Some of life’s greatest pleasures take some work and maintenance to perform as they should. Look at wine and the craft beer industry; aficionados are constantly rotating bottles to keep them at certain angles or certain temperatures. This attention to detail is what it takes to assure perfection in a product, and cigars are no different.
This is why it is important to correctly set up and maintain your humidor. Keeping cigars at the right temperature and humidity is essential to keeping them fresh and optimizing your smoking experience. Setting up your humidor and seasoning is a multi-step process, but if done right, it will keep your cigars fresh for years to come.
1. Find a Good Humidor
You want to start by finding a high-quality humidor. We have a whole page dedicated to great humidors, but you need to know what you are looking for. In order to work properly, you need to keep the humidor at least half-filled (preferably ¾ filled). So, if you only have 25 cigars, don’t go out and buy a 300 cigar humidor.
You also want to understand what style of humidor you want. If you are constantly traveling and want your cigars on the go, then a travel humidor is perfect for you. If you want more of a stationary or desk piece, look for a wooden humidor that is lined with Spanish cedar wood.
2. Gently Wipe Your Humidor
Once you have picked out your humidor, it’s time to start the seasoning process. Before you put your cigars in it, you want to season the wood using either distilled water or a glycol solution. This will make sure there is already moisture soaked up in the wood before your cigars even go in there.
Take a sponge or paper towel and dip it in some distilled water, squeeze out the excess water, and then gently wipe the wood in your humidor. You want to make sure it is spread evenly throughout the wood and that the wood is filled with moisture. However, don’t put too much in, as it can seep out of the wood and drip onto your cigars.
3. Check the Humidity Inside Your Humidor
Your next step is to take your humidifier, which you can buy separately, or use the one that comes with the humidor, and you want to fill it with the same distilled water or solution. During this time, the humidor will release moisture — a process called “seasoning.”
Seasoning will continue to take place for another two weeks or so. Don’t place any cigars in your humidor during this time.
After a week or so, you want to check your hydrometer; the gauge that reads humidity. Once it reads from 67%-72%, you are ready to go.
4. Place Your Cigars in Your Humidor
After making sure the gauge is all set, it is now time to put your cigars into the humidor. Just double-check to make sure there is no excess moisture coming out of the wood. Once you’ve checked that, beginning to fill your humidor with your cigars.
I also like to rotate my cigars a few times a year. Every 4-6 months, I will season it again and rotate the cigars inside to make sure that moisture is being evenly dispersed among all of them.