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If you own a humidor, chances are you know the golden rule of temperature and humidity—70 degrees Fahrenheit, 70 percent humidity. While these conditions are ideal, some cigar smokers prefer varying levels of humidity for their cigars, generally ranging from 64 to 72 percent.
Lower or higher levels of humidity will determine a few things. Cigars that are stored at a higher humidity level tend to be a bit softer, burn more slowly, and have a greater tendency to burn unevenly. If your cigars are overhumidified, you’ll know almost immediately—they’ll be too soft and may have a heavy, acidic taste. Higher levels of humidity could also foster mold outbreaks, so it’s a good idea to keep your humidor below 75 percent.
On the other hand, lower levels of humidity cause a cigar to have a stronger taste and burn faster. Generally, once you get below 64 or 62 percent humidity, you’ll notice a dramatic difference in your cigars; they’ll burn extremely quickly and may have a very harsh, unpleasant taste. The wrapper leaves will also become brittle and crack very easily, and the cap may come off when you try to cut the cigar. Needless to say, you’d know right away if your cigars were dry.
As far as temperature goes, 70 degrees Fahrenheit is really the magic number. Once you get above 75 degrees, tobacco beetles could start hatching. But once you get below 60 or so, you’ll start needing a higher level of humidity to preserve the cigars, and then you’ve got mold to worry about. Personally, I’ve had the best luck when I keep my humidor between 65 and 70 degrees.
Another important thing to consider when storing your cigars is sunlight. It’s best to keep your cigars out of direct sunlight, because sunlight can not only raise the temperature inside your humidor, but also bleaches wrapper leaves over time. Try to keep track of where sunlight comes into the room that your humidor is in in order to make sure that it’s never in direct sunlight, especially if the humidor has a glass window.
There should never be a trial and error period when it comes to storing your cigars, unless you’re trying to figure out what level of humidity to use (again, between 64 and 72 percent is best). Losing any cigar to mold, bugs, or dryness is the worst, so I hope this helps to get it right the first time. For more information, check out these similar articles on eHow.com, About.com, and Cigar Aficionado.