Last updated on September 8th, 2017 at 05:26 pm
What is a Cigar Humidor?
The humidor, in its simplest form, is just a storage medium for cigars. Cigars are perishable products. If not stored properly, cigars will dry out, become brittle, and lose their ability to provide their wonderful smoking pleasure. Cigars could not simply be stored in a box, because to keep them at their peak freshness and flavor, they require a critical element: humidity. It is commonly agreed that a 70% humidity factor is the norm.
Almost all cigar humidors have three features in common:
- Spanish Cedar: This type of cedar is considered the finest. It will not absorb the flavor of the cigars, nor will it act as a “sponge” and remove the moisture.
- Humidification Unit: A humidification unit is a device attached to the inner lid of the humidor that includes a housing and a substance to hold the moisture. The most common type uses a sponge.
- Hydrometer: A hydrometer is a gauge which indicates the humidity in the humidor.
We will discuss in detail each one in the pages of our site.
The features described above are all common to every humidor. They are, in effect, what makes a box a humidor. However, there are other factors to consider when evaluating the value of a humidor.
The Humidor Box
In present day, Spanish ceder is used for cigar box construction which last then any other wood. It has always been the wood of choice for curing and aging cigars. Perhaps the aroma of Cedar blends with the tobacco and helps to enhance its aroma.
This type of cedar is considered the finest. It will not absorb the flavor of the cigars, nor will remove the moisture. On the least expensive humidors, the interior may be made of any type of wood, with a thin veneer of cedar applied to the interior surface. In some cases, it is not applied to the lid of the humidor. In the more expensive humidors, an eighth inch to half inch layer of Spanish cedar is applied to the interior, which allows a thicker surface to absorb the moisture and requires less maintenance.
The use of Spanish Cedar is definitely a tradition that is steeped in the history of cigar making itself. Perhaps one of the reasons it was used initially was because of its availability at the time. It is a dominant Latin American species and literally grows in all countries from Mexico to Chile. In any event it is still preferred by cigar manufacturers. During the curing and aging process of the tobacco leaves (aging) and finished cigars (curing) Spanish Cedar wood is used as a storage containers of cigars.
The Humidification Unit of Cigar Humidor
A humidification unit is a device attached to the inner lid of the humidor that includes a housing and a substance to hold the moisture. The size of the device is relative to the size of the humidor. Naturally, the larger the humidor, the larger the required humidification device. The most common material used is plastic. The material has no influence on the performance of the device, and is selected principally for cosmetic reasons.
There are several types of humidifiers; among the most widely used is the Credo type humidifier. This device is essentially a plastic container with holes. Inside, the container is filled with foam or sponge. The foam is usually oasis green foam like the one used by florists for flower arrangements and it is soaked in a propylene glycol and distilled water activation solution. The purpose of the solution is to both kill bacteria and help maintain a 70% relative humidity. The Credo type humidifier needs to be recharged with distilled water frequently. The frequency depends on your climate and will vary from every week to every 2 months. It also needs to be recharged with activation solution every 6 months to a year.
A variation of the Credo type humidifier is the Western Humidifier and Torpedo. These humidifiers undergo a special process at the factory so that they only require to be recharged with distilled water. Propylene glycol is not necessary.
Another type of humidifier is the electronic humidifier. They are more reliable and require less maintenance than the passive foam or sponge humidifiers. Usually all you need to do with electronic humidifiers is replace or refill the water cartridge every year. As an added bonus, many electronic humidifiers, like the Cigar Oasis, contain a filter to eliminate odors inside the humidor. For these reasons, they are the accessory of choice for large humidors and display cases. Electronic humidifiers, however, are more expensive than sponge or foam humidifiers.