In this post we want to talk about how you can protect the life of a premium cigar using a humidor. Every serious cigar smoke should have a humidor for storage.
Here’s why: a premium cigar is an organic product of the environment where the tobacco was grown and how it was processed, cured and stored in a carefully controlled environment after the manufacturing process.
A humidor is a natural extension of the process – think of a premium cigar humidor as protecting your investment – it’s a functional device that stores cigars at their optimum conditions, with the right PH balance and humidity.
Six Important Faces You Should Know about Cigar Humidors
Some cigar aficionados have more than one humidor, using a specific humidor to protect and maintain the flavor of one type of cigars, another for travel purposes and a third for storing cigars to co-mingle the flavors by storing different brands of cigars.
Humidor basics: it’s a storage container that’s been designed to allow air flow, with an integrated device that maintains humidity of 70 to 75%, with a temperature of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. And, if you don’t have a device for humidity control it’s not really considered a humidor.
Air flow is critical; a humidor is not nor should it be airtight, you want air flow moving over your sticks and you don’t want to pack them in too closely. Let them breath.
Most humidors come with gauge, although you don’t absolutely need one. Gauges, or hygrometers indicate the interior humidity and they come in analog (round gauges with a needle like a car speedometer) or digital; the latter are typically more accurate down to plus or minus 2-3% accuracy.
A humidors efficiency is attributed to the overall condition of your cigars: a well stored cigar should exude a little oil, indicating the conditions are optimum, if you cigars are too dry then add a little bit more water, if they become moldy you are better off tossing them.
Tobacco beetles do exist and a humidor with consistent temperatures above 75 degrees more than a twenty-four hour period means you have a problem. You have to freeze and the infected cigars for 48 hours and then put them in the fridge for another 24 hours. And, clean out your humidor using an ordinary damp cloth with distilled water before using it again.
How to Buy a Cigar Humidor that Fits Your Cigar Lifestyle
Like many things in life a cheap cigar humidor is not the same as a quality product – you are again protecting your investment. In most cases we recommend buying “ahead of your need” by purchasing a humidor that may be a bit more than you need initially.
Five Critical Features that Define a Great Humidor
Like a great cigar, a humidor should be carefully selected. Look for a lid that seals tightly, with perfect seams in all the corners, with a finish that’s attractive and functional. A humidor should NOT be airtight; you want air flowing over your sticks.
Many cigar smokers want a heavy lid that is easy to keep tightly shut – it typically functions better than a lighter lid. But, remember you want a balanced humidor; a super heavy lid presents problems when using it.
In the bygone days “humidity” was provided with an apple. Today’s premium cigar humidors have a device, which is either some type of sponge material or has a water bottle of some type. But, know the biggest “failure” with most humidors is you!! Many just forget to add water on regular scheduled basis. There’s probably an app for that.
Look for a humidor lined with some type of cedar, many prefer Spanish cedar which helps to absorb and emit the moisture in a manner which helps their cigars age and mature properly. Avoid any humidor with aromatic cedar – it’s not good for a cigar.
Fancier high-end humidors come with trays, enabling you to organize and easily rotate groups of cigars in your collection. You want to store your driest cigars the furthest away from your humidification device – humidors have microclimates like the environment around us.
Seasoning Your Humidor so it Works Properly
It does take some knowledge, experience and insight to get a humidor ready to store your cigars – you’re really duplicating what you would find in a tropical environment.
- Pay attention to instructions provided by your manufacture.
- Wipe down the inside of the humidor when you buy it with a soft cloth (not a paper towel) and then a wet sponge. The interior wood has to be properly humidified prior to using it and never/ever put cigars in a dry humidor, you will ruin them!
- Prep the humidifying element based on the manufacturer’s instructions; it’s important guys to “read the manual.” Ladies will understand this note: see asking for directions.
- After prepping your humidor leave it for 24-48 hours and then check the humidifying element to make sure it is at proper levels.
Stuff our staff has heard over the years about storing and humidifying cigars. “I don’t need one” – I’m using the shower to produce steam with my cigars close by. Worse: I’m using the upper deck of my dishwater and my health club lets me use their steam room.
Seriously, it’s an urban myth to think you can restore a cigar after it has dried out. Sorry to tell you; but toss them, your wasting time. A cigar has many layers of tobacco and it’s just a bad thing to have a specific layer with more moisture or dryness than another layer.
But, in our work and consultation with customers over the years we can tell you that in some very rare cases a very knowledgeable cigar smoker can recondition a cigar after it’s been improperly stored.
But, it takes a lot of patience and it’s tricky to do necessitating weeks of concentration, shifting the cigars from the exterior sections of you humidor into the areas with more humidity.
Key Takeaways About Selecting and Maintaining a Cigar Humidor
The most important issue we can underscore about a humidor – you’re protecting the considerable investment you have and will make as you purchase cigars. A great cigar should be stored properly. End of story.
As you make a selection, like any purchase of a quality product, take a hard look at the details: construction, materials, finish, functionality, and humidification device.
Don’t just buy a humidor and toss your cigars into it after wiping it down with a paper towel – you want to provision it properly and at least do a cursory read of the manual.