Maintenance Instructions for Prometheus Humidor, Optima and SCS
1. Humidification of Tobacco
The best cigars are made from tobaccos grown in tropical or equatorial areas such as Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cameroon and Indonesia. The humidity of the climate in these regions is ideal for the maturation of tobacco leaves. The Relative Humidity is high (70 to 80%) and almost constant. Tobacco matures in this atmosphere before cigars are manufactured and sent around the world. Once cigars leave their factory, they undergo harsh temperature and humidity variations, and can complete their maturation only in the controlled environment. Cigars need their original humid atmosphere to achieve maturation and deliver their aroma at their best. Consequently, it is necessary to recreate the humid climate of the production area when storing the cigars at home or at the office. Prometheus humidors equipped with Prometheus Optima (humidity regulator) provide an ideal controlled environment (Relative Humidity of approximately 70%) for your valuable cigars.
2. Relative Humidity
The Relative Humidity (RH) may be defined as the amount of moisture in the atmosphere in comparison with that at the saturation point at a given temperature. Water exposed to air gradually evaporates until the saturation point at which the air may retain the highest quantity of evaporated water. At the saturation point, the slightest drop in temperature will cause condensation. This is known as the dew point and corresponds to 100% RH. At 20 degree Celsius (68 degree Fahrenheit) and a normal atmospheric pressure, the amount of water present in the air at 100% RH is approximately 15 grams per cubic meter. At a Relative Humidity of 70%, the amount of evaporated water is approximately 10.5 grams per cubic meter.
3. Why Create a Humid Environment with a Constant Relative Humidity of 70%?
Cigars are naturally hygroscopic products. In common with many organic substances, they dry out in the absence of humidity in the air, or absorb moisture from the ambient air. They establish an equilibrium with the atmospheric humidity which surrounds them. A dry cigar burns too quickly. The temperature at which combustion occurs is too high because it is not tempered by the natural moisture of the cigar. The smoke is hot and acrid, and the cigar becomes harsh. In contrast, a damp cigar does not burn easily. It becomes difficult to draw and craters occur at the combustion point. The smoke is heavy and the aroma, pungent and tart. For a pleasant smoke, a cigar should contain a certain amount of moisture which corresponds to 13-14% of its total weight. Thus, the combustion is regular; the draw is easy; and the smoke is blueish and light. The aroma of tobacco is fully developed while the irritating effect of the smoke is moderated by the humidity of the cigar itself. This is why it is necessary to maintain the Relative Humidity of the atmosphere in which cigars are stored. The ideal moisture content of a cigar (13 to 14%) corresponds to a Relative Humidity of 70%.
4. How to Create and Maintain a Constant Relative Humidity of 70%?
If you place a water reservoir inside the humidor, the water will evaporate right away all at once. As a result, the air inside of the humidor becomes quickly saturated by evaporated water and the humidity inside of the humidor will shoot up in a very short period of time. As soon as the Relative Humidity runs past 85%, mold appears. Beyond 90%, cigars will rot away after a few weeks or even days. Of course, a limited amount of water in the reservoir would avoid the decay of the cigars, but the cigars will dry up shortly after all the water has completely evaporated. As a result, it is critical that the humidor is equipped with a humidity regulator which will allow the water to evaporate slowly and gradually to maintain a constant Relative Humidity of 70%. The Prometheus humidity regulator, Prometheus Optima, which is installed inside of Prometheus humidors , accomplishes this. We have mixed special chemical substances such as propylene glycol with distilled water. This special chemical mixture controls the evaporation of the water. Prometheus Optima (Prometheus humidity regulator made in France) is pre-treated with this special chemical mixture and is ready for use. Also, a special care solution has been developed by our laboratory to ensure the periodic maintenance of Prometheus Optima. This solution aims at regenerating the above chemical substances. We advise you to treat your Prometheus Optima with our special care solution (Prometheus SCS) once every six months so that your Prometheus Optima will continuously achieve the slow and gradual evaporation of the distilled water. You can purchase Prometheus SCS at a tobacco shop near you or contact us.
5. Prometheus Optima and How to Maintain Proper Humidity inside Humidor?
The periodic addition of distilled water to Prometheus Optima (Prometheus humidity regulator) is enough to enable it to stabilize the Relative Humidity indefinitely. Under normal use, your Prometheus Optima should be refilled with distilled water approximately once every month. Make sure to use distilled water only so that no bacteria will develop inside of your humidor. The illustrations in the next page explain how to set up and use Prometheus Optima.
When you set up your Prometheus humidor for the first time, you might have to refill your Prometheus Optima more than once a month because the inside humidity of a new, unused humidor is quite low. In addition, you might want to wet paper or cotton towel with distilled water and gently press against the inside surface of new, unused Prometheus humidor so that the RH humidity of 70% can be quickly achieved. However, do not rub wet paper or cotton towel harshly against the inside surface. This will damage the inside finish of your Prometheus humidor.
The hygrometer will allow you to estimate whether you need to refill the humidity regulator. The old models of Prometheus humidors came with analog hygrometer (the kind with a needle and a dial). The analog hygrometers do not accurately measure the humidity. Consequently, we have started to offer a digital hygrometer/thermometer whose measurement of humidity is more accurate. If you own an old model of Prometheus humidor which did not come with a Prometheus digital hygrometer/thermometer, you can purchase one at a tobacco shop near you or contact us . The instruction on how to use Prometheus digital hygrometer/thermometer is enclosed inside of the product package.
The main problem with the analog hygrometer is calibration. For instance, no matter how often you fill your humidity regulator, your analog hygrometer reads 59%. Given that your humidor and humidity regulator are well-made ones such as Prometheus humidor and Optima, it is quite possible that your analog hygrometer has to be re-calibrated. In order to re-calibrate your analog hygrometer, put it inside of a moist towel for 30 minutes. If the calibration of your analog hygrometer is accurate, it should read between 98 and 100 percent. Otherwise, apply the difference to your future reading of your analog hygrometer. For instance, if it reads 90 percent after 30 minutes inside of the moist towel, add 8 to 10 percent to the reading of your analog hygrometer. Or, if your analog hygrometer has a hole in the back which lets you adjust the setting, you can correct the reading error by moving the needle accordingly. However, note that this "wet towel" calibration is not exact either. The best way to determine how well cigars are humidified inside of the humidor is either to use a digital hygrometer/thermometer or to feel and smoke the cigars.
7. Tobacco Beetles
When the humidity inside of the humidor falls below the ideal Relative Humidity range of 68% -- 72%, please refill the Prometheus humidity regulator with distilled water -- about once a month. During the humid summer time, the humidity of your Prometheus humidor can go up significantly high. If the humidity goes up higher than 72%, leave the humidor open until the inside humidity goes down.
In addition to the Relative Humidity, please make sure that your humidor is kept in the temperature range of 68°F -- 72°F. During the winter months, do not put your Prometheus humidor right next to heater. During the summer months, try to keep your Prometheus humidor in the air-conditioned room which maintains a temperature range of 68°F -- 72°F.
If the humidity and temperature of your humidor move above the ideal range (68% -- 72% and 68°F -- 72°F), tobacco beetles which exist in larvae form inside of tobacco leaves can hatch. If the outbreak of tobacco beetles occurs, you will open your humidor or a new box of cigars to see your cigar with a neat, circular pinhole. This is the evidence of tobacco beetle infestation. In two days, the full-fledged beetle infestation can destroy every cigar in your desktop humidor. In the first place, you must prevent the inside environment of your humidors from being too moist or too hot by keeping it in the ideal range (68% -- 72% and 68°F -- 72°F). However, if the beetle infestation occurs, put all of your cigars from the infested humidor in a sealed plastic bag and then, keep them in the freezer for 72 hours in order to kill tobacco beetles and their larvae. After 72 hours, move the cigars to the refrigerator for one day and then, to your humidor in order to protect your cigars from the shock of sudden temperature change. Before you put the cigars back to your humidor, clean the inside of your humidor with a paper or cotton towel wetted with distilled water.
8. Mahogany or Spanish Cedar
The inside veneer of Prometheus humidor is mahogany. Some humidors come Spanish cedar- lined. Which one is better? Mahogany will age your cigars naturally whereas Spanish cedar, with the scent of cedar. We at Prometheus believe that cigars should be aged inside of the humidor naturally without getting scented.
9. Cleaning of Prometheus Humidor
Wet a clean cotton or paper towel with water or alcohol and gently wipe the outer surface of the humidor. For the inside cleaning, wet a clean cotton or paper towel with distilled water and gently wipe. If you would like to remove finger prints or any stain inside of the humidor, use a soft sand paper and gently rub it sideways but not vertically. If you would like to remove scratches on the outer surface of the humidor, apply buffing liquid for wooden furniture on the outer surface and rub it with a buffing cloth.
WARNING: Warping of Your Humidor Lid
Prometheus stands behind its humidors and if a Prometheus humidor has any manufacturing defect, Prometheus will repair it at no charge according to its warranty. However, if the lid of the humidor warps due to improper maintenance by its dealers or consumers, the warped lid will not be covered by Prometheus Humidor Warranty. In order to prevent the lid of the humidor from warping, do not place the humidor under direct sunlight or track/spot lighting. Moreover, if your humidor experiences dramatic temperature changes, the lid of the humidor will also warp. During the winter months, you must not keep your humidor next to heater and during the summer months, prevent your humidor from being exposed to extreme sunlight.