By Calvin Hughes
So, it’s your first cigar humidor! Or maybe not. Either way, we want to paint a clear picture on the important role a humidor plays in maintaining your cigar collection. Bottom line, regardless as to whether you are a beginner cigar smoker or an avid cigar aficionado a good cigar humidor is necessary to effectively maintain the freshness of your cigars.
Since cigars absorb their environment like a sponge, cigars can be dramatically affected by their surroundings. If they are kept in a less than optimal environment, cigars can go bad and end up disappointing its smoker. On the other hand, storing your cigars in a well-suited environment will help them age and become “the perfect smoke” to even the most discerning connoisseur.
So where does one begin when looking to buy a new cigar humidor? Well, there are a lot of different types, brands, qualities, finishes and price points to digest. But bottom line, a humidor is no more than a simple box or a room that contains and maintains constant humidity.
While practically all cigar shops have walk-in sized humidors (a “humidity closet” where cigar lovers can shop for their cigars) when buying a humidor for personal use you can go with something smaller. A reasonably sized wood or glass cigar humidor will do the trick, housing several dozen cigars, keeping them at the right temperature and humidity level to allow them to age gracefully.
All cigar humidors come with devices called hygrometers, which are used to monitor humidity levels. This helps the cigar smoker to maintain the ideal humidity range between 68-72%. If the humidity falls outside this range, the hygrometer is there to let you know when its time to “re-charge” your humidor. It’s best to try to keep your humidor full of cigars as much as possible. The more empty storage space you have, the greater the likelihood that there will be a drop in humidity. And, most importantly, the more empty storage space you have, the smaller the number of cigars in your collection!
Cigar humidors are manufactured of certain select solid hardwoods that are ideal for aging cigars. Solid Spanish cedar interior lining is often used since the cedar is porous and is able to hold a substantial amount of moisture. Also Spanish cedar’s oily characteristics and aroma mingle with the flavor of your cigars making for the perfect smoke.
Ok. So you found your humidor and made a purchase. Great. Now don’t toss your cigars in and light one up just yet! First, you need to prepare set up your new cigar humidor for use. To begin the cigar humidor setup, take a clean damp cloth and remove any dust from the manufacturing process by wiping down the interior. Next, set a small sized bowl of distilled water inside your box. Securely close the lid and let it set for 12 hours. Once the 12 hours has past, if the major portion of the water has evaporated, re-fill the bowl a second time and leave it inside the cigar humidor for another 24 hours. Once the water stops evaporating, the cigar humidor is read to accept your cigars.
Just before loading in your cigars, remove your cigar humidifier unit from your humidor (this is the sponge like plastic device that you soak in distilled water). Submerge the cigar humidifier in distilled water or half distilled water and half Propylene Glycol for 30 minutes. Remove it from the water, dry it and secure it to the inside of the humidor. Now, load your humidor with the cigars and close the lid.
For the first few days after you fill your humidor with cigars, be sure to occasionally check your humidor’s hygrometer to make certain the humidifier does not require a re-soak. If you live in a climate that is extreme, which brings on cold or hot temperatures, you should keep tabs on your humidor more often.
Cigar humidor maintenance is an essential element in the protection of your cigar collection. Real cigar connoisseurs and cigar novices both strongly advocate the use of a good humidor. In addition to preserving and keeping cigars fresh, humidors enhance the presentation of your collection. Now that makes me want to say “How about a cigar?”
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