Are you an enthusiast of cigars? And love to collect them for a long time? Then definitely this article is for you. Here we will discuss on storage and maturation of cigars. We will discuss how you can store those cigars which use natural wraps like grabba leaf or fronto leaf.
How long do cigars need to be stored to mature?
Most people believe that cigars are in optimal condition at the time of purchase and believe that they no longer need to mature. This assumes that the grower kept the raw tobacco prior to maturation. But is it really so?
Comparing cigars to wine suggests that this issue should be viewed from different angles. There are wines that are specially produced for everyday use and are not suitable for long-term storage, that is, for maturation. Rosé wines are probably the best example of this. Bordeaux wines, on the other hand, will not be drunk immediately after bottling. Every connoisseur of Bordeaux knows that classic Bordeaux wines must be kept in the cellar for several years, and some of them show their best qualities only decades later.
The same goes for most Cuban and other premium cigars. Unlike wine, however, you don’t have to worry about storing it for too long. Safe storage of any cigar, even for several years, will not harm it. As in the case of wine, there can be no generalizations about the time it takes for cigars to “mature”, here the assessment is subjective. The starting point can be the experience with a certain cigar, the taste of which at some point turned out to be ideal for you. But just like grapes, one tobacco crop can be different from another.
If you want to experiment with cigar aging, you do not need a cigar cabinet… The best results, however, are obtained by storing the cigars in their original packaging of 25 or 50 pieces in a humidor. Thus, a large enough tabletop humidor can be very handy. You can then taste the packaged cigars at different intervals, each time a few months, until the taste of the cigars is perfect for you.
Absolutely regardless of the maturation potential of each individual cigar, experts agree that all premium cigars should be stored in a humidor for at least 6 months after purchase.
How to avoid the appearance of the tobacco beetle?
If you saw a cigar beetle, then it is too late! But is it possible to prevent their occurrence? What are the signs?
You can find small larvae in your humidor. You may also notice powdery dust on your cigars or humidor, which is essentially cigar beetle droppings. Beetles can suddenly fly up when the humidor is opened. And you will definitely notice small holes on the cigar wrapper that the beetles gnawed to get out of the cigar after hatching. In all these cases, it is already too late, since many cigars are already consumed from the inside. The eggs were laid on a sheet of raw tobacco before the cigar was rolled. On the way to maturity, the larvae eat, eat, and eat! And it takes about 120 days for an egg to turn into a flying beetle.
You will have to throw away all contaminated cigars. Then the humidor must be thoroughly cleaned. Uncontaminated cigars may still contain eggs or larvae and must be placed in the freezer. Cigar makers have long been fumigating pest-free cigars. However, this does not help fight the larvae, since they only die at a temperature of minus 12 ° C for several days. This is the reason why many importers freeze cigars. before delivery to retailers. If you encounter a cigar beetle infestation, or if you are worried about souvenirs that you brought back from vacation, you can do the same at home. Care must be taken to ensure that cigars are sealed and protected from foreign odors. Afterwards, defrost the cigars as slowly as possible so that the wrapper is not damaged.
How long does it take for cigars to dry?
There is no exact answer to this question, because the level of relative humidity (RH) in the room plays a decisive role. Every humidor owner has probably noticed that the humidifier needs to be refilled more often in winter than in summer. In the winter months in Central Europe, RH levels often drop to 30%; in the Caribbean, RH levels rarely fall below 60%. The humidity level of the environment naturally speeds up or slows down the dehydration process.
The drying time of a premium cigar depends entirely on its environment. If the cigar is initially stored in a humidor at the appropriate RH level, but then the humidifier is not refueled for a long time, the cigar can dry out over several weeks. On the other hand, if left outdoors, on a table or in the living room, even without the protective cellophane packaging, a few days will be sufficient.It is also important to consider the difference between so-called “dry” cigars filled with short tobacco fibers and premium cigars made from whole tobacco leaves.
Dry cigars are made by machines using shredded tobacco. They do not need to be stored in a humidor. Premium cigars are made from whole leaves that are rolled while wet, because otherwise the leaves will break. These cigars must contain a certain amount of moisture inside, because if the cigar dries out, the essential oils in the tobacco will evaporate and the flavors will be lost along with them.
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