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Freezing cigars?

I signed up for CheapHumidors.com's newsletter a while ago and get e-mails from them regularly. Today I got one that was about the cigar beetle. The e-mail suggested freezing your cigars for a few days after purchase and doing the same to a newly-purchased humidor, so any cigar beetle eggs are killed. According to Wikipedia, it takes five days of freezing to kill the eggs.

Do any of you do this? I have never heard of this before.
 
I signed up for CheapHumidors.com's newsletter a while ago and get e-mails from them regularly. Today I got one that was about the cigar beetle. The e-mail suggested freezing your cigars for a few days after purchase and doing the same to a newly-purchased humidor, so any cigar beetle eggs are killed. According to Wikipedia, it takes five days of freezing to kill the eggs.

Do any of you do this? I have never heard of this before.
If your cigars have beetle you will see tiny holes in the cigars. Also you may see the them moving around in the cigar box.

Unless you have signs of them infecting your cigar(s) or cigar box I would not freeze my cigars.

Doing that will damage the cigar's flavor in a major way.
 
I've been off cigars for a good while, but I've always read that if you get an infestation then the cigars are a loss. Prophylactic freezing to me, seems overkill and I think would damage the cigars due to ice crystal formation.
 
I lost a collection of 75 plus sticks to one damn cigar I got as a gift that had beetles in it. (Talk about angry!!!)

That said, I rebuilt my collection and I don't ever freeze Cigars. I'm much more selective about what goes in the box and I actually brought a smaller humidor that probably holds 10-20. Sort of the "box before the box" so I protect my investment.

Freezing cigars = freezing the moisture into crystals = bad burn, bad taste, bad, leaf, bad stick.
 

azmark

Moderator Emeritus
Heck NO! If you have beetles in your cigars, just throw them away. Refrigerating cigars are ok but in my years of cigar collecting and smoking, I've never had to freeze them. I have a 600 cigar tower humidor and do not run into this problem.

I've usually ran into this when the humidor is running too high on humidity which can happen in traveling humidors.

I have a humidor up for trade along with a travel case if you're interested.

http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php?t=115083
 
I know it sounds scary but buy freezing your cigars you can save yourself some MAJOR headaches down the road. And don't worry about it changing the flavor of your cigars. Habanos S.A. the Cuban company that is responsible for rolling and distributing all the Cuban cigars in he world freezes large stocks of cigars before shipping them out.

The purpose of freezing is not just to kill the adult insects but to crack the eggs that are layed on the tobacco leaves, and are then rolled into cigars. If you keep your humidor below 75 degrees all the time you shouldn't have an issue with the bugs because the eggs only hatch at higher temperatures.
 
Forget the effect on flavors or beetles, freezing means dehumidifying, leading to a dry cigar! I haven't smoked for years, but I had enough trouble keeping them moist, so I wouldn't do it.
 

azmark

Moderator Emeritus
I know it sounds scary but buy freezing your cigars you can save yourself some MAJOR headaches down the road. And don't worry about it changing the flavor of your cigars. Habanos S.A. the Cuban company that is responsible for rolling and distributing all the Cuban cigars in he world freezes large stocks of cigars before shipping them out.

The purpose of freezing is not just to kill the adult insects but to crack the eggs that are layed on the tobacco leaves, and are then rolled into cigars. If you keep your humidor below 75 degrees all the time you shouldn't have an issue with the bugs because the eggs only hatch at higher temperatures.
Habanos does not roll Cubans, only market and is a distribution warehouse. I agree the only way to kill the eggs is you have to freeze them but don't freeze them if you don't have to. But if you ever get to that point, just toss the cigars out. It will not even come close to tasting the same.

If you want Cubans, search and butter up cigar shop owners because they get them outside of distribution. Mine never touch a distribution plant so the cost is fair but the only downside is by the time I get them they are dried out a bit but will come back in a few months to 100%.
 
Wow, lots of really "interesting" comments above, and I am being polite.

I have been freezing EVERY cigar purchased for at least 15 years now. Was burned once and learned that I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Freezing does NOT dehumidify cigars, the few days' time they spend in the freezer/refrigerator does not do much in that regard, it takes a while for a cigar to lose moisture, or at least enough moisture, for it to be an issue. When you freeze them, or rather when I do, I put them in a double zip lock bag draining all the air out from each (use a straw to suck the air out).

Freezing does NOT change flavor profile, as someone stated. Not in any way. Its like saying freezing changes flavor of fish when deep frozen, which is completely incorrect (just ask any serious sushi chef dealing with tuna). Do an experiment, freeze some wine (in a nuetral plastic container, of course), then compare it to an un-frozen bottle. BLIND, of course. You won't be able to tell the difference. Same with tobacco.

Most Nicaraguan producers claim they freeze cigars prior to shipment, cigar distributors I am friends with claim this and I tend to trust them. These days Cuba says they do the same, although I am not convinced as most beetle issues usually come from Cuban cigars.

I have taught all my friends to freeze cigars and so far not one reported any problems. Its the ony way to go, IMO.

But its your cigars, do what you feel like. That Cigar Asylum thread is a good one, although I've stuck to 3 days in the freezer and then 2 days in refrigerator for years now and have not lost even a single cigar since.
 

jwhite

Moderator Emeritus
Wow, lots of really "interesting" comments above, and I am being polite.

I have been freezing EVERY cigar purchased for at least 15 years now. Was burned once and learned that I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Freezing does NOT dehumidify cigars, the few days' time they spend in the freezer/refrigerator does not do much in that regard, it takes a while for a cigar to lose moisture, or at least enough moisture, for it to be an issue. When you freeze them, or rather when I do, I put them in a double zip lock bag draining all the air out from each (use a straw to suck the air out).

Freezing does NOT change flavor profile, as someone stated. Not in any way. Its like saying freezing changes flavor of fish when deep frozen, which is completely incorrect (just ask any serious sushi chef dealing with tuna). Do an experiment, freeze some wine (in a nuetral plastic container, of course), then compare it to an un-frozen bottle. BLIND, of course. You won't be able to tell the difference. Same with tobacco.

Most Nicaraguan producers claim they freeze cigars prior to shipment, cigar distributors I am friends with claim this and I tend to trust them. These days Cuba says they do the same, although I am not convinced as most beetle issues usually come from Cuban cigars.

I have taught all my friends to freeze cigars and so far not one reported any problems. Its the ony way to go, IMO.

But its your cigars, do what you feel like. That Cigar Asylum thread is a good one, although I've stuck to 3 days in the freezer and then 2 days in refrigerator for years now and have not lost even a single cigar since.
Please don't think me rude that is not my intention at all. But once you freeze anything with an organic cellular structure that is intact, especially at the higher temperatures found an home units, you will develop ice crystals within that structure and it will be damaged. Your food analogy is flawed; wine does not have a cellular structure and is homogeneous. I've never tried freezing wine but it is irrelevant when comparing to an object with an intact cellular structure. As to fish; I am a highly qualified cook with over 15 years experience working with some very fine chefs. The white squiggles you see when preparing frozen fish, or any other previously frozen meat, are congealing proteins that have been excreted due the damage it's cellular structure has sustained during the freezing process. This does not occur in fresh meat and fish. Freezing most definitely affects flavor and the difference is obvious if compared to two identical items, fish in this example, caught on Tuesday evening one frozen overnight and one kept fresh and well chilled. Served the next day the frozen fish will have a less firm texture, will seem grayer, there will be the presence of congealed protein, and the taste will be less bright. The same holds true with cigars. I cannot speak to any wide spread commercial freezing process for cigars, but I have spoken to several Tobacco blending houses that strongly discourage the practice, (home freezing, and or the freezing outside of their control) and do not knowingly allow it with their products.
 
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Look for evidence and if you see them toss um. Also make sure your humidor isn't a haven for them. Excessive humidity is a leading culprit.
 

azmark

Moderator Emeritus
Seems like with cigars as with raising kids, everyone is an expert. Either way (frozen/unfrozen) someone enjoys a stogie. Whatever works keep enjoying your smoke:cool:
 
The same holds true with cigars. I cannot speak to any wide spread commercial freezing process for cigars, but I have spoken to several Tobacco blending houses that strongly discourage the practice and do not knowingly allow it with their products.
Please name names. I seriously doubt your account since ALL Nicaraguan producers freeze cigars these days as is Cuba (they finally came to their senses). And by "seriously doubt" I just try to be polite since it is a fact they freeze cigars.

Also, since you say you are an accomplished chef, please let me know how anyone in USA serves tuna that was not flash frozen prior to distribution. Its the LAW last time I checked. So, what are you comparing it to?

This discussion goes nowhere fast, IMO. I know little about shaving, main reason I joined the board, but when it comes to wine and cigars the tables are turned, I can assure you of that.

Anyway, I am off both of the threads, we seem to be talking on different levels and I don't want to get rude.

Carry on.
 

jwhite

Moderator Emeritus
Well sense you asked.:lol:

fresh never frozen sashimi grade Ahi tuna available for the general consumer.
http://chefshop.com/Itemdesc.asp?ic=F5009&eq=&Tp=
At the restaurant, which was in a beach community about an hour outside Chicago, we had a buyer who inspected fresh never frozen fish as it was flown in. He then would call the executive chef with what was of the highest quality and the pricing. Chef would make his selection and the fish buyer would drive it in. We would receive our fresh never frozen tuna in large loins that would be dressed and portioned by the kitchen staff. If you would like personal references, or contact information I would be more than happy to provide them. It is most definitely not illegal to buy fresh fish.

My main concern regarding the freezing of cigars was with freezing using household appliances. This is not recommended. Some tobacco is frozen using carefully controlled commercial equipment if in question of infestation, but not as a matter of course. Go to http://www.rockypatel.com/html/contact.html and call their contact number the sales staff is helpful and well informed. The information I have provided here is with their express knowledge and permission. Again this ought to be sufficient, but if further resources are required I will be happy to provide a more detailed list of tobacco blenders to corroborate this information.
 
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I freeze every new shipment/trade I get and haven't had any problems. I also haven't noticed any degradation in flavor or burn quality after the freezer/refrigerator process.

The most difficult part is having the patience to freeze them and gradually bring them back to temperature/humidity without smoking one. :smile:

I also use a thermo electric wine refrigerator as a humidor so the temperature is kept below the beetle "danger zone" during the warmer months.

I lost a whole lot of cigars to a beetle infestation years back and never want to go through that again.
 
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+1 to the "freeze them if you need to, you won't really be able to tell the difference if you did it right" argument.....


On a side note...... I find it interesting that people would actually recommend throwing out cigars rather than freezing them. Even if freezing did make the cigar taste slightly different, you would still throw out a "less than perfect puro" rather than smoke it?
 

jwhite

Moderator Emeritus
I would like to amend my argument against freezing. My position was, and is, against freezing in home equipment as a matter of course. However if it is between that and throwing them away, give it a try and see if you can salvage them. I mean whats the worst that can happen, they were headed for the bin anyways.:wink:
 
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