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Cigar 101

Why You Should Be Resting Your Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Handcrafted cigars are sensitive to the conditions they’re stored in. That includes the climate(s) they pass through when they’re shipped from the factory to retailers and from retailers to consumers. Because premium cigars are created in warm, humid climates where the tobacco is grown, harvested, fermented and aged, moisture plays a big role in a cigar’s taste, construction, and consistency. Cigars are stored in humidors before, during, and after purchase to preserve the critical component of humidity.

While many cigar lovers passively rest their cigars when they put them in their humidors, allowing your cigars to rest serves a number of essential purposes. We understand, though, if you absolutely have to smoke one out of the box the second a much anticipated cigar package lands on your doorstep.

The Difference between Aging and Resting Cigars

First, it’s important to distinguish between aging and resting your cigars. Premium cigars can be aged for several months, years, or even decades, like wine. Aging is a deliberate process where cigars are stored in your humidor with the intention and understanding that their flavor will evolve and change over time.

The best way to illustrate the benefits of aging cigars is to smoke one out of a fresh box at the time of purchase and place the rest in your humidor. Smoke another cigar from the same box after a few weeks, and again after a few months, and years, if you can hang onto them that long. The oils from the binder, filler, and wrapper tobaccos meld over time, resulting in a more uniform and sometimes mellower flavor profile, but it really depends on the cigar.

Resting your cigars, on the other hand, requires far less time – anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. Resting your cigars is an important step in letting them acclimate to the conditions in your humidor and your home. Resting your cigars also gives them time to shed the residual taste of ammonia or other unwanted compounds that can surface after a cigar is rolled. Although, if you purchased a box that’s particularly bitter or harsh in taste, you may have to age them for a considerable time to fully accomplish a dramatic improvement in taste.

The best cigars are rolled with tobaccos that are fermented and aged extensively, sometimes for years, before they’re utilized in a blend. Even after the cigars are rolled, they are aged for an additional period at the factory. That’s why certain brands, like Arturo Fuente, Ashton, Padron, and My Father, can be counted on to deliver a consistent smooth taste with every cigar you buy.

Fluctuation in Temperature & Humidity is Bad for Cigars

Consistent temperature and humidity are important for your cigars. Resting them for a few days gives your cigars a chance to recover if they’ve been traveling from a hot and humid climate to a dry or cold region to reach their destination.

Often cigars are stored at cooler-than-normal temperatures by online retailers with big warehouses. Slightly cooler temperatures lessen the probability of mold or beetles and result in more stability. Retailers that warehouse and sell millions of cigars every year carefully monitor the conditions in their facilities to ensure optimal freshness for their consumers. Naturally, many customers return their cigars closer to room temperature when their orders arrive.

Cigars expand and contract as the temperature and humidity fluctuate. This can interfere with a cigar’s construction and its burn. Return your cigars to a healthy equilibrium by letting them acclimate to the consistent environment of your personal humidor.

Cigars Do Not Expire, But They Can Go Bad

The tobacco in premium cigars is organic. Cigars do not expire, but they can go bad if they are not stored correctly. Letting them rest gives them the opportunity to achieve the desired temperature and humidity, ideally around 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a humidor, there are plenty of temporary and long-term alternatives to explore for keeping your cigars fresh and giving them a chance to rest before you fire the next one up.

The only drawback to resting your cigars is that you have to wait to smoke them – not unlike waiting for a case of room-temperature beer to get cold in your refrigerator. But, we all know how much better an ice cold beer tastes.

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