I've received several questions lately regarding tubo cigars storage. I decided it was time to write a short article about this aspect of cigar care. Of course, feel free to add your insight in the comments area.
You’ve purchased a cigar and it came in one of those little storage tubes called tubos. Now you’re wondering whether you need to put your cigar in the humidor or whether the tubo is sufficient to keep it fresh. If you do need to put the cigar in the humidor, does that mean you do or don’t still need the tubo?
The key to answering this question is to look at what the tubo is really used for. While the tubo might look like it’s intended to keep the cigar fresh, its main purpose is actually just to protect your cigar from physical damage. The tubo makes it easy to carry your cigar around without worrying about dinging it up. While a tubo will temporarily keep your cigar from drying out, it won’t do it for longer than several days since tubos are not airtight (in the vast majority of cases). This would be useful if you purchased a cigar while travelling, for example, and you needed to keep the cigar fresh for a few days before you could return home to place it in your humidor. Or perhaps you’re traveling and just want to save the cigar for a couple days later on your trip—either way the tubo has you covered.
If on the other hand you’ll be storing your cigar for longer than several days, you will need to place it in the humidor or it will indeed dry out. Your next question is probably whether you should store the cigar in the humidor with the tubo on or not. There is no hard and fast rule on this, but generally speaking you need to maintain airflow to your cigar. You can either remove the cigar from the tubo entirely before placing it in the humidor, or you can leave the cigar inside the tubo but keep the cap of the tubo off. Davidoff Cigars has recognized the importance of airflow when storing cigars by designing a tubo which reveals a slit for airflow when you twist it.
If your cigar isn’t going inside a humidor and you’re planning to smoke it in a few days, then be aware that an aluminum tubo won’t preserve freshness as long as a corked or sealed glass tubo. Also, if you leave the tubo out in the sunlight or under any heat source (even just a lamp), your cigar will dry out faster.