So you’re going to be on the road for awhile. Maybe it’s just a weekend jaunt to visit aunt Bertha or perhaps you are going on an extended vacation to the white beaches of Siberia. How do you bring a sufficient supply of sticks and keep them in prime form? Not to worry, there are a host of options for preserving the pristine condition and flavor of your smokes. While there is no such thing as a “cheap,” quality humidor, the travel box is a different animal. Not built for aging, it is designed for temporary, occasional usage and therefore can vary in construction and price points.
As with any humidor, your travel box must maintain a constant internal envirnoment. Keeping your fine stogies at a temperature of between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity between 65 and 72 percent will insure their good taste and your enjoyment. Of course, unless you are bringing an heirloom trunk for packing, you will need a slightly smaller version of your home box. A travel humidor must be packable, must protect your cigars from damage, and must keep them fresh.
Leather Pocket Cases and Cigar Tubes
If you are just going out for the evening or to play a round of golf, a leather, plastic, or metal tube should work fine. These will keep from 1 to 3 cigars fresh for a few hours. The leather cases are a very nice way to present your smokes when you go out for an evening, but they will not preserve humidity in a cigar for long. Various qualities of leather can be used, which can jack up the price accordingly.
The cases protect your cigars from getting crushed in an overnight bag or damaged in your pocket. They also keep some of the humidity inside, but I would recommend keeping a cigar in its cellophane wrapper inside the case until you are ready to smoke it. Metal tubes are durable and typically have a good seal. Again, I would recommend a cellophane wrapper to keep the cigar from getting bruised and to help maintain humidity. Sometimes these tubes will be lined with Spanish cedar, this is a nice touch and certainly adds to the effect, but is not absolutely necessary.
Though cases and tubes will work for up to several hours, you will need a better solution when you hit the road overnight. Sure, you could just wrap a few sticks along with a dampened sponge in a plastic bag with a good seal, but you risk damage to your precious cargo. You can’t just toss a plastic sack in your suitcase.
Wake up and pay attention!!! In my humble opinion, you can find an acceptable solution by searching through your old cigar boxes to find a likely candidate as a travel stogie-keeper. Some cigar boxes are made to double as a humidor. When using a cigar box, look for a snug fit of the lid and consider using a piece of Non Chemical Treat Foam to fit over the cigars to keep them from bouncing around. If the box doesn’t have a humidifier built-in, just toss in a portable humidifier like the Water Pillows.
Another option is the faithful TupperwareHumidor or other plastic container. The one seen in the photo at right is a 24-ounce model that measures 7" L x 3.75" W x 1.5" D. It will hold about 5 to 6 stogies plus the humidifier. Water Pillows are ideal for travel humidors because they are leak proof and are flat so they don't take up precious space that could be filled by cigars.
Beyond these homemade solutions, there are numerous production travel humidors available like the one seen in the photo at the left. This one holds quite a few cigars, has it's own built-in humidifier (see photo at left) and is cedar lined. It has a padded leather exterior, which zips closed and looks pretty classy. These types come in many different sizes and in different qualities. You can get some of these free with the purchase of cigars or you can shell out hundreds of dollars for collectable quality travel humidors.
If you are really roughing it, I would recommend something like the The Cigar Safe 15 Humidor. These waterproof boxes are light, durable and keep cigars in perfect condition. The hard plastic shell and soft foam liners keep your cigars safe from damage and the elements.
Seasoning a new humidor (also called, “priming” or “conditioning”) is a very important first step for your new box. Many people underestimate the importance of seasoning. But, the result of simply tossing cigars into a new humidor without following through with this first step might be a collection of bad-smoking cigars and an investment up in smoke.
When most humidors are built, the Spanish cedar is naturally dry as most woods are prior to woodworking. Now at Vanderburgh, we store all of our Spanish cedar in a special humidified room that is pre-conditioned to 70%RH. So when we craft your humidor, the cedar will already be pre-seasoned. Even still, through shipping, the wood might lose some of its humidity, so I would still recommend that you season your new humidor. But before we go into how to season, let me do a quick review of the special qualities of Spanish cedar.
Qualities of Spanish Cedar
Spanish cedar has unique qualities for its use in a humidor: • Spanish cedar has a natural resistance to mold and mildew. • It imparts a desirable scent to the cigar, while the cigar ages. • The cigar beetle dislikes the scent of Spanish cedar, which acts like a repellent in preventing beetle outbreaks. • If the humidor is built properly, the Spanish cedar acts as a moisture buffer, so if the lid of the humidor is frequently opened, the interior RH returns quickly to its previously desired level.
The special properties of Spanish cedar make it act like a sponge: it will both absorb and desorb moisture. If the Spanish cedar lining in your humidor is very dry, as it is in a natural state, then it can actually pull moisture out of your cigars potentially damaging them. In order to prevent dried out stogies, one must ‘season,’ ‘prime,’ or ‘condition’ your Spanish cedar lining to ensure a reliable and stable internal microclimate.
The Process of Seasoning Your Humidor
The Easy Humidor Seasoning Method
For reliability, ease and the least amount of work, I would highly recommend purchasing a seasoning kit This will make your humidor seasoning procedure a snap.
The Traditional Humidor Seasoning Method
A common and traditional method of seasoning a humidor starts with wiping down the interior with a moist rag. Using a lint-free cloth that has been slightly dampened with distilled water, lightly wipe the entire interior surface of the Spanish cedar. Though I used to recommend this process for all humidors, I have changed my opinion based on the low quality of many bargain basement humidors sold online and in budget-retail shops. Since there are a vast amount of cheap humidors on the market, I would now avoid this procedure. On cheap humidors you could run the risk of over-expanding the interior lining causing structural joint failure. Instead, I would let your humidifier do the work for you.
First of all, make sure the humidor is completely empty and free of lint, dust, or dirt. Fill your humidifier with proper solution and let it sit inside the humidor by itself. Close the lid and allow the Spanish cedar to naturally absorb the moisture over the next few days. To expedite the process, you can also place an additional cup of distilled water inside your humidor.
Every day for the next 7-10 days, continue to top-up your humidifier with the proper solution. Monitor the internal relative humidity (%RH) and once it seems stable at around +/- 70% you can begin to introduce cigars to your humdidor. This usually takes a week to 10 days.
Priming your humidor is usually required only once, but by doing so, you will ensure stable, consistent aging and maturation of your cigars for your smoking enjoyment.
In the past, cigar enthusiasts basically had one choice when it came to humidification elements: green floral foam. Sure, there have been some attempts to use other common items, from clay to sponges, but the ever-present foam was the best and most cost-effective method that we could come up with.
Not that foam is without weaknesses. Foam can harbor bacteria and mold and must be treated with anti-mold compounds. Further, after about a year, the foam needs to be replaced because it has become clogged and saturated with the by-products of fermentation and various other contaminants.
In recent years we have been given a couple more valuable options for humidification: Super-absorbent polymers and Silica gel.
The Water Pillow falls into the category of new wave products. The Water Pillow uses a super absorbent polymer (polysodium acrylate) as the humidification element. Super absorbent polymers (SAP) can absorb more than 500 times their weight in water. They come in the form of small beads or, in the case of the Water Pillows, in powder form.
The polymers are very absorbent: when soaked in water they swell up and then release this moisture into the internal environment of the humidor through a process of diffusion. The rate at which a polymer will deliver moisture within your humidor is based on the relative humidity inside: at lower RH, more water is diffused from the polymers into the humidor air, at higher RH’s, the delivery rate of moisture is lower.
Setup and Using Water Pillows
The Water Pillow construction sequesters SAP in small plastic/fabric bags. The instructions say to dip in distilled water for 15 seconds. This is actually very important because you can easily over-saturate the polymers.
After wetting the inner bag, you then place it into a secondary outer plastic bag with a Ziplock-type closure. This protects your cigars from having moisture come into direct contact with your cigars. I recommend allowing the inner bag to sit for 30 seconds or so after wetting, to allow any excess moisture to be soaked up by the SAP and be sure to wipe off excess moisture from the outside of the bag.
Function of Water Pillows
The Water Pillows come in a sheet of cells, which are connected by perforated plastic so you can easily tear off a cell for use. They are also sold singly.
Super absorbent polymers, as the name suggests, absorb water. Lots of it. When using the Water Pillow, I have found that the longer you allow the pillow to sit in water, the more it will absorb. For example, the un-moistened pillow weighs next to nothing (see table below), but with varying lengths of soaking time, the pillow will greatly expand.
Time Soaked Weight of Pillow 0 sec < .1 oz 15 sec .4 oz 30 sec .6 oz 1 min .8 oz 5 min 1.0 oz
That means that you can consider different soak times for different applications. A Water Pillow with a 10-15 second soak time would work perfectly for mailing 5-10 cigars in a plastic cigar bag. For use in a 15-count travel humidor or smaller, I would recommend a 15-20 second soak, while a soak time of 1 minute would be good for use in a small humidor.
I would suggest experimenting a bit with soak times: I wouldn’t recommend anything over a minute. Overfilling the polymers in an enclosed space can pack them too densely and they will have trouble regulating humidity. Further, you may have to experiment with both the soak time and the number of Water Pillows to use for each humidor application.
The outer plastic bag is used to protect your cigars from direct moisture from the contents of the Water Pillow. However, if you have a humidor where the Water Pillow can be placed out of contact with your cigars, there is no need to use the outer plastic bag. Just make sure that you wipe off excess water from the outside of the inner bag before placing in your humidor.
Water Pillows are very easy to use and convenient. I like to keep them around for mailing packages with cigars and to toss in my travel humidors. As a long-term humidifier for larger humidors (above 50-count), I would recommend a different product. Using multiple Water Pillows in a larger humidor would get cumbersome, in my opinion. Of course, the Water Pillows are advertised primarily as a “portable” solution and are therefore aimed at my recommended applications. According to a company source: “The ‘ideal’ application for Water Pillows is to be used in conjunction with a ziplock or slider reclosable bag containing anywhere from 5-10 cigars.”
Regardless, I have successfully used SAP in both active and passive humidification systems by using larger containers filled with varying amounts of polymers. There are plenty of applications for polymers, given the right container.
Value Of Water Pillows
There are other packet-type products that can be used for humidifying smokes. One that I have reviewed is the Bóveda Humidification Packet. However, I estimate that it would take at least 3 Water Pillows to regulate humidity in the same area as 1 Bóveda packet. Even so, the Water Pillows would still be the least expensive way to go.
I recommend this product highly for the application for which it is intended: mailing 5-10 cigars and also recommend it for use in small travel humidors. This is an inexpensive product that is easy to use and works as advertised.
Partners Felix Spohn and Dr. Daniel Spohn founded the Adorini brand of humidors in 1999. Adorini is now widely recognized as a quality humidor brand that can be had at reasonable prices. Adorini sponsors the annual Festival del Habano, in Cuba, where they donate the humidification systems and hygrometers for the Gala’s auction humidors.
Humidor Product Details At a Glance
Product Name: Adorini Cedro L Deluxe Product Type: Desktop Humidor Included: Analog “hair” hygrometer, cassette humidity system, cedar tray and divider system, labeling clips, lock and key, wetting solution, lifetime warranty. Test period: 1 month. Note: I did NOT test the “long-term” (i.e., >1month) accuracy or reliability of the Adorini hair-hygrometer.
Background and Description for the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe
The Cedro L Deluxe is a cedar wood veneer humidor with an approximate capacity of 100-150 (according to the company) cigars. The humidor has a natural (non-gloss) finish and includes everything you need to get started with a humidor.
Setup of the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe Humidor
I first want to say that the packing material and documentation was first rate. It should come as no surprise that, if you have a humidor shipped to you, most distance carrier services can be very rough on the product. Well, okay, it often seems like they drop-kick the products across the country. That is why I never take packaging for granted. The Adorini packaging included a soft cloth sack to cover the humidor, which was set inside multiple layers of cardboard, styrofoam and bubble wrap. I couldn’t have asked for better packaging.
The documentation was also first rate. For the most part, the instructions are very clear and there is a clear description of the feature set of the humidor. The only thing that wasn’t clear was the purpose of the different cedar pieces that add to the functionality of the humidor. (See next paragraph)
The humidor came with 10 cedar pieces of different sizes and shapes. These consisted of a mix of horizontal and vertical cedar dividers to create different “compartments” inside the humidor. There were also some small cedar triangles to adjust the height of the cigar tray. The number of pieces seemed excessive to me and yet, the slatted interior wall design of the humidor probably necessitated all the parts to make the divider system work. (Note: Company representative told me that my comments about how the use of the interior pieces are not adequately described in product literature had been, “forwarded to our design-team to include in [future] manual[s].”)
One warning is that the pieces are sized such that, you can’t really afford to break or lose one if you want to maintain the ability to divide cigars into sections within the humidor. It would have been nice, since they are already including so many pieces, to include a few more as “replacements” should the need arise. The divider-system also comes with some handy labeling clips that allow you to provide each section within your humidor with a title or description. I found that to be a very handy and clever feature.
The Adorini Cedro L Deluxe is a cedar veneer humidor. That means that there is a thin sheet of wood, in this case cedar, glued to all the surfaces of the humidor. This allows the humidor to be decorated with a specialty wood without being encumbered by the cost and construction constraints of a solid wood humidor. That said, my preference in humidors has always been toward solid-wood pieces for their uniqueness, beauty and especially their collectibility value. Solid wood humidors, especially solid exotic wood humidors, are both expensive and difficult to make. What they add to your home or office as a work of art and an heirloom treasure will definitely cost you a premium, but they can be the best investment for the future.
It’s not that I have anything against veneer humidors, per se. Elie Bleu has taken veneer processes to the very highest level and I own Elie Bleu as well as Daniel Marshall and Davidoff veneer humidors. However, the primary weakness of veneer is its capacity to chip and/or separate, which may destroy the “look” of quality and beauty of the humidor. So, the veneer has to be of the absolutely highest quality to sustain it’s value. Veneer can be very thin, say 1/32nd of an inch, or a bit thicker like 1/16th. The veneer on the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe is very thin and, in fact, I found the veneer edges on the humidor lid were showing wear and were thinning at the seams. That, of course, did nothing to detract from the functionality of the humidor, but did catch my eye and detracted from the form and beauty of the outer box.
There are several advantages of veneer humidors. First, you can add expensive veneer to dress up a humidor for much less money than solid wood. Second, the walls of veneer humidors are typically made from particle-based wood that doesn’t have the same tendency to warp, as does a solid wood humidor. This means the veneer humidor puts less strain on the joints and hardware and ensures a thin, tight seal. Veneer humidors are also lighter than solid wood. All good reasons to choose a veneer box.
The thin veneer on this Cedro L Deluxe notwithstanding, I found this humidor to possess excellent quality overall and its function was superb. The hardware was installed perfectly, the seam between the upper and lower halves had a great fit and the joinery was consistently good.
The humidor is rated by the company at 100-150 cigars, which in my experience means that it will hold somewhere between 75-100 average-sized cigars. For years, humidor count has been based on using a traditional Corona-sized cigar, which is typically 5.5-inch by 42 ring gauge. Not a problem since the entire humidor industry uses this count-system and therefore it is a standard convention. The challenge is always to carefully position your cigars in such a way as to get the greatest packing efficiency. This is one reason why I take out most of my humidor dividers and simply, “stack ’em up.”
Hygrometer Accuracy (validity of measurement) and Reliability
The Adorini instrument was pre-calibrated, but the company did not have more information on that process.
Without controlled calibration, there is no telling how accurate a device might be and without valid measurements of temperature and humidity you might not be alerted to significant and/or chronic changes in your humidor’s environment. I noted the potential for inaccuracy in measurement instruments and the importance of quality calibration processes.
To cross check the accuracy of the Adorini hair-hygrometer I gave it a “real-world” test and installed it inside my cabinet humidor right next to my PEM2 Datalogger, which has been calibrated and certified for an accuracy of +/- 1%. Whenever I checked the relative humidity, the hair-hygro device was always around 1.5–2%RH higher than the PEM2 device (Note: All measurements were approximate because it’s hard to tell exactly with an analog readout). In my opinion, the difference between the PEM2 and the Adorini hair-hygrometer was non-significant. In other words, the hair-hygrometer “worked fine.” As with other analog hygrometers that I have tested, I have found hair-hygrometers to be very easy to calibrate and generally accurate.
However, many hair-hygrometers suffer from “needle-stick.” This usually occurs after a period of time in which the humidity inside your humidor is relatively stable around a certain point, say, 70%RH. The “hair,” whether organic or synthetic, will lose its full range of elasticity and “stick” at a certain level. Because of this phenomenon, a hair-hygrometer can be fairly accurate, but with a test/retest capability (reliability) that does not match a digital hygro. More time is needed to test this effect with any device and I did not have the time necessary to put the Adorini hair hygro to the long term test.
Finally, the Adorini hair-hygrometer does not provide the temperature readout. In my opinion, precise measurement of both temperature and humidity is needed if one wants to prevent mold and accelerated oxidation. Unlike wine, cigars are more readily at the disposal of their environment. For wine, the glass and cork represent a resilient defense against oxidation. However, cigars in a humidor are affected more readily by the opening and closing of the humidor and by changing environmental temperature.
The polymer humidification system inside the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe proved to be rock solid and easily capable of humidifying this humidor. Polymer based humidification media is my favorite in all but the most humid environments.
Polymers are great at keeping up moisture levels inside a humidor, but must be kept from growing mold. Adorini supplies a 100ml bottle of distilled water with silver ions added. The addition of silver ions makes the water antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal. However, once you run out of this solution, distilled water will not make a satisfactory replacement (as suggested on their website). You will need some sort of commercial wetting solution.
Adorini advertises a lifetime warranty on its humidors. However, I could not find the details of the warranty on their website. Warranties on humidors, lighters, cutters and such, can take many forms. Warranty of integral parts (e.g., hinges, locks), accessory parts, (e.g., humidifier, hygrometer, wood dividers) and workmanship (e.g., in the case of separating corner joints or warping of wood) can all be considered warrantable defects. The Adorini website does not clarify “warrantable defects.”
And, the way the warranty is processed will need clarity. What exactly constitutes a warrantable defect? Who decides what is warrantable? Who pays for shipping of humidors that are defective? (i.e., Humidors are typically heavy and shipping costs can be substantial.) The answers to these questions need clarification before the Adorini warranty carries sufficient weight.
The Adorini Cedro L Deluxe humidor is a well made production humidor that is attractive and yet highly functional. An innovative tray and divider design creates a versatile interior for organizing your resting cigars. The hygrometer and humidifier both operate efficiently and, more importantly, over the month-long test period, kept my cigars tasting fresh and burning well.
The more important quality concerns can only be answered over the long haul. The condition of the joinery, hardware, locks and internal accessories after months and years of regular use will tell the tale of ultimate quality. Tests of the warranty may also bring light to the question of how solid are the claims of an Adorini “life-time” warranty.
Bottom line: This humidor does its job in keeping cigars fresh and does so with style and at a fair price.
Spanish cedar is widely known as the material of choice in humidor construction. But is it the best material for humidors, or even absolutely necessary? In this article, I’ll discuss the characteristics of Spanish cedar that make it a perfect choice for use in humidor construction. I’ll also tell you how to recognize if you have genuine Spanish cedar in your humidor.
Spanish cedar is actually not a cedar at all, it comes from the Mahogany family. It is a salmony red, tight-grained wood with a very spicy aroma. In fact, if you sand or plane it down, the dust can really irritate your nasal passages and can leave you sneezing and coughing more-so than many other woods. Spanish cedar is a wood that is commonly found throughout Central America and is used in building materials and for wood siding.
Hundreds of years ago, tobacco curing barns were constructed or lined with this common wood, probably because it was plentiful, but at the time wasn’t intended for imparting any flavors or nuances to the tobacco. Inadvertently, these flavors may have been naturally and subtly imparted into the tobacco, bringing out some of the woody flavor sometimes associated with certain tobaccos.
Naturally – a Perfect Choice
Being a wood that grows in the humid conditions of Central America, Spanish cedar is naturally mold resistant and is also resistant to the dreaded tobacco beetle. Something in the scent disconcerts the beetles. Maybe it makes them sneeze, just like humans…
Furthermore, the cedar has a natural tendency to absorb, and desorb moisture, which can be very beneficial in preserving optimal humidity if the humidor is frequently opened and closed. So it wasn’t by accident that early humidor creators decided to use Spanish cedar for the lining of their humidors.
Today, modern technology, electronics and plastics have provided ways of preserving cigars without the use of Spanish cedar. Silica gel beads, polymer crystals and active humidifiers now do a fine job of preserving humidity inside your humidor, in some cases obviating the need for Spanish cedar. Plastics do a great job of sealing the humidor, and the requirement for Spanish cedar is far less than it was in the past. However, I craft humidors in the traditional way and tend to gravitate towards traditional construction methods and solid natural materials.
Of course, I am not saying that any old wood will suffice to line the inside of your humidor. Try making a humidor from aromatic cedar, or some other wood and you will soon find your cigars tasting like your grandmother’s old linen closet. And, other woods like cheap pine will sprout mold faster than you can say ‘Cohiba’.
How do you know if you have real Spanish Cedar in your Humidor?
Sometimes, imported products aren’t really what they claim to be. The same is true when it comes to humidors. Many mass-produced, imported humidors are built with an inexpensive interior wood to save on cost. Here’s how you can tell if your humidor has a genuine, traditional Spanish cedar lining and not a cheap imitation that could ultimately destroy your fine collection of cigars.
First, Spanish cedar has a salmony orange tint to it. Have a look at the image at the top of this page. It also has fairly porous grain with long straight strands.
Second, if you smell it, it should smell distinctly spicy. If you are unsure, take some 400 grit sandpaper and lightly sand with the grain, then smell again. The sawdust should really make your nose light-up with the spiciness.
I personally still love to make humidors using genuine Spanish cedar, simply because of the tradition, appearance, and natural characteristics that make it a perfect wood for lining. There is something special about opening a fine handcrafted humidor and being greeted by the scent of the spicy Spanish cedar lining as well as the aroma of your aged cigars. It looks great and it has great character. I will likely always use it whether it is required or not. Spanish cedar is the perfect compliment to a premium hand made cigar and a custom crafted humidor.
We all should know by now that the most suitable temperature and humidity for our cigars is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70% RH. The 70/70 formula is such an essential part of keeping those cigars fresh. How To Keep a Humidor at 70 Degrees can though be tricky.
This particular formula originates from where the tobacco comes from in the cigar. Typically, the tobacco grows in tropical areas such as Cuba, Dominican Republic. The climate in those regions is known to be very humid and hot. I recommend you smoke a cigar in a slightly moist state as you will find the outcome is better and overall more enjoyable. My advice when trying to maintain the moisture level within the tobacco would be 70/70. I promise you that if you keep that steady humidity level, you will find the cigars tend to preserve their moisture and taste.
Tell Tales Signs Your Humidor Is Not at The Right Temperature
Any brittle, cracks and burns that present on your cigars typically mean they have dried up. On the contrary, if the cigar doesn’t draw the tobacco out well, or doesn’t burn, this tends to be a clear sign of too much moisture. Therefore, it is important to understand how vital that formula is. The cigars freshness and longevity always depend on the climate or your humidor and environment. Like I’ve said before, your cigars are actually more flexible.
Sudden changes or dips in heat and cold are incredibly damaging to your cigars. Always be careful with your cigars when they interact with cool air because if they stay in an environment such as that, you may find the moisture is sucked out of the cigar, leaving you with dry, distasteful smoke. Ever heard of tobacco beetles, well they’re real alright. If hot air becomes overwhelming for the cigars, be prepared to see small, wriggly brown things crawl out of your humidors – beware! In short, when buying you cigars – whether it’s online or in-store – store owners will nowadays usually advise humid conditions surrounding them.
I still recommend my customers and readers a relative humidity range of between 62 and 72% is adequate. Your cigars won’t be damaged if the humidity hovers around those temperatures. However, there are a couple of determinants relative to the range suggestion and, those are as follows:
Fault factor in size:
Many of my fellow cigar friends succumb to that common thought our hygrometers reading correctly without a doubt. I hate to break the bad news fellas, but there is always that small probability that it is, in fact, reading wrong. If you are like me and have been experienced for many years, you’ll probably know how to maintain quality care for your cigars.
However, for the newbies out there, I recommend sticking to a middle range. You’ll find that with constant attention and supervision, you won’t need to worry about any harm to your precious smokes. That middle range kind of acts as a safety plug.
This only really depends on how long you want your smokes to burn for. If you are like me and enjoy a slow and relaxed burn, you should look out for sun-grown tobacco. This type generally has more dampness – consistency wise – and is a bit thicker. If the majority of your cigar collection is sun-grown leaves, don’t fret if you encounter unusual burning problems. Just remember to keep the humidity level at 71%. I have one friend who owns almost all shade-grown tobacco. Lucky for him, he doesn’t experience any burn issues. However, the speed of oxidation is quite fast; you may suffer from a heated smoke.
If I were you though, I would just keep all my cigars content at a humidity of 68%. It’s not too high nor low; therefore, not suffer from any extremes. Another good thing is it allows all sorts of tobacco types from sun-grown to shade-grown and anywhere in between. Providing you maintain the essence and oils from your cigar, it won’t become tasteless or dry. A bland cigar is crossing the danger zone!
I advise 60-75% relative humidity. It might seem overwhelming considering all the temperatures you must be careful of but and tobacco types you should consider. With a little bit of warmth and love, your cigars will thrive in any environment provided; don’t forget – a tropical condition leaves you with more enjoyable smokes. Keep up the work fellas and continue digging those stogies. How How To Keep a Humidor at 70 Degrees is a key lesson for serious Cigar enthusiasts.
Some More Reading on How To Keep a Humidor at 70 Degrees
If you’re looking to buy a decent humidor, expect a high price tag. However, there are other options for storing your smokes. If you considering building your own humidor, I can promise you now, it’s a rewarding and educational experience by far. And, possibly a bit risky…you are going to be putting your stogies at risk if you’re not vigilant enough. The good thing is that there are a number of materials to choose from regarding the construction. From plastic to precious woods to a craft box are all good options so take your pick. Below are several ways to construct and design your own humidor.
Funny enough, one of my very first humidors was called a “Tupper-dor”. You can guess by the name that is was made from Tupperware. This is quite an easy solution. Make sure you purchase a box with a decent seal. Test drive the container whilst you’re in the shop then make sure it holds air by closing the lid securely and push down on it after. The measurement of my first container was 14″ L x 10″ W x 4″ D.
Afterward, I placed a couple of cigar boxes inside the box so that they could be easily stacked. It befits them from that Spanish cedar lined boxes. I recommend doing this because it also prevents the cigar from direct contact with either the humidifier or the actual plastic of the box. Another thing I recommend doing is lining the box with Spanish cedar planks or even just some cedar sheets. You can find these in some of the boxes of cigars themselves. If you’ve read my other article What’s the Best Humidorthen you may know already that Spanish cedar is a very good humidor material because it absorbs the extra moisture and also stops any sweating inside the container.
To finish, I equipped the container with a digital Hygrometer (just with a bit of velcro) and a small humidifier. The equivalent of this is a bit of damp sponge or silica gel or even superabsorbent polymers to humidify your box. Note to self – you don’t need a massive humidification source since the Tupperware box is airtight and will hold the moisture effectively. Regarding the cigar boxes, they will help keep excess moisture off the cigars. You don’t want to be smoking a soggy cigar!
However, sometimes the box can be so airtight, you’ll need to open the lid occasionally to let your cigars breathe a bit. If you don’t do this, they’ll get too dry. My point concerning Spanish cedar entirely.
The important thing to take int account here regarding plastic humidors is that they are only good for temporary use. To say the least, they are probably one material out of the ones I’ve listed to be cautious with. However, they do retain a lot of moisture – but this can make the environment a bit too humid in terms of long durations of storing these stogies. Just remember to open the lid of the container at least twice a week. Cigars will only absorb small amounts of oxygen and only emit gases as they age. Another bad thing is the smell. You may encounter bad aromas after a long period of time string the cigars in a plastic box. All in all, keepclose eye on that hygrometer, and please don’t let the humidity out of hand.
Ice Chests and Coolers
If you need a bigger storage space, try using larger containers like Igloo or other insulated plastic coolers and/or ice chests. The ice chests and coolers are well insulated and will definitely maintain moisture. The principles are the same as for Tupperware boxes: you need some wood inside to help adsorb/desorb moisture, a moisture source and a hygrometer. I find that Silica Gel beads work well as a humidity source inside airtight containers like coolers and Tupperware. Silica is great at taking up excess moisture and will work with (or without) Spanish cedar to keep the humidity in your Tupper-dors and Cooler-dors just right.
Converted Wine Cooler
I owned a wine cooler for years and the motor finally froze up and died. So I removed the motor and gutted the refridge. I built a palette out of Spanish cedar and added a drawer for singles. I finished up with more Spanish cedar plans as shelves. Since it is cheaper, I lined the inside of the refrigerator with mahogany. Spanish cedar is a type of mahogany and they both have the same properties when it comes to the ability to take in and release humidity. The mahogany doesn’t have the same pleasing aroma, however.
Humidification is maintained using a Cigar Oasis XL Plus, an electronic humidifier/hygrostat. The Cigar Oasis is an easy, albeit fairly expensive, humidifier that you can just set and forget. It is preset to 70% RH, but is easily reset to other humidity levels. And, it has a digital readout of the humidity levels.
As with any long term “purchase”, you’re gonna need to do your homework. Remember, these humidors are going to be a long term investment. You want to ask yourself some crucial questions. They may seem stupid as first, but trust me, as luxurious as mahogany is, will it match with your light oak furniture? I’m begging you – and I’ve done it before – don’t get into that car with your wallet stuffed with cash and regret that leopard print humidor you purchased last Tuesday! Oh yes, there are actual animal skin humidors now. Get ready to do some mind-boggling thinking. So, let’s dig into the subject what wort of humidor should I buy?
Q1. Do I even want a humidor?
Maybe you do, perhaps you don’t. Do you live a busy life? Does work take up most of your time? – if so, I would re-considering purchasing one. Humidors are time-consuming and need care and dedication.
Q2. How many cigars do I want to purchase and how many can I store?
Note to self – always buy a bigger humidor than you may require. What size are you willing to dedicate long hours of your life to. There are several size variations such as cabinet humidors – typically used for stocking more significant amounts of cigars. If you have a similar mindset to me, you’ll be smart in buying more volumed humidors. We all have that itching feeling of needing to buy more. Trust me, my mom, my wife, my sister – they all suffer from it. I, on the other hand, only have 18 or so… Anyway, you may find yourself having to clear out that overflowing lounge of yours.
Q3. Locks On My Humidor…?
I have kids and an inquisitive wife…
Q4. Cabinet or Desktop – So Many to Choose From…
Like I’ve said before, there is a large variety of humidor to choose from. Here comes the hard part – what are you looking for? First of all, I always recommend to my readers to get a desktop humidor. It is a must, in my opinion. It adds to the decorative feel in your home, and it stores a pretty standard amount of cigars. If you are a somewhat heavy-duty collector – like me I suppose – then I’m guessing you have a lot of cabinet humidors in your house. Finally, if you’re an avid smoker, a travel humidor is the first thing you pack – am I right.
Q5.I know there’s more – How much do I want to spend? I don’t mean to impose any threat to your marriage life, but I wouldn’t pay over your limit to what the old wife says ‘cos the aftermath ‘ain’t going to be useful to your humidor future if you know what I mean. Don’t get carried away either and end up wrecking your smokes. Your purchases and worth of your cigars depend on the humidor in the end. For instance, if you have 30 cigars and their average cost was $3 per smoke, you are watching over a $90 investment. You save on the humidor, not the cigars to put it short.
It goes the same with clothes as humidors. Buying a humidor is harder because you don't know if it will be clear of any apparent faults. You are only looking at a picture on a screen. In-store purchasing is so much better because you visually see the humidor as it is in reality. Usually, the owner will let you handle it - that's your chance to observe it for cracks, broken hinges or chips properly. These are the little things, the imperfections that always trigger me. You are looking for a well built and sturdy humidor, constructed with care and precision.
The thickness of the walls is a crucial thing to examine. Those walls need to be able to support those cigars and provide insulation and warmth physically. It's another property of the humidor that should be constructed so that it shields the smokes from any sudden temperature or humidity changes carefully. You should primarily look for Spanish cedar on an excellent material. (1/6 - 1/4 thickness is decent, but 3/4 diameter is even better). You get the point.
Be sure that the hinges are built into the humidor with perfection. Solid brass is one material that tends to come with reliable humidors. Any gaps in the boxes seam mean you should return the time purchased as the hinges haven't been seated on the humidor correctly. Distilled water is a necessary item you should also purchase. Also, my advice is to get a digital hydrometer. There overall more accurate for a more extended period of time.
This may just be a preference, but if you feel in the mood, ask about Spanish cedar linings. YOu may come to find the pleasant scent that will eventually linger in your house calms you.
A humidor needs to longevity; if you desire that, a particularly weighted humidor usually does the trick. They're known for there resistance and loyalty to their owner. Just make sure the top and bottom weight is equal; otherwise, you may find yourself left with a broken box of pricy cigars on the floor of your lounge.
A useful DIY that many of my humidor buddies have trialled and succeeded with is old refrigerator motors that they have converted into humidors. Surprisingly they work pretty well. For the long term, however, they don't. I shan't get too carried away on that prospect though. Wooden cabinets are more realistic.
Size is essential. It does matter, and you must purchase the humidor of your size and satisfaction. You want your collection to grow as well, so I would buy one with room for that stash to increase. Consider how many cigars you are going to be storing. If you desire boxes and boxes of 'em, then I suggest you go with a cabinet humidor. Boxes do take up the majority of the room in your humidor. The question is, do you want a full to the brim cabinet humidor or a not so full cabinet.
This doesn't account for everybody, but many people I know enjoy the summer and therefore live in areas that climate hot summers. Controlling the temperature of your humidor and the environment they live in is crucial. There are temperature-controlled humidors out there, but boy are they inconvenient. The controller takes up a third of your humidor space. I recommend getting a non-temperature controlled humidor and dealing with the humidity yourself. It isn't hard if you know what to look for. A thick all-round sided humidor is perfect for insulating those smokes. Though the price goes up, the level of reliability and quality also goes up. It's a win-win!
Theoretically, this wouldn't work if you lived in deserts or jungles, however, by purchasing a good-quality box and storing it in the coolest part of your house, you would manage the coolness of your humidor just fine. Temperature extremes cause harm, and if you are one of those people living in an area that suffers from exactly that then glass humidors are a definite no-no, and 3/4 inch walls would be advised. Working with the constructor of the humidor is very helpful as well. You can easily discuss cost benefits, and you know exactly what you are paying for. Again this is costly but helpful in ways.
Spanish cedar lined cabinet humidors are typical and sufficient when it comes to insulation quality and design. But don't worry if you are not looking to spend a fortune. I recommend mahogany - cheaper and still as effective. It all depends on the choice and what buyers desire. Spanish cedar is very aromatic, and even though its scent is gorgeous, it lingers on objects. Some manufacturers prefer not to have that scent on there smokes. Either way, it doesn't affect the smokes too seriously.
Yourtools and hardware should be top-notch with exquisite finishings. Solid-brass hinges are my preference. If you desire one, you can purchase special locks, but I don't see the point unless you are protective or have young kids with expensive cigars lying around the house then go for it. Think about value for money and what you need more than anything.
One of my most favourite things about purchasing a new humidor with your manufacturer is that you have so many endless options within the designing process. Glass, mahogany, Spanish cedar, oak? Etchings on wood and glass? How thick do you want the walls to be?
Any locks in particular? The great thing about a cabinet humidor is that you can ask for multiple drawers instead of the standard single one. You can ask for shiny or matte wood and even the inlays or edges. This time, the choice really is yours. Like I said in my 'What's the Best Humidor', this humidor is going to be an heirloom passed down through generations probably. You want it to be well designed and aesthetic.
I've been recommending to my readers since I don't know when a digital electronic humidification system. This is by far the most sensible choice of humidity control. It involves the most straightforward system setup where all you have to do is set a relative humidity level, and the system automatically turns on the reservoir. Over the years, I've tried out different models but always turned to this particular one, partially for the simple setup routine and also for what you get for the money. The system comes with a water reservoir and a hygrostat. The bugger the cabinet, the larger the tank and fan are. The hygrostat is already connected to the fan and reservoir. Therefore when the fan is turned, the hygrostat comes on with it as well as the reservoir.
I always used to struggle with this when it came to purchasing humidors. What unique warrants or guarantees does the company offer? Is it interest-free? 'Guaranteed 1 and 1/2 years of free return' or 'We warrant in faulty construction and material'. Make sure you know you aren't being tricked into a scam or ripped off for a flimsy humidor.
I think all electronics and other components should be charged with around two years warrant. Shipping can also be a problem. It's the little annoying things like mixed up order times that frustrate me. You need to ask yourself whether the humidor will get severely damaged via shipping and more importantly, whether or not you will get your money back if it does. I have experienced myself some damage through delivery. It was disappointing, but I was half expecting it. Be wary when you agree to delivery - some end badly and others have compensation. Take it with a pinch of salt and stay wary.
When I cast my mind back, and I think of my days before my love for cigars, my life seemed a bore. I felt nothing was engaging or different anymore. I realized I needed a source of escapism. That was when I chose to collect cigars. When you have a collection of cigars, you will inevitably eventually have to ask yourself what’s the best humidor?
I don’t ever consider myself a Cigar Evangelist – absolutely not, I’m the type of collector who discovers items and makes use of them. I don’t find things and store them in my home until they decay or collect dust. I’ve always had this strong belief that cigars should be able to flourish and age appropriately. You aren’t exactly offering the most excellent conditions to your collections if you leave them lying in a cupboard forever. You want to be able to smoke a cigar and enjoy it – right? It has always been the case where overtime cigars change. I offer the proper conditions to my cigars, therefore making them a joy to smoke whenever you feel like it.
The time came when I felt it right to do some investigation into the appropriate environment for a cigar to age sufficiently enough for me to feel satisfied with my work. I wanted to feel at least a little bit knowledgeable on the topic so that I had some sort of background idea. To my disappointment, none of the information that I was viewing felt up to my standards. From what I was reading, I was unsuccessful in finding what I thought was accurate information surrounding the topic. The sources I was looking at sadly didn’t seem trustworthy somehow.
A Voyage To Discover What Makes The Best Humidor
Nevertheless, I continued my research, but this time, I focused on finding out what makes the best humidor, only to find a small article explaining some textual information – this didn’t come as a surprise to me, though. The material alone was explicit and informative enough. But it wasn’t what I was looking for. I began to get quite frustrated now, as you can imagine, still unclear on what I was supposed to be seeing. I was hoping for some graphics or pictures, but textual types of articles don’t tend to provide any visuals corresponding to the topic. Of course, that didn’t help. Instead of there being a sufficient portfolio of graphics or photos, the writer had decided to upload a random mishmash of photos. Furthermore, there wasn’t a simple text box explaining what I was supposed to be observing.
The issues that I was witnessing gave rise to my idea of expressing my thoughts and opinions on the matter. The whole photo mishmash also made it clear that I needed to do something about it.
I started taking photos, as well. This was for illustrative purposes. My family were informed and advocating me to make this sort of catalogue of thoughts available to the public. Out of utter frustration, I managed to collect enough data and resources. This entire process of courage, support and enthusiasm for cigars led to my website: Stogie Fresh. For those who don’t know this, Stogie Fresh is completely dedicated to the art skills needed to preserving a cigars beauty and freshness. Still to this day, I have a goal drilled into my mindset advocating the appropriate ageing of cigars. Every last drop of analysis and data I could find about cigars and humidors has driven me to my newly discovered adoration for Stogie Fresh!
Experimentation and Perseverance With Humidors
When it comes to servicing humidors, the key things you should always double-check are the temperatures of the humidity and recharging the humidifiers; or replacing them. Since I have numerous humidors scattered around my home, the servicing process is extremely engaging and time-consuming. Sometimes my mind wanders though. One afternoon, I became lost in thought. I was thinking about The cost of all of my humidors I’ve come to acquire over time.
Occasionally I end up purchasing average to pretty low-quality humidors. But for the most part, the majority of my humidors are exceptional in performance and style. I considered the diversity of them, taking into account the big ones, small ones, portable/convenient and of course travel-easy humidors. In all honesty, if you want to a reliable, hardworking humidor, you may need to spend a substantial amount of coin, time and effort. Even to keep them in supreme order seems a lot of money and is in a way if you know where to look for them.
May I just say this, if you are more than happy to spend a plenty sum of money on cigars then make sure they have a safe, friendly environment to live in. My advice – and you may come across this along the way which is fine – is not to get carried away with purchasing some cigars and abandon the investment. The investment if more important than relying upon your cigars to a substandard humidor. In other words, don’t end up wasting valuable money on cheap humidors.
Trust me – I learn’t the hard way. I’ve purchased a few too many humidors that were wholly based on looks compared to ugly but efficient humidors. I once bought a stylish striped humidor with a fabulous material and later in the week found out it provided an unsatisfactory environment for some of my cigars. It was sadly in the bin for that one. The few humidors that were displeasing I now home my keys and wallet too. I must say, the striped humidor box I found a while ago definitely suites my wallet this time of year! You will always be able to find other use for the bad ones. Three years became five, eventually resulting in a decade of experimenting, and I have finally learnt some valid lessons when it comes to buying decent humidors.
How to Create a Reliable and Satisfactory Humidor?
You want your cigars to have longevity and remain healthy. Therefore, I always explain to my readers that there are three essential points to look out for to determine the health of your cigar collection. I always advise the perfect humidity would be between 65% and 71% relative humidity, and my ideal temperature would be 65 and 71% Fahrenheit. Basically, those two numbers are what you should keep in mind. If I were you, I would set your preferred mark between those ranges. You don’t want any small variation that ends up altering your desired field.
Remember, many of my customers don’t give enough commendation for their cigars. They are, in fact, more durable than you may think! Another great reason you should buy good – quality humidors in the first place is so that any fluctuations in humidity or temperature they can stand for. Usually, small dips in temperature won’t affect the cigars or cause any problems. However, this brings me to another critical point, and that is stability. The undeniable fact is, the more stable the temperature and humidity, the better the surroundings will be for the cigars. Inevitably, they last longer, and that is what we’re looking for here. We don’t want any unprecedented changes that result in damage to your cigars.
What to watch out for in a Humidor
An essential commodity to look out for is the general thickness of the walls of the humidor. Okay humidors will tend to have thickness up to 1/2 – inch. What you want if the thickness of about3/4 – inch. It will inevitably be more money, but for the better. More insulation is provided if the walls are thicker, which furthermore, offers better protection. The thickness of the walls is equal on all sides of the humidor. A great source of insulation has turned out to be granite. I purchased 3/4-inch desktop humidor a couple of years back that has a superb thick granite bottom.
The next thing to look for is the quality of the material used. A great one is a Spanish Cedar (otherwise called Mahogany). It’s quite a unique wood that offers specific properties making it a perfect humidor material. It firstly provides a secondary insulation layer, it changes the humidity inside the humidor due to its smart porous properties and thirdly it gives out a delicious earthly aroma that I find creates an appealing look, interior-wise. If you purchase a Spanish cedar humidor, firstly, your home will smell delightful and secondly, the wood provides the ability to absorb and desorb moisture. I must say, that is clever! All in all, the thicker the wood, the better insulated and protected your cigars will be.
Glass and Ultraviolet Light
Note to self – avoid glass humidors. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of a desktop humidor or cabinet humidor, glass just is not an adequate choice. Like I mentioned earlier, it looks cool, but you will regret it when I say that wood is better at insulating than glass – fact! Looks aren’t everything. If I could reverse time to when I ordered a glass cabinet humidor I would reverse the entire payment process. It came with glass doors and a glass top. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Nowadays it would have been ordered with no glass end of.
Ultraviolet light is the other downside to glass humidors. Ultraviolet light is pretty harmful to cigars and eventually speeds up the ageing process – very damaging. Direct sunlight does, of course, releases UV light but so does fluorescent lights and bulbs. Any sort of high watt incandescent light placed near glass humidors is an absolute no-no. UV further damages cigars by stimulating oxidation.
My favourite humidor of all time – that still to this day works – is one of my Spanish cedar humidors. I mean solid brass hinges and 3/4 inch wood thickness. Rock-solid hinges will also offer a balanced alignment, and a thick base and top give stability you will be looking for. Once again, longevity is critical. The health of your cigars will always rely on the hardware and how well made your humidor is. If possible, a heavy lid to your humidor is more than welcome because it allows the weight to withstand as many repeated opening and closings over its lifetime.
Summing It All Up
So, what is an excellent humidor? Well, I hope the advice and life stories I have provided offer sufficient information. My belief still stands that a humidor isn’t just a box that stands on your fireplace. The internal environment must be a state of the art luxury so that those cigars of yours won’t collect dust and instead make you reach in for one.
Purchasing humidors and cigars require utter devotion and dedication. The temperature and humidity must be on point – remember those numbers 68 and 71! It will be a time-consuming load of fun. It will look supreme on any fireplace to which the customer owes the pleasure of placing it there, enhancing your decorating skills. Oh and don’t forget if you purchase a bad one use it to store your keys and wallet.
It’s something you want that needs handing down over generations. And most importantly, it’s what keeps our precious cigars a joy to smoke whatever the day, whenever the time, wherever the place.