Temperature or Humidity? Whats Important
There’s been a lot of discussion on what matters more--temperature or humidity--when storing cigars, and there’s also a lot of bad information on this subject out there. But the bottom line is this…no matter what you’ve read or what you’ve heard, humidity is the factor that you need to be most concerned about.
When storing cigars, the goal is to do whatever’s necessary to create a constant environment of between 70 to 73 percent humidity. This is the time-tested range in which cigars have been found to perform their best. When humidity levels drop below 70 percent, cigars will slowly begin to dry out and lose the oils in their wrappers and fillers. At 74 percent or higher, they can become mushy as the higher moisture will start breaking down the cellular structure of the leaves. Go any higher than this, and you run the risk of mold developing as well.
No matter what temperature you have your cigars at, if the humidity level is too high or too low, you’ll have problems. But temperature does play a role. There’s a long and scientific reason for why it does, but, simply put, air at higher temperatures can hold more water than air at lower temperatures does. So, as temperature rises, it can pull moisture away from cigars. This is why you don’t want to place a humidor in direct sunlight. And, it’s also why it’s okay to age cigars in the box in which you get them as long as you put them in a place where the temperature’s a little on the cool side, say a dark interior closet.
Maintaining proper humidity levels can be fairly easy when temperatures are in the 70 degree range, which is why many sources cite the “70/70 formula” as being ideal for cigar storage. At higher temperatures, you might have to add more moisture to your humidor to keep the humidity level where it should be. At lower temperatures, you probably won’t have to add moisture quite as often.
Always store your cigars at 70 to 73 percent humidity, regardless of what the temperature is. You’ll be glad you did.