What humidity should I store my cigars at?
This is a question discussed, debated, and misunderstood by many. Some who swear by a specific humidity can’t even explain why. This brief guide is not going to be exhaustive, but rather, is meant to give you some guidance about ideal cigar humidity.
Let’s start with some basic knowledge.
Why should you keep cigars humid?
The answer is fairly simple: if the leaves dry they will crack and your cigar will fall apart. But even if it doesn’t fall apart, a dry cigar will burn unevenly and too hot and ruin the flavour.
What if they’re too humid?
If the cigar is too humid, you can also get uneven burning which will affect the flavour. We’ve seen people say “my cigars are not dry but they’re still cracking!” What people don’t realize is that when the tobacco inside of your cigar gets too humid it will expand and can crack the binder and wrapper.
So at what humidity should I store my cigars?
The generally safe relative humidity is somewhere in the range of 62% to 72%. Some prefer a higher (or lower) humidity in general while others prefer a lower humidity (62-65%) for Cubans and a higher humidity (67%-72%) for non-Cubans.
If your humidity is fluctuating due to temperature changes, you need to keep in mind that your hygrometer displays “relative humidity”. There’s a really interesting chart below that shows how ambient temperature will affect the relative humidity. The circled column shows 65% RH. This chart was shared on the Canada Cigar Forum and was taken from the US Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Handbook.
If you have a taller cabinet humidor, the top portion will have a higher humidity than the bottom. Some people’s immediate reaction is that “water is heavier than air” but this isn’t exactly accurate. The molar mass of water is 18g/mol while the weight of air is 29g/mol. Roughly. So, airborne water is actually lighter than the air in our atmosphere.
So, the question to address in this brief blog is not necessarily “what is the best humidity to store a cigar?”, but what is the best temperature for me, in that ideal range of 62% to 72%.
Cigars Daily has an excellent in depth video on cigar humidification over on their channel if you would like more information.