We all like to keep our cigars in pristine shape after bringing them home, or having them shipped to us. I recently had a discussion with a young man who started to enjoy the leaf, and he wanted to build his collection. Of course, that meant he needed to find a humidor, and he wanted my thoughts on the subject. He did his research, and what I told him is nothing really new but just my opinion on the subject of humidors and humidification devices in the 21st century.
I explained that the humidor is one of the most important purchases he will make regarding cigars but he did not need to spend his retirement account to get a good one. To start with, any decent humidor will have basically the same insides. Spanish cedar, that is the first thing to look for. Cedar is a wood that naturally controls the humidity as it has the unique characteristic of absorbing dampness and keeps moisture from building up. Too much moisture and you will destroy your cigars. cedar especially Spanish Cedar is used because of its strong aroma. You know those pesky beetles you hear about? Well the smell of cedar tends to keep them away. The smell is also imparts itself into your cigars. It gives the cigar a touch of woody flavor.
Another important part of the humidor is the humidification device itself. Years ago, we all used what was known as a Credo. The Credo line of humidifiers uses oasis foam and a propylene glycol solution to release or absorb moisture and maintain the proper 70% humidity. Today there are some newer products that make it even easier. Boveda packs are terrific, they contain a substance that absorbs or emits moisture based on a humidity rating. So if you get a 70% Bovida pack, it will maintain the humidor at 70%. They generally last about a month or two, but there are some videos out there on how to recharge them.
Another system which I use, and is similar to the Bovida pack is the Humi Care “Black Ice” system. I really do like this. The system comes with 4 small plastic containers that fit neatly into the corners of your humidor. In eachcontainer are these tiny black crystals that when activated with distilled water absorb and emit moisture, maintaining your humidor at the prescribed humidity level.
Now of course I do not rely solely on these devices, although they seem to do their job. As an engineer by trade, I always like to measure the results, and for that you need to get a hygrometer. A hygrometer /haɪˈɡrɒmᵻtər/ is an instrument used for measuring the moisture content in the atmosphere. Hygrometers can be analog or digital. I personally have an analog one, but that is because it has been reliable for the past 20 years. The digital ones are just as good. The only thing you want to do is calibrate it and usually for that I would suggest you go to your local brick and mortar, and ask if they will let you leave the Hygrometer in their humidor while you smoke a cigar. After the hour or so smoking, the reading on the hygrometer will be stable. You can compare it to the shop’s hygrometer reading to calibrate.
The last point I made was to make sure the Humidor has a good seal. I told my young friend to lift the lid and drop it. It should make a Poof sound and not sound like wood hitting wood. Having a sealed humidor will keep your humidification system from working overtime and keep the humidity consistent.
So have fun and choose the box with the design that reflects you the best. Fill it up and join the party. I told my new friend “Welcome to the Brother and Sisterhood of the Leaf”.