How to use a Cigar Humidor
Setting up your humidor properly is very important. Follow these guidelines to get the best out of your humidor.
When your new humidor arrives don’t make the common error of stacking it full of cigars immediately. Without re-humidifying its wood there is a fair risk that your cigars will be ruined. The Spanish Cedar wood from which it is made is kiln dried and needs to attain 65 percent humidity. Without going through the following re-humidifying process, your cigars will dry out as the wood takes their moisture.
Simples steps for the re-humidification process:
- Position a small glass (the type used for shots) at the bottom of your humidor. For best results fill it with our humidifying solution or you can use distilled water.
- The humidifier needs to be charged and then placed in the humidor.
- Next place the calibrated hygrometer in the humidor.
- Shut the lid.
- On a daily basis use the hygrometer to assess the humidity. When it attains around 65 percent humidity, the wood is in optimum condition. Warning: Never wipe down the inside of the humidor with a wet cloth. It will damage the wood irreparably.
Where to place the Hygrometer
With the exception of travel humidors, all our cigar humidors come with a hygrometer which is correctly calibrated.
Many cigar smokers wrongly assume that if a humidor does not maintain a stable 65 percent humidity, it is defective. Nothing could be further from the truth. The safety scale ranges between around 60 to 75 percent. Indeed some cigar connoisseurs consider the optimum smoking scale is nearer to 80 percent while maintaining 65 percent for storage. To do this you would naturally require two humidors. Hence as long as you keep within these humidity ranges your cigars will be preserved. Depending on your preference for dry or moist cigars you will soon master the humidity level that is best for your cigars.
Where you keep your hygrometer is entirely up to you. As long as there is air flowing around it, it will produce accurate readings. Most cigar smokers position it on the lid of the humidor, whereas others find it preferable to place the hygrometer inside.
Charging your Humidifier
Here are the instructions for charging your humidifier in order to maintain its levels of humidity.
- Take the humidifier out of your humidor.
- Squirt a humidifying solution, or distilled water mixed with propylene glycol, or plain distilled water into the humidifier via the grate.
- Take care not to use too much solution since the object is to moisten the humidifier, not soak it.
- Use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess solution from the front of the unit.
- Attach the humidifier back onto the humidor.
Using the “pinching” method with the hygrometer, allows you to establish whether or not your cigars are too dry. If they are, you’ll need to wash out the oasis with distilled water. Then modify the solution you are using. You may need to experiment with amount of distilled water mixed with propylene glycol/humidifying solution. This is because humidity levels in the home vary considerably based on the season and where you position your humidor. Something to bear in mind is that the solution decreases humidity whereas distilled water increases it.
Taking care of your cigars
Cigars must be looked after when kept for long periods. For this, it’s important to have the right amount of humidifying solution in the humidor. By topping it up regularly you will maintain the optimum of 65 percent humidity give or take a couple of degrees.
Make sure you position the humidor in a location where temperatures don’t exceed 21C (70F). The goal is to attain temperatures that range between 18C (65F) and 22C (72F), and humidity at an optimum of between 55 and 65 percent. The moment you’ve added water to your humidifier, there’s no reason why you can’t use it immediately. If you press your thumb below the band of the cigars, it’s an easy method of establishing their condition.
Cigars should always be firm but after the thumb test spring back. If they don’t spring back then they are not humidified enough. However, if they feel soft and like a sponge you’ve humidified them too much.
If you notice a white “powdering” (or ‘bloom’) on the cigars it means mould has formed. If this happens it’s because they have been over humidified. Whilst unsightly, it won’t affect your enjoyment of the cigar or the flavour. You can brush the mould away from top to bottom using a shaving or pastry brush.
Rotate your layers of cigars from top to bottom from time to time if you don’t smoke them often.
Don’t store anything but cigars in the humidor. You can keep your lighter and cigar cutters in a separate box beside the humidor or wherever is practical.
Taking care of the Humidor
A humidor is a wise investment to give you the ultimate enjoyment in cigar smoking. However, if you want to achieve many years of service from it, you’ll need to carry out a little maintenance. Here is some good advice:
- Locate the humidor where there is no possibility of someone accidentally knocking it over.
- Direct sunlight is bad for humidors causing wood to fade and heat to generate beyond a range of safety.
- When cleaning the unit, a soft cloth is best.
- Beeswax can be used to polish and clean the unit safely as can a good quality furniture polish
- Using water on the unit’s interior, or indeed any other liquid, will damage the wood to ruination so must be avoided at all costs.