Proper Cigar Collecting and Storage
I started collecting and storing cigars about 5 years ago. At that time we lived in Hawaii so, no matter what I did, the inside of the humidor got too hot, and eventually it led to the infestation of the infamous and dreaded Lacioderma tobacco worm. Luckily, I caught it early, so I only ruined about 10 cigars, but I was always inspecting my cigars and removing any that looked like it might have a "guest" eating its way out.
We eventually moved to Georgia where the temperature and humidity are a bit milder compared to Hawaii (especially if you have air conditioning), and I was storing about 400 cigars in two humidors. One humidor held my "super fine" Fuente Fuente OpusX; Davidoff; Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Maduros; etc... and the other humidor held about 300 good quality Arturo Fuente cigars, as well as some other really good cigars. Someone gave me a box of less expensive cigars, so I had no choice but to put them in with the other 300, because no way were they sharing space with my OpusX collection.
I have an assortment of different sized travel humidors, so I purchased a few of those small cigar-shaped digital hygrometers to carry when I traveled. When I wasn't on the road, I would put these little beauties in my home humidors, and by moving them around, I soon discovered that the RH levels vary quite a bit within the same humidor depending on where the reading was taken. I also noticed that the upper tray was preventing humidity from reaching the lower part of the humidor, so I had "happy" cigars on the tray, but the ones below where screaming for moisture. I finally got rid of the upper trays all together and that helped even things out quite a bit. I also purchased a third humidor to relocate some of my lower priced (but still tasty) cigars like the Arturo Fuente Curly Head, and some cheaper C.A.O.s. I immediately noticed an improvement in my large humidor that was previously holding nearly 350 cigars and was now holding about 200 cigars.
The points I'm making are:
1) Get yourself a small digital hygrometer-thermometer that can be moved around your humidor(s) so you can really see what's going on inside.
2) When you have too many cigars in one humidor the cigars on the bottom are suffering so at that stage it's usually better to either cut down on the cigars you store or get another humidor.
3) Take out your cigars about once every month or two and lay them out on a white sheet and look them over for signs of tobacco worms and proper humidification. When you put them back in (after you've removed any rejects), rearrange them so the ones that were on the bottom are now on top and visa versa.
4) Always separate your cigars according to quality and how long you plan to age vs. smoke. I found three humidors to be the magic number for me. One for the Super Premiums I hardly ever smoke. One for your good cigars, and one for your "Joe Blow" cigars.
I have found that the less expensive cigars are more prone to Lacioderma infestation, so I smoke those every day. Keep an eye on all your cigars and don't expect the humidor to do all the work. You should be successful in storing cigars and smoking your stash with the confidence that they will be in tip-top shape when you need them.
- Gene McCann, Peachtree City, GA.
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.Show all Gary Korb's Articles