar box stay fresh - boveda 69% humidity packs at famous smoke shop

 

And now for the don’t do’s

  • Do not put sealed cigar boxes in the fridge. Refrigerator humidity is too low for long filler cigars. They will only dry out, and pretty quickly, too.
  • Do not keep your sealed cigar boxes in the bathroom. Bathrooms can get mighty steamy, and because the humidity and temperature rise and fall so often, the cigars cannot stabilize.
  • Do not place sealed cigar boxes where they will be subjected to direct sunlight for several hours a day. The temperature inside the box can rise to dangerous levels that could possibly cause mold.

 

And there you have it.

Many premium cigars are tougher than they look, but not all. When sealed in their factory boxes they’re packed in pretty tight. It’s one of the reasons they will stay fresh without a humidor for a pretty decent amount of time. Some cigar wrappers are more or less delicate than others and will respond differently to various temperature and humidity levels. That’s why it’s important to keep everything as stable as possible, whether or not the box is sealed.

If you have a solution of your own for keeping sealed cigar boxes fresh, we’d like to hear from you, so please add your advice to the comment section.

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Paul DeFelice
2 years ago

I have just come across a sealed box of Cuban Cohiba‘s that were purchased about 13 years ago ..what is the BEST way to restore them ? I know they lose some taste and flavor but is it worth it ? I can send you pictures if you would like.. thanks in advance..Paul

Elizabeth Lopez Heaton
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul DeFelice

If someone answers your question please let me know.
I have an unopened ibox of 25 Romeo y Julieta cigars;my father bought on the Queen Mary in 1966.
My sister found them in the closet at our parants home in England and send them to me last year.. I live in Florida
and have kept the unopened box in a drawer since. .

Bruce Sager
4 months ago

I would be more than happy to purchase this box of 1966 Romeo & Julieta from you. Please write to me at [email protected]

David
1 year ago

I just bought 2 boxes of cigars that were rolled and packed in May / 2014. I bought them from a reputable dealer and can safely assume that they have been kept in the humidor the entire time. They were stored with the cellophane around the box and was never opened. Will they still be good?

John Habermann
4 months ago

Is it a good idea to unwrap a cigar and let it sit unlighted for a while before lighting it up? If yes, how long?

Larry Hueter
4 months ago

Question on a slighting different subject. Should you be taking the plastic wrapper off of the individual cigars when placing in the humidor?

How long will a cigar stay fresh? – AnswerParadise.net
1 month ago
Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com 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.

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