Many of you who have just joined the cigar revolution may wonder if you need to purchase a cigar humidor, quietly mumbling to yourself, "I already had to buy a lighter, now this!" While some people do believe that keeping cigars in a plastic bag with a damp towel is sufficient enough to keep them suitable, nine out of ten cigar lovers likely splurge on the humidor. And, of course, nine out of ten dentists would probably agree.
This is because cigars adapt to their surroundings, absorbing their environment like a sponge. If they are kept in an ill-suited environment, they will age to be ill-suited cigars, disappointing both their parents and the person who bought them. On the flip side, however, is the fact that if cigars are placed in a well-suited environment, they will age to become well-suited for even the most seasoned connoisseur.
For those who have yet to purchase a humidor for your cigars to call "home," you might be confused as to what a humidor is and whether or not you should buy one. They may seem confusing, like there are a lot of types and brands, each one begging for a chance to age your cigar. However, they are really pretty simple; a humidor is what it sounds like: a box or a room that contains constant humidity. Basically, it's the cigar's version of Florida.
While many cigar shops have room sized humidors, a walk-in humidity closet where patrons can shop for cigars, when purchasing a humidor for personal use the size doesn't need to be comparable: you don't need to turn your spare bedroom into a humidor, replacing your bed set and angering your spouse. A small wooden or glass humidor box will suffice, holding a few dozen cigars, keeping them at the perfect temperature and helping them to grow old gracefully.
Humidors all contain hygrometers, a device used to monitor humidity levels. This helps cigar lovers to keep their humidors around the ideal humidity of 65 to 70 percent. When the humidity in the humidor falls above or below this level, the hygrometer will tell you, as if tapping you on the shoulder with its thermometer. Ideally, it's best to fill the humidor as much as possible, packing in the cigars to the very top: the more empty space the more likely a drop in humidity. And, more importantly, the more empty space the less cigars in your collection.
Humidors are made with wood that is particularly good for aging cigars; it's like wrinkle cream for the tobacco world. Constructed with Spanish-cedar, this wood holds in more moisture, sheds its magnetic aroma onto the cigars, and repels tobacco beetles, tiny bugs that eat the tobacco, potentially ruining cigar collections and providing an undeserved luxury to the insect world.
Once a humidor is purchased, it must be prepped prior to use, placing your cigars in too soon will result in a waste of time and a waste of tobacco. To prep the humidor, take a damp cloth or towel and remove any dust by wiping down the interior. Next, place a small bowl of water inside the humidor and allow it to remain there for 12 hours with the lid to the humidor closed. After 12 hours, if the majority of the water has evaporated, fill another bowl of water and keep it inside the humidor for 24 hours. It's when the water quits evaporating that your humidor is ready for use. In a nutshell, when your humidor is no longer thirsty, give it your cigars.
Every few days be sure to check your humidor to make sure it's not in need of a refill. If you live in a particularly hot climate, you may need to check your humidor more frequently, making sure the water hasn't all evaporated or that your parched dog hasn't drank from it in an act of thirsty desperation. When filling it, only use distilled water or half distilled water and half Propylene Glycol.
Humidors are essential to a good cigar collection. Not only do they keep cigars fresh and preserved, but they keep them enhanced with the essence they are meant to showcase. Having a cigar collection and not a humidor can be compared to owning a classic car, and keeping it outside the garage where any element of weather can attack. Most true connoisseurs, and novices who hope to become connoisseurs, advocate the use of a humidor. If you don't use one, your cigars may spoil or, if they don't, you will only come close to true luxury. Close, but no cigar.