Like wine, a fine cigar sometimes improves with age. Just as is the case with your body, the length of time your cigar will serve you well depends on how well you take care of it. Theoretically, a cigar that is properly stored can be preserved indefinitely. If you had a cigar from the 1800s or even the 1700s and it was somehow preserved properly over the years, it would taste and smoke fine. There are cigars that have been discovered from before World War 2 that are in fine shape.
The trick to preserving cigars for the long haul has to do with controlling the atmosphere they’re stored in. In some cases, a bit of age gives a cigar a good taste. Again, like wine, the age to taste relationship depends on how it was stored and preserved. Some tobaccos will react differently to age, as well. If an old cigar is very dehydrated, it can be dehumidified. However, the loss of oil on the tobacco is the big concern and that cannot be replenished.
The best thing to store a cigar in is a humidor. A controlled humidity of 65-60 percent is ideal and it’s almost impossible to guarantee this without a purpose-built device. A plastic bag, a regular box or a jar may keep a cigar in good shape for a couple of weeks, at best. For longer times, a humidity- and temperature-controlled environment is best.
In a dry environment, the humidity in the cigar will be absorbed by the atmosphere. Cases are usually better than tubes for storage, for this reason. Cases, even if they have a simple sponge or bead system, at least have a way of providing adequate humidity for storage. Tubes do not and, therefore, cases are usually considered a better option for periods of storage over a couple of weeks.
A cigar tube does have its advantages and can be a very useful accessory. They only hold one cigar, of course, but they provide a nice, sealed environment. They usually use aluminum for the tube and cellophane is oftentimes used to preserve the cigar itself. With these extra features, the tube may be able to keep a cigar adequately moist for a couple of months. Remember, however, that you change the environment in the case every time you open it. A cork stopper that’s left in place until use is a good option to preserve moisture. SABUNG AYAM