Are you a rookie in cigar smoking? You may have chanced upon the word “humidor,” or even better, you own a humidor and know its importance to cigar enthusiasts. If this is the case and you are anxious to learn more about humidors, then this is the article.
Presuming that you enjoy an occasional huffing and puffing a humidor is an excellent investment in preserving your cigars’ taste. A storage container can be a superb gift not only for a beloved but also for yourself if you are starting out as a beginner. Let us discuss the different aspects that exist in being knowledgeable about a humidor.
What is a humidor?
A humidor acts as a storage box that was invented to sustain a specific percentage of relative humidity (RH). The relative humidity is vital for the preservation of cigars’ since they will expand and contract naturally according to the environment’s relative humidity.
When the surrounding environment is too dry, the cigars dry out, making them lose their alluring taste and odor. Cigars that are dried up burn hot and leave a bitter flavor in the mouth. On the contrary, when the humidity is too high, the cigars might rot, grow mold, or even get infested by tobacco beetles. Yes, you read that right, beetles!
Humidors come in different sizes to one’s liking. They can be travel-size humidors or a walk-in humidifier. Cigar shops or individuals who can afford to build one in their houses usually use the latter. Regardless of its size or shape, they all come with a high standard sealant that will preserve the temperature and a hygrometer and thermostat to sustain the required conditions. Generally, humidors maintain the required relative humidity that keeps the cigars moist and fresh.
How Does a Humidor Work?
To delight in your cigar’s aroma and unique taste, it needs to be stored properly. Humidors are not just storage containers, it is the different parts within it that work cooperatively to provide the ideal conditions inside the humidor.
What are the Parts of a Humidor?
- The Humidifier
The humidifier is a member of a humidor that acts as its system for humidification. This part can be composite or elementary, depending on the quality and size of the humidor. This is the component that increases moisture in the humidor, therefore, making your cigars plump and giving them the aspect of burning slowly.
The correct humidity also ensures that essential oils are conserved. Essential oils are crucial in maintaining the aroma and taste of cigars that are a trademark in most sticks. For ideal storage conditions, your humidor should be kept at 70% relative humidity. For the optimal conditions to be maintained, a source of water is essential for the humidor. Below are some of the ways you can introduce moisture to your humidor;
These are lightweight bags that have an ideal relative humidity. So, how do they work? Humidipaks are encased in a film that permits absorption and removal of water, thus ensuring an optimal relative humidity of 70% or any other value as desired by you. As much as humidipaks are suitable, they require regular replacement.
- Humidity Beads
Unlike humidipaks, silica gel does not have to be replaced. Humidity beads are specially equipped to maintain a constant 72% relative humidity. These silica beads are ideal for areas that humid and hot climates.
- Electronic humidifiers
This small-sized equipment makes cigars moist. They are typically filled with water to enable them to keep the relative humidity optimal. Being electric, they sense when the humidity level is low or high and adjust as required.
This is the most uncomplicated humidifier, it basically entails a sponge dipped in distilled water. We specifically use distilled water because it is free of impurities and bacteria.
- Floral Foam
They are manufactured with slots or holes enclosed in plastic containers. The grooves allow moisture to be released. These are the same blocks used in floral arrangements to help in the retention of moisture. Floral foams, however, also absorb the aroma of cigars and will need to be replaced yearly. They maintain the relative humidity of 70%, automatically leaving little concerns over excess moisture in the humidor.
- The Hygrometer
The hygrometer is also a significant member of your humidor, as it is the measure of relative humidity inside the humidor. It controls when you will need to add water or soak up moisture when it is excess. The hygrometer resembles a pointer rotating in a calibrated semi-circle or circle. They can be either digital or analog, generally connected to the humidifier in electronic humidity controls. As a cigar fanatic, you would make sure to check your hygrometer regularly to ensure it is reading the correct relative humidity.
- The Thermostat
If you have a good collection of cigars, you know the importance of controlling the humidor’s internal temperature. The best temperature is around 70 degrees; however, 60-72 also serves as an ideal temperature for some cigar aficionados. If your humidor does not control the internal temperature, you can use a thermometer. Temperature readings are crucial in determining whether you need to move your humidor to a cool location to avoid hot ones.
An increase in temperature will breed the right conditions for the hatching of beetle eggs, leaving you to deal with the squirmiest larvae mess in your humidor. The thermostat will allow you to control the temperature inside your humidor directly. Control in temperature also means control in humidity when your temperatures are optimal; it means the humidity is also at the correct level, thus enhancing ease in the storage of your cigars.
- Spanish Cedar
When it comes to interior fitting, this is by far the most sought-after option. This choice of lining is mostly used to build the inside of the humidor’s cases or trays. Its significant attribute is that it is moisture absorbent and insects repellant. The reasons stated only show why this traditional option is perfect in the storage of your cigars. Spanish cedar minimizes the likelihood of tobacco beetle scourge, but it also reduces the chances that mildew and mold would grow in your humidor.
Because of its impeccable qualities, Spanish cedar has remained in the hearts of many cigar fanatics since it has a bonus point of adding a unique savor to cigars. They add a certain tanginess, especially to aficionados, who want to store their cigars without the wrapper. Whichever taste you like in your cigars, the Spanish cedar is definitely an important aspect you will have to consider when buying your humidor.
How to prepare a humidor
Have you just bought your first humidor? Alternatively, have you been enjoying your cigar for a long time and still do not know how to prepare your humidor? Then this is the part for you. As eager as you are to place your cigars in the humidor for the first time or storing that new stock of imported cigars, you need to season the wood. What is wood seasoning? This involves cleaning the Spanish cedar components with a damp cloth. The wet material is left in the humidor overnight with the humidifier activated.
The seasoning process increases the moisture retention content of the humidor before the addition of the cigars. To ensure stability for humidity in the humidor, repeat the above process if you find a dry clot the next morning. The procedure is repeated until the humidor is thoroughly damp. The more the frills and fuss in your humidor, the less time you will spend in maintaining your cigars. The most essential step is regularly checking the hygrometer of your humidor to know when to reduce the moisture or add.
Checking all the Humidification Units
Additionally, as an aficionado, regularly check all the other humidification units to ensure they are working as required. Those that work inadequately will have to be restored. Another way of increasing the potential of success with your humidor is if you keep it out of direct sunlight, these stabilize the temperature.
However, a humidor that is fully automated has less work as compared to the manual ones. Nevertheless, an infatuation exists among cigar fanatics when it comes to their collection, and you will always want to have a glimpse of it now and then. I mean, it is a good thing, cigars are not intended to be hidden away. The smell, smoke and share the distinctive aroma and taste of your cigar.
Maintenance of Humidor
The rule of thumbs to the percentage of temperature you need to maintain is 72%; however, anything between 68 and 72 is still ideal. Beetle infestation occurs in anything that is above 72%. Nonetheless, variation in the level of humidity can be controlled by different factors. For instance;
Countries with low temperatures, especially during winter, monitor the humidity levels more than other warm countries. Regularly check your hygrometer to ensure it is at the best relative humidity. With time, you will learn the best RH for your area and how your humidor is affected by the surrounding temperature. Placing a small glass of distilled water in the humidor can also be done.
Light increases temperature and humidity in your humidor. Preferable, place your humidor away from direct light to help preserve the flavor and taste of your cigars. For portable humidors, setting it up in one cool area in your preferred room would work.
Humidors are a crucial part of an aficionados’ life; they will be an excellent investment is storing your cigars in ideal conditions, thus maintaining all the flavor and the cigar’s aroma. Regardless of the size shape or color, they are a significant asset for any cigar enthusiast.