I’m very happy that my girlfriend recently went to Cuba for work travel, and she brought me back some very nice Cuban cigars. My humidor has been almost empty this year and today is fuller than ever before.
I’m normally not a smoker. At least not the regular kind of smoker. But when I’m in the mood for a smoke, and that’s just a couple times a year, I do smoke cigars.
Cigars are a very expensive and artful hobby. And I say hobby and not vice because, at least for me, its a once in a while thing. But you really enjoy them once you appreciate the care of making them and the craft of storing them appropriately.
Here are some simple tips on how to select and store a cigar:
1. Choosing a cigar, is like choosing fresh bread.
Choosing a cigar is not as simple as buying cigarettes. Cigars are hand made and the tobacco is pure, no chemicals added, no extras, just pure tobacco. So stores must know how to store them to sell them. Unfortunately most stores or places that sell cigars don’t know how to do it properly. The technique that I use to pick a cigar is very simple, I squeeze the cigars very gently and see how soft it is.
Since cigars need humidification to preserve the leaves, bad cigars are typically stiff and hard. A good cigar is soft. Think of how you choose fresh bread, you pick the softest one and sometimes you squeeze it a little bit to see how soft it is.
2. Store a cigar in a dark humid place.
Remember, its all about the freshness of the leaves. So store your cigars where no direct sunlight hits them and where there’s no heat that can dry them.
3. Control humidity
If you’re going to get serious about smoking cigars, buy a humidor. You can find very expensive ones and very cheap ones. Just make sure they’re made with a good wood and its all sealed inside. No cracks or spaces between the pieces of wood that make the box. You need the humidor to preserve the humidity inside and not leak out. Humidors almost always have a hygrometer, which is a clock-like tool to measure humidity. I like to keep my humidity at 70. If you don’t have a humidor, you can two a small plastic bags (zip-lock). In the first one, put a damp cloth, on the second one, poke holes on the bag and place the cigars inside. Put the cigar bag inside the other one and close them both. Its a hack, but works! I use this technique to restore dry cigars to a smokable condition.
I can keep writing about cigars all day, but I think this is basic stuff to get you started on cigars. And I just got delivered some New York style pizza for dinner and smells great.
Anyways, so this weekend I guess its going to be one of those days where I’ll relax with one of this nice fresh Cuban cigars, and either a mojito or a glass of cognac or whiskey, depending on the weather.
For me, a cigar is one of those simple things in life to enjoy.