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Cigar 101

What Are Cigar Tubes & When Should You Use Them?

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Besides taking in the scent and the selection of mouthwatering handmades at your nearest premium retail cigar shop, you’ll likely zero in on the packaging as much as the cigars themselves. The boxes and bands that identify our favorite cigars truly set them apart. Very few if any consumable products are adorned with the vivid level of imagery and detail found on a box of cigars. Besides the bands, some cigars come in tubes, also called tubos. Why are some cigars concealed in an individual tube and what purpose does it serve?

Why Do Cigars Come in Tubes?

Protection

Some cigars are packaged in wood, glass, or aluminum tubes. Aluminum is the most common. Cigar tubes are useful for a number of reasons. First and foremost, cigar tubes serve a utilitarian purpose. As is the case with cellophane, a tube keeps unwanted fingerprints off a cigar. A tube also offers added protection when a cigar is being transported or handled in a retail environment.

When you’re grabbing a few cigars to toss in your jacket, glove box, suitcase, or golf bag, cigars that come in tubes are a logical choice. Squeezing a single cigar or a ziplock with a few inside into a tight space can quickly destroy the patience, effort, and handiwork that went into rolling them. The wrappers can crack and get shredded. Or, if you’ve ever accidentally sat on a cigar you were keeping in your back pocket, a tube is a great way to avoid disappointment.

Marketing

Cigar tubes are excellent for marketing purposes. Putting a cigar in a tube costs a little more than sliding it into a cellophane sleeve (many cigars in tubes are also protected by cellophane inside the tube). But, a tube is a great way to captivate the consumer visually. It’s an opportunity to show off the color scheme and branding on the cigar’s band with a bigger impact.

Gifting

Cigars make great gifts. You may not want to buy a full box or a sampler, though. Sometimes one cigar says it all, or you maybe you just need a last-minute stocking stuffer. Cigars in tubes are perfect for showing your appreciation for your favorite cigar lover. You can walk up and stick a cigar in a tube in his or her pocket without damaging it. Plus, if your recipient doesn’t have a humidor, a tube will keep the cigar fresh longer.  

Should Cigars in Tubes Be Stored in a Humidor?

Yes. A tube will maintain a cigar’s humidity and freshness longer than if a cigar is left out in the open. However, eventually the humidity will dissipate, even from a tube. If it’s going to be a while before you smoke your cigar, put it in a humidor or a ziplock bag with a source of humidity (some cotton balls soaked in distilled water will work). Unscrew the end of the tube to let the moisture access the cigar if you’re storing it.  

How Long Do Cigars Last in Tubes?

Cigars in tubes still need to be humidified. Like cigars that are not packaged in tubes, cigars in tubes will last indefinitely as long as they are humidified. When a cigar in a tube is removed from a humidified environment, it will stay fresh for a few days, maybe up to a week or longer. A cigar in a tube will maintain its humidity and freshness longer than a cigar that’s not in a tube if both were removed from a humidor at the same time. But, we wouldn’t recommend keeping your cigars out of a humidified environment unnecessarily even if they are in tubes. Cigars in tubes will last longer, but only by a period of days.

Do Cigars in Tubes Taste Better?

No, not necessarily, but they can taste different (than cigars not packaged in tubes) depending on how long the cigars have rested. Cigars will age differently in a tube. Most premium cigars packaged in an aluminum tube are wrapped in a cedar sleeve to better encapsulate a cigar’s flavor and to create a barrier from the aluminum.

Because a tube envelops the individual flavors of the cigar inside, a more uniform profile will emerge over time versus non-tubed cigars stored in a humidor where their flavors access and meld with the many other kinds of cigars you may be aging. Cigars in tubes also tend to age more slowly. Some aficionados prefer the effect tubes offer, especially when they don’t want other cigars to interfere with a particular blend. It is best, though, to remove or loosen the cap on a cigar’s tube so that appropriate humidity can reach the cigar if you plan to age it for an extended period.

Popular Cigars Packaged in Tubes

Besides the convenience of transport, the best way to decide if tubos are for you is to smoke a few. Choose a blend you know you already enjoy and give a tubos a try.

Fans of mild Dominican cigars can choose iconic tubos like Ashton Imperial, Ashton Monarch, Ashton Crystal #1, Arturo Fuente Chateau Series King T, Macanudo Portofino, Davidoff Aniversario Special R Tubos, Davidoff Signature #2000 Tubos, and Davidoff Signature #2 Tubos. Oliva Connecticut Toro Tubes is a milder Nicaraguan option.

For fuller-bodied tubos, Ashton VSG Eclipse, Padron 1926 Series #90, Oliva Serie V Double Robusto Tubes, and the strong and spicy taste of Cain Tubes fit perfectly in the front pocket of a flannel shirt. The short fat shape of Nub is now available in Nub Tubes as well. Take your favorite tubos to the beach or on your next fishing, hunting, or camping excursion without the worry they’ll get wet or ruined before you have a chance to fire up.

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