Although (as baffo notes in cigar tube) carrying around a cigar in the shipping tube is slightly better than just carrying it around loose, there is a device which I have found most useful. It's called the Cigar Savor (spelling intentional), and claims U.S. Patents Nos. 4,907,604 and 4,777,968 on its construction! heh. I'm not sure if it's patent-worthy (IANAL) but it's damn handy.

There are many variants on this gimcrack, made of everything from plastic to aircraft aluminum to wood; all, however, share the same basic design. You have a tube, perhaps seven inches long, with a diameter of around 1 inch externally. It is hollow, and the walls are fairly thick. At one end (the top) there is a screw-on cap, and sometimes a pocket clip such as those found on pens.

Inside, there is a metal cup that is the full diameter of the interior. It rests on a long spring, attached to the bottom, which (when the device is empty) keeps the cup locked against the top of the cylinder, where there is a small ridge to prevent it from flying out. The bottom may or may not be removable (with spring and cup) for cleaning.

This gewgaw has three uses. First, it can be used to store a fresh cigar for later consumption. The cigar is inserted into the tup, pushing the cup down, and the cap is screwed on. This seal is fairly close to airtight, and as such will allow the cigar to remain reasonably fresh for some time - usually, longer than a plastic or metal shipping tube, although naturally not as long as a humidor. Some models have a protruding pin or cigar punch on the underside of the cap, which will pierce the end of the cigar for your convenience.

Second, when one is smoking the cigar, this device can be used to quickly extinguish the stick if one needs to do so, such as when boarding a bus, entering a restaurant, meeting a girlfriend, etc. etc. The air-tight seal means that the cigar will slowly die, without (much) further consumption. The metal cup and thick walls mean that it can be inserted while still lit (and ashed) - the cylinder will grow a bit warm, but that is all.

Third, it will save a partially smoked cigar in a condition such that it can be safely resumed later - at least, to the extent that this is possible.

This can be quite a money-saver if you smoke fine stogies and often are interrupted in your enjoyment of them. While it is true that a relit cigar will never taste as good as a fresh one, most of the harm that comes to a cigar left to die in an ashtray comes from the period between when it is left to go out and when the flame finally dies. With no airflow through the cigar, the various combustion products will permeate the cigar and cool there, resulting in an accumulation of disgusting (and foul-tasting) tar or residue.

The cigar savor, by depriving the cigar of oxygen fairly quickly, ensures that the flame dies rapidly, without having to mash the end or otherwise damage the stick, and the short burnout means that many fewer contaminants are distributed through the cigar. At a later time, you can remove the cigar and relight it.

You can greatly increase the utility of this device and even further improve the taste of your stored cigar through the simple expedient of cutting the cigar back perhaps 1/2 inch from the ash line before inserting it. Thus, while there will still be whatever substances have been drawn through the cigar during the smoke remaining inside, no new gunk will accumulate. Although this might seem to negate the advantage of the airtight seal, let me assure you this is not so - cigars, after burning out, will begin to really stink, as the water from the smoker's saliva and the environment, as well as the tar, begins to react with the tobacco.

With these devices available for around $25 U.S. or less at most fine smoke shops, there's no reason not to have one if you're a cigar smoker. For the sturdy storage alone, it's worth it - the ability to toss a cigar into your bag and not care about what lands on top of it is one less little worry for the day.

The Cigar Savor requires little in the way of maintenance other than an occasional cleaning, if you habitually extinguish unashed cigs in it.

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