Give a Cigar Aficionado subscription and we'll send you a Pocket Guide to Cuba FREE!

Email this page Print this page
Share this page

James Suckling

Cellaring Cigars

Posted: Apr 30, 2007 10:42am ET
I saw this this morning over my coffee, and I thought I better chime in. The parameters for aging cigars is always slightly subjective, but I prefer to have mine a little dry. That’s how it’s always been done in England, and the British are the specialists in aging smokes.

I prefer to keep my cigars around 65 percent humidity and 65 degrees. The latter is important to keep cool because warmer temperatures run the risk of allowing beetles to hatch and munch your sticks!

Anyway, here is a posting from Wine Spectator’s site on storing cigars in wine cellars. It’s from the Dr. Vinny section, which is a Q&A feature on the web.

April 27, 2007:

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I would like to start storing and presenting cigars openly in my wine cellar. Will it hurt my wine to store the cigars in the cellar side by side?

—Chris

Dear Chris,

It won’t hurt your wine, but it might hurt your cigars. I checked with Gordon Mott, executive editor of Cigar Aficionado, and he says that the ideal condition for cigar storage is a 70 degree temperature at 70 percent humidity, which roughly matches the growing conditions of the tobacco.

However, the ideal storage for wine is 55 degrees at about 70 percent humidity. This means that wine cellar temperature is generally too cool to store cigars. Why would that matter? Well, for one, humidity is also relative to temperature. I know it sounds like magic (it’s science!) but for every drop in temperature degree below the ideal for cigars 70 degree temperature, you need to increase the humidity to keep cigars properly humidified. If the air is too cold, it won’t be able to hold enough moisture in suspension. So at 55 degrees, you’d need about 80 percent humidity. Over the long term, your cigars are likely to dry out in your wine cellar.

The good news is that cellars aren’t awful for short-term cigar storage, and that cool temperature will prevent the hatching of any dreaded tobacco beetles (ew!).

—Dr. Vinny

I think Dr. Vinny should smoke some cigars sometime! I keep my cigars in my cellar in Italy and they are stored perfectly… It’s usually about 62 degrees and 65 percent humidity, as I said before. It can get colder in the winter but then I just bring the cigars upstairs and let them warm up a bit before smoking. So, yes, you can cellar your cigars with your wine. That’s what I do!

Comments   7 comment(s)

Nicolas Fauteux — Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Canada —  April 30, 2007 2:32pm ET

I find that, within normal comfortable temperatures (say 60-75) cigars will be perfect at 65%. The temperature-humidity thing might be crucial for air, but it has only marginal importance when it comes to cigars.


Tanner K — New Canaan, CT —  April 30, 2007 3:08pm ET

Thanks for the great info, James! Personally, I really prefer my smokes a bit dry rather than wet. I think it's much easier to enjoy the more subtle notes of a cigar when it's stored at a lower humidity. I find that the spice in a cigar, while important, shouldn't be the most dominant aspect while I'm smoking. As far as the temperature goes… I have yet to meet a person who enjoys smokin' beetles!


Luis J Falto — Mayag?ez, Puerto Rico —  April 30, 2007 4:16pm ET

Mr Suckling,I am planning on adding a storing/aging cigar room in my house. Do you have any basic info in such matter (i.e. type of wood, humidification and temp systems.) Any help would be grearly appreciated.Thanks,Luis J. Falto


James Suckling April 30, 2007 10:36pm ET

Luis. Buena idea! Wood must be untreated cedar. That's what they use in the factories in Cuba. I don't know the names of brands for humidification or temp systems, but they have to do the basics -- control both. Plus, you need a good flow of fresh air. Hope this helps.


Christian Aliperti — NY —  May 1, 2007 12:54pm ET

James, when cellaring how would they be stored? Do you leave them say in the box and place on the wine rack or store in the cellar in a humidor. These maybe stupid questions but want to be sure as I typically have my cigars in a humdior at about 65% humidity at the moment. Thanks for the advice.


scott zegans May 6, 2007 7:08am ET

70/70 is the proper enviroment when storing your cigars. I collect & age all my sticks. On the otherhand I do like my cigars on the dry side when smoking, so i have a dry box. its a humidor that is totally dry no humidification. I usually put cigars in there 2 to 3 days before I plan to smoke them. It works great. An OpusX at 70% humidity does'nt burn the best, dry box it & it comes alive.


Geoff M. Stiles — Temecula, CA —  June 24, 2007 1:20am ET

I can attest to the fact that basements might be very good as well. I recently was GIVEN some pre-embargo Cuban cigars that were kept in an unfinished basement in Nebraska. They were some pre-1963 Berings in tubes (date provided by Lew Rothman) and some Dunhill H. Upmanns in the glass "desk" jar. While I have not smoked the Upmanns yet (I'm giving them a thorough re-hydration starting at 50% humidity); I broke down and smoked one of the machine made Berings today. It was sublime. It was simply amazing after only a week at 65%. I can only imagine how good these are going to be after fully hydrated. You can see pictures and my reviews at http://www.herfersparadise.net/portal/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=47894andhttp://www.herfersparadise.net/portal/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=47608



Please log in to post a comment—registration is FREE.

Log In If You're Already Registered At Cigar Aficionado Online

Forgot your password?

Not Registered Yet? Sign up–It's FREE.

FIND A RETAILER NEAR YOU

Search By:

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

    

Cigar Insider

Cigar Aficionado News Watch
A Free E-Mail Newsletter

Introducing a FREE newsletter from the editors of Cigar Aficionado!
Sign Up Today