Humidor Advice

What is a Cigar Humidor?

What is a Cigar Humidor

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. Close lid and wait for 24 hours for deep absorption to take place;
  4. Place all items – not cigars – back into the humidor and close for another 24 hours; and then
  5. 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.

Conclusion

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!

Read more…

10 of the Best Cigar Humidors Rated

How to Keep Cigars Fresh

How to Keep Cigars Fresh

How to Keep Cigars Fresh – What Cigar Aficionados Know

‘How to Keep Cigars Fresh’ is critical know-how of any cigar enthusiast or aficionado, considering the cost and intangible value of a premium cigar.

The freshest cigars reward us with the most natural aromas and flavours, delivering the best smoking experience. How so? Cigars are made of premium tobacco leaves, they need a specific humidity level to stay fresh. Ideally this humidity level should remain between 68% and 72%. Along with the ideal humidity level, the temperature of where cigars are kept must not rise beyond 25 degrees centigrade.

OK so there are a few methods available in keeping your cigars fresh. The most effective of these is using a cigar humidor. But let’s explore all alternative methods.

How to Keep Cigars Fresh using a Cigar Humidor

At Cigar Cutter Expert we strongly encourage you to invest in one of the best cigar humidors, in order to keep your cigars super fresh. Cigar humidors do not cost much these days and perform the most effective job of not only keeping your cigars fresh, but also enhancing their aroma and taste (flavour). This is what makes it the first choice for storage, as recommended by cigar makers and aficionados, worldwide.

Cigar humidors have been around for over a hundred years. Starting out as a wooden box with a hinge, humidors have evolved into more sophisticated devices. Some are created as works of art and used as a decorative item in homes and offices. Today, cigar humidors are comprised of three components: humidor cabinet (box), humidifier and hygrometer.

How to Keep Cigars Fresh without a Cigar Humidor

As a short term solution, there are a few ways to keep cigars fresh without a cigar humidor – especially if on holiday or travelling.

Let’s start with disposable, zip-lock bags. These disposable bags can be used to keep your valuable cigars safe and fresh. They come with a zip lock that helps in sealing the bags after you put your cigars in them. Do not forget to place a damp napkin (distilled water) inside before you seal the bags.

Then there’s the jar method. Find an empty clean jar and fill it about a quarter way with distilled water and then put some sponge in it, to soak it up. Cover the sponge with a piece of plastic and then put your cigars in the jar, ensuring there is no water contact. You can now place the jar in a refrigerator and keep your cigars fresh for up to 10 days.

Apart from these methods, you can use a mason jar with moisture beads to keep your cigars fresh. Just fill the mason jar with some distilled water and moisture beads and you have your own homemade humidor to store your cigars for a few days, at least.

As we mentioned earlier, cigar makers and aficionados strongly recommend the use of a cigar humidor, as the best way of keeping your cigars fresh. Created specifically to provide your cigars with the optimal humidity level and temperature, a cigar humidor ensures quality and consistency by retaining their freshness and aroma.

Best Cigar Protection Advice

By far, humidification is the best way of keeping your cigars safe and fresh. Cigar humidors were invented exactly for this purpose. You can actually keep your cigars fresh using a good humidor for many years. You just have to make sure that the environment in which the cigars are kept is properly controlled. Humidors not only keep the cigars fresh, but also protect them from tobacco beetles and bacteria.

Cigar Humidor Set-up & Maintenance

With a cigar humidor, you can store you cigars indefinitely and safely. You just have to keep adding/maintaining the maximum distilled water level of your humidor’s humidifier. We cannot overemphasise the importance of using only distilled water in a cigar humidor. Please do not use tap water as it contains bacteria and other contaminants that can form mould in the humidor and ruin the flavour of your cigars.

Check Your Humidor Once Per Week

You are encouraged to check the humidor once every week in order to make sure that no mould is forming inside it and to top it up with distilled water, if necessary. If you do see any mould in the humidor, you should remove all the cigars and clean it before you start using it again. Humidors can also be used to age the cigars.

Cigar Humidor Humidifier and Hygrometer: What are these?

There are a variety of cigar humidors available today. They widely range in pricing and size (based on cigar holding capacity). When you buy a cigar humidor, you should first activate the humidifier and the hygrometer – usually included with the box. It is important that you do not place any cigars inside a humidor, before completing these important steps.

The hygrometer looks like a stopwatch or timer (see image above), but in fact, is used for measuring humidity inside the humidor. Cigars are kept at the optimum level of between 68–72% humidity, to retain their freshness. There are 2 types of hygrometers: digital and analog. Digital hygrometers are more reliable and preferred over analog ones.

The humidifier is often rectangular (but can be other shapes as well) and looks like a grill. A humidifier needs to first absorb the maximum possible amount of distilled water, before it can be placed inside the humidor and the lid closed.

One or two days later, read the hygrometer inside the humidor to gauge the humidity level, which should be at 68-72% humidity. You can start storing your cigars by placing them inside in layers – avoiding packing them in tight. Your cigars will keep fresh for a long time. Be sure to check your cigars and hygrometer reading at least once weekly.

Conclusion

If you have bought a few cigars and you do not want to invest in a humidor yet, you can just use plastic containers or zip lock bags for storing them and keeping them fresh for a few days.

However, you should know that they will likely lose their freshness; and possibly intensity of aromas and flavours, if you keep them stored this way for days. Therefore, if you plan on keeping your cigars for longer and even building a collection, buying one of the best cigar humidors is an excellent idea. And the best part is, a good cigar humidor can be purchased for less than $99.

Let us know if this article was helpful in guiding you on how to keep cigars fresh. Happy puffing!