What Are Cigar Tubes & When Should You Use Them?
Why Do Cigars Come in Tubes?
Some cigars are packaged in wood, glass, or aluminium tubes. Aluminium is the most common. Cigar tubes are useful for a number of reasons. First and foremost, cigar tubes serve a utilitarian purpose. As is the case with cellophane, a tube keeps unwanted fingerprints off a cigar. A tube also offers added protection when a cigar is being transported or handled in a retail environment.
When you’re grabbing a few cigars to toss in your jacket, glove box, suitcase, or golf bag, cigars that come in tubes are a logical choice. Squeezing a single cigar or a zip lock with a few inside into a tight space can quickly destroy the patience, effort, and handiwork that went into rolling them. The wrappers can crack and get shredded. Or, if you’ve ever accidentally sat on a cigar you were keeping in your back pocket, a tube is a great way to avoid disappointment.
Cigar tubes are excellent for marketing purposes. Putting a cigar in a tube costs a little more than sliding it into a cellophane sleeve (many cigars in tubes are also protected by cellophane inside the tube). A tube is a great way to captivate the consumer visually. It’s an opportunity to show off the colour scheme and branding on the cigar’s band with a bigger impact.
Cigars make great gifts. You may not want to buy a full box or a sampler, though. Sometimes one cigar says it all, or you maybe you just need a last-minute stocking stuffer. Cigars in tubes are perfect for showing your appreciation for your favourite cigar lover. You can walk up and stick a cigar in a tube in his or her pocket without damaging it. Plus, if your recipient doesn’t have a humidor, a tube will keep the cigar fresh longer.
Should Cigars in Tubes Be Stored in a Humidor?
Yes. A tube will maintain a cigar’s humidity and freshness longer than if a cigar is left out in the open. However, eventually the humidity will dissipate, even from a tube. If it’s going to be a while before you smoke your cigar, put it in a humidor or a zip lock bag with a source of humidity (some cotton balls soaked in distilled water will work). Unscrew the end of the tube to let the moisture access the cigar if you’re storing it.
How Long Do Cigars Last in Tubes?
Cigars in tubes still need to be humidified. Like cigars that are not packaged in tubes, cigars in tubes will last indefinitely as long as they are humidified. When a cigar in a tube is removed from a humidified environment, it will stay fresh for a few days, maybe up to a week or longer. A cigar in a tube will maintain its humidity and freshness longer than a cigar that’s not in a tube if both were removed from a humidor at the same time. But, we wouldn’t recommend keeping your cigars out of a humidified environment unnecessarily even if they are in tubes. Cigars in tubes will last longer, but only by a period of days.
Do Cigars in Tubes Taste Better?
No, not necessarily, but they can taste different (than cigars not packaged in tubes) depending on how long the cigars have rested. Cigars will age differently in a tube. Most premium cigars packaged in an aluminium tube are wrapped in a cedar sleeve to better encapsulate a cigar’s flavour and to create a barrier from the aluminium.
A tube envelops the individual flavours of the cigar inside, a more uniform profile will emerge over time versus non-tubed cigars stored in a humidor where their flavours access and meld with the many other kinds of cigars you may be ageing. Cigars in tubes also tend to age more slowly. Some aficionados prefer the effect tubes offer, especially when they don’t want other cigars to interfere with a particular blend. It is best, though, to remove or loosen the cap on a cigar’s tube so that appropriate humidity can reach the cigar if you plan to age it for an extended period.