Alex had a bunch of questions regarding cigar storage. I’ve tried to address them below, and hope everyone can benefit from my cigar storage trials and tribulations. Alex, here you go…
Welcome to the world of cigar aging and storage. It’s a challenging place, but the rewards are great. I see you have done your research and all your intentions look good. Based on my experiences (which started out looking much like yours), I can make a few recommendations/suggestions:
Cello – I’ve gone around and around about cello on, cello off. I’m now keeping the cello on all the cigars I plan to age. I do, however, always keep a few “naked” in anticipation of smoking. I don’t like smoking cigars right out of the cello. I like a week or two of “naked conditioning” before ignition.
Cigar boxes – I don’t worry about what box the cigars are in. As long as there are some cigars keeping each other “warm” (touching like a pack of sleeping dogs), then I’m okay. But I don’t, however, store cigar singles in coffin boxes. I think the wood to cigar ratio causes the cigar to lose flavor.
Cigar box thickness – Here too, I don’t worry. Wood breaths and will pass moisture. Cigars in plastic containers will need internal humidification. My cigar closet contains loose cigars, cigars in cigar boxes of all kinds (wood, cardboard), and a few desk top humidors. I keep a hygrometer inside the humidors, and can see that they have maintained proper RH.
Cigar rotation – I don’t think you need to rotate your cigars. But I highly recommend a small fan to circulate the air in any large humidor or cigar closet/room. That is crucial in keeping all the cigars properly conditioned. Opening the boxes once a month is a good idea. The cigars will not only exchange air, but you always need to inspect cigars for mold. Mold can happen at any RH above 50% (that’s what the mold expert told me).
Smoking aged cigars – I recommend smoking one cigar soon after buying a box. If it tastes great, then smoke some more, then put the box away for a few months. Then periodically smoke another cigar. At some point the cigars in storage will reach their peak flavor. After that, the flavor will start to diminish. So If you find that, over time, a certain box of cigars has really started to bloom, then smoke them all. I’ve waited too long in the hope that more time will make the cigars even better, only to be disappointed that I overshot the cigar’s flavor peak.
I hope this has answered some of your questions.
Good luck and enjoy your cigars!