Question of The Month: A “cool idea” for keeping cigars fresh in hot climates?

In order to preserve the desired and recommended temperature, would the following be even remotely appropriate? A “compact” or counter-height non-defrosting refrigerator (the kind usually found in hotel rooms) in an 85° daytime, 80° nighttime home, set at 70°. It would have to run only occasionally during the day, and even less at night). And yet, because of the particular design of these smaller refrigerators, would not be defrosting itself, and therefore not be dehumidifying the cigars.

The 3-4 cubic foot range models look like they would hold at least two humidors. Is this a possibility with the non-defrosting feature preventing dehumidification, or will such a contraption get me thrown out of the New-Cigar-Smokers Society?

Your thoughts?
 – Eric in California

A: Cigar smokers rule of thumb: Never put cigars in a refrigerator. Chances are even a non-defrosting unit will suck the humidity out of them, too. The proper RH range for most premium cigars is generally between 65% and 70% RH, and refrigerators tend to have a low average humidity, usually in the neighborhood of 41% to 45% RH. Plus, odors from other foods can sometimes seep into the cigars and affect their flavor. (In your case, the latter would not be a problem.)

My advice would be to store the cigars in the coolest darkest space in the house possible during extremely hot weather. Generally speaking, the higher the heat, the lower humidity required. Since it is very dry in California, you still need to maintain enough moisture to keep the cigars at a certain “comfort level.” If the temperature goes up over 80° in your humidor and your cigars feel a bit squishy, you’ve got too much humidity, so it needs to be reduced. If the temperature dips down too low, you will need a little more humidity.

About beetles: Beetles usually tend to appear when both the temperature and humidity are too high – like an 80° temp/80% RH scenario. If you should happen to get beetles, freeze the cigars for a day or two, slowly thaw them for one day in the main fridge, then place them back in the humidor. This will insure more beetles never show up. That is really the best use of a refrigerator when it comes to premium cigars.

Since you plan on putting the humidors themselves in the fridge, you might be able to pull it off, but only if you can get the temperature in the fridge up into the 60° to 70° range as you mentioned above. You’d also have to make sure the humidor has a good seal, and you’d have to maintain the humidity in the humidor within the 65-70% range. Storing your cigars at temperatures below 60° is very risky unless you know what you’re doing.

You might actually be better off investing in a “Wineador.” It will provide you with the optimum temperature, but you would have to add a humidification device; preferably one with a fan to circulate the air, like a CigarOasis XL. (Last December, CigarAficionado.com had a good forum discussion on using a Wineador that’s worth reading.)

Keeping your cigars fresh and aging properly is basically a balancing act, and wherever you keep your stash, you need to keep careful tabs on it. At the end of the day, your goal should be keeping the cigars at the “firmness” and/or “freshness” that delivers the best smoke for you. As long as you do that, your cigars will stay fresh and continue to age nicely for years.

~ G.K.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor at cigaradvisor.com

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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