HABANOS CAN BE KEPT FOR A GOOD 15 YEARS, SOMETIMES LONGER, AND WILL, LIKE EXCEPTIONAL WINES, IMPROVE WITH AGE
Press the cigar gently between your thumb and index finger to test its condition. It should feel firm but springy to the touch. Habanos should be stored at between 16°C and 18°C and in a relative humidity of 65 to 70 percent. The humidity is most crucial. If a Habano becomes too wet it will not smoke. If it dries out, it will taste harsh. You are well advised to invest in your humidor in which to keep a selection of Habanos ready to smoke.
Putting Habanos in the fridge is no alternative. Fridges are drier than you might think and fine cigars readily absorb smells. A number of problems may arise when storing fine cigars. For example, they may become too wet or too dry. Dryness is worst because after two or three months they will start to lose their flavour – never to be regained. When re-humidifying dry cigars do it gently in stages or you will risk the wrappers bursting as the leaves absorb moisture.
Prolonged wetness rots tobacco, but you are much more likely to encounter ‘bloom’. This is a white, powdery mould that occurs naturally on a Habano when it is subjected to a sudden increase in humidity. It is a sign that the cigar is alive and well and should simply be removed with a brush.
A marriage begins between the leaves used to make your Habano from the moment it leaves the torcedor’s bench. It takes time for the blend of filler leaves to harmonise and deliver the taste intended by the Ligador. The result is worth waiting for because the taste will have developed and your Habano will share its essence with greater ease.