by David "Doc" Diaz
Revised Monday, November 21, 2011
If you are going to get serious about storing and aging cigars, there are a few supplies that you will want to have around your house in quantity. This article will give you some tips on what supplies you need to keep in stock to manage your humidors.
I've found that there are certain supplies that I use a lot in my hobby of collecting, storing and aging cigars. These supplies represent the very staples of cigar collecting.
First of all, you need water. Yep, that wet stuff that you bath in, drink, and use for your plants. You'll use water frequently in seasoning your humidors and especially to keep your humidifier charged. But not just any water will do, you will need distilled water. Distilled water doesn't have the minerals and other chemicals that will clog your humidifiers, or the pores in the Spanish cedar linings of your humidors. Whether you use a humidifier filled with florist foam, silica gel, or superabsorbent polymers, you will want to charge them with distilled water. And you can buy it cheap, by the quart, half-gallon or gallon. I usually opt for economy and go with the gallon size. Of course, I have a more than a dozen humidors of all sizes to keep functioning.
WETTING SOLUTION with PROPYLENE GLYCOL
Most passive humidifiers will require a wetting solution with a mixture of distilled water and propylene glycol (PG). As the water evaporates it maintains the humidity in your humidor. But the PG actually prevents evaporation and slows the rate at which the relative humidity (%RH) increases inside your humidor. The mixture of water and PG allows you to regulate the %RH in your humidor. When you need higher humidity, for example during the winter when the humidity is lower, you add pure distilled water, which will tend to evaporate more readily. But when you need to lower the humidity, you use more wetting solution. The PG will decrease evaporation keeping the %RH from rising too much. Propylene glycol also prevents mold growth in your humidifier. Though some passive humidification systems (i.e., silica gel) should only be charged with distilled water, foams, sponges, and superabsorbent polymers need to have some PG in the mixture.
Next, you'll want to have some Spanish cedar stocked away in various sizes and shapes. You can buy Spanish cedar from specialty lumber stores or you can scavenge some by snooping around your local tobacco shop. I use the thin cedar sheets that come in boxes of cigars. These come in handy for creating separate vertical or horizontal areas within your humidors to separate cigars of different types.
Also, you can deconstruct cedar cigar boxes and use the cedar panels to create vertical dividers in your humidor. The point of separating your cigars is to insure that the flavors of very different types of cigars do not readily mix. Cigar tobacco is like a sponge and it will readily soak up the flavors and aromas of adjacent cigars. Clear cellophane wrappers help to protect the cigars from such scrambling of flavors, but those cigars without cello must be protected. Placing a Corojo-wrapped cigar along side a delicate Connecticut can lead to less than pleasing results in taste.
Another thing I like to have in my supply kit is cigar glue. Often, when cigars have been stored together, their wrappers can take a bit of a beating and will sometimes split, crack or start to unravel. Cigar glue, which is a vegetable- or cellulose-based gum, can be purchased from cigar supply stores and can be used to patch unraveling wrappers. In Spanish, this glue is called pegamento vegetal. For about five bucks or so, you can buy a small bottle, usually less than an ounce, of glue and use it for repairing your cigars (small bottle in photo). Or, better, you can do what I do and go down to your local supermarket and buy some liquid pectin that's used for preserving home made jams and jellies. It's the same stuff. You can buy 6 fluid ounces of liquid pectin for less than five dollars. Be sure to get liquid pectin and not the powder. You don't want to have to mix up the glue recipe; it's too much work. Trust me on that.
Anyway, you can buy a small plastic bottle to keep the glue in and when you have a wrapper that's split or is unraveling, you just put a drop or two of glue on your finger, run it up under the wrapper leaf and then smooth the leaf back down again. Give it a minute or two to dry and you're back in business.
You can create your own wrapper patch kit by using the liquid pectin and by saving some pieces of wrapper leaf of different varieties: Maduro, Connecticut shade, Cameroon, etc. Here's how to do it... Use cigars that you have smoked down to the last inch or two. Let the cigar extinguish itself then use a cutter to trim off the ash and a bit of the head. You should have at least an inch of wrapper leaf. Then use a sharp knife to make a cut the length of the wrapper and then slowly peel the wrapper leaf off the barrel of the cigar. Be sure to cut away any part of the leaf that is singed or that has been in your mouth. Now you can save this wrapper to repair cigars. I recommend buying a sheet of acid-free paper at your local hobby shop and cut small pieces and put your wrapper leaves inside two sheets of paper. This keeps them flat and protected. Then put the papers containing the wrapper leaves inside a plastic bag and throw them in one of your humidors.
Finally, be sure to hang on to any cigar boxes that you have. Cigar boxes can be used for many things including storage places for your accessories like lighters, cutters, etc. They can also be used as makeshift travel humidors and to protect cigars that you plan to mail to a friend. And, of course, you can take them apart to use them for lining Tupper-dors, Igloo-dors and other homemade humidors.
About the Author
David "Doc" Diaz is the publisher and the editor of the Stogie Fresh Cigar Publications. He has served as an educator, researcher and writer and has taught in the Health Education and Health Science field for over 30 years. He possesses an earned doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Doc is a Certified Master Tobacconist (CMT), having received this certification from the Tobacconist University and is a member and Ambassador of Cigar Rights of America (CRA).blog comments powered by Disqus