Your New Cigar Humidor and How to Care For It
We all started smoking cigars for one reason or another. Maybe it was a golf tournament that you played in with your Uncles where you had your first, or a cool fall evening around the campfire with friends that got you hooked. Either way, you’ve now ventured into the glorious world of cigars, and are stepping your gear up a notch. There comes a time in our cigar smoking careers when it’s time to invest in our next big purchase, outside of cigars: the humidor. Humidors come in all shapes in sizes, from small, plastic travel humidors to large standup humidors that hold hundreds of cigars. Any way you cut it, if your humidor is wood (cedar, at that), then you have to ‘season’ it. The seasoning process allows the humidor to retain that moisture that keeps your cigars in tip-top shape for when you’re ready to smoke them. Here’s how to do it.
Your Humidor, and Its Accessories
So, your new humidor just arrived in the mail (or you brought it home from your local cigar shop, or a friend, or your dad’s basement) and you’re trying to figure this thing out. To season your humidor, you need to take everything out.
Typically, humidors will come with a few accessories: 1) A hygrometer, which will tell you the level of humidity inside your humidor, 2) a humidifier, which will retain water to keep your humidity running at optimal levels, and 3) dividers and trays to store your cigars. Hygrometers that come with humidors are typically of the analog variety and are not incredibly accurate – you may want to swap that out for a digital hygrometer (but if you don’t the analog is fine to get started). Depending on your environment and size of your humidor, you may want to add another humidifier to keep it running at the optimal humidity level.
Once you have all of your accessories out of your humidor and the box is empty, it’s time to start seasoning.
The Seasoning Process
Seasoning a humidor is not a big, scary task – but it does have some nuances. All ‘seasoning’ a humidor does is prep it for your cigars – so make sure you leave those out until the process is finished! If you put your new stash of cigars right into that fancy box that you just picked up, the cedar interior will actually draw moisture out of your cigars – and we definitely don’t want that.
First, you’re going to need a couple simple materials that you can find at your local grocery or convenience store. You’ll need distilled water (to prevent mold) and a sponge (to wipe down the interior).
Now that you have your humidor empty, soak your sponge in distilled water, and wring it out – you don’t want to soak the wood, you just want it moist – wet wood can warp, and that’s not good. Wipe down all of the interior surfaces of your humidor with the sponge, rewetting as necessary. Do the same for the cedar dividers and trays. Now that it’s all wiped down and wet, place the dividers and trays back in your humidor, and close the lid. Now it’s time to wait – about 24 hours.
After a day has gone by, open your humidor and add your humidifier and hygrometer. Now, close that humidor back up, and let it sit for another day – your hygrometer and humidifier will regulate to the environment of the rest of the humidor.
Finally, it’s Ready
Now that this process has taken a good 48 hours, I’m sure you are ready to put your new humidor to good use. But first – check your hygrometer: is it reading 70%, or something close? Good. Now, place your cigars in your new humidor, and you’re seasoned and ready to go. Many of us choose to add a propylene-glycol solution specially formulated for cigars to our humidors – they come in canisters and a variety of shapes and sizes and help keep your humidor at around 68-70% humidity. Feel free to add one of those if you’d like – they’re inexpensive and can keep your cigars nice and fresh.
Now, the most important part- open that new humidor, and go enjoy one of those fine new cigars.