Whether you’ve been smoking cigars for years or your passion is a recent one, or you’re looking for a gift for that special someone, a humidor is just what you need to keep your favorite stogies in prime condition.
Like many of the accoutrement of cigar smoking prices run the gamut, as does quality. You can get a poorly made humidor that’s essentially no more than a box with no guarantee of keeping your stogies protected from the environment quite inexpensively. You can purchase a suitable, mid-priced model that will do the job. If it's in your budget you can go high end for a piece of heirloom-quality art that’s as much showpiece as it is excellent humidor.
So how do you know the difference and what is it that makes a quality humidor? What are some signs of a poorly made humidor? Quality humidors are priced from around $100.00 all the way to several thousand dollars. As with any investment, making sure you get the highest quality in your humidor budget takes a bit of time and research. Great news! We’ve streamlined the task for you. Here we explain the purpose of a humidor and how you can distinguish a quality humidor from a poor one.
A Humidor Protects Your Investment
Humidors are much more than just a place to store your cigars so they’re nearby and ready to enjoy. The purpose of a humidor, as you may already know, is to keep your cigars fresh. Tobacco is meant to provide enjoyment and the smoking of a premium cigar is a truly pleasurable endeavor. All of that can be ruined by careless cigar storage.
In order to preserve the flavor the cigar creator intended it’s necessary to store your collection in a re-creation of its native environment. The key to keeping your collection of premium cigars as flavorful and gratifying as the day you got them is controlling the humidity and temperature of the environment in which they’re kept.
A humidor gives you that control by allowing you to monitor the temperature and humidity with devices called, respectively, thermometer and hygrometer. You’ll know if your cigars are in the correct environment and you can take steps to change it if they are not. When the temperature and humidity are exactly right, the seal on your humidor locks in the freshness and protects your collection from the outside environment.
70° is the optimum temperature to ensure your collection is fresh. A regulated temperature is necessary to prevent rotting or shocking the tobacco components of your cigar. High temperatures cause rotting and encourage the growth of cigar beetles, especially if the humidity is high. If your cigars are stored above 77° and higher than 75% humidity cigar beetle eggs can hatch and destroy an entire collection, which can be a very costly loss.
A low temperature directly affects the wrapper of your cigar. The shock to your cigar of cold temperatures and hot flame creates a contraction in the wrapper and the wrapper will break. If your cigar is stored in a cold and damp environment the humidity triggers cracks in the wrapper.
Experts concur the humidity level in which your cigars are stored should be between 65% and 72%. When a cigar is made it contains 12%-15% moisture content. If the moisture of the tobacco is not maintained the cigar could be ruined.
When your cigar collection is stored in humidity above 72% your cigars absorb moisture. The tobacco leaves become damp and your stogies swell. It’s nearly impossible to draw smoke through a damp cigar. Additionally the humid environment causes moisture within that makes for an uneven burn.
A cigar that is left to dry elements, such as sun and wind, burns fast and hot. The smoke becomes hot and the flavor of your favorite cigar is ruined. If the cigar is allowed to dry out completely the essential oils and flavor of the tobacco disappear.
What to Look For in A Humidor
Now that you understand the importance of protecting your cigar collection by preventing a disruption in their environment, let’s take a look at what you need in a humidor to make that happen.
Most humidors offer a capacity of storing 25, 50, 75 and 100 cigars. Certain humidors can store several hundred cigars, but most passionate cigar smokers don’t need a humidor that size. Humidors that large are often pieces of furniture.
The size of cigars in your collection makes a difference in how many you’re able to store in your humidor. The above-listed capacities are based on the 6 inch/52 ring gauge of a Toro. You’ll want to choose a size that’s larger than you need by about 20%. This allows your perfectly controlled air to circulate.
How to Tell A Quality Humidor
The seal of your humidor is as crucial to the preservation of your collection of premium cigars as temperature and humidity. After all, a loose seal allows the uncontrolled air inside the humidor. Unfortunately, there is no scientific way to measure the seal of a humidor (at least not an affordable way). So given that, here are some less-than-ideal methods that tend to be used to gauge the quality of the seal:
- The Whoosh Test: When you close the humidor you should hear an audible “whoosh” sound. This usually means the seal is good.
- The Dollar Bill Test: Place a dollar bill halfway into the humidor. Shut the humidor. If you can pull your dollar bill out with little to no resistance, the seal may not be good.
Again, these are not scientific methods and you may find that the seal on a humidor is perfectly fine even if it does not meet the above.
The price of your humidor will go up when you opt for built-in accessories like a hygrometer and thermometer. But this will make your life so much easier and maintain a consistent temperature and humidity. And you can check on your cigars’ environment inside your humidor easily. The other option is to purchase a separate hygrometer but a quality humidor will usually have built-in accessories.
Quality Shows From the Inside Out
The interior of your humidor should be considered as this is where your cigars stay fresh. Also the type of materials used to create your humidor have a direct impact on the ability of the humidor to retain moisture. Look for humidors lined with Spanish cedar, Mahogany, or Okoume. These have excellent insulating abilities while minimizing mold growth. The exterior of the humidor can be made from many different types of wood. Most humidors have a veneer on the exterior, overlaid on top of an MDF or mahogany wood. The reason for the popularity of veneer is because it looks great, reduces cost, and there simply is no need for a humidor to be made of one solid block of wood. In fact, if a humidor is made of one solid piece of wood, it is extremely susceptible to warping, which could ruin the seal. Some examples of popular veneer options include Oak, Rosewood, and burl woods. There are also veneers made of rare wood like Macassar Ebony and Bubinga as two examples.
Keeping Your Cigars Separated
Many cigar aficionados and collectors of premium products will select the larger capacity humidor with dividers or separate drawers. Certain cigars are selected for their flavor. Not all types of tobacco taste the same. To ensure your flavors don’t mingle and alter the taste, you can choose a model with divided sections or movable dividers.
Last but certainly not least, your budget will play a role in the quality of your humidor-but maybe not as big a role as you think. Humidors are available in all different price points. It’s not necessary to break the bank in order to get a fine quality humidor, but considering the investment you’ve made in your cigar collection you do want something with excellent internal components. Here are a few of our customers’ favorites.
- Diamond Crown Alexander 40 Count Humidor-St. James Series: Solid, heavy craftsmanship, exotic wood veneer and a classic style that’s both bold and stunningly beautiful.
- Daniel Marshall 30100 Signature Series 100 Cigar Humidor: For four decades Daniel Marshall has been recognized for his superb craftsmanship and has created some of the world’s most prized humidors.
- Elie Bleu Alba 75 Cigar Humidor: Everything about Elie Bleu humidors says luxury. These humidors are exceptional in quality, durability and design. True heirloom quality, and Elie Bleu humidor is passed down for generations.
- Humidor Supreme Old Glory Desktop Humidor: This humidor is quality made and very affordable.
When it comes to humidors Northwoods Humidor is your go-to for quality and customer care. Browse our selection of humidors and you’re sure to find the ideal one that checks all the boxes.