How to keep cigars from drying in winter

Are you dreaming of smoking in a cigar winter wonderland this holiday season? Going outside in the cold isn’t particularly appealing to most cigar smokers, but there’s nothing better to turn those chills into thrills than a toasty stogie.

Unfortunately, the coldest season can dampen our smoking experience in more ways than one. You must be prepared for the frosty days and bitter winter nights.

When the temperatures drop, your cigars enter survival mode. Check out our top tips to ensure your glorious tobacco sticks don’t end up as dried-out, shriveled leaves this winter.

Winter humidor maintenance tips

No matter the time of year, a humidor will always be the best home for storing your cigars. However, just like your house or car in winter, you need to give your humidor more of a helping hand during the colder months to keep it running smoothly.

While it’s comforting to sit warm and cozy by the fire as the snow blankets the ground outside, the extra heat can cause your cigars and humidors to dry out. Your cigars can also develop a potentially damaging fungus or mold or lead to an outbreak of tobacco beetles.

Fluctuations in humidity and temperature can adversely affect your cigar’s burn and taste, so it’s up to you to closely monitor the conditions inside your humidor.

What humidity to keep cigars in winter?

Cigars have to be kept humidified for you to get maximum enjoyment out of them, but should you adjust your humidor to the climate? Consistent storage conditions will always benefit your cigars, and these shouldn’t differ too much if at all during winter.

Aim to keep your cigars between 62% and 72% humidity and between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum burn and taste — it’s not a bad idea to increase it a touch as autumn heads into winter, but never go over 72%.

Avoid frequently opening your humidor

Under-humidification can cause your cigars to crack. This is a common issue in winter when furnaces and heaters contribute to lowering the humidity levels as air circulates and exchanges with drier air from outside.

Minimize the number of times you open your humidor, as frequently opening and closing it lets more dry air in. Exposure to different temperatures can cause your humidor’s humidity levels to alter, resulting in a throng of unwanted dry cigars. Simply place or pluck your cigar from your humidor without wasting time and shut the lid.

Other factors like a leaky seal can dry your cigars out, so get into a regular habit of checking all your humidor accessories are working properly. Every two weeks is ideal.

Humidor checks in winter

An accurate and calibrated hygrometer is essential to ensure accurate readings during winter. If you risk flying blind, you won’t be able to care for your cigars properly.

There are other things you should always check:

  • Airtight seal – External humidity can cause wooden humidors to expand and contract. This creates possible gaps in the seal, allowing moisture to escape and enter the box. Check the humidor’s seal periodically to ensure it is airtight, so your cigars aren’t exposed to fluctuations in humidity.
  • Water source – You’ll likely need to replenish your humidity source more frequently during the colder months. Add distilled water to the humidification device when required. 

Where should I store my cigars in the winter?

Don’t position your humidor near a direct heat source, even if it looks perfect above the fireplace. Too much heat leads to dried-out stogies with cracked wrappers.

Choose a room or area of your home that provides stability, and don’t panic if the temperatures drop just below 65 degrees. Maintaining a consistently cooler temperature is better than exposing your sticks to wild fluctuations.  

Tips for smoking cigars outdoors in the winter

If you are void of the luxury of smoking indoors, you could layer up and brave the cold for some puffs of your favorite cigar. Don't spend time faffing around — you must light it up and smoke it immediately after removing it from your humidor.

Choose a cigar with a thicker, heartier wrapper like an Ecuadorian Sungrown or Connecticut Broadleaf. Older and thinner wrappers won’t have the same resilience to the drastic temperature changes — first, the weather and then the sudden burst of flame to the foot.

Using a dual or triple-flame lighter that can withstand strong winds is wise, as well as puffing on smaller format cigars so you don’t have to spend too long outside.

Enjoy a not-so-bleak winter

We hope this guide helps you keep your cigar collection in tip-top condition during winter. Stay alert to the humidity levels and temperature drops to prevent your cigars from drying out, and you’ll enjoy many heartwarming smoking experiences, even when it’s cold outside. 

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