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INFLUENCES OF THE PACKAGING TYPE ON CIGAR STORAGE

Every passionado is horrified by burst ends of a ci­gar and tears in the wrapper. Even if you take care of your treasures, and then, after years, disillusion­ment follows and many questions can come up. The cause for these damages, apart from the me­ chanical damage, is almost always one influential factor: fluctuating humidity in the humidor.
If the humidor is opened in winter when there is dry heated air, the dry air will enter. When the hu­midor is closed again, it usually takes many hours until an adequate humidity of 65 to 70 percent is reached again (unless you have a high­perfor­mance, electronically regulated humidifier that can replace the lost humidity within minutes). During this period of low humidity in the humi­dor, the cigars inevitably take over the function of the humidifier.
The wrapper is thus constantly surrounded by dry air, contracts, expands again, contracts – in the long run, this cannot go well. At some point, the tension in the wrapper is too great, and big tears appear in it and the burning end bursts open.
The way a cigar is packaged has a decisive influ­ence on maintaining its structural stability and on the development of the aromas while it is stored in the humidor.

SHOULD CELLOPHANED CIGARS BE UNWRAPPED?
These days, many cigars are sold wrapped in cellophane. The most important argu­ments for this type of packaging are:
1. protection against damage
2. less impact of humidity
fluctuations and a reduced loss of bouquet when stored individually in a humidor or in a shop window
3. hygienic reasons (especially for individual storage in retail outlets)
4. legal reasons (in some countries, the individually offered cigars must be priced and barcoded).
Now the question arises whether or not to unpack the cigars for storage in your own humidor. The answer depends on the type of storage. If the cigars are stored in a large cabinet or in a walk­in-humidor, the large amount of ambient air causes a successive release of to­bacco flavors in the cigars. For this rea­son, with this type of storage I would leave the cigars in the cellophane. If, on the other hand, they are stored in their original box in the humidor, you should remove the cellophane. The air volume in the box is minimal and the cigars age better, the closer together they are.
Basically, this recommendation also applies to cigars packed in aluminum tubos. If you want to prolong the aging process, unscrew the cap of the tubo and place the cigar in the open tubo in the humidor. I would only store cigars in a completely closed tubo if individual items are to be stored for a very long time (eight years or more), because in this case the post­aging process is extremely slowed down. It is important to note that the risk of de­veloping off-­flavors is greater the fresh­er the cigars were when packed in the aluminum tubos. If there are still clearly perceptible ammonia notes in fresh cigars, I would leave the tubo open for a few months.

SMALL CARDBOARD PACKAGING
Cardboard packaging should gener­ally not be stored in a humidor, as its inner sides are usually not sealed and the increased humidity can cause a musty smell inside the humidor.

STORAGE IN THE BOX
Those who have the option of storing whole boxes of cigars should also do this and not store the cigars on in­dividual trays or in the open box in the humidor. It may look pretty (and in gastronomy it is hardly possible to do it any other way), but it is counter­ productive for the retention of aromas. Cigars age best in a closed box and short­-term moisture fluctuations, such as when the humidor is opened, virtually have no negative influence on the wrapper. Even if the box is opened to remove something and then closed again, the air volume inside is so min­imal that no negative effects are ex­pected in this case.

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Marc André is a passionate cigar smoker and humidor manufacturer. He has developed various humidification technologies for humidors, consults on and creates special humidor series and custom orders, and is in high demand as a lecturer on topics like cigar storage and humidor construction. His website, www.humidorbau.de, features his 100%-made-in-Germany Century series, which offers a range of professional solutions to cigar storage – from small table humidors to aging cabinets.


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