Smoking a dried up cigar is comparable to smoking dried straw. Regardless of the cigar brand, all will have a similar stale taste when they dry up. Cigar humidification, or storing cigars inside a humidor, maintains the quality of cigars and prevents this drying out.
You may know to use humidors to keep cigars tasting fresh, but do you understand how it works?
The 70/70 Rule
Ideally, for maximum freshness and flavor, cigars should be kept at a temperature of 70 degrees with 70% relative humidity. This environment closely mimics the place where the tobacco had been stored and fermented, essentially allowing you to taste every puff just as if you plucked a cigar right off of a rollers table. When properly stored using the 70/70 rule, cigars can be kept for years without any harm or damage to their construction or their taste.
Too Much Moisture
Cigars thrive on the correct amount of moisture for optimum smoking pleasure. However, too much moisture may cause the cigar to mold, in which case it cannot be smoked and must be discarded, or the cigar may puff up and unravel.
The proper way to store cigars is in a humidor, and the proper way to measure the moisture content is with a hygrometer.
Cigars need airflow for proper storage. When in a situation without access to a humidor, you can put cigars in sealed plastic bags with a wet paper. However, no airflow after several days may cause the cigar flavor, composition, and smoking ability to be sorely compromised.
Every good humidor allows you to separate cigars to allow airflow between them. If using a box humidor, you should rotate the stock every few days to keep them all humidified evenly. If you have ever smoked a cigar and had one side burn faster than the other, that is a direct result of non-even humidification, where one cigar-side receives moisture and one side doesn’t.
Humidors with humidification systems and hygrometers are the best way to keep cigars moist and fresh. But even simple humidors are better than none, because proper humidification will give you the best smoking experience regardless of what stick you smoke.