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87

Kristoff Sumatra

Why Spanish Cedar?

byJonathan DeTore

It’s always great diving into your humidor when you want to reach in for a flavorful and relaxing cigar. Something about opening the lid and getting that big whiff of cigars and cedar almost instantaneously soothes you for the inevitable cigar that is to come. Each time we open the humidor we also take a look at the hygrometer to make sure everything is on point, and most of the time, it’s perfect each time you open the lid. It’s no wonder that it is always on point however. After all, your humidor is lined with Spanish cedar, and if it’s not, it certainly should be. Due to its outstanding qualities, Spanish cedar is the naturally superior wood to use in a humidor. So why Spanish cedar? It almost seems that any wood will do. Just keep the cigars safe and humid and we’re good to go, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Let’s take oak for example. Oak is an extremely dense and hard wood. Not surprisingly, oak isn’t porous at all so it would never absorb humidity. Spanish cedar on the other hand is perfect for absorbing and releasing humidity as needed naturally. This comes in handy when seasoning a humidor since many beginners most likely over season their humidors. By this, I simply mean they put too much water in the humidor. It’s bound to happen, especially if we use a clean rag and wipe down the inside once or twice. That’s a lot of water! But fear not - Spanish cedar’s porous quality is perfect for absorbing all that extra water and releasing it when the humidity drops in your humidor so time between seasonings is greatly extended. This aids in aging cigars as well by creating a naturally stable environment inside your humidor. Spanish cedar is also a perfect complement to the cigars you are storing in your humidor. If you’ve ever wondered why most Arturo Fuente cigars and many other cigar companies wrapp their cigars in a thin cedar tube, the answer is simply - to add flavor and to enhance the aroma of the cigar. One of the tastes that is used to describe a cigar naturally is “woody.” Spanish cedar greatly enhances any of these woody notes or even brings out this new element in a cigar that does not naturally possess this flavor, adding an extra layer of complexity. There are many reasons why Spanish cedar is the primary wood you should use for your humidor. From retaining humidity to adding flavor and aroma to your smoke, it has been tested time and time again as the best wood to use. Of course, while other woods such as American red cedar and Mahogany are not bad alternatives, they never really fill the void left by the absence of Spanish cedar. Most other woods simply do not hold their humidity and they can give a foul taste or aroma to your cigars. This can ultimately ruin your smoking experience. So next time you’re searching for a humidor, make sure it’s lined with Spanish cedar.
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How and Why Cigar Age Part 1

byDoc Diaz

The subject of aging cigars always elicits a wide range of opinions; not only among rank and file cigar smokers, but also among those who have spent many years collecting and aging cigars. In general, my axiom of the value of aging cigars can be stated this way: "The benefits of aging cigars will vary from cigar to cigar and may range from considerable to negligible." Cigars are made of plant matter and all plant matter changes over time, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. That distinction is important because the question of whether a cigar will improve or worsen with a year or two (or more) of aging, will ultimately be subjective. These days, most cigars (of non-Cuban origin) are ready to be smoked as soon as they hit the retailer’s shelves. Cigars coming out of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras, just to name a few, arrive at their point-of-sale with considerable age and in prime smoking condition.  The best growers and manufacturers are meticulous with their handling of the product. The tobacco has been fully cured and completely fermented. It has likely been baled and aged for 2-3 years prior to being used to make premium cigars. After the cigars have been rolled, they typically receive another 3 months (or longer) of rest in aging rooms, prior to shipping. So, by the time the cigars reach your humidor, the tobacco has experienced considerable aging. Nevertheless, because a cigar is a plant product, the tobacco will continue to morph and evolve (even if very slowly) over the course of years. Though cigar tobacco has undergone much fermentation at the factory, there will continue to be micro-fermentation, which will continually purge the residual by-products of fermentation (e.g., Ammonia) and other compounds that can make the flavor of the tobacco acrid and unpleasant until they have dissipated. Various other compounds within the tobacco will also change over time. As your cigars rest in your humidor, the oleoresins and moisture will migrate across the leaves, becoming distributed more evenly throughout the cigar. This will predispose a cigar to a more even burn and will result in subtle changes in the flavor. This process is known as "marrying." As the cigars continue to age and marry, the flavors will change and may become less distinct. This is because the oleoresins, which carry the bulk of the flavor in a cigar, will slowly evaporate. So, when you smoke a cigar that has been aging for a good length of time, the flavors that were once so clear may be more difficult to discern because they have mellowed and blended. While this may sound ominous, it is often a good thing since the tobaccos will have a tendency to become smoother and will display fewer "off" tastes and/or less "bite." You may be able to pick up flavors that were once masked by the other, more powerful flavors in the tobacco. This is the essence of COMPLEXITY in a cigar. Complexity is the emergence of layers and multiple combinations of flavors within a cigar and is a feature of well-aged tobacco. Making the Most out of Aging Cigars It is difficult to predict how a cigar will age and you can't be sure whether or not you will even like the cigar after it has some significant time in your humidor. The cigar may indeed be smoother and more complex, but there is no guarantee that you will enjoy that flavor profile. It is the individual smoker that decides if the changes are good or bad and there is no single answer that works for every person. Many factors are responsible for how any given person will interpret the flavors and characteristics of a cigar. The number and quality of a person's organs of taste and smell, their prior experiences with flavors and aromas, and their ability to perceive and subsequently label these tastes and aromas will all play a role in determining whether or not they will relish the fruits of a well-aged cigar. There is no universal "ideal" time period for home aging as far as getting the best results. The best way to decide if a cigar is aging beneficially is to smoke many cigars from the same batch over a period of time. In other words, by smoking them as they age, you can experience, first-hand, the changes taking place during the course of a cigar's lifespan. In that way, you can check their progress and determine whether you should smoke them quicker because their body and strength is tailing off rapidly, or whether you can relax and smoke them at your leisure because they are aging slowly and gracefully. Time, Money, Patience Laying cigars down to age takes a major commitment of time, money, and patience. Time is a concept that is lost on many cigar smokers. Many people buy cigars in samplers of 5-10 cigars so they can smoke one or two here and there over an indefinite time span and typically run out of those cigars before they have significant age. Ideally, you should buy cigars by the box for aging. That way you can keep them in their original box and away from the influences of other aromas and flavors of cigars in the same humidor. By purchasing cigars by the box, you can pluck one out at various intervals and note the changes that 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and more, have made on the smoke. But, purchasing boxes of cigars also has its drawbacks. It requires some serious cash, not only for cigars, but also for storage space. People that want to give their cigars some serious age must think in terms of large volume humidors such as large coolers, or cabinet style humidors, or walk-ins. Providing the space for hundreds, if not thousands of cigars can be costly, but is a necessary adjunct to serious collecting and aging. Aging premium cigars can be an educational and fun pastime and it can result in some optimally aged smokes. But, before you embark on a plan of collecting and aging cigars, be sure to consider the potential costs as well as the prospective rewards. 
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Over-Humidified Cigars!

byJonathan DeTore

As a cigar smoker, I have one main concern (which everyone really has), which is making sure my cigars are properly humidified. Sometimes it takes a lot more than to just charge you humidifier and throw your cigars in you humidor. In fact, maintaining a proper humidity can be quite difficult, especially when the seasons start to change. When summer comes the air gets more humid and can increase the humidity in your humidor. During winter, its low to almost bone dry conditions and can significantly decrease the humidity in your humidor. Since we are entering into summer and a higher humidity, I want to cover what you should do if your cigars get over humidified. There are really two things you can do to decrease the humidity in your cigars/humidor, the first one being just open your humidor for an hour or two. I mean, it kind of makes sense if you think about it. If you have a humidor that has too much humidity, if you open it, the humidity will decrease. Once you close the lid, the humidity will regulate to a decreased level. The good thing about doing this is if too much humidity escapes, you can always add more by using a humidity pack or re-seasoning. The down side to doing this, however, is it is sort of a shock to your cigars. Humidity makes your cigars swell and when you change from a very humid environment to a significantly decreased humidity, the outer part of the cigar will lose humidity first and tighten up around an over-humidified and swollen center, which can cause your cigar to crack. If you do decide to open your humidor and let your cigars sit out, make sure the humidity is not so drastic that your cigars get damaged. The safer way to decrease the humidity in your humidor is to simply put some cedar strips in with your cigars. Cedar is used in humidors because it retains moisture very well, so why not benefit from this natural property  by adding dry cedar to soak up excess humidity gradually over the course of a day or so? Just make sure the cedar that you use is clean. Just like the water you use must be distilled to ensure it is free of spores that can cause mold, the cedar you put in must also be clean for the very same reason. Once the humidity in your humidor is at your desired level, simply remove the cedar and enjoy a summer full of smokes. The best way to take care of over-humidified cigars though, is taking simple preventative measures to make sure your humidity does not reach above 75% at the MOST. Anything over that and your cigars will run a risk of becoming over-humidified or growing mold in your humidor. By properly maintaining your humidor, you will  prevent having to take these extra steps to recover over-humidified cigars. 
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90

Onyx Reserve

88

La Fontana Vintage

Fighting and Removing Mold in a Cigar Humidor

byLou Tenney

Heat, moisture, and organic material are a surefire recipe for the growth of mold. Unfortunately, these conditions also describe a cigar humidor that is properly maintained. Indeed, to care for cigars is to walk a razor's edge: too much heat and humidity, and you risk developing mold and tobacco beetles. Not enough moisture, and you risk your cigars drying out and becoming stale. In this article, we'll focus on restoring your humidor to its former glory after developing mold. The first thing to know is that mold spores are literally everywhere, so it's not worthwhile to think of them as the enemy. Only under the right conditions – plenty of heat, humidity, and organic material – do they develop into the visible colonies that can plague cigars and humidors. The recommended threshold for heat and humidity is 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 72% humidity, but cigars can be stored long-term at a Rh of 60% or even 55%. Once these conditions are exceeded, that's when the spores begin to manifest as the colorful splotches that cause off-flavors and aromas in a cigar. Mold grows relatively slowly, so if you check your humidor on a regular basis, you're likely to first notice a musty smell. Whether you're in those early stages or you have a full-blown mold outbreak on your hands, the sooner you mitigate the problem, the better. Begin by emptying your humidor. Brush any mold off your cigars, and place them in a cool, dry environment while you clean your humidor. Next, take the humidor outside and carefully brush any growing mold from the humidor, so as not to cause staining on the interior wood surfaces. Once complete, it's time to kill the spores. Using a light solution of distilled water and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, wipe down all of the humidor's interior surfaces, and leave it open while it dries. This will kill any visible mold, but remember that most of the mold is not actually visible. Another proven tactic is to lightly sand the interior surfaces with a fine grit sandpaper. Just make sure to wipe down after sanding to clean up any dust. Your humidor may require several such treatments to completely remove all existing mold, and even then, there may still be a funky, musty smell. Place a paper plate of baking soda into the humidor to absorb these smells, changing as necessary. Even then, some smells may linger. These will dissipate over time, especially if you commit to maintaining proper humidity and temperature, and keep it filled with plenty of cigars. It's time to re-season your now-dry humidor by wiping down the walls with a new sponge and distilled water.
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How to Season a Glass-Top Humidor

byJonathan DeTore

Seasoning and setting up a humidor is relatively simple when it comes down to it. Think about it: you make sure the interior wood is humidified to the desired relative humidity, and then stick a humidifier and hygrometer to the inside of the lid. If your humidor has a good seal, your humidor will maintain its humidity for a long while before you have to do any routine maintenance. However, if you are dealing with a glass top humidor, you may have to do a little more work than this to ensure your cigars are kept humidified. There are two main issues when dealing with a glass top humidor we never really think about. Usually (myself included), we see a glass top humidor and want it so we can stare into it and daydream about what cigars we’re going to have next. It’s like looking at the Mona Lisa behind glass. It makes our cigars look like a masterpiece. Okay, so I digress. This is turning more into a romantic novel than an actual “How To,” article. Anyway, the two main issues are where to put your hygrometer and humidifier, and how to deal with a loose seal around the glass which will drain humidity from your humidor. First of all, regarding where to put your hygrometer and humidifier (which is a question we constantly get when someone is setting up a glass top humidor), you can put your hygrometer and humidifier anywhere you want. It’s preferable to place at least the humidifier on top of your cigars however, to have the moisture drop down on to your cigars, but to be perfectly honest, a humidifier will work just as well when resting on the bottom of your humidor. Humidifiers act more as an aid to the humidified wood in your humidor and just extend the period in between re-seasoning it. Similarly, the hygrometer can go anywhere in your humidor since the humidity will be constant throughout. Now on to the biggest issue when setting up a glass top humidor: the seal.You may not realize it, but the seal between the wood and glass may not be air tight, which is the case 99% of the time if you find you are losing humidity. A lot of the time, people will attribute this to a loose seal around the lid instead, when the seal is actually air tight. To test the seal around the glass, just place clear tape around the outside lid and let it sit. If the humidity holds, the seal is weak and needs to be fixed. To fix this, just get a clear, odorless epoxy and apply it to the edge of the glass to create an air tight seal. It’s a rather easy fix to a simple problem. So if you are thinking of buying a glass top humidor, keep these tips in mind. It may sound rather discouraging that the seal around the glass may not be tight, but I can assure you, setting up a glass top humidor is worth it and looks great.
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87

90 Miles Reserva Selecta

Choosing and seasoning a new humidor

byGary Korb

If you're looking for the best way to care for your cigars, you need to have a good "sense of humidor." Here are a few pointers on the care and maintenance of your cigars' future home. Remember, you have to be willing to make the commitment to maintaining a proper environment so your favorite cigars stay fresh and age properly. 1) The humidor should have good tight seal. Raise the lid about 3 inches and let it drop. You should hear a nice "whoosh" sound. That's the sound of the air escaping, which tells you it's a well-made box. 2) The inside should be lined with high-quality Spanish cedar that will resist cracking as the wood expands and contracts over time. 3) Prepping the box: Before you place your cigars in your new humidor you must "charge" the humidifier with distilled water ONLY or 50/50 solution (see #6). Make sure it's been completely saturated. After putting it in place under the lid, dampen a new, unused kitchen sponge with distilled water. Place it on a plastic sandwich bag on the bottom of the humidor. Close the lid and let the box sit for up to three days to let the cedar absorb as much moisture as possible. The hygrometer should read somewhere in the mid to high 80% range by then. Remove the sponge, let the box settle down to about 72% RH, then put in the cigars. Boveda also makes a seasoning packet that you can use in lieu of the sponge. It's an excellent solution and less complicated. 4) Do not keep the box anywhere it may be prone to mold or fungus like a damp basement. Only if your basement is cool and dry should you keep your humidor down there. 5) Never put the box in a room with wide sweeps in temperature or place the box in a part of the room where it will be in direct sun or lamp light. 6) Check your humidifier at least every two weeks and be sure to "re-charge" it only with distilled water or a polyglycol solution (Griffo, et. Al.) on a regular basis, at least once a month. IMPORTANT: If you have a green floral foam-filled humidifier, cut the 50/50 solution to about 1 oz. of solution to 6 oz. of distilled water. Polyglcol has a tendency to clog floral foam over time. (If you have a CREDO humidifier, it is recommended that you use their brand of wetting solution.) In the winter when the air is drier, you may have to do it more often. The same applies to those of you who live in very dry or desert regions of the country. 7) Check the box every few days and give your cigars the "pinch test" to see if they're supple. If they're too moist, cut back the humidity. Too dry, add a little more solution to the humidifier. Once you're convinced you have attained a consistent balanced environment, you won't need to check them as often. Also, about every two to four weeks, open the humidor lid for about 15-30 minutes to let some room air circulate through the box. 8) Temperature & Humidity: 70% humidity and 70 degrees are considered "ideal" but actually, it's sometimes healthier to keep your cigars in the range of 65%-68% humidity and 65 degrees temp. Too much of both may cause mold, and even worse, the hatching of tobacco beetle eggs.  9) Even when calibrated, most common "circular gauge" type hygrometers have a +/- factor of 4 to 5%, so if your's is not reading exactly 70% and you're sure you've done everything according to Hoyle, don't worry. Finally, if your humidor can't maintain a consistent tropical climate it's nothing more than a pretty wooden box.
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Keeping your humidor in good condition

byGary Korb

Q. How often should I condition my humidor and how often should I re-soak my humidifier?- Brian B. A. You should only need to "condition" your humidor once: when you first set it up for "seasoning." If done properly, the box will continue to season itself over time as the moisture absorbed by the cedar walls reaches a consistent ebb & flow. The humidifier should be re-charged only when you see the RH% dip below the 67% mark. Try to keep the RH at average of 70%, but try not to let it get any higher than 72%. Finally, check your cigars regularly, at least 3 times a week, to ensure they’re supple; not too moist or too dry.
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Humidor unhinged!

byGary Korb

Q. Recently I noticed that lid of my cigar humidor was not opening and closing properly. When I checked the back of the box, I saw that the pin that holds one of the hinges together was missing. I looked everywhere for it, but no luck. (Maybe my wife vacuumed it up.) It's not an expensive box, but it does the job. If I re-position the hinge just right, the humidor keeps its seal. Since I don't want to replace the hinge or the humidor right now, any suggestions?- Bill in North Carolina A. Interesting you should mention this, because I had the exact same problem with a humidor I was using in my office. At first I was going to go to a hobby shop and try to find a replacement pin, or just try to replace the hinge altogether. But since I'm not much of a carpenter, I didn't want to start dismantling the box. So, in lieu of that, I took a bushy pipe cleaner and stuck it through the hinge where the pin would go. The fit was nice and tight. I tied the two ends of the pipe cleaner together and clipped off the excess wire. That was over two years ago, and it's still holding up. If it ever fails, I'll just do it again.
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Glass top vs. all wood humidors

byGary Korb

Q. I am looking at getting a second humidor. Are there any issues with glass top units versus solid wood interiors?- Chris B. A. Good question. The main issue with a glass top humidor would be keeping it out of direct sun or lamplight. The glass can act as a heat conductor and may adversely affect the temperature and humidity in the humidor. The other thing is, it's preferable to have the humidifier mounted under the lid, so the moist air can travel downward towards the cigars, which you can't do with a glass top humidor, since the humidifier is usually placed on the bottom of the box, and often to one side, as well. Of course, there is an aesthetic side to having a glass top humidor, since many cigar smokers like to admire their collection without having to open the box. If you properly season the humidor, and can maintain a good temperature/RH ratio for keeping your cigars fresh, a glass top humidor should serve you just as well as a solid wood model. Regardless of what type of cigar humidor you decide to buy, in the end, make sure you invest in a well-made box that hold up over time.
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Jar cigar humidors

byGary Korb

Q. I was just given a jar to store my cigars (I don't think it's a humidor though, just a sealed jar).  How long will cigars stay good in a jar like that?  I just ordered 25 cigars and wouldn't want them to all get stale on me. If I were to put a sponge in the jar should I dampen the sponge, and how often should I do that?- Dan in Marlborough, MA A.  Although it may be just a big mason jar, I'm going to assume you received a jar cigar humidor (shown). It's not a humidor in the traditional sense, but it sure keeps cigars fresh - and they will last a lifetime if properly managed. The main drawback to a jar humidor is, it seals so tightly that humidity tends to build up quickly. You might even find yourself leaving the jar's lid unlocked much of the time to allow a little airflow. Plus, they need to be kept out of direct sun or lamp light. If you put any kind of humidifier in there, I would suggest nothing more than a DryMistat stick. I would also add a digital hygrometer so you can keep tabs on the conditions, and a small block of cedar from a factory box for a little wood humidor fragrance. Finally, be careful when removing any un-celloed cigars from the jar. If the jar is very full, sometimes the wrappers can tear while pulling the cigars out. Therefore, I suggest you keep the cellos on any cigars you plan on storing in the jar.
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90

Asylum Premium

86

Alec Bradley American Classic Blend

Humidifier and cigar placement in a cigar humidor

byGary Korb

Q. I have a 300+ cigar humidor that's about 14" deep. I'm wondering on humidifier placement. Does the moisture tend to stay at the same level as the humidifier or sink/rise in the humidor? There's some ventilation between trays, but I'm wondering if I should put humidifiers on both the top and bottom? Also, is there any benefit with having the cigars on end, or laying on their side in the humidor?- R. Johnson in Battle Creek, MI A. Moisture from the humidifier travels downwards due to the natural weight of water. That's why most humidifiers are placed under the lid. However, when a top tray is involved a good way to ensure you get proper humidification below the top tray is to place a jar of humidity crystals (see photo) on the bottom. The evaporation from the jar mixed with the downward flow of air from the top should help give you a better overall RH (relative humidity). Regarding the positioning of your cigars: Try to keep some space between the cigars for additional airflow. What side they're lying on is not all that relevant. Often with a high capacity humidor, it helps to have a fan to maintain good air circulation. Based on the size of your humidor, a Cigar Oasis XL Plus would be a good solution, but I wouldn't spend the $ unless you felt the circulation was causing serious problems with your cigars.
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Foam-lined travel cigar humidors: Are they reliable?

byGary Korb

Q. I see a lot of foam-lined travel humidors in the cigar catalogs. Seems to me, the foam would act as a DE-humidifing agent, sucking moisture from both the cigars and the humidifing device.  Do these things maintain the smokes?- John R. in Daleville, VA A. Although I think you make a good observation, I disagree. The foam is made from a plastic composite, and if you were to put your arm inside a plastic trash bag, for instance, you might find it begin to sweat rather quickly. Moreover, because the foam is spongy, humidity is actually trapped in the microscopic pores. IOW, I think the foam does more to *preserve* the humidity than deplete it. On the other hand, leather cigar pocket cases are notorious for sucking the moisture out of cigars, especially if the cellos have been removed. I always make sure I have a humidification device in my travel humidor, especially if I'm going to be away for more than a couple of days. If you have a foam case, and it doesn't have a built-in humidifier, you can always pick up a Dry-Mistat stick. It never hurts to be safe, but if you're considering buying such a case, like one of the "X-treme" brand travel humidors (see above photo), for example, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
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Does a cigar humidor have to be airtight?

byGary Korb

Q. Does a wooden cigar humidor have to be airtight? I put a flashlight inside mine, and can see the light rays coming out of the gaps along the lid. Is this OK, or does the humidor have to be tight as a submarine hatch?- Nick V. (U.S Navy) A. Technically speaking, yes, cigar humidors should be as air-tight as physically possible. When I came into the cigar business, someone told me about a "the dollar test;" if you couldn't slip the edge of a crisp dollar bill in-between the lid and the base, the humidor had a good seal. Another method is to open the humidor and place the dollar perpendicular to the edge (as you would feed it into a vending machine) so that half of the bill is on the inside and the other half out. Close the lid, then try to pull the bill out of the humidor. If the humidor has a good seal it should be very difficult to pull the dollar out short of tearing it. Moreover, this test should be done on all four sides of the lid. In your case, the bigger question should be: despite the gaps, is the humidor keeping the cigars fresh? If your box is within the "normal" range 65-75 degrees x 65-70% RH, then I wouldn't worry too much about the gaps. If the gaps are exceedingly wide, they will cause problematic variances in your temp & RH. Make sure you have a good digital hygrometer/thermometer to monitor the conditions in the humidor, too. Finally, if the humidor is brand new and the seal is noticeably out of alignment, return it.
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92

Java By Drew Estate

82

Baccarat

Humidity fluctuations in cigar humidors

byGary Korb

Q. I recently purchased the Conquistidor humidor and it seems the hygrometer fluctuates more with surrounding environment then inside humidor. Is this normal? If not, what am I doing wrong? The humidor has been shut for about a week and the needle swings at least 10% RH. Is it just a cheap measuring device or is this normal? It hangs out about 10% above the atmospheric RH. I have about 50 cigars in the plastic wrappers in there, and the box is sealed as best as I can tell. Should I not sweat this and just be patient?Thanks,Matt A. Actually, this is normal, because wood is porous and reacts to outside conditions. I notice that when the humidity outside goes up, even though my house is air conditioned, etc., the humidity inside my cigar humidors goes up, and vice versa, but not as much as 10%. It may have to do with this particular model, where the hygrometer is mounted on the outside of the humidor, and some humid air may be getting in from there. Note that the hygrometers that come with most humidors are not exactly made to NASA specs, so you've got to find the wiggle room. If you believe the RH is well above normal, not only because the needle says so, but because the cigars are feeling a little spongy, remove the humidifier for a day or two and see what happens. I have often let mine "dry-out" a bit when necessary. Try to keep the RH at average of around 68%. That works best for me at an average temp of 71 degrees. It might also be worth getting a second digital hygrometer to mount on the inside of the box for comparison. Between the two, you may get a better overall reading of the RH inside the box. Once it is well-seasoned, over time you'll get a "read" on your humidor and know just how much water (DISTILLED WATER ONLY) or solution to add when needed.
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How important is having a humidor, really?

byGary Korb

Unless you are quickly collecting a lot of cigars or want to "home age" your cigars, it is not necessary to buy a humidor. For the short run, you can purchase a common sealable plastic food container and a Dry-Mistat™ stick or similar humidifying device and place the cigars in there. If monitored properly, they will last almost indefinitely. But if you decide to go this route, keep a corner of the container opened a crack to allow air flow and prevent too much moisture from building up, which may cause mold. One drawback is your cigars may not have that distinctive cedar wood fragrance you get from a good quality humidor. But that can be remedied by taking a cedar "spacer" from a cigar box and adding it to the container, or lining the bottom of the container with a row of spacers. Of course, there's nothing like being the proud owner of a well-made, wooden humidor where your cigars can nestle in the climate-controlled comfort of its Spanish cedar lining, but it's nice to know there is a low-budget alternative.
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Dry Boxing: Best Cigar Smoking Tip Ever!

byGary Korb

By Robustojoe | www.robustojoe.com There is nothing like a moist, fragrant cigar. The wonderful aroma we sense upon opening our cigar humidors is mouth-watering to a cigar lover. But sometimes that aroma can indicate we are getting too much of a good thing. Long term cigar storage needs to be in the 68% to 72% RH range (at a temp close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). But that moist environment can cause some cigars to burn poorly. Additionally, an overly moist cigar can have a bitter taste giving the smoker the wrong impression of its quality. This is where dry boxing comes in.  Dry boxing is the practice of placing cigars in an un-humidified container prior to smoking. By doing so we allow the sticks to shed excess moisture, leading to a better burn and flavor. The duration of time in the dry box will depend on the container being used and finding the right vessel for dry boxing is crucial. I have found the best dry boxes are those plastic cigar “road cases” sold by most cigar dealers. Chances are you already own one. I recommend putting a few cigars in the case and smoking them over the course of the following week. These road cases work well because they contain some moisture but allow the cigars to stabilize to perfect smoking condition. I discovered this when I noticed how well my cigars were smoking while on vacation. I do this regularly and find that it makes a huge difference. I recommend everyone give it a try. (_[ca]___{{{~ Re-posted by permission of the author. For more articles on premium cigars, accessories, cigar reviews, and cigar lifestyle visit robustojoe.com.
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What are the pros and cons of a glass-top cigar humidor?

byGary Korb

Q. What are the pros and cons of buying a glass top humidor, or a humidor with glass anywhere on it, as opposed to a solid wood type humidor?- Robert V. in Colorado Springs, CO A. Having recently purchased one of these myself, the main "con" to having a glass top humidor is that you should avoid direct sun or lamplight which can raise the temperature and humidity. It also depends how close the light source is to it, but most humidors are best kept in cooler, shaded spaces, or at least where there will be no direct sunlight for long periods of time. Even a solid wood cigar humidor can be affected by direct light depending on how close it is to the source. Another thing is the placement of the humidifier. With most glass top models like the one shown here, the humidifier is positioned on the bottom which may prevent the cigars on the top tray from getting their share of moist air. Adding a Dry-Mistat stick or a small polyglycol crystal jar on the top tray will help. (For more on placement of the humidifier see my blog on this subject.) Other than that I like the aesthetic of a glass top cigar humidor. The important thing is that it has a good tight seal and keeps your temp and humidity at a constant cigar-friendly level for long-term aging of your cigars.
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How to remove mold from your humidor

byGary Korb

By Gary KorbI've always been proud of the fact that I keep my humidors in tip-top condition. After all, as a "professional cigar smoker" I'm expected to know how to do all this stuff. Well, sometimes Life gives you lemons, and about a month ago I discovered that one of my boxes had developed a minor case of mold. This really caught me off-guard, because until then, I never had to deal with this problem.As is usually the case, I discovered it by accident. I was reaching into one of my humidors to remove the humidifier when I saw some greenish-grey-looking specks on one side of the base of the wooden block that houses the unit. GASP! I pulled the block up and there it was, right underneath: more greenish-grey particles mixed in with a white fuzzy substance (see photo 1). Turning the block upside down, there was even more guck under that (see photo 2). Now comes that sinking feeling in your gut. Check the cigars!!, my brain screams. Fortunately, the cigars were clean. So, the question arises, how do you rid your humidor of mold - and as permanently as possible? First, let's take a look at what causes mold. Mold is more often found on your cigars than in your humidor, and mold is most likely to appear when the RH in your humidor exceeds 75%. The longer you allow the RH to remain that high, the more likely you will find a fuzzy substance on your precious primos that manifests itself in white, grey, green, blue, or even dark brown. Add an equally high temperature and you're just begging for trouble.According to one source, cigar mold can even come from handling your cigars with dirty hands, so it's best to wash your hands before you rotate your cigars or place new cigars in your humidor.Most of the time, your cigars can be salvaged, especially if you catch the mold early. In my case, the cigars were OK and the humidifier didn't appear to have any mold on it, so here's the proper way to clean out your humidor.1.  Remove all of the cigars from your humidor and place them in a large, zip-type plastic bag to keep them fresh.2.  Using a small hobby vacuum or the flat extension on your home model, completely vacuum out the inside of the humidor. You can also give the box a light sanding with #150 extra fine grit sandpaper, first. This will help remove any mold spores that may be forming. It will also give your humidor a fresh Spanish cedar scent like when it was new.3.  Take a paper towel, clean dust-free cloth, or a new, clean sponge dampened with Isopropyl alcohol, and very lightly wipe down the entire interior of the humidor. Don't overdo it; you just want to make sure that any residual mold spores have been treated.4.  Wipe down the humidor again, this time with distilled water. Make sure it's 100% steam distilled water, not the distilled water used for drinking. This will dilute the alcohol that has seeped into the wood. Again, don't overdo it, as most of the alcohol will evaporate naturally.This process will probably add a little extra humidity to your humidor, which may have caused the problem in the first place. Therefore, don't close the box just yet, and make sure the walls are dry before putting your cigars back in.I think I know how my problem may have occurred. When I had last recharged my humidifier I noticed it was really saturated, but it wasn't leaking. However, it might have been just a matter of time before enough water collected via gravity to spill over the edge of the block and work its way underneath.If it wasn't mold that I was dealing with, it could have also been mineral trace elements. Also called "water scale," this chalk-like substance comes from using hard water in lieu of distilled water. For this reason alone, never use tap water, filtered bottle water, or even boiled water, because mineral deposits will continue to build as the humidity in your humidor evaporates. However, unlike mold, which tends to spread quickly, water scale does not.I never use anything but distilled water in my humidifiers, so I'm still leaning toward mold, but the evidence also pointed to water scale since it was limited only to that one spot in the box and the cigars were spared. Either way, neither substance is good for your humidor or cigars, so inspect your humidor often, and clean it on a regular basis, too. Just a simple wiping down with distilled water is usually all you need to keep your cigars' environment clean and your cigars happy. (_[ca[__{{{
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89

Montecristo Platinum

Can an open container of distilled water be placed in a cigar humidor?

byGary Korb

Q. I just ordered a new cigar humidor. Last night, I noticed that the humidifier (simple black grated puck) in my current 50 ct. humidor was developing some mold. Luckily, it had only started and I saw no evidence of mold on any cigars or the wood. I chucked the humidifier and ordered another, along with some Propylene Glycol solution, which I didn't bother to use before (though I did use distilled water). I know my collection, which is a pathetic 8 cigars, needs humidity. Right now, it's at 65% or so, and spiraling downward as the hours pass. Is it harmful to set a clean open container of distilled water in my humidor to keep it above 60%, at least, while my cigars remain inside?- Stephen in Tennessee A. Based on your description of the situation, I would have to say No. I would be nervous about putting any open container of liquid in my humidor. Instead, place a piece of a new, clean sponge dampened with distilled water and place it in a partially opened sandwich Ziploc-type bag to let the moisture escape. Or, with such a small number of cigars, you could seal them in a sandwich or cigar store zip bag. Any moisture they still have in them should remain stable until the unit arrives.
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An inconvenient truth about my new cigar humidor

byGary Korb

A few weeks ago I posted a video on how to setup and season a new humidor. The humidor was a Bally IV glass top model; a decent affordably-priced box. Since I recorded that video, the humidor has been keeping a consistent 68% RH and the cigars are in good shape.During the video I commented that because the humidor had a glass top, the humidifier had to be placed on the bottom, rather than under the lid, which brings us to today's subject. The stock humidifier for this humidor is a standard, large, rectangular green foam model. It sits in a block of Spanish cedar that has vents cut into both sides to allow the moist air to escape. (Note that the humidifier is only vented on one side.) The block is made to fit firmly between the front and back walls. You can place the humidifier anywhere along the bottom, but the logical place seems to be flush against either the right or left wall with the open side of the humidifier facing out towards the cigars. Put in the cigars, forget about it, and see you later. So far so good, right? (See above photo) What's wrong with that picture?This brings us to the crux of this story which was due to either an oversight on my part, or to an oversight by the manufacturer. (The humidor comes with no set-up instructions.)A few days ago it was time to check the humidifier. It was still pretty damp so I left it alone.While I was in there, I decided to move a few cigars around. That's when I discovered the inconvenient truth. A rare La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurado which had been touching the housing was wet and swollen. The cigar above it, a Davidoff Special R was a little better, but very soft. This was totally unacceptable.Once the sinking feeling in my gut subsided, the only solution I could think of was to reverse the position of the humidifier and point it towards the wall. But that presented the problem of getting the air to circulate. Therefore, the housing would have to be moved away from the wall to permit proper all flow. (See the open space in the non-shaded area at left.)It cost me some space, but it seems this is the only logical way to place the humidifier in this type of situation without ruining your cigars.What I want to know is, has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation and how did you deal with it?~Gary KorbClick the link to see the video on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnZukYgXUKwhow to season a new cigar humidor.
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93

La Aroma De Cuba Mi Amor

82

Saint Luis Rey

Empty humidors

byGary Korb

Q. I have one humidor for each of my favorite cigars, about five. I'm not able to restock right now and I need to know if my humidors will be OK empty as long as I keep the humidity constant, or will I need to recharge them?- T. Turner A. If your humidors are well-seasoned, they should hold-up until you add more cigars, but keep a close eye on them. If you notice the RH starting to drop dramatically, simply recharge the humidifier as you would under "normal" circumstances.
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Potential Tupperdor problems

byGary Korb

Q. I am using several "Tupperdors" to age cigars until I have room in my regular humidors. I'm looking at leaving the cigars in the "tupperdors" for probably at least a year at a time for aging purposes. Are there any problems inherent in this? Because the "tupperdors" don't breath, is there any danger of mold? I am keeping everything very close to 70/70.- Doug H. in Olathe, CO A. There is always danger of mold, but as long as you have a reliable humidification system, and check the 'dor regularly, you should be OK. You may also have to let the container "breathe" every so often, to get some fresh air in there as you would with a regular cigar humidor. Since Spanish cedar is important for keeping your cigars "factory fresh" during aging, if you are using a large Tupperdor, it's best to keep the cigars in their original factory boxes. If you are using a small container that will only hold single cigars, be sure to line the box with the Spanish cedar blocks and/or sheets found in the factory boxes.
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Can a humidifier be placed on the bottom of a cigar humidor?

byGary Korb

Q. The humidifier in my humidor is supposed to be fastened to the lid by means of Velcro, but inevitably ends up falling off. Is there any reason the humidifier can't sit in the base of the humidor? It's still emitting moisture, right?- John T. A.  Yes, it's still emitting moisture, and although you could place it on the bottom, it's more beneficial to have the moist air flowing downward, which also distributes the humidity more evenly. If you were to place it on the bottom, you'd have to position it against one of the four walls, Not only will a good portion of the humidity be isolated to that particular spot, but the humidifier will also take up some valuable cigar storage space. Another, and perhaps better solution, would be to nix the Velcro mount and replace it with a magnet mount. It's also much easier to remove when it's time to recharge.
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New humidor blues

byGary Korb

Q. I recently received a cigar humidor as a present. I'm not really sure of its quality, and actually tend to believe that it has a bad seal, but it might be that the hygrometer just needs to be calibrated. However, the hygrometer is built into the humidor itself (the face is on the outside of the humidor's front wall). It's been reading 56% RH, and I have no idea how to check its calibration because I can't take it out and place it in a bag with a dish of dampened salt. Do you have any advice? Also the humidor has a pane of glass in the lid so the inside of the humidor can be viewed. Could this be a problem in maintaining proper humidity in the humidor? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.- Ken in Fitchburg, WI A. I'm surprised you can't get the hygrometer out of there, because I remember seeing one removed from a similar model in our cigar store. It could just be stuck from the wood swelling. So, I would give it one more college try for The Gipper, but don't force it. That said, let's assume you set up the humidor by seasoning it properly. If the cigars "feel" supple despite the low RH reading, then it most likely is the calibration of the hygrometer. If they are getting dryer and firmer, then it's probably more accurate than you think. (However, I've rarely seen one of those built-in analog hygrometers that was accurate from the get-go.) If you can't remove the unit, then you need something to compare to it. I would purchase a decent digital hygrometer, which you might want to have anyway, b/c it will also give you a temperature readout. Place that in the humidor and compare to the analog. If the digital is closer to 68% - 70% then the analog is wrong and, if it has a set screw, I would adjust it to match the digital . (For even better accuracy, salt test the digital unit first.) Re the glass top: The only way it will give your cigars problems is if you place the box in direct sun or lamplight. Make sure the box is in a cool and completely shaded spot in your house. Due to the glass top design, the humidifier is usually placed on the bottom of the box inside a cedar wood frame that's often placed on one side. Being on the bottom is OK because the warm most air will rise, but it being on one side could affect the cigars closer to it than those farther away. If you can, move it to the middle of the box for more equal distribution of moist air.
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Red cedar chest as a cigar humidor?

byGary Korb

Q. My wife has an old, fully cedar-lined trunk, and I was wondering if I could use this as a humidor? If so,what would be the best humidification system to use? The dimensions are 40" long x 15" wide x 11" deep. The trunk also has a small length wise tray that comes up as you lift the lid. I appreciate your thoughts on this.Thanks,Mike B. A. The answer is "no" and "yes." I say no, because there is a big difference between aromatic "American" cedar and Spanish cedar. The cedar used mostly in storage closets and chests is aromatic eastern red cedar, which is found predominately in and about the southern Appalachian Mountains. Spanish cedar actually aids in the aging process of your cigars giving them that sweet little cedary-spicy nuance. Because tobacco leaves are prone to absorb aromas from other sources, if you were to place them in the cedar chest as it is now, your cigars would taste more like a cedar closet. The "yes" side of my answer is, depending on how much of the cedar odor is left in there, which may be very little, since the aroma inside may have dissipated over time, you might want to invest in a Cigar Oasis XL, which would easily humidify the amount of space. Once the trunk is at the proper temp & humidity (roughly 70-degrees/68% RH), as a test, put in a value-priced bundle of cigars without the cellos, in there for a couple of weeks and see if they've picked up the red cedar aroma and how they taste. But, if you perceive a strong red cedar aroma once the humidor is prepped, you may want to think twice about that. Assuming you're a handy guy, or know someone who is, the other alternative would be to line the inside of the trunk with kiln-dried Spanish cedar, then prep it with the Cigar Oasis, and you'd be good to go. You might also want to think about using the trunk for storing some cigars in their factory boxes, since it seems like you'd have the room to do so. Important: Make sure the trunk has a good seal like a handcrafted cigar humidor would have. To learn more about which Cigar Oasis model might be best for your situation, see my article on them.
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Humidifier placement in glass top cigar humidors

byGary Korb

Q. From what I've seen, most cigar humidors have their humidifiers mounted to the lid with the open slots facing downward. My humidor, however, has a glass top and mounting the humidifier in this way somewhat detracts from being able to peer in at the cigars. So, is there a right or wrong location for a humidifier? Does it have to be mounted on the lid or will sufficient moisture be added to the air if, say, the humidifer was simply sitting on the bottom?- Tyler J. A. I am not in favor of placing the humidifier on the bottom of a cigar humidor. For one, it will take up some valuable real estate. More importantly, humidified air is most effective when allowed to flow down from above. In your case, one solution would be to mount the cigar humidifier at the top of the back wall of the humidor. Note however, that some manufactuers provide a slot on the side of the humidor in which to place the humidifier. This is done to avoid the humidifier from getting in the way of the placement of your cigars. If your humidor has a top tray, another solution would be to mount the humidifier to the bottom of the tray facing down. The main thing is, regardless of where you place the humidifier, if the box has a good seal and is keeping a pretty consistant humidity within the range you prefer, then your cigars should be fine. Rotating your cigars from bottom to top about every six weeks or so will also help distribute the humidified air among them more effectively, too.
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Is there a cure for a bad seal on a cigar humidor?

byGary Korb

Q. I have a humidor that doesn't have a good seal any more, and I'm looking for a way to fix this problem. Have you come across this problem before, and if so, how did you fix it?- Marvin H. in Pensacola, FL A. Actually, I did eventually have this problem with my very first humidor, a 25-count box made by a very high-end company. The lid would just slam shut. But at the time I bought it, I didn't know what to look for in a good humidor, and bought it solely on name alone. I still have it, but keep it in the FSS warehouse humidor with my private stash, so now the leak is negligible. I have two solutions for you: One, take the humidor to a professional woodcrafter and have him place new Spanish cedar pieces in the lid portion of the humidor. This apparently gives the box a better seal. If the walls where your box seals come up from the bottom of the box, it might be easier to replace those instead. Get an expert's opinion. You can also try using some very thin weather-stripping material, but unless you get it in there just right so the lid closes properly, it may not help, but it's worth a shot. If the box is worth repairing, better to go with the first solution.
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87

Davidoff