Freezing Cigars: Good idea?
von Brachel writes: "I just got a new box of [Cuban] Romeo Y Julieta Short Churchills. They were gorgeous, displaying all the signs of good things to come: consistent oily wrappers, consistent color and sweet, toasty aroma. So, you probably think I lit one up the moment I got home? Wrong. In fact, they went right into the freezer! I’ve got too many top-quality aged cigars in my humidor to let the annoying cigar beetle to tear them up."
I can't speak for Cuban cigars, because I don't actively seek them out. But in this case, I think Mr. von Brachel makes a good argument for being safe rather than sorry.
The only time I've ever frozen my cigars has been the extremely rare occurrence where I found a few beetle holes. It certainly does the trick, but I've always been a little leery about the whole freezing cigars thing. However, if done properly, which includes moving the cigars from the freezer to the fridge so they thaw slowly, then into the humidor, it doesn't seem to negatively affect their bouquet.
Most of the better manufacturers have their own methods for dealing with tobacco beetle larvae. One method is using a special vacuum process that crushes the beetles and the eggs. Moreover, I recently learned that Davidoff freezes their cigars prior to shipping to ensure that any and all beetle larvae are obliterated.
In doing a search on "treating tobacco beetles," I found a patent at freepatentsonline that describes a method by which "uncured tobacco leaves are heated by microwaves or in an electric high-frequency field prior to subdivision into ribs and strips." Truth be told, I'm not aware which, if any, premium cigar manufacturers or their suppliers use this process.
One final note: If you decide to freeze your cigars "after the fact," especially if the cellos have already been removed, be sure the cigars are placed inside a plastic freezer bag.