Humidors. Every cigar smoker, whether seasoned aficionado or new to the pleasure of stogies, understands they are a worthwhile investment. But why? What exactly is the purpose of the humidor? What kind do you need? Do you need more than one? Here we provide a brief summary of humidors, what they do and why you should have at least one.
A humidor is a sealed storage container system designed to keep the internal air at the ideal temperature and humidity level. Temperature and humidity are critical to the cigar smoking experience. Tobacco leaves respond to their environment; Moisture causes swelling and dampens the cigars while dry environments cause them to dry out, shrivel up and render your prize stogies impossible to enjoy. Cigars stored in extremely humid conditions develop mold, rot and may bring an infestation of the tobacco beetle, destroying your entire collection.
Although early cigar smokers did the best they could by keeping their collection “safe” in jars or sealed boxes, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the modern humidor was introduced. Today, in order to protect and preserve anywhere from a few to a few hundred premium cigars you need to keep them in a highly controlled and controllable environment; the humidor.
As we said, the proper humidity and temperature are necessary to preserve the integrity of your cigars. Enter the hygrometer and thermostat.
Cigars are best kept anywhere between 60° and 72° Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, most desktop humidors do not provide a way to control the temperature inside a humidor. You must place the humidor inside a room or environment where the room temperature is 60° and 72° Fahrenheit. However, electronic humidors do have temperature controls to allow you to adjust the inside environment as indicated by the reading on the thermostat.
A hygrometer is necessary for measuring the humidity level inside your humidor. Your hygrometer allows you to recognize just when you need to add moisture or absorb some of the moisture out to maintain your cigars’ integrity.
The ideal level of humidity is between 65-72%. However, the sweet spot is between 68-70%. When cigars are kept at humidity levels above or below 68-70%, the cigars may burn too hot or too cool. It really comes down to experimenting with what provides the best flavor experience for you personally. There are several ways to introduce moisture into your humidor or withdraw it to maintain proper levels.
Foam is the most popular humidification method. Almost all humidors you buy that include a humidification system, will be made of foam. Foam is popular because it absorbs the distilled water you pour over it and then releases the water as humidity over time. You do need to refill these about once or twice a month with distilled water.
Humidipaks are the most convenient and hassle-free. The packs add or withdraw humidity from the humidor as necessary to maintain your ideal level, but the packs need replacement every few months. They do not require refilling with water and the packs can sit alongside your cigars or in a holder.
Crystal gel is another method that’s popular for the convenience but you will need to check the hygrometer often as they lose their vigor after about a year.
Silica beads are excellent for absorbing moisture if you live in the deep south or areas of high humidity. Don’t rely on silica beads in areas of low humidity.
Electronic humidifiers are highly reliable and work much like the larger home humidifiers. Simply fill the humidifier with distilled water and when your humidor’s humidity is not at desired level the humidifier senses it and adds moisture as needed.
Traditionally Spanish cedar is used on the interior of a humidor. This specific wood is used to line the walls of the humidor and also to make the drawers and shelves inside your humidor. Just like a cedar closet or keepsake chest the preserving properties of Spanish cedar are excellent. Cedar helps to maintain proper humidity and keeps destructive pests away from your humidor. Some cigar aficionados prefer storing their stogies sans wrappers to allow the cedar scent and flavor to be absorbed.
That being said, woods such as Mahogany and Okoume are becoming popular inside humidors. One reason for using these type of woods is that they do not impart any scent, and they have all the same properties as Spanish cedar.
There is a rule of thumb that advises a humidor that holds more cigars that you think you’ll keep on hand. Ten cigars? Get a humidor with capacity for 25. Also be mindful of your preferred ring gauge as this determines how many cigars your humidor will hold.
Whether you travel to the golf course every week or make several trips per year you will benefit from a travel humidor. No matter where you’ll be enjoying your favorite cigar, a travel humidor keeps it in tip-top smoking condition.
Beyond your basic humidor needs, choosing a humidor is a personal thing. Your humidor reflects your style, from bold to traditional and everything in between. A humidor is also a beautiful heirloom to leave future generations so if that’s your style plan to invest wisely. Take a look at the full line of humidors and accessories Northwoods has to offer. You’re sure to find the perfect humidor for your collection.