How long do cigars last? That depends. Once unwrapped, a cigar lasts only two to three days without the proper storage and preservation methods. But when stored correctly, good Cuban cigars can last and improve for many many years.
Not all cigars are made equal, and those with lower-quality construction and lower-quality ingredients will not last as long as those that are hand-rolled in Cuba.
There are some telltale signs and it’s usually easy to identify cigars that are better made and last longer. The best rule is to skip the cigars packaged in cellophane wrappers; the plastic wrapping is a sure sign of cheap construction and materials.
If you invest in quality sticks, you need to store them appropriately. Here are some common questions about the shelf life of cigars in and out of the humidor.
Do some cigars last longer than others? Which ones?
Cigars are made of natural leaves from the tobacco plant. Like any other organic matter, tobacco has a shelf life and eventually becomes unusable. But it’s not as quick to rot as fruit and vegetables. The tobacco needs to be fermented before rolling, to eliminate the naturally occurring ammonia. For this reason cigars are more comparable to fine wines than fresh produce.
Most cigars improve with age as long as you store them in the correct conditions. Cuban cigars reach their peak flavor between three and six years, and most torcedores don’t send out their products unless they’ve been aged for three to six months.
If you plan to store your cigars, or are more than just a one-time cigar smoker, you need a humidor. This can either be one you buy or one you make yourself. Your storage facility should have a temperature of around 68˚F and relative humidity of approximately 70%. You can keep cigars indefinitely as long as you check on them regularly and the conditions remain constant.
What if they are wrapped in plastic?
Cuban cigars come in specialty boxes, traditionally Spanish cedar wood. Cedar is often used in humidors as this wood soaks up moisture and seasons sticks beautifully.
Manufacturers note that packing sticks individually in plastic wrappers helps keep them from harm and makes them more transportable. The plastic is porous and lets small amounts of air in, and lets moisture, causing the cigar to age inside. Without the use of a humidor, the plastic-wrapped cigar loses its luster within 30 days.
How long do cigars last outside a humidor?
A stick can last a few days outside of a humidor before you notice the adverse taste. If the cigar is in a wrapper, it may last up to 30 days without the humidor’s heat and humidity.
If your stick isn’t in a wrapper, it can last up to three days before you taste the difference. Cigars are a wonderful pastime and a valuable investment, so it’s better to rig a DIY humidor than leave your Cuban sticks untended.
How long do Cuban cigars last?
Cuban cigars are made from the world’s highest quality tobacco leaves, grown in the mountainous regions just outside of Havana, Cuba. Their unique oils and soils come together to create a perfect smoke, one that’s ultimately created by the skill of torcedores’ hands.
If kept properly, Cuban cigars can last for years. Many smokers note the five-year mark when Cubans start to get most interesting, but this is subjective. Like wine, some prefer the bright fiery taste of lesser-aged smokes, while others savor the refined elegance of a long-seasoned stick. Buy a box and you can smoke the difference and experience how the cigars change over time.
If you’re interested in the complexity of a well-aged cigar, Cubans last the longest. Explore the full range of premium authentic Cuban cigars at Swiss Cuban Cigars.