Best Practices for your Humidor
Humidors are to cigars what a fridge is to your favorite dish, a safe storage space with optimal conditions until its ready to be enjoyed. If you're anything like me, you keep hundreds of dollars worth of cigars in your humidor and want to make sure everything is kept in perfect order. Here are a few quick tips to ensure your favorite cigars to always kept fresh:
- Calibrate your hygrometer. To ensure your hydrometer is accurate, you should calibrate it. There are two methods. Boveda, the humidity experts, offer a simple one-step calibration kit . Another option is the salt test, as described here.
- Season and re-season. When you first get your cedar-lined humidor, it is important to properly season the wood. This process begins with a quick and light dampening of the cedar lining. Do not soak or drench the wood, but a gently swipe of a sponge soaked in distilled water will introduce some moisture to the kiln-dried surface. Secondly, place a shot glass filled with distilled water in the center of the humidor along with the humidifier (charged) of choice, close the lid, and let it sit for 48 - 72 hours until your calibrated hydrometer reads in the 70-75 range. At this point, the cedar should be properly seasoned. You can remove the shot glass, recharge the humidifier, and add your cigars.
- Watch closely. The first days after seasoning are critical. As you add cigars, the dry tobacco may drain the newly-seasoned cedar of its humidity. If you notice the humidity is dropping below 70, you may need to re-season, however it may be enough to recharge the humidifier more often (which should be checked weekly and refilled when dry).
- Follow the 70/70 Rule. 70% humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit should always be your target. While some enthusiasts (including myself) prefer to keep humidity a touch higher, it's best practice to consistently aim for 70/70 (+/- 5).
- Rotate your cigars. Now that your humidor is properly conditioned, your cigars are being properly cared for. To maintain consistent humidity and aging, you'll want to rotate the contents of your humidor every three months. Move top shelf cigars to the bottom, right side storage the left. Proper rotation is essential to even marrying of tobaccos and humidity throughout your humidor
At the end of the day, cigars are only as good as the care they are given. Cigars that aren't properly humidified will fail to burn evenly and won't reveal the full complexity of their profile. Cigars are intended to be a relaxing, stress-free escape from the day. By following a few simple steps, you can maintain the perfect conditions for your cigars, never adding worry to your light-ups.