Cigar Humidor Preparation Tips
When I started smoking cigars several years ago I found myself a little lost when it came to the proper storage of my collection. There were plenty of products out there that looked beautiful and promised a fine seal or boasted of Spanish Cedar but I had heard enough horror stories to know that there were some nuances on which I needed further education before making my purchase.
After some light research, I decided to purchase a humidor with a solid wood lid. There is no question that a humidor with a glass lid like the Chancellor humidor or the Regent humidor makes for a beautiful presentation, however, a wood lid is preferable for long-term storage, particularly if you plan to keep the humidor in an area exposed to sunlight. I am not a heavy cigar smoker and I keep a small collection of fine cigars on hand which I have found age quite nicely in my small solid wood desktop humidor.
For my purposes, the Napoli Humidor excels. Its simple design is elegant, quality construction ensures a tight seal and the interior is crafted with fine Spanish Cedar. The size is also perfect for a light smoker like myself who keeps no more than a couple dozen cigars on hand at any given time.
After configuration, size and aesthetic considerations have been taken into account the lining of your potential humidor must be scrutinized. A Spanish Cedar lining is very important. Some humidors on the market use inexpensive liners which will lead to variable humidity levels and could destroy your cigars.
Once you decide which humidor to purchase you need to understand the basics before putting your valuable collection of cigars inside. The typical humidor uses a sponge inside a plastic or metal case to generate humidity. The hygrometer displays the humidity level inside the humidor and, typically, you want to keep this at around 70%. More important than keeping strict to a minimum humidity level is preventing rapid or frequent changes to humidity.
The first step to generating the proper environment inside your humidor is to be taken before you ever put your first cigar inside. Humidor preparation is essential to maintaining your collection. First, your hygrometer must be calibrated in order to give an accurate reading. The easiest method of doing this is to remove the hygrometer from the humidor, wrap it in a thoroughly moistened cloth, wait about an hour, and then adjust the hygrometer to display a relative humidity of 96%.
The second step is to moisten the Spanish Cedar lining of your humidor using a clean cloth saturated with distilled water – only use distilled water for this process just as you will only use distilled water to hydrate your sponge (a wet environment will tend to grow things if not kept sanitary). Moistening the cedar is a very important step because the humidity in the air and the saturation of the wood and sponge must all hit a level of equilibrium before you put your cigars in the humidor.
If you have prepared your humidor properly it will require very little maintenance. Just make sure that it is stored in a place that is not subject to temperature and humidity changes. Using a small system like described above, you will want to open the lid as infrequently as possible and rotation of the cigars is unnecessary. During the winter the sponge will demand more water and this fact alone demonstrates the importance of obtaining a humidor with a proper seal around the lid. Under normal conditions, you should find yourself adding water to the system every couple weeks to keep the needle on your hygrometer as steady as possible.
With the correct preparation of the humidor and some very light maintenance, you will be able to age a collection of fine cigars to perfection with any Joseph & Curtis premium humidors.