Before you put any cigars in a new humidor it is important you ensure your humidor interior has been prepped so that a desired humidity level may be maintained. Most cigars are made in a tropical climate of around 70% Relative Humidity (RH). Cigars maintained at those levels will remain in perfect condition for years to come with little effort on your part. So how do you do that?
All humidors sold at Cigar Studio have an interior made of untreated Spanish cedar, the preferred wood for humidifying and aging premium cigars. Spanish cedar is not too aromatic so as to impart a cedar taste to your cigars (like red cedar will). Spanish cedar contains natural oils that allow the wood to absorb and eliminate moisture without warping and cracking. This wood needs to be “seasoned” to activate those oils and to allow humidity to build up to the desired level before the box is ready to hold cigars.
Step 1 – So here is what you do. Take a “J-cloth” – make sure it is unscented and free of soap – and wet it with distilled water. Wipe down all the cedar, including any trays and dividers and the interior lid of your new humidor. You don’t want the water to pool onto the wood but you do want to insure that you have thoroughly dampened it. Yes, and while a Boveda seasoning Pack will do the same thing, they can take a few days to achieve what the above does in a few hours.
Step 2 – Next, prepare your humidification device by soaking it in distilled water. Simply put in into a small bowl and pour distilled water or PG solution into it. Only use distilled water or glycol solution. Tap water contains minerals – calcium and lime – that will destroy most humidification systems by leaving deposits that will clog the humidor element. Once the humidification element is full – it will feel heavy – give it a good shake to remove loose water. Attach the humidification device and hygrometer into the humidor. Note – there are many different types of humidification units that can be used to provide humidity in your humidor – traditional floral form, formcord, beads and crystals, and/or combination of these using distilled water or glycol solution. If you are buying your first humidor from Cigar Studio, we typically recommend that you start with a basic humidifier as above.
Step 3 – Close the humidor and leave it for a couple of hours. Refresh the humidification device (it may not need it) and check hygrometer reading. Your target range is 65% – 70%. Do not worry about a degree or two off this level. If the level reads 65% and you still enjoy the way your cigars smoke and feel then leave everything alone. If you find the level too high – 75% plus – you have a couple of choices; remove the humidification device for a few days or put in a bunch of strips of dry cedar which you can obtain from the store.
In our experience, it is much better to have cigars maintained at 65% – 70%, than 70% – 75% or higher. Here’s why. First I challenge anyone to tell the difference between cigars maintained at say 67% versus 70%, even if your equipment could be so accurate (it isn’t). But more importantly, a cigar that is slightly dried out can be re-hydrated easily while a cigar that is too moist has a number of potential problems; the draw can be much harder, it keeps going out and in extreme circumstances it can split and be rendered un-smoke able.
In a later blog, we will take you through another option using Boveda Packs and their revolutionary 2 Way Humidification Process.
Enjoy your humidor!