A dry cigar is a crappy cigar. If a cigar is kept under the wrong conditions for any significant amount of time, the tobacco will lose the properties that have been so carefully cultivated and paid for. The cigars must be kept under very specific conditions, or they will not last as long as they should. The main piece of equipment needed to store cigars is the humidor, which can be found in the article, “Tools of the Trade.”

HUMIDOR (recap)
A humidor is a container of some shape and size that will keep your cigars at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% relative humidity (the 70/70 rule - safest bet for the average user). This is achieved by coating the walls of the container with wood (commonly cedar) and adding a humidifier of a sort. A hygrometer will indicate the relative humidity level, and a thermometer will indicate the temperature within the space.

Note: There is some disagreement as to the 70/70 rule. Some would postulate that the cigars are best kept at a slightly different level, but for the most part the 70/70 rule will serve you well. Keep in mind however, that the optimum humidity level and temperature will vary from one cigar to the next.

  • Humidifier - As stated in the “Tools of the Trade” article, the humidifier is usually some sort of sponge that will get soaked in distilled water and allowed to evaporate in the enclosed space. That is not always the case. There are two classes of humidifiers.
    • Passive - The sponge variety, that simply soaks up a humidifying liquid and evaporates said liquid into the space. There are two main types of passive humidifier.
    • Floral Foam - This is exactly what it sounds like. You can buy it at any gardening center, and it’s a super absorbent. It is very cheap, and therefore a very popular option.
    • Chrystal Gel Humidifier - This is a porous plastic container holding many small transparent beads, and each of these beads is able to absorb and slowly release humidity from a special gel that must be used with it. The gel is far more expensive than the water that is used for the Floral Foam, and is therefore a less popular option with the  newbies. It is very effective, however. 
  • Active - Active humidifiers are only for large cabinet or walk-in humidors that require lots of humidity constantly to be poured into the air inside.
Whatever the humidifier you go with, be sure to use distilled water (NOT with the Chrystal Gel Humidifier). If you use regular tap, mineral, or spring water, you will see a buildup of minerals on your humidifier very quickly. 

Whatever you read anywhere, NEVER apply water directly to the wood on the inside of your humidor. EVER! This will warp and ruin the wood, which is unfinished and unprotected (if it is finished for some odd reason... well that’s weird, and I probably wouldn’t use that humidor).

Upon receiving your latest shipment of stogies, resist the urge to keep them safely in the box they came in, upon your manly desk. The box itself is NOT a suitable substitute for the moisture kept protective environment of a humidor. Instead, put the cigars (go ahead and leave the plastic wrap on the cigars on, for now) into the humidor. If it’s a desktop humidor, don’t bother with the cigar box, and stuff the cigars themselves right into the humidor. For larger cabinet style humidors, you may put the cigar boxes in there instead.

Be sure to always keep the cigars in the humidor, always keep the humidor closed (except when getting a cigar to smoke) and don’t let it get too hot or cold.

Humidity means mold. Mold is bad. In fact it’s downright disgusting. Don’t let your cigars get moldy, and believe me, it can happen to the best of us. With a little prudent effort however, your cigars will last ages, and they’ll always be tasty.

From time to time (About once ever 2 weeks or so), rotate your cigars within your humidor. If the cigar is sitting label up, turn it label down, and so forth (a 180ยบ turn). Some people also like to rotate the upper and lower cigars. It’s a good idea, and making sure that all your cigars spend equal time on top of the stack is time well spent.

Don’t get crazy about it, just be sure to do your civic cigar duty and don’t let your cigars get moldy.

Even the best cigar connoisseur will occasionally find that one of his humidors has dipped well below the acceptable humidity level and after a time, all his cigars have gone dry. It’s a sad predicament, especially if those cigars cost you a pretty penny.

For some cigars, it may not be possible to fully restore them to their original state. But you are welcome to try. What you’ll want to do is keep these cigars in a properly humidified humidor for a long time (about 6 months is a good starting point). After a while, the tobacco reabsorbs some moisture and life may come back into its flavor. Again, it won’t work every time. Often, there is irreparable damage done. Don’t get into this situation in the first place.

Some people swear by certain home-brew remedies. If your cigar is only slightly dry, try putting it in a plastic bag with a slice of apple. The moisture from the apple will be absorbed by the cigar, and by the next day, the cigar will be quite supple.

Good luck to you!