Do you like fine cigars and value the freshness of your collection above all else? If so, then you likely understand just how crucial it is to properly season your humidor.
Seasoning a cigar humidor means preparing the interior to maintain the proper humidity level for storing cigars. When you first purchase a humidor or after a long period of disuse, the wood inside may be too dry. This can cause it to absorb your moisture, resulting in damaged and dry cigars.
Before we talk about the entire process and discuss how to know when humidor is seasoned, it’s important to understand why it’s necessary.
Why Is Seasoning a Humidor Necessary?
Seasoning a humidor is necessary to create the proper environment for storing cigars. By doing so, you ensure that your cigars remain fresh, flavorful, and enjoyable to smoke.
1. It regulates humidity levels inside.
Seasoning a humidor is important for achieving the balance of humidity needed to enhance cigar aroma and flavor. When you add moisture to the wood, it expands and creates an airtight seal, which helps maintain a consistent humidity level inside the humidor.
Humidity regulation in a humidor is essential for storing cigars. If the humidity level is too low, the cigars will dry out and lose flavor. If there’s extra humidity inside, the cigars can become moldy or have other issues.
Once the humidor has been properly seasoned, it should maintain a consistent humidity level. This means regularly checking the humidity level with a hygrometer and adding distilled water or a humidification device as needed to keep the humidity level within the ideal range, typically between 65% and 75% relative humidity.
2. It prevents the formation of mold.
When you properly season your humidor, you saturate the interior with moisture, which allows the Spanish cedar lining to absorb and hold water. This moisture is then released slowly over time to maintain a consistent humidity level that is ideal for preserving your cigars.
Mold thrives in environments that are damp and humid. So, if the humidity level inside your humidor is too high or too low, it can create the perfect conditions for mold to grow.
By properly seasoning your humidor, you ensure that the cedar walls maintain the proper moisture content to keep the humidity level within the optimal range of 65 to 75%. This effectively prevents mold growth and protects your cigars from any potential damage.
3. It enhances the aroma and flavors of cigars.
Seasoning a humidor is essential not only for preventing mold growth but also for enhancing the aroma and flavor of your cigars. When you properly season your humidor, the cedar walls absorb moisture, creating a humid environment that promotes the aging process of your cigars.
As cigars age, they undergo a chemical process called fermentation, where the tobacco leaves break down and release their flavors and aromas. The ideal temperature and perfect humidity range for this process is between 65 and 75%, which is why maintaining proper humidity levels in your humidor is crucial.
When you season your humidor, the cedar walls release aromatic oils that infuse the cigars with a unique and pleasant aroma. This aroma is then transferred to the flavor of the cigars, making them more complex and nuanced.
Additionally, the humid environment helps the cigar tobacco retain its natural oils, which also contributes to its aroma and flavor. Properly seasoned humidors can make cigars smoother, richer, and more enjoyable to smoke.
4. It extends the life of the humidor.
Seasoning a humidor is not only important for preserving the quality of your cigars but also for extending the life of the humidor itself. Here’s how:
- Prevents Cracking
Humidors are typically made of wood, which can crack if exposed to fluctuating levels of humidity. When you properly season a humidor, you introduce additional moisture to the wood and allow it to expand gradually, reducing the risk of cracking.
- Maintains Seal
A well-seasoned humidor can maintain a tight seal, which is crucial for preserving the quality of your cigars. When a humidor is exposed to dry air, the wood can contract, creating gaps in the seal. A properly seasoned humidor maintains the right moisture level, preventing the wood from contracting and ensuring a tight seal.
- Reduces Wear and Tear
Humidors that are not seasoned or maintained properly can wear out quickly. When the interior of a humidor is too dry or too humid, it can cause the wood to warp or become brittle. Seasoning it helps keep the wood healthy and supple, reducing wear and tear over time.
5. It protects the investment you made in your cigars.
With a well-seasoned humidor, you can rest assured that your cigars are stored in the best possible conditions, preserving their quality and value for years to come. Here are a few ways in which it helps:
- Prevents Flavor Contamination
Cigars are known for their complex and nuanced flavors. Any external flavors can ruin the experience.
When you season your humidor, you remove any unwanted flavors or odors that may have been absorbed by the wood. This ensures that your cigars retain their original flavors and aromas.
- Protects Against Pests
Pests like tobacco beetles and mites can infest cigars and ruin them. Seasoning a humidor helps prevent these pests from entering by creating a humid environment that is unfavorable for them to thrive.
- Enhances Aging
Properly seasoning a humidor creates an ideal environment for the aging process, which allows the cigars to develop more complex and nuanced flavors over time. This enhances the overall smoking experience and adds value to your collection.
How To Season a Humidor Using Distilled Water
Seasoning a humidor is a straightforward process that is crucial in preparing it for use to store cigars. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to season a humidor:
Step 1: Gather materials.
You will need distilled water, a clean cloth or sponge, a dish for holding water, and a hygrometer to measure humidity. You might also need a hygrometer calibration kit to ensure your hygrometer can make accurate readings.
Step 2: Clean the humidor.
Before seasoning your humidor, make sure it’s clean. Use a soft cloth or paper towel and distilled water to wipe down the interior of the humidor. Avoid using soap or any cleaning agents that can leave a residue that may affect the flavor of your cigars.
Step 3: Soak the humidifier.
If your humidor has a humidifier, remove it and soak it in distilled water for 30 minutes to an hour. This will allow the humidifier to absorb moisture, which it will then release into the humidor. If your humidor does not have a humidifier, you can skip this step.
Step 4: Choose your seasoning method.
There are different ways to season a humidor, but the most common is the wipe-down method. To do this, use a clean, damp cloth and wipe down the interior of the humidor with distilled water.
Alternatively, you can use a damp sponge or a new paintbrush to apply distilled water evenly to the interior walls of the humidor. Be careful not to oversaturate the wood when doing this.
Step 5: Add a dish of distilled water.
After wiping down the interior of the humidor, place a dish of distilled water inside and close the lid. This will help maintain the humidity level inside the humidor as it absorbs moisture from the dish.
Step 6: Wait patiently.
Allow the humidor without cigars to sit for at least 24 to 48 hours with the humidor lid closed. This will allow the wood to absorb the moisture, and the humidity level will stabilize.
Step 7: Check the humidity level.
After 24 to 48 hours, check the humidity level inside the humidor using a hygrometer. If the humidity level is not in the optimal range of 65 to 75%, repeat the seasoning process until it reaches the desired level.
Step 8: Add cigars.
After completing these essential steps, your humidor is ready to store your precious cigars. Make sure the humidity level is stable before adding your cigars to the humidor.
Remember to check the humidity level regularly and add distilled water as needed to maintain the proper humidity level. Also, avoid frequent openings as much as possible to maintain the proper humidity level.
Humidor Seasoning Using a Humidor Solution
A humidor solution is a liquid used to regulate the humidity inside a humidor. It is typically a distilled water and propylene glycol solution, which helps maintain a stable humidity level in the humidor.
As mentioned, cigars require a specific level of humidity to stay fresh and flavorful, which is between 65% and 75%.
To maintain the proper humidity level, a humidor solution is added to a humidifier, which is then placed inside the humidor. The solution helps keep the humidity level stable by releasing moisture into the air as needed, ensuring the cigars remain in optimal condition for smoking.
How To Know When Humidor Is Seasoned?
It’s important to know when your humidor is properly seasoned before adding your precious cigars to it. Here’s how to know when humidor is seasoned:
1. Stable humidity level.
After seasoning, the ideal humidity level inside the humidor should be stable between 65 and 75%. Make sure you use a reliable hygrometer to get accurate humidity readings. If there are fluctuations in humidity levels, it may be an indication that it needs more time to season.
2. No musty smell.
An unseasoned humidor may have a musty smell due to the natural aroma of the wood. After seasoning, the humidor should have a fresh and clean smell, indicating that the wood has absorbed the moisture and is now properly conditioned.
3. No visible moisture.
During the seasoning process, you may notice some moisture on the walls of the humidor. Once the humidity level stabilizes, there should be no visible moisture. This indicates that the wood has absorbed the moisture and is now properly seasoned.
4. No warping or cracking.
As mentioned, proper seasoning helps prevent warping or cracking of the wood due to changes in humidity. If the humidor shows no signs of warping or cracking, it is a good indication that it’s properly seasoned.
It’s important to note that seasoning is an ongoing process, and you should continue to monitor the humidity level regularly and add distilled water as needed to maintain the proper humidity level.
Seasoning a Cigar Humidor
Proper maintenance of a cigar humidor is essential to keep your precious cigars in optimal condition. Among the most important steps is to ensure you season it regularly.
Checking and maintaining the humidity level, cleaning the humidor, and replacing the humidifier and hygrometer as needed will help extend the life of your humidor and ensure the quality of your cigars.
Remember to properly season your humidor before storing your cigars and to periodically rotate and inspect them for any signs of damage. With proper care and attention, your humidor will provide a reliable and enjoyable storage solution for your cigars for years to come.