Setting up a humidor

Setting Up Your New Cigar Humidor

So, it’s your first cigar humidor! Or maybe not. Either way, having a good humidor is important to maintain your cigar collection. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an aficionado, a good humidor is necessary to effectively preserve the freshness of your cigars.

Since they absorb their environment like a sponge, cigars can be dramatically affected by their surroundings. If they are kept in a less than desirable environment, cigars can go bad and end up being a big disappointment. On the other hand, storing your cigars in a well-suited environment will help them age and they should get even better with time.

So where do you begin when planning to buy a new humidor? Well, there are a lot of different types, brands, qualities, finishes and prices to consider. A humidor is really just a box or a room that contains and maintains a constant temperature and humidity.

While practically all cigar shops have walk-in sized humidors (a “humidity closet” where you can shop for your favorite cigars) when buying a humidor for personal use you can go with something smaller. A reasonably sized wood or glass cigar humidor will work. You can find one that holds just a few cigars or some that hold hundreds. Size doesn’t matter as long as it keeps your stogies at the right temperature and humidity level to allow them to age gracefully. (Caveat: you want one that will hold all of your cigars and give room for you to grow your collection).

All but the most basic (and cheapest) humidors come with devices called hygrometers, which are used to monitor humidity levels. This helps you 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 space you have, the greater the occurrence of a drop in humidity. And, most importantly, the more empty space you have, the smaller the number of cigars in your collection!

Cigar humidors are manufactured of certain select solid hardwoods 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.

So you’ve picked out your humidor and bought it. Great. Now don’t throw your cigars in and think you’re all set. You need to prepare your new cigar humidor for use. To begin the setup, take a clean damp cloth and remove any dust left over from the manufacturing process by wiping down the interior. Next, set a small bowl of distilled water inside your box. Securely close the lid and let it set for 12 hours. After 12 hours, if the major portion of the water has evaporated, re-fill the bowl and leave it for another 24 hours. Once the water stops evaporating, the cigar humidor is ready to accept your cigars.

Just before loading your cigars, remove the humidifier unit from your humidor. 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, 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 check more often. You’ll figure it out with time.

Cigar humidor maintenance is an essential element in the protection of your cigar collection.  Besides preserving and keeping your cigars fresh, humidors enhance the presentation of your collection.

All set up? Good. Now reach in there, grab out a stogie and light it up.

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