The first step one must take when considering how to setup up a humidor is whether one actually enjoys cigars enough to merit owning said item at all. Far too many men buy a fine humidor, perch it in a relatively high visibility spot (not too visible, of course — somewhere just subtle enough to look like you weren’t obviously hoping someone would say: “Hey, nice humidor!” even though you were totally hoping that), and then leave one or two cigars in there for the next three years.
Now keep in mind that even if you only smoke the occasional cigar, or even if you merely want to have a few around in the event of a promotion/baby/big game hunting trip celebration, a good humidor is far from a superfluous novelty item; it is a way to keep your cigars as fresh and rich as possible. To that end, know that choosing a humidor to suit your needs may have little to do with aesthetics. For some guys, a tupperware container may suit fine, y’know?
We’re going to take a middle-of-the road approach and discuss the establishment of a humidor that looks good, helps preserve cigars, and won’t break the bank.
By the way, if you’re a handy DIY carpenter type of person, you may want to consider how to build your own humidor! It’s a challenge to which I say “The hell with that!” but hey, if this looks like fun to you, go for it:
Now for those of us who aren’t master carpenters (and who don’t have hours of free time, either), here’s a more realistic primer on establishing a humidor.
Buying a Humidor
You should expect to pay at least $50 for a halfway decent humidor, and you may well pay many hundreds of dollars for a great-looking, top-of-the-line humidor complete with a built-in hygrometer and humidifier and fine brass inlay and whatnot. But if the point of your purchase is to get a decent-looking humidor that will keep your cigars fresh, then there’s really no need to spend more than $100. Browse local cigar shops, hit up a craft fair, or do what you’re clearly already adept at doing, and just look for a humidor online. (Hey, was that a helpful link with a pre-esablished price range?)
Preparing Your New Humidor
The process of preparing a humidor is often referred to as “seasoning a humidor,” FYI, so if you hear someone talking about seasoning a humidor, they’re just being a fancypants. Now… here’s how you season a new humidor!
You will need…
- Distilled Water – Tap water has too many minerals, chemicals, and impurities!
- A Clean Cloth – Dirty cloths are dirty. Yep.
- A Hygrometer – Can you tell the ambient moisture levels of the air by yourself?
- A Humidifier – Maybe one came with your humidor; maybe you need to buy one.
Wet that clean cloth with the distilled water, and wipe down the interior of your humidor. The lining of any decent humidor will be made from cedar, which will darken when properly dampened. You will want to complete two or perhaps three passes with the wet cloth (wet, not soaked to dripping, mind you).
Wet the humidifier (follow directions if they are included; follow logic if not) and place it inside the humidor.
Now place the hygrometer in your humidor, close the lid, and just walk away:
You should leave your new humidor alone for as long as 24 hours after that initial wetting. See, that cedar wood is going to soak up (almost all) the moisture you just added with the cloth and that’s emanating from the humidifier. If you had put your cigars in right away, it would be sucking the very life out of–er, wait–sucking the moisture out of the cigars themselves.
How Do You Know Your Humidor Is Ready?
Check the hygrometer! Is the humidity level reading near 70% inside the humidor? Yes?
Make sure to check the hygrometer every few days and add water to the humidifier if needed, or leave the lid ajar for a bit if the humidity level creeps too high.
Adding Cigars To Your Humidor
There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to how you should store cigars inside a humidor:
- In the Wrapper
- Not In the Wrapper
For my money, I recommend you remove a cigar’s wrapper (AKA the plastic or the cellophane, but rarely referred to as “The Hellespont” because that’s the antiquated name of the waterway today known as The Dardanelles, and really makes no sense in this context). Why? Because a plastic wrapper doesn’t breathe. The ambient humidity level you’ve established within the humidor can’t help the cigar that’s stifled within a wrapper.
OK… that’s it; we have established how to establish a humidor. Now go be like Jack:
Next up, we’ll talk about repairing your rapport with estranged office colleagues. Or maybe not.