Sep 22nd, 2023
For those who have a passion for cigars, understanding the nuances of proper cigar care can be a journey. Many enthusiasts may not know the ins and outs of proper cigar care. The secret to preserving your cherished cigars' rich flavors and quality lies in a humble yet crucial tool: the cigar humidor. This article aims to shed light on every aspect, addressing the most common questions about cigar humidors. But first, what is a cigar humidor?
A cigar humidor is a purpose-built container that precisely regulates temperature and humidity levels, ensuring the optimal environment for storing cigars. Maintaining a temperature of 68-72°F and humidity of 65-72% prevents the drying out of cigar leaves, thus preserving their flavor and extending their lifespan. Humidors can accommodate 25-200 cigars, ensuring freshness and optimal conditions.
Whether you travel with your cigars or just buy them in bulk, the answer is absolutely. A humidor is more than just a box to keep cigars. It's like a loyal guardian that keeps your cigars fresh and flavorful. Now, you may ask, "What are the benefits of a cigar humidor?" Consider it an investment. Without a humidor, cigars are left vulnerable to the unforgiving grip of dryness. This can result in a noticeable loss of flavor, ultimately compromising your smoking experience.
Several factors influence the longevity of a cigar in a humidor. Under optimal conditions, cigars can endure for an extended period. However, this duration varies depending on the type of cigar, its initial condition, and the humidity levels maintained. For instance, a properly maintained humidor can preserve a premium cigar's freshness and smokeability for up to five years or more. Also, it's essential to regularly inspect and rotate your cigars to ensure they age uniformly.
The ideal humidity level for a cigar humidor typically falls between 65% and 72%, creating an ideal environment for cigars to age gracefully and enhance their flavor profiles. In terms of temperature, a stable environment of 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Straying too far from this range can result in issues like uneven burning, unpleasant tastes, and even the potential growth of mold. A foolproof method to preserve your cigar is to adhere to the 70/70 cigar humidor rule — maintaining a stable environment of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and around 70% relative humidity. Electric humidors come with a hygrometer, but if yours doesn't have one, investing in a hygrometer, a device that measures humidity levels, is advised.
To season a humidor effectively, follow these steps:
A calibrated Hygrometer ensures your humidor functions correctly. It measures the internal humidity level, providing vital information for proper cigar storage. This process takes 6 to 8 hours.
Remove the humidification unit from the box and place it in a dish. Fill it with a 50/50 solution (propylene glycol solution). Ensure the unit is thoroughly saturated. As an alternative to the propylene glycol solution, distilled water (avoid using tap water, as it may contain impurities that can damage your cigars) can be used for a crystal-based humidifier. Shake off the excess solution before placing it back in the humidor.
Soak a sponge in cold distilled water, leaving it slightly damp. Place a plastic Ziploc bag inside the humidor and set the sponge on it, ensuring it doesn't touch the wood directly. Close the lid and leave for at least 3 to 5 days, allowing the interior to gradually reach the desired humidity level. During this period, place your newly calibrated hygrometer inside the humidor. Note: If time is a constraint, you can expedite the process by wiping down the box's interior with a clean sponge dampened with distilled water.
Place the previously calibrated Hygrometer back in, and after 3 to 5 days, it’s time to start monitoring relative humidity levels. Ideally, the Hygrometer should read 75% to 80% RH. This slightly higher initial humidity accounts for the cigars absorbing moisture.
Now your humidor is ready for your cigars. Fill at least half of the box's capacity and maintain it at least half full for consistent conditions. Leave about 20% of the interior space vacant for optimal air and humidity circulation.
Although possible, storing cigars in their plastic wrappers is not the ideal method for long-term preservation. Unlike a humidor, plastic lacks precise humidity control. Cigars in plastic may retain quality for a few weeks, but their flavor and overall quality will likely deteriorate beyond that. For extended preservation, opting for a humidor is the smart choice.
Even with careful storage, cigars can sometimes become dehydrated, resulting in a harsh smoking experience. Fortunately, there are effective rehydration techniques available. To rejuvenate a dehydrated cigar, it's essential to proceed with caution. Sudden exposure to high humidity, like placing them in a 75% humidified environm
ent, can lead to cracking or bursting. Instead, a gradual approach is recommended.
One reliable method involves using Boveda packs. Placing dry cigars in a Tupperware box or Ziploc bag along with a 62% humidity Boveda pack initiates a slow and controlled rehydration process, bringing the cigars back to their desired humidity level. To further enhance humidity levels, replacing the Boveda pack every two weeks with slightly higher humidity options, starting with 65% and progressing to 69%, can effectively address persistently dry cigars.
These packs offer consistent humidity control, gradually releasing moisture without constant monitoring, ensuring an uncomplicated path to achieving optimal cigar humidity. Notably, they also prevent the risk of over-humidification by strictly adhering to the specified humidity level indicated on the packaging. Additionally, if your humidor was the cause of the initial humidity problem, it may be necessary to re-season it.
Whether or not to remove the cellophane wrapper on your cigar depends on your preferences and storage goals. Keeping the cellophane wrapper provides an extra layer of protection, while removing it allows for direct contact with the humidor's cedar lining, enhancing its response to humidification. Removing the cellophane can facilitate the aging process if you plan to age your cigars for an extended period. However, for short-term storage, it's mostly a matter of personal choice.
Electric humidors represent a modern leap forward in cigar storage. While traditional humidors rely on basic elements such as wood, humidification, and a seal, electric humidors incorporate advanced features like digital hygrometers and thermoelectric cooling systems. This enables them to effortlessly uphold the ideal conditions for storing cigars. When humidity levels drop, electric humidors use their hygrometer to detect this and release moisture into the air. It is advisable to regularly check the hygrometer every one to two weeks to ensure optimal humidity levels inside the humidor. Electric humidors streamline temperature and humidity control, offering a precise and automated system.
With a number of options ranging in price and quality, you will have no problem finding the right humidor for you to help your cigars reach their full potential. We offer two options directly on our website:
Whichever end of the spectrum is right for you, remember that a humidor is more than just a way to show off your cigars and cigar knowledge, it is an investment that will pay dividends in the flavors and quality of your smoking experience.