Humidity plays a crucial role in the preservation of cigars, impacting everything from their aroma and flavor to their longevity and burn quality. Understanding the chemistry of humidity in cigar preservation is essential for both aficionados and sellers to maintain the quality of their cigars. In this article, we’ll explore the intricate relationship between humidity and cigars, how to maintain optimal conditions, and the potential consequences of improper storage.

Understanding Humidity and Its Impact on Cigars

At its core, humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. For cigars, the ideal relative humidity (RH) is between 65% and 72%. This range is crucial because cigars are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb and release moisture from their surroundings.

The significance of maintaining this specific humidity level lies in the tobacco leaves used to make cigars. These leaves are natural products that react to their environment. In conditions where the humidity is too high, cigars can become overly moist, making them difficult to light and potentially leading to mold growth. On the other hand, an environment that’s too dry can cause cigars to lose their moisture, leading to a faster burn rate, a harsher taste, and the possibility of the wrapper cracking.

The Role of Humidors in Cigar Preservation

One of the primary methods for controlling the humidity around cigars is through the use of a humidor. Humidors are specially designed boxes, often made of Spanish cedar, which help maintain a constant, ideal humidity level. The cedar not only helps regulate moisture but also imparts a subtle aroma that enhances the cigar’s flavor.

To ensure that a humidor functions properly, it must be properly seasoned and the humidification source (often a sponge soaked in distilled water or a more advanced humidification system) must be regularly maintained. For those looking to explore deeper into maintaining a humidor, articles like “Maintaining the Perfect Environment for Your Cigars” provide comprehensive guidance.

Chemical Interactions Within a Humidor

Inside a humidor, several chemical interactions occur that help preserve cigars. The Spanish cedar lining absorbs and releases moisture slowly, which helps stabilize the internal environment. This absorption and release process is mediated by the hygroscopic nature of the wood, which balances the humidity levels inside the humidor and prevents drastic fluctuations that could harm the cigars.

Moreover, the cedar wood emits a light, aromatic oil that contributes to the maturation of cigars, enhancing their flavor profile. This interaction is a subtle yet vital aspect of cigar storage, marrying the natural qualities of the wood with the organic elements of the tobacco.

Consequences of Improper Humidity Levels

Storing cigars in an environment with improper humidity levels can lead to several issues. High humidity levels increase the risk of mold growth and cigar beetles, tiny pests that can ruin cigar collections. Mold not only affects the appearance and structural integrity of cigars but also poses health risks to users.

Conversely, low humidity levels can cause the oils and moisture that give cigars their flavor and smooth burn to evaporate. Once these essential oils have diminished, the cigar will never fully recover its original quality, even if re-humidified. This irreversible damage underlines the importance of consistent and correct humidity management.

Practical Tips for Optimal Cigar Storage

To maintain the quality of your cigars, consider the following tips:

  • Use a high-quality hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels inside your humidor regularly.
  • Recharge your humidification system with distilled water or a solution designed specifically for cigar humidors.
  • Rotate your cigars within the humidor periodically to promote even humidity distribution.


The chemistry of humidity in cigar preservation is a fundamental aspect of ensuring that each cigar maintains its intended flavor and quality. Proper storage in a well-maintained humidor can significantly extend the life and enhance the enjoyment of your cigars. For enthusiasts looking to delve deeper into the best practices for cigar preservation, the detailed exploration found in “Effective Strategies for Long-Term Cigar Storage” can be invaluable. By understanding and controlling the environmental factors that affect cigars, aficionados can ensure their collection remains in prime condition for years to come.