How To Set Up a Humidor

May 2, 2016

Being a famous cigar celebrity, I get questions all the time; people bothering me at church, at the gym, at the mall. So, you know what? Let’s settle this right now. Number one question I get, how do you season and set up a humidor? Guys, we’re going to do it today.

First thing you’re going to need is a humidor. Where you’re going to get one? JR Cigars preferably, but any Spanish cedar line humidor will do. Spanish cedar or red cedar, that’s the wood you want to go for with your interior. It holds in moisture very, very well and it adds a really nice flavor to your smokes.

Next thing you’re going to need, either distilled water or Propylene Glycol. This is the stuff that’s going to keep your cigars fresh inside the humidor. The only difference between Propylene Glycol and the distilled water, this has alcohol in it, dissolves a little bit slower, but honestly, any will do. Don’t use tap water, that’s how you get mold. You smoking moldy cigars, I don’t want to know you.

Next thing you’re going to need, a humidifier. This is the device that actually holds in the moisture from either your solution or your distilled water.

Your next part, hygrometer. Don’t know what it is? I didn’t at first. Kind of looks like a compass, we’re going north. The hygrometer, that’s what’s going to tell you your humidity reading inside the humidor. Cigars are very, very finicky, they need to be at a certain humidity level, you’re looking for between 68 and 72 percent. You want to keep it at 70, that’s going to be your perfect. So, with hygrometers, you have two kinds, analog and digital. Analog, that’s the original one, kind of looks like a clock face. This one actually comes with the humidor. It’s going to be in any humidor set that you buy. Very inaccurate, pain in the ass to set up, it involves salt and a plastic bag. No one has time for that, and why bother? It’s not even going to give you the right reading probably, so don’t even get it. I’m a fan of the digital one. A little more expensive, but it’s going to be a lot more accurate for you, and a lot easier to maintain and to use. A lot of them, they just come with a battery, pull out the tab, the setting is already set for 70 percent humidity. You take off the sticky back, you want to stick it right there, close, and you’re set.

The next part is going to be actually seasoning the inside of the box. What you want to do is crack that bad boy open. You want to take either a small glass or some shot glasses, you want to fill them up with either your distilled water or your alcohol solution. What you do is you take those, and you throw them right in the box. No cigars in here at all yet. If you’re using shot glasses that are smaller, put one in each corner. Then close that bad boy up, wait about six hours. When you come back, open it up again. If the water level has gone down in these, you want to add more, fill them back to the top, close it, go to sleep, go have a sandwich, come back. When you’ve been doing this for awhile, eventually, after about a five, six hour period, you’re going to see that the water has not gone down anymore. That means that the wood has fully absorbed all the moisture it can. If your humidor comes with dividers, remember, leave the dividers in there, you want them seasoned as well. So, once that’s all done, you take this water out, and then, I’m going to show you how to fill up your humidifier.

The humidifier is the central moisture holding facility in the entire humidor. This one, one I like, it comes with plastic beads in it. Plastic beads are going to hold in that moisture really nice, they’re not going to let it go. No chance of bacteria or mold growing in here. So, you want to take your humidifier like that, take either your solution or your distilled water, crack it open. You want to throw in some drops, right in through the grates there, get that all nice. If you’re using one with beads, the beads are going to change color from almost pure white to a clear, that means that you’ve got enough moisture in there.

Then, you want to make sure you have no drippage. So, paper towel. Where’d I get this? Elves. You want to dry it off just like that, and then you want to give it a good shake. Make sure all that moisture that could leak out comes out, dry as a bone. Again, it’s going to have a sticky. You want to crack open your humidor, preferably right by the hydrometer, stick that bad boy right there.

All right, so now comes the final part of setting up your humidor, actually adding in the cigars. Question I get all the time, “Nick, should I leave them in the cellophane or take them out?” First of all, I don’t care what you do in your private life, that’s your business. Second of all, I prefer leaving him in the cellophane. See the cellophane, it’s absorbable, it’s still going to take in that moisture really nice. And you don’t have that problem of mixing flavors between a flavored cigar and a regular boutique brand. So first, open up your humidor. You want to keep your humidor at least three quarters filled. So, if you have a hundred cigar humidor, don’t buy five cigars and keep them in there. They’re calibrated and they’re built to be 50 to mostly 75 percent filled. So, lay them in there like this. Again, this is going to depend on the size of your humidor and the size of the cigars you’re smoking, whether or not how they’re all going to fit. You might have to do a little geometric rearranging, I’m not really involved in that. So, lay them in there like that, nice and orderly. Then, I always do a little more tests. Evenly wipe this down, go like that a few times, make sure there’s no moisture dripping on your cigars. If moisture gets on the cigar leaf, it’s going to ruin it, you can’t smoke it and that’s a waste.

So, close it like that. Then you want to make sure that seal is down. The seal is the final chapter in making sure your humidor is going to work. Without a good seal, the moisture is going to leak out, and your cigars are going to be garbage.

So, make sure that that seal works, make sure the hinges all work, set them in there, wait a little bit. You should come back in a few hours. That reading on the hygrometer should be up to about 65, 66 at that point. Have a smoke, close it again. After about a day, that should read in the 68 to 72 range. Again, depending on the weather, depending on where you’re keeping your humidor in your house. Then, close it up, invite some friends over, have a drink. I don’t care what you do. Now, leave me alone and enjoy your smokes.


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