How to Set Up and Use a Cigar Humidor?

How to Set Up and Use a Cigar Humidor?

So, you’ve just got your first cigar humidor from Northwoods Humidors and you can’t wait to place your high-end cigars inside. Before you do that though, take a step back, put the cigars down, and read this guide! 

Cigar humidors require special attention and have to be prepared before use including seasoning to re-humidify the unit. If you immediately open a new cigar humidor and store your cigars inside without this initial setup, you risk ruining them and that would be an immense waste. 

To help you get the most from your humidor and make sure your cigars retain their flavor, I have compiled a guide on how to use a humidor below - enjoy!

Understanding the Cigar Humidor

You may be wondering why you can’t simply place your cigars into your humidor as soon as you get them. Simply put, when you receive your humidor, it hasn’t been set, and it won’t have the ideal humidity or temperature to keep your cigars in mint condition. 

Therefore, if you act impulsively without understanding how to use a humidor, you risk damaging your cigars and causing them to dry out! Humidors contain a humidifier and hygrometer, and both of these must be set up first in order to replicate the same climate conditions that cigar tobacco leaves grew in!

Setting Up Your Cigar Humidor

The exact mechanics of how to use a humidor will vary slightly depending on the model you choose as different models have different humidifiers and hygrometers. However, the underlying process remains the same and I have detailed it in four simple steps.

Step 1 - Charging the Humidifier

Steps 1 & 2 two in tandem but before you can season your humidor you must charge the humidifier so it works. Charging a humidifier doesn’t mean using an electrical current, it simply means adding a solution so it can work its magic. First, take the humidifier out of the humidor. Next, squirt a solution of water and propylene glycol into the humidifier (typically through the patterned grate). 

It’s important not to overfill the humidifier as this can impact its utility - it should be merely wet but not drenched. Also, make sure that any spilled liquid is wiped away to prevent potential damage to the interior wood of the humidor. Your humidifier is now charged and you can replace it in the humidor.

Step 2 - Seasoning the Humidor

Now you can finish seasoning the humidor. By seasoning, you are not adding a little rosemary, salt, and pepper, but instead setting up the humidifier and hygrometer, and giving the humidor what it needs to start altering the humidity to eventually achieve that desired level of 65-70%. 

First, fill either a shot glass or a small cup with water or a humidification solution inside the bottom of the humidor (don’t pour it! Literally just place the cup or glass upright in the humidor so it stands!). Next, place your charged humidifier back inside the humidor and also place the hygrometer inside. A  high end cigar humidor should hopefully have the hygrometer pre-calibrated. 

Finally, close the lid. It’s now a waiting game and you should periodically check the hygrometer until it reaches the 65-70% humidity range. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 15 days depending on the humidity of your home, and the size of the humidor.

Step 3 - Cigar Placement Inside the Humidor

Once the ideal humidity is reached, you can now place your cigars inside! The cigars can touch, and they are typically laid in rows, and stacked on top of each other. Once the cigars are inside, keep the lid closed and only open it when you want to smoke a cigar, to turn them, or to check the humidity levels. Flavored cigars should ideally be kept separately from non-flavored as if you keep them in the same high-end cigar humidor, the flavors can transfer to your non-flavored cigars and ruin them. 

Also, consider that if you keep different brands of cigars unwrapped in the same humidor, they can take on each other's flavors. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and many cigar aficionados love to do this to experiment and see what different flavors they can create!

Step 4 - Humidor Storage and Cigar Maintenance

Periodically you will need to top-up your humidifier with an additional solution to maintain the humidity. Also, humidor storage is important and you should strive to keep it in an area that has a temperature not exceeding 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

You should never store anything else except cigars in a humidor, and it shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight either. The cigars should be rotated on a bi-weekly basis too as this helps keep the humidity circulated and stops one row of cigars from becoming dry or oversaturated. 

To keep your humidor looking fresh and to preserve the wood, you should dust and polish it regularly too. Only use a soft cloth for cleaning, but polish or something like  beeswax will help keep the wood looking immaculate (don’t polish the interior).

Step 5 - Smoke those stogies!

Once you have learned how to use a humidor, have set up your device properly, and the correct humidity has been achieved, you can get to the good part! Your cigars can be enjoyed at your leisure - make sure you savor the flavors and make the most of each stogie!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you supposed to put water on a humidor?

No. Many people incorrectly believe that you should wipe the interior of a humidor with water to help re-humidify it. However, this can damage the wood. Instead, water should only ever be placed inside something like a cup or shot glass inside a humidor.

Can cigars touch in the humidor?

Yes! Cigars are typically stored inside a humidor in rows and stacked on top of each other either with or without their wrapping. Just note that with the cigars touching, they can share flavors so if you have different flavored cigars in your humidor, having them touch could affect how they are intended to smoke.

Should I unwrap my cigars in my humidor?

This is a personal preference. Some people exclusively keep their cigars wrapped inside humidors, while others prefer to keep them unwrapped. Unwrapped cigars inside a humidor have the chance to take on flavors though whereas wrapped will keep their original flavor better.

12th Oct 2023 Kevin Kauzlaric

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