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How Long Do Cigars Last and Do They Expire?

Chris, Chief Editor

Updated Jan 24, 2024

Human experts evaluate all our content

Cigars do expire if stored improperly, but with the right cigar storage, they’ll last for extended periods of time.

  1. With a Humidor: Indefinitely.
  2. Without a Humidor: 1-2 days.
  3. In a Cigar Tube: 1-2 weeks.
  4. In a Plastic Wrapper: Up to 30 days.
  5. In a Plastic Humidor Bag: Up to 90 days.
  6. In a Fridge: Not recommended, ruins cigars immediately.

Dried-out cigars can be revived, although this depends on the dryness and the condition of the cigars, which we will explore further below.

how long do cigars last

What affects the freshness of cigars?

Humidity, storage, and the type of cigar delicately balance the freshness of a cigar, which we will explore in more detail below.

1. Humidity

Humidity is the lifeblood of premium cigars, as it keeps them fresh and helps maintain their unique flavors.

Ideal humidity levels for storing cigars range between 65-72%, so your cigars remain moist and supple without becoming soggy.

The 70/70 rule of 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is what cigar enthusiasts strive for, but don’t worry if you can’t get the numbers on the dot.

The acceptable ranges are within 65-72% humidity and 65-72 degrees.

2. Storage

Preserving cigar freshness relies heavily on proper storage.

Various methods, including humidors, plastic wrappers, and cigar tubes, impact your cigars’ longevity and quality. A humidor is recommended for preserving cigar freshness, as it provides a controlled environment that maintains optimal humidity and temperature levels.

Alternative storage methods, such as Ziploc bags or sealed Tupperware containers, can be used in a pinch if a humidor is unavailable.

These methods should be accompanied by a humidity source, such as a humidity pouch or Boveda pack, to store the cigars in the correct humidity range.

3. Cigar Types

The type of cigar influences its freshness and longevity. In general, thicker cigars tend to retain their freshness longer due to their slower rate of moisture loss.

Cigars come in various shapes, sizes, and compositions, each with unique characteristics that affect how they age and maintain their freshness, which are listed below.

  1. Robusto Cigars: These are short, fat cigars known for their robust flavor. Due to their thicker construction, they tend to retain moisture better and last longer when stored properly.
  2. Corona Cigars: Coronas are longer and thinner, which causes them to dry out faster if not stored correctly.
  3. Churchill Cigars: These are large, long cigars that require a longer smoking time. Their size allows for a slower rate of moisture loss, making them more resilient in storage and potentially lasting longer.
  4. Torpedo Cigars: Torpedos have a distinctive pointed end. Their unique shape influences the rate at which they dry out, with the pointed end drying faster than the rest.
  5. Panatela Cigars: These are long, thin cigars that dry out quickly due to their slender size. They require meticulous care in storage to maintain their freshness.
  6. Cuban Cigars: Known for their superior quality and rich flavors, Cuban cigars age exceptionally well, improving in flavor over time.

All types of cigars can maintain their freshness and even improve with age if stored under the right conditions.

Do cigars expire?

Yes, cigars do expire, but more accurately, they spoil if they’re not stored correctly. The lifespan of a cigar is heavily reliant on the storage conditions and humidity levels it is exposed to.

When cigars are kept in an environment that is too dry, they will lose their moisture. This leads to the drying out of the tobacco and results in the loss of its natural oils, sugar, and nicotine content. These components are necessary for the flavor and aroma of the cigar.

If cigars are stored in a suitable environment, particularly in a humidor that maintains a constant humidity level, they can last indefinitely. In fact, like fine wine, some cigars improve with age. The aging process allows the different tobaccos in the cigar to blend, which enhances the flavor and overall smoking experience.

Therefore, while a premium cigar can ‘expire’ or spoil, proper storage prevents this for many years.

Can Cigars Improve With Age?

Yes, cigars can and do improve with age.

Aging cigars enhance the flavor complexity, smoothing out any rough edges and allowing the blend of tobacco to meld together, creating a more harmonious and refined taste that cigar smokers enjoy.

Not all cigars will benefit from aging, though. Full-bodied cigars with a rich, strong flavor profile have the greatest potential for improvement over time.

Milder cigars can lose some of their subtlety and nuance with extended cigar aging. The key to successful aging is proper storage.

How Long Do Cigars Last in Different Scenarios?

There are different ways to store cigars and all affect how long they last. We’ll go through the most common scenarios below.

1. With a humidor

Cigars can last indefinitely and even improve when stored in a quality humidor unless they’ve already been cut or lit once before.

A well-maintained humidor provides optimal conditions for preserving cigar freshness. Investing in the finest humidor for your cigar collection protects them from fluctuations in humidity.

2. Without a Humidor

If cigars are left out in the open, such as on a desk, they will begin to lose their moisture and freshness within a few hours and will likely be completely dried out within 1-2 days.

3. In a cigar tube

Cigars last for different durations in a cigar tube, depending on whether the tube is lined with cedar wood.

With Cedar Wood: Cigar tubes lined with cedar wood keep cigars fresh for up to two weeks. The cedar wood lining helps maintain the humidity levels within the tube but does not add any more moisture.

Without Cedar Wood: In cigar tubes without a cedar wood lining, cigars can typically remain fresh for around a week or less. While these tubes still provide some form of protection, they lack the added benefits of the cedar wood lining.

4. In a Plastic Wrapper

Cigars can retain their luster for up to 30 days in a plastic wrapper.

The plastic wrapper permits air and humidity to pass through gradually. Storing different types of cigars in the same plastic wrapper can result in flavor exchange between the blends over time.

Cellophane wrappers are the most common for preserving cigars temporarily.

5. In a plastic humidor bag

Cigars can be preserved for up to 90 days in a plastic humidor bag with a Boveda pack.

Plastic humidor bags are designed to seal tightly more than regular plastic bags. The Boveda pack inside the bag regulates the humidity level automatically and helps keep your cigars fresh without drying out or becoming overly moist.

6. In a Fridge

A fridge entirely ruins a cigar and should be avoided at all costs.

The cold, dry environment harms cigar preservation more than good. The average moisture level in a refrigerator is too low for cigars. In addition to the unfavorable temperature and humidity levels, storing cigars in a fridge exposes them to the risk of absorbing odors from the food inside.

Avoid the fridge.

Can you revive dried-out Cigars?

Rehydrating cigars is possible, but the gradual process may not fully restore the original taste and aroma.

The re-humidification process involves gradually reintroducing moisture to the cigars in order to prevent damage and preserve their structure. Investing in a high-quality humidor, such as the Case Elegance Renzo or the NewAir 250 Count Humidor, provides the ideal environment for reviving dried-out cigars.

Some cigars are beyond saving if they’ve been too dried out and started to crack in the wrapper leaf. While re-humidification helps restore some moisture, the cigar’s original flavor profile and richness will likely remain compromised.

Chris Starkhagen MSc.

Entrepreneur and Founder of chrisstarkhagen.com

Chris writes for men about what to know and how to be a high-value man and networking with high-net-worth individuals. Chris guides readers on men’s business, men’s home office, men’s performance, men’s accessories, and the best products for men to craft a timeless style. Whether you’re already a high net-worth man seeking your next luxury watch or a young G who wants a lifestyle upgrade, Chris connects men with the resources needed to elevate life as a man.