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QUESTION: Hello James,
I have purchased box of Behike 54 and 56 about a year in Havana store. They been manufactured in 2013. They been stored in original box unopened since then. I was told in the store that they can last in the original box up to 10 years, as I don't have a humidor. Are the cigars still good or they should have been placed in humidor?

Thank you

ANSWER: Hi Marika,

Your cigars should most definitely be kept in a humidor or a properly-humidified container. All cigars should be kept in proper storage with a humidity level of 66-70% humidity and a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 degrees Celsius).  70% humidity is ideal as it will keep your cigars humidified at an optimal level without over-humidifying them (which can lead to mold growth and overly-soft cigars). If the humidity level is too low (65% or lower), your cigars will be too dry. This will make your cigars more susceptible to damage (cigars cracking/splitting) as well as negatively affect its burn and flavour.

Ideal cigar storage temperature should not exceed 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23.3 degrees Celsius)  as this can cause tobacco beetle eggs (potentially hidden inside the tobacco) to incubate and hatch. The tobacco beetles will then chew through your cigars and ruin them. Cigars eaten through by tobacco beetles should not be smoked as the tobacco beetle leaves behind a fine powder of beetle fecal matter and tobacco and this is a respiratory irritant if inhaled or consumed during smoking.

All cigar boxes are NOT 100% airtight so if not properly humidified, your cigars will slowly dry out over time. Cigars lasting 10 years in their original box without a humidor is a heavy exaggeration by the cigar store. If not placed in a humidor, cigars typically will keep humidity in their original box for about 2-5 months before they completely dry out.

I would recommend storing your cigars in a properly-maintained humidor as soon as possible. If you currently do not have plans to invest in a humidor, there are alternatives available. Many tobacconists/cigar shops have humidor lockers available for customers to rent and store their cigars but if you prefer to keep your cigars at home, you can invest in humi-pouches. Humi-pouches are plastic Ziploc-style baggies with a humidified lining built into the plastic. Humi-pouches are available in a variety of sizes and can store everything from a few single cigars, to whole boxes. These bags are designed for short-term cigar storage/travel and will keep your cigars humidified for 3 months.  After 3 months, you will need to replace the bag or relocate your cigars to a properly maintained humidor.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.

Regards,
James

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello James,
Thank you for your answer. I do have one more questions, can these cigars be salvage if placed in humidors and if yes how long would it take?

Thanks
Marika

Answer
Hi Marika,

Yes, your cigars can most definitely be saved if they're dry. Simply place them in a properly maintained humidor or humi-pouch and they will slowly rehydrate over time. When re-hydrating cigars, it's best to let them sit in a humidor for at least 2 months before you smoke them. This will allow them time to rehydrate and fully return to their original, ideal condition.  Dry cigars are also very sensitive and susceptible to damage so when restoring dry cigars, it's best to leave them in their original box and not handle the cigars too much until they absorb some humidity and are less fragile.

I hope this helps. As always, if you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.

Regards,
James

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James Yee

Expertise

My main area of expertise is Cuban cigars and I can assist you if you have questions pertaining to Cuban cigars. I can also assist you with the following:

- General cigar-related questions and advice
- Humidor maintenance and troubleshooting (How to treat humidor mold, correct high/low humidity, humidor seasoning, etc.)
- Accessory maintenance and troubleshooting (Cigar cutters, hygrometers, humidifiers, etc.)
- Cigar restoration, preservation and troubleshooting (How to treat cigar mold/tobacco beetles, restoring vintage/dry cigars, etc.)
- Cigar/Brand identification
- Cigar etiquette

Unsure of a certain cigar brand? Wondering what a certain cigar tastes like? Have a question about Cuban cigars? Having problems with a humidor or Just let me know! I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. (NOTE: My main focus is on premium, hand-rolled cigars and not cheap, machine made, convenience store cigars.) IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE CIGAR OR CIGAR-RELATED APPRAISALS. If you have a vintage cigar item and you want to know if it's worth something, please contact an antique dealer that specializes in "TOBACCIANA".

Experience

I currently have 19 dedicated years of cigar smoking and counting. I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. For 5 years, I studied with Cuban torcedores (rollers), catadores (taste testers) and revisadores (inspectors) on every aspect involving the production of the Cuban cigar and I am currently writing a book that will help beginners understand everything they need to know about cigars and cigar smoking.

Publications
Maple Leaf Gardens: Memories & Dreams 1931-1999 (1999; ISBN: 0920445616)
50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do (2006; ISBN: 0452286654)
The [London] Times (October 8, 2009)


Education/Credentials
B.A. University of Toronto

Awards and Honors
Allexperts Top 25 Shortest Average Response Time: 2008-2009
Highest Rank:
- 2008 - 6th Overall, July
- 2009 - 10th Overall, February

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