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Cigar 101

Can You Freeze Cigars?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

We never recommend storing cigars in the refrigerator, but you wouldn’t be the first aficionado to assume otherwise if that’s where you’ve been stashing your precious cigar collection. Whoever told you to stick your cigars in the fridge is categorically wrong. But, we can see how you might assume otherwise since carrots, cottage cheese, and cold-cuts stay fresh because you keep them refrigerated. Cigars need to be stored in the vicinity of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% relative humidity, FYI.

There is one rare exception for storing your cigars temporarily in the freezer, and that is only in the case where you’ve got an infestation of cigar beetles in your humidor. Allow us to elaborate. 

Storing Cigars in the Refrigerator

Okay, storing your cigars in the refrigerator is a dumb idea for a number of obvious reasons. First, refrigeration actually dries out your cigars. Once a cigar’s humidity is gone, so is its taste. Yes, you can re-humidify dry cigars, but it makes no sense to intentionally dry them out by putting them in the refrigerator. Cigars that have been re-humidified may become smokable again, but they will never taste the same as they did when they were originally rolled and humidified, which is the taste the cigar-maker intended when the cigar was blended.   

Also, cigars are like sponges. That means they absorb the taste and aroma of whatever is near them – in your humidor, your breast pocket, or your refrigerator. That means last Tuesday’s casserole will gently infuse itself into the Oliva Serie V Melanio or Flor de las Antillas you were saving for after work.

Freeze Cigars to Kill Cigar Beetles

In the rare and unfortunate case cigar beetles hatch in any cigars you’ve been storing, freezing your cigars is the best and only recommended way to kill the beetles and prevent them from spreading. Cigar beetles can hatch when the temperature and humidity meet at a certain point (usually over 72 degrees and 72% humidity) for an extended period of time.

Experiencing an outbreak of cigar beetles is not common, but it’s also not unheard of. You know you’ve got an issue with beetles if you notice tiny pin-sized holes in any of your cigars’ wrappers. Cigars that have already been damaged by beetles need to be tossed out and removed from your humidor immediately.

To ensure your remaining cigars can be preserved, it’s not a bad idea to freeze them temporarily to eradicate the chance more beetles will emerge. Follow these basic steps to gradually freeze your cigars to eliminate cigar beetles.

  1. Seal Your Cigars in Tupperware or a Ziplock Bag

To prevent your cigars from picking up unwanted flavors or aromas from the contents of your refrigerator or freezer, seal them in a clean Tupperware container or a heavy-duty Ziplock bag.

  1. Gradually Cool Your Cigars in the Refrigerator Before Freezing

Place your cigars in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will gradually cool your cigars so they are not shocked by the temperature in your freezer.

  1. Place Your Cigars in the Freezer

Most connoisseurs will keep their cigars in the freezer overnight, or for a few days, to make sure the beetles are eradicated, but you can potentially kill the beetle larvae with a few hours in the freezer.

  1. Gradually Warm Your Cigars Up to Thaw Them Out

Return your cigars to the refrigerator for 12 to 24 additional hours after you take them out of the freezer. It’s especially important to warm them up gradually so the wrappers don’t split from expanding and contracting during the freezing and thawing process. Then, take them out of the refrigerator and let them acclimate to room temperature. Store them in a cool, dark room for a day. Do NOT defrost your cigars in the microwave. No matter how bad you want to fire up a beetle-free cigar, be patient. A premium cigar is not a pot roast.

  1. Return Your Cigars to Your Humidor

Once your cigars have been kept at room temperature for a day, go ahead and return them to your humidor. Continue to monitor your collection, but freezing is a guaranteed method for annihilating cigar beetles.

In the meantime, if your cigar collection is growing, invest in a good humidor and set it up correctly. Or if you need to save up to buy one, follow our advice for keeping your cigars fresh without a humidor – and don’t put them in the fridge, friends!

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