Cigars are affected by the moisture content or relative humidity in the surrounding atmosphere. Therefore, they will expand when drawing in moisture and dry out in more arid climates. In order to shield cigars from the outside elements such as winter, central heating or the mouth of your Labrador Retriever, we suggest keeping your cigars in a Humidor.
It is true that Humidors are both treasured family heirlooms and fine pieces of furniture, but at their core Humidors are simply well crafted boxes used for storing, aging and protecting your cigars. The box itself acts as a dividing wall between its humid interior and the everyday atmosphere of your home, office or cigar room. It is essential that your Humidor is well constructed; solid wood boxes with quality hinges and tight seals make for the best environments.
Most humidors are lined with Spanish cedar which is naturally absorbent and helps your Humidor retain moisture. Spanish cedar has a very light odor and will impart a nice spicy flavor to your cigars over time. It also defends against bugs such as Tobacco Weevils that have been known to infiltrate the odd box of smokes. Lastly, it allows for the best environment to age your cigars. Avoid American cedar or Western Red cedar, although similar in namesake, these woods will wreak havoc on the flavor of your prized puros.
The Humidification Device
Every box needs a humidification device such as the Credo Precision 70 to create the proper storage environment. Use only Distilled Water to fill this humidifier to avoid the mold-creating mineral deposits found in regular tap water. Fill the humidifier per instructions, but average once every two to four weeks depending on the size of your Humidor and the number of cigars being stored. Even if you only smoke Torpedoes, this is not rocket science; it just take a few minutes every week to check on your smokes. If they feel moist, look to refilling the humidification device closer to once a month. If they seem a little dry, add Distilled Water more often. You'll want to find a balance that works for your Humidor and cigar supply, and with a little TLC you will find the correct timeline for managing your humidification device.
Theoretically, these devices measure the relative humidity inside of your humidor (which should hover somewhere between 65-72%). They come in analog and digital varieties, but we have found that their accuracy is spotty, at best. In order for a consumer to get an accurate reading from a Hygrometer, they would have to purchase a bulky digital device that would ultimately be too large and too expensive to rest comfortably inside the box. Therefore, we believe that the Hygrometers available to the general public should be seen primarily as design elements or ornamentation. If you like the way they look and don't fixate on their readings, there is no harm in having one.
Once you have chosen your humidor by size (50 or 100 cigars?), style of wood (was that Zebra or Bubinga) and quality of hardware and craftsmanship, you will need to take a week to prepare the Humidor prior to introducing your cigars. With a soft cloth dampened with Distilled Water, wipe down the Spanish cedar interior and insert your recently filled humidification device. As a general rule when using water around cigars, moderation is key. Don't feel the need to drench the Spanish cedar, just dab the wood so that it can retain moisture without taking it directly from your cigars. Also, don't feel the compulsion to drown your humidification device. It will work at optimum efficiency if you keep it moist, allowing it to regulate the relative humidity. At the end of the week, add your cigars and enjoy.