Search Content

Search form

Explore the World of Cigars
Cigar 101

Storing Cigars in Original Boxes

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Cigars were packaged and shipped very differently back when pirates commanded the seas. The first cigar boxes were actually large wooden chests that held around 10,000 smokes. We can credit the H. Upmann brand for being the first to sell cigars in cedar boxes – in more manageable quantities. H. Upmann was a banking company before the founders got into making cigars in Cuba in the 1830s. They labeled their boxes as a convenient way to promote their banking business when they shipped their cigars back to Europe. 

Today, cigar boxes are made to serve a similar function. They protect the cigars during shipping, but they’re also designed to get consumers’ attention on store shelves where hundreds of other brands compete for sales in the retail environment. Simpler boxes, or dress boxes, are fastened together with staples and are covered by artwork that is applied over most of the box. In cabinet boxes, which are made of cedar or mahogany, cigars are laid in three rows of eight, nine, and eight cigars. The original cabinet-style boxes contained fifty cigars bound by a ribbon to encourage air flow. 

Cigars come in some of the most unique packaging ever created. Is it okay to store your cigars in the box after you buy them, though? Yes, but only if the box itself is in a humidor. Allow us to explain.

Do Cigars Stay Fresh in the Original Box?

The short answer is NO. Pretty as cigar boxes may be, they do not keep your cigars fresh the way a proper humidor will. A humidor has a humidification system and a seal that prevents humidity from escaping when your cigars are inside. A humidor is designed to keep your cigars fresh at a consistent 70% RH (relative humidity) and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The wooden boxes cigars are packaged in won’t keep your cigars fresh because they do not have a humidity source or a seal. Cigar boxes are designed to protect your cigars from jostling around during shipping. Cedar cigar boxes offer many advantages when it comes to short-term freshness, enhancing the flavor of cigars as they age, and the prevention of cigar beetles. However, you can’t rely on cigar boxes to keep your cigars fresh for more than a few days, even if you leave the cellophane on the box. The humidity in your cigars will eventually dissipate if the box is left outside of a humidor, and with no humidification source to replenish the moisture, your cigars will dry out. 

Keeping your cigars in their boxes is great for organizational purposes if you’re storing them in a large-capacity, humidified environment like a coolerdor, a wine fridge, or a walk-in humidor where you can store multiple full boxes of cigars without exhausting a lot space. Cigar boxes preserve the original flavor of your cigars and prevent them from taking on the taste of different brands and blends you may be storing in the same humidor – although, some aficionados prefer it when different cigars exchange flavors.

Storing Cigars Without a Humidor

If you just received a box of cigars as a gift and you don’t know how to keep them fresh, there are ways to store cigars without a humidor. The easiest way to keep your cigars fresh is to place them in a Ziploc bag with a Boveda pack inside. Using Boveda packs to keep your cigars fresh requires little to no maintenance. If your Ziploc is big enough, you can slide the entire box of cigars inside with the Boveda pack. Humidity matters most when you’re storing cigars for a long period of time. As long as you monitor the temperature and humidity with a hygrometer, you can store cigars indefinitely.

Why You Should Save Empty Cigar Boxes

It never hurts to keep a few empty cigar boxes around. They come in handy in the following scenarios.

Protect Your Cigars When You’re Traveling

If you’re traveling with your cigars on vacation or a business trip, an empty cigar box is the best way to protect them when you put them in your suitcase or carry-on luggage. An empty cigar box is also a smart way to bring your cigars to the golf course or a buddy’s house if you don’t have a carry case or a travel humidor.

Dry-Boxing Over-Humidified Cigars

Believe it or not, cigars can get too wet just like they can dry out. If the humidity in your humidor has risen too high, you can fix over-humidified cigars by dry-boxing them. Remove any saturated cigars from your humidor and place them in an empty cigar box with the lid closed for a day or so. The empty cigar box will gradually absorb the excess moisture from your cigars without shocking them with an extreme difference in temperature and humidity. Some aficionados habitually dry-box their cigars before they smoke them to remove excess humidity because they prefer the way drier, firmer cigars burn.

Giving Cigars as Gifts

When you want to hand someone a few good cigars as a thank you, it’s ten times easier to place them in a Ziploc bag, put the bag in an empty cigar box, and gift wrap the box. Put a Boveda humidity pack in the bag to keep them fresh. Cigar boxes are great for wrapping all kinds of other gifts too.  

Arts and Crafts Like Cigar Box Guitars

Cigar boxes are used in and endless variety of arts and crafts these days. One of the most popular is making cigar box guitars. There are numerous DIY videos on how to make cigar box guitars, cigar box purses, cigar box bird houses, jewelry boxes, furniture, and more. A stack of cigar boxes can provide an invaluable source of entertainment when you’re dreaming up a fun project for a rainy day.

Featured Products

Related Posts

Cigar 101
How Are Cigar Boxes Made?

The cigar box has become an important part of marketing the cigars themselves...

Cigar Culture
The Appeal of Unique Cigar Packaging

Artists, woodworkers, and designers collaborate to make cigar boxes with intricate detail, shape, and color. Cigar packaging has come a long way in the past 200 years...

Cigar 101
Choosing the Right Cigar Humidification System

For a humidor to function properly, a reliable humidification system is essential. With new technologies, a growing number of options exist today.