Let’s talk about dry boxing cigars. Summer is upon us and we will soon see higher temperatures and for some of us this can mean the dreaded battles with higher humidity. So why dry box your cigars? There are a number of reasons why you would want to dry box a cigar prior to smoking. First, you would want to dry box a cigar if you have a fresh roll that has not entered the “sick” period requiring resting them for a few months. You can try smoking them as-is and I have had varying experiences smoking them wet, but I like to take three of them to dry box and taste over a three-week period; I may even sneak a couple more into the box if they’re really good. Secondly, dry boxing is a good way to test for optimal smoking of a cigar and you can find different notes that you may not otherwise notice. Finally, if you’ve ever smoked an over-humidified cigar you know the heating, burning and bitterness issues that come along with it. Dry boxing will allow you to enjoy your cigars during the wetter months, and find a wider variety of flavors you may not find otherwise.
Personally I like to store my cigars in the 68/68 temperature and humidity range, and while this is what I feel is optimal- personal preference varies- for aging and storage I ultimately prefer to smoke a cigar at a much lower RH. There is wide disagreement over what constitutes the best smoking RH, and I prefer mine at about 62/63 range finding it provides a better burn and profile for me. There are a number of different dry boxing mediums to use and let’s face this is by no means rocket science. The first medium is just any cigar box that you happen to have lying around. They are already made of cedar, fit cigars and if you’re a smoker you probably have a few lying around. If you don’t have one your local tobacconist should be able to supply you one for little to no money. Secondly, you can use a Humicare plastic travel case but make sure that you are using little to no cigar juice since your goal is to lower the RH, and they can be sensitive to temperature changes. Lastly, you can use a simple cedar lined Tupperware container but you should be sure to burp it every couple of days so it doesn’t build up excess humidity.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and practically anything that creates a seal and can be lined with cedar is fair game to use as dry box. I use a digital hydrometer to ensure that the cigars are staying within an acceptable temp/rh range, and store them in my closet so that the container stays at a relatively consistent temperature. I would suggest playing around with the boxing duration to see what rh you prefer as a smoker.