What is a Cigar Humidor?
Many cigar smokers often ask “What is a Cigar Humidor?” and in this article we provide answers about this wonder device, we call the ‘cigar smoker’s best friend’!
As a cigar smoker you likely store your cigars in and around the house, at your club or in your workplace, and appreciate the importance in keeping them fresh, to maintain their aroma and flavours. You also know first-hand or have heard from friends about the occasional poor cigar smoking experience, due to a dried out, mouldy or stale cigar. This is a story about the humble cigar humidor and why every cigar smoker needs one.
What is a Cigar Humidor and Why do I need one ?
A cigar humidor is a box-shaped device that maintains a certain level of humidity to store tobacco products such as cigars. They have been around for 100 years now and come in different shapes and sizes. They started as a simple wooden box with a hinge and have evolved into works of art. Some are decorative and come with different additional features which include, but are not limited to:
- Magnetic humidifier;
- Removable Spanish cedar wood divider;
- Digital or analog hygrometer;
- Velcro tape and tempered glass top; and
- Locks and clasps
As a cigar aficionado or beginner, you know how expensive a box of cigars can be and the need to preserve their freshness, for maximum pleasure. With such an investment, you do not want them to lose their aroma and flavours because of insufficient or excessive humidity.
In general, cigars should be kept at a humidity level of 68–70% to preserve their freshness, and a cigar humidor helps maintain this level. At this level of humidity, cigars are also protected from dreaded tobacco beetles, mould and bacteria forming. In fact, a good cigar humidor not only keeps your precious cigars fresh, but also enhances their aroma.
What are Cigar Humidors made from?
If you do your research on cigar humidors, you will know that the most commonly used material for making some of the best cigar humidors is Spanish Cedar wood. There are many reasons for this.
Cigar Humidors made from Spanish Cedar Wood
This wood has a very good aroma. Spanish wood helps keep and even enhance the aroma and flavor of your cigars. It is also responsible for repelling bugs and insects.
The Spanish Cedar does not absorb heat and keeps the cigars cool. This is why the eggs of the insects cannot get hatched and your treasure remains safe. Your cigars can be aged beautifully using a good humidor.
Nowadays, market is rife with different models and makes of cigar humidors. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchase for as low as $25 (although we do not necessarily recommend these low priced products as they often have quality issues). There are a lot of high-priced cigar humidors in the market as well, and it all depends upon your preference and budget, as to which one you want to buy. You should be aware that not all cigar humidors are made of Spanish Cedar — especially some very low priced humidors, which is not ideal.
Cigar Humidors made from High-Quality Plastic
There are also cigar humidors that are made of high-quality plastic. A lot of these cigar humidors are equipped with porous foam in order to keep the humidity in check. You may also come across cigar humidors that use cigar beads to make sure that the cigar can be maintained with around 70% humidity for a long period of time.
Seasoning your Cigar Humidor with Distilled Water
You need to keep in mind that you would have to season your humidor when you first buy it. The same rule applies if you have not used your humidor for a while. This is to ensure moisture is absorbed by the unseasoned wood so it adds to the humidity level of 70% and your cigars stored do not dry out. Seasoning is done by dampening a clean cloth with distilled water or using a pre-moistened wipe (sold at cigar shops or online) to rub inside the humidor all over the cedar walls and crevices for absorption.
Five Steps involved:
- Before storing your cigars (or remove them if already stored), remove all dividers, the humidifier and hygrometer and anything else leaving the humidor completely empty;
- Rub into all the cedar walls and crevices, distilled water using a damp clean cloth/sponge or pre-moistened distilled water wipe (do not pour distilled water directly into the humidor or saturate it, as you may damage it);
- Close lid and wait for 24 hours for deep absorption to take place;
- Place all items — not cigars — back into the humidor and close for another 24 hours; and then
- Make sure your hygrometer shows a humidity reading of 68–72% (depending on your climate) and now you can proceed with storing your cigars.
Why Distilled Water is only used in a Cigar Humidor
You should never use tap water in a cigar humidor or humidifier. The reason for this is that the tap water comprises many germs, bacteria, etc. We all drink tap water all the time and it is fine because we have body immunity to fight off those contaminants.
However, these contaminants are nasty for your humidor. Because of the porous nature of humidor, these bacteria and germs can easily go into you humidor and start to grow exponentially.
A lot of manufactures of cigar humidors recommend 50/50 solution of high-grade propylene glycol and pure distilled water to first prepare a brand new cigar humidor. This helps the humidor automatically stabilise the humidity at an optimal level and also effectively prevents the formation of molds and bacteria in your humidor. Distilled water on its own after this first activation is perfectly fine.
Keep your Cigar Humidor away from Direct Sunlight & Heat
You also have to make sure that your humidor is never exposed to direct sunlight. The reason for this is that sunlight will increase the temperature inside the humidor, which, in turn, will allow the hatching of the eggs of the tobacco beetles. You should also know that the internal temperature of the humidor should always be kept under 25 degrees centigrade along with 68-72% humidity in order to get ideal performance from the humidor.
The Best Cigar Humidors, not only protect your cigars and keep them fresh, but also add a touch of style to the ambience of the place where they are kept. They make for beautiful and elegant showpieces.
If you are thinking of buying a great cigar humidor, then we encourage you to devote some time and effort, to meticulously research before you make a decision. This is because there are numerous products in the market. The better-informed you are about different types of humidors, you can make a good decision and buy the right product for your purposes and budget.
Good luck in your hunt for the best cigar humidor that meets your needs.