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.
Why is Spanish Cedar Considered Important for a Humidor?
The inside must be lined with Spanish cedar no matter what you choose for the outside material.
There are multiple reasons for this; not only does this material absorb moisture but it doesn’t warp, it is the go-to material choice that it won’t affect the flavor or taste of your cigar.
Spanish Cedar is also resistant to tobacco beetles – also known as cigar beetles.
How do I Find the Perfect Seal?
The seal on a humidor is as important as the material inside. Without a good seal, your cigars will dry out due to the humidity escaping.
An easy test is to take a dollar bill and put it halfway in the humidor with the other end hanging out.
Close your humidor or the one you are testing, then try to pull out the bill. If the humidor drags along with the money, then the seal is acceptable.
If the dollar comes out, then you need a better seal!
Where Should I Store my Humidor?
The location of your humidor is important too. You will want to keep it in an area that is dark and cool.
That’s not to say that you can’t show off your humidor but you do not want it in direct sunlight and even light from lamps can affect the temperature and raise it higher than you’d like.
While you do not want extra heat on your humidor, you do not want extreme cold either so do not place it near areas where there are cold drafts such as by a window (which applies to the sunlight rule as well) or door.
How Long do Cigars Last in a Humidor?
Cigars can last for years in a properly maintained humidor.
There are some elements you need to consider, however. Such as the fact that high-quality and premium cigars will last longer than some budget ones, but even they will have a limited time span that you should consider.
Cigars that are newer or “fresher” may develop their properties over time, but cigars that have already aged before being sold may not prosper for an extended time in your humidor.
What Kind of Humidor Can I Buy?
There are many different kinds of humidors, from traditional ones, right through to modern, and you can even buy travel and furniture humidors.
If you want to see just how many different kinds of humidors there are, check out our guide on affordable yet high-end humidors.
You can also find out more storage and maintenance tips in our comprehensive storage guide.