One of the most popular questions received by the Cigar Cutter Expert team is, “What is a Cigar Humidor?”. As a new or experienced cigar smoker, you enjoy smoking a good cigar of wonderful aromas and flavours. You likely 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 article is about the humble cigar humidor and why we all need one. We share in detail about this wonder device, we call the cigar aficionado’s ‘best friend’!
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
We all 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 flavour because of the insufficient or excess humidity. In general, cigars should be kept at 68-70% humidity to retain freshness and a cigar humidor helps maintain this level. This level of humidity also protects cigars from tobacco beetles, mould and bacteria forming. In fact, good cigar humidor not only keeps your precious cigars fresh, but also enhances their fragrance.
What are Cigar Humidors made from?
The most commonly used material for making cigar humidors is Spanish Cedar wood. There are many reasons for this.
Cigar Humidors made from Spanish Cedar Wood
Spanish Cedar has a very nice and appealing aroma. It helps keep and even enhance the aroma and flavour of 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 hatch keeping your cigars safe. Furthermore, your cigars can be aged beautifully using a good humidor.
There are numerous, different models and makes of cigar humidors. They come in many sizes (holding capacity of cigars) and budgets, from poor to exceptional quality. There are of course many high-priced cigar humidors as well, and it all depends upon your preference and budget, as to which one you should buy. Take care however and do your research, as not all cigar humidors are made of Spanish Cedar.
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. In our opinion, the wonderful natural aroma of the Spanish Cedar is missing.
Seasoning your Cigar Humidor with Distilled Water
When you first buy a cigar humidor you need to season the box’s cedar wood interior. The same rule applies if you have not used your humidor for quite a while. Seasoning ensures moisture is absorbed by the unseasoned wood, which helps to contain the internal humidity level at 68-72% – so your stored cigars won’t dry out. Seasoning is done by dampening a clean cloth with distilled water or using a pre-moistened (distilled water) wipe to rub inside the humidor, all over its cedar walls and crevices for it to absorb.
5 Steps involved:
- Before storing your cigars (or remove all 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. Tap water comprises of 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. Due to the porous nature of the interior of a humidor, these bacteria and germs can easily grow and spread inside a humidor. Some manufactures recommend 50/50 solution of high-grade propylene glycol and pure distilled water, to first prepare a brand new cigar humidor. This helps to automatically stabilise the humidity within the humidor – at an optimal level – and also prevents the formation of mould and bacteria forming. Distilled water on its own after this first activation is perfectly fine.
Keep your Cigar Humidor away from Direct Sunlight & Heat
Please ensure that your humidor is never exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight will increase the temperature inside the humidor, which will help tobacco beetle eggs to hatch. In addition, the internal temperature of your cigar humidor should always be kept under 25 degrees centigrade along with 68-72% of humidity in order to achieve optimum performance.
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 room 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 meticulously research before you make a decision. There are numerous products in the market. The better-informed you are about different types of humidors, holding capacity and materials used, will result in finding the right product for your purposes and budget.
Best of luck in finding your ideal cigar humidor!