Humidity: Honor Thy 70/70 and Keep It Holy

Don't fall victim to a self-imposed bad smoke! Follow 70/70 to keep your sticks safe and fresh for years to come.

The rule of thumb? 70/70. Keep your cigars at 70 degrees F and 70 percent relative humidity. Of course, there are ranges — humidity can range from 74 to 72 percent; my tobacconist keeps his humidor at 68 percent — but if you keep at 70/70, you should be fine.

But what if you don’t?

Cigars that are too dry experience no end of quality problems. They split, they burn too fast, they burn too hot. The essential oils dry out and the flavor profile of the cigar substantially degrades. Although dried cigars can be rehabilitated, the process takes a long time, requires much care — and leads to a “fixed” cigar that has lost an important part of its tastiness.

Cigars that are overly humidified, by contrast, are a whole ‘nuther problem. Not only are they more susceptible to cigar beetle infestations, but they require more of the heat of the burning ember to vaporize the extra water content, leading to a cigar with less heat and an imperfect burn. You get more of the volatile chemicals when you draw, and you’re more like to have the cigar burn unevenly or require re-lights.

The solution is simple — keep your home humidor at the right temperature and humidity. Get a high-quality hydrometer, or get the (dirt cheap) packs from your tobacconist that keep the humidor at a constant humidity level.

Don’t fall victim to a self-imposed bad smoke! Follow 70/70 to keep your sticks safe and fresh for years to come.

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About jason

Jason is the principal of Gillikin Consulting, a business-media and ethics consultancy based in Grand Rapids, Mich.