Fine cigars are like fine wine and should be kept in a place where both temperature and humidity are controlled in a microenvironment. Such a controlled atmosphere helps to keep cigars at their best by preserving the natural environment in which the cigars' tobacco was grown and fermented, as well as the conditions in which the cigars were rolled. A container with a humidifier that simulates these natural conditions is called a humidor. Whether the cigars are stored in the humidor with or without their individual wrappers is a matter of debate among cigar experts.
Different Kinds of Humidors
A humidor is a storage container that controls the flow of air and uses a humidifier to keep the internal humidity of the cigars at a constant range of 70 to 75 percent and the temperature at between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. There are different sizes and types of humidors. Some are for traveling, hold just a few cigars and can be kept in your pocket. Others are larger and hold more cigars. There are even humidors the size of a room, which can hold thousands of cigars. Cigars can be stored in a humidor with or without individual wrappers.
The Argument for Keeping Wrappers On
Cigar experts are divided in their opinions as to whether to store cigars with or without their wrappers inside the humidor. Those who hold that wrappers should be left on point out that the reason cigars are wrapped in cellophane is to protect the delicate cigars from possible dangers such as moisture, mold, aromas, bugs and beetles, all of which can attack the cigars if they are unwrapped. The wrappers also keep them intact when they are being transported from the manufacturer to the customer.
Reasons for Storing Cigars Without Wrappers
Other cigar experts prefer to take the wrappers off the individual cigars before putting them into the humidor. They believe that the cigars will be able to "breathe" more naturally and age in a more timely fashion, like fine wine, if the cellophane is removed. Either way, once the cigars are put in the humidor, they will not dry out or split even if they do not have individual wrappers.
Some experts maintain that if a cigar smoker travels with a humidor or opens it very often, then it is a good idea to keep the cellophane wrappers on the individual cigars. They say that even with the wrapper on, the cigar will begin to age, since cellophane is porous and allows the cigar to breathe even through the wrapper. They also believe that the wrapper maintains the cigar's humidity. In the end, whether the cigar's wrapper is on or off, it is the humidor, and not the wrapper, which keeps the cigar at its best.