What is the big deal about humidors?
They’re the quintessential tool most cigar lovers own. But isn’t this an overkill?
I always thought so. And then one day I smoked a cigar I left in the cupboard for too long. It was horrible!
So don’t make the same mistakes I did. Part of being a cigar smoker is taking care of your stock. And I’ll give you all the important need-to-know facts so you don’t suffer the same tragedy I did.
Why is Storage so Important?
You want the optimum experience when you light your next cigar, right? If the moisture content or flavor is gone your smoking sessions will be spoilt.
And these are determined by how you store your cigars.
Contrary to what I believed the inside of a cigar isn’t completely dry. The leaves are wrapped while they’re still moist and need to be kept in this state continuously. What happens when you get this wrong?
– The leaves become brittle so your cigar can crumble while you smoke it. It will also smoke faster than you’re used to, spoiling your experience.
– Occasionally a tobacco beetle egg finds its way into a batch of leaves. It will only hatch if kept at a certain temperature though. Humidors prevent this.
– Flavors can escape into the air. Inside a humidor they can improve other cigars but if left in the open the tastes you love will simply disappear.
– When temperatures around cigars change and spike all the time mould will grow.
– Wet cigars won’t puff well and the wrappers can even split.
A simple construction such as a humidor takes care of all these aspects.
You and Your Humidor
Prepare yourself for some in depth study. It’s necessary if you want to get all you can from your cigars. A humidor is a simple unit, but it requires some of your time.
It’s a wooden box usually made of cedar or mahogany. These types of wood won’t spoil your cigars’ flavors.
Inside a humidifier helps create and maintain an optimum environment for storing cigars. It’s kept this way consistently to prevent damage to cigars. They also contain hygrometers to monitor humidity.
Breaking it In
Don’t accept the humidor will work directly. Break it in by adding moisture to the humidifier for a few days until you get the right outcome.
Hygrometers—analog or digital—have to be calibrated before they’ll work optimally.
When all is ready you can add all your cigars. Store them in their wrappings unless you want to marry them (see below). Even in their wrappings it’s ideal to keep different ones apart or to double wrap them.
Here’s what you need to create within your humidor:
– A humidity rating of 70-75%
– A temperature of 68-72°F
Using a Humidor for Aging
I love this idea. It feels as if I’m making my own brand of cigars when I age the ones I purchase in store.
And it’s not difficult!
Your humidor acts as ager and you simply have to place your cigars close to each other. Group the same types together and take of cellophane wrappings. Here’s what happens:
– The cedar flavors of the humidor wood will enhance the cigars’ tastes.
– Excess moisture is dispersed but the cigars won’t completely dry out in a quality humidor.
– The cigars’ oils are allowed to be absorbed by the surrounding cigars.
This is called marrying cigars. What’s the result?
After a few weeks you’re left with mature tastes and all the cigars will be exactly the same. If you do this right you’ll have an entire batch of some of the best cigars you’ll ever have. Doing this to one gives you a single enhanced experience. Aging multiple cigars ensures you have stock to enjoy for weeks to come. Whether you smoking big or small cigars, this process can really elevate your smoking experience.
What Not to Do
Don’t listen to everyone around you. I promise you I have experience that showed me these methods don’t work:
– Never put cigars in direct sunlight. It will either dry them out or cause mould to grow.
– Don’t store cigars in the fridge. Fridges and freezers do the opposite of what humidors do.
– Only use distilled water with homemade humidors. The chemicals in tap water will ruin the flavor of your cigars.
Plan B: If You Don’t Have a Humidor Yet
Note that this heading mentions ‘yet’. It’s important you plan to get your humidor if you’re serious about cigars.
But in the meanwhile you can try these storage methods.
– Keep your cigars in a plastic bag with a moist towel inside. If it’s too wet the moisture will accumulate in the bag and your cigars will eventually get mould. Check the bag regularly to monitor the cigars’ condition.
– The same concept will work in a sealable plastic container. A moist sponge is also sufficient. The containers need to be stored in dark spaces.
– Build a homemade humidor. Make sure it has these features:
o A piece of cedar wood incorporated into the design
o Add moisture with a moist sponge
You can’t leave the cigars like this indefinitely. Open the containers from time to time to circulate air and check if there’s still moisture left.
These methods will eventually prove too much effort and you’ll fall in love with the idea of a humidor which does all these tasks on your behalf:
– Allowing air to circulate between the cigars.
– Keeping a consistent temperature.
– Creating the right humid environment
Don’t see this as an unnecessary procedure. Humidors have become popular because they make up part of the exciting activities that go with smoking cigars. It enhanced my experiences so I don’t see any of this as a waste of time. You’ll see how valuable this is when you unwrap your first married cigar.