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Cigars – Tips From the Humidor

How to prep a humidor and what to put in it…and other things you might not have known.

So I’m sucking on a nice stogie the other night and this guy starts asking me questions like I’m some kind of expert. I actually felt like he was acting like a six year old pounding his father with questions while thinking “why don’t you just shut up and smoke that thing”!

The questions did get me thinking. There’s actually a whole bunch of interesting info that you’ll need to know if you’re going to have a stash of cigars around for whenever you feel like it. Take humidors for example. His first question is about getting a humidor. What to look for, what to put in it, how to care for it. So I got to thinking, hey these are all important questions. Here’s a few quick tips.

Just as you took care in choosing a humidor, you want to have patience breaking it in. Keep in mind that you are recreating the tropical environments where the cigars were created.

You cannot rush the process of getting cigar humidors ready. It will probably take two to three days for your humidor to get to the right humidity. So don’t think that it comes out of the box and voila, stick in those Cubans and they’ll be safe.

Cigars are handmade with natural leaves and to preserve and age the tobacco, humidors need to be properly maintained. The ideal humidity in a cigar humidor is 65 to 75 percent. The internal temperature should be maintained precisely between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t keep the humidors in these ranges, you are just preparing a coffin for your cigars.

Why distilled water?

Distilled water is not purified water. Distilled water is water that has virtually all of its impurities removed through distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container, leaving most if not all solid contaminants behind. Mineral build-up resulting from the use of tap water (including bottled water) will reduce the effectiveness of the humidor. Water purifiers don’t distill water. Buy a gallon at the supermarket. So, only use distilled water in the humidification devices.

The Humidor

Most humidors have an interior made of Spanish Cedar.

Here’s how you get the humidity in the humidor up to 70% (65%-75%) and around 68-75 degrees (not in a fridge):

  • Season or humidify the wood with a new clean sponge and a good dose of distilled water and wipe the exposed wood.
  • Place the damp sponge on a plastic bag and prepare the humidification device according to the manufacturers instructions.You can even put in a short glass of distilled water right in there as well.
  • Close the lid and let it sit…and sit, and sit. Depending on how dry the wood was, it might take a few days to reach the proper dampness.
  • Refill the device and sponge the following day, if necessary, and let it sit over night once again.
  • Remove the sponge and plastic and your cigars should now be ready for the humidor.
  • Use those gel crystal tubes or jars to hold water in your humidor. It’s better then a sponge.

Where to put it….choose a location outside of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Neither is good for the humidors or the care of the cigars.

Out of the wrapper, out of the tube or not?

Should cigars be removed from their wrappers for storage in a humidor. Is that the best way to store them?
Well, cellophaned, tubed, and glass  wrappers protect the cigars from damage. Removing the cello will allow the cigars to age better. Most people remove the cello from the cigars that they will be smoking in the next few weeks and keep them on the other cigars to protect them from damage.

How about smoking in the house?

You actually can smoke cigars in your house and not have to live with the smell forever. The best way is to use an ionic air filter. It electrically charges the particles in the air so that they get larger in size and the filter extracts them. So give that one a go. Enjoy the game and the cigars. Not sure if I really believe that one.

Leave the ring on?

If you take the ring off before smoking the cigar you are in danger of damaging the wrapper. The natural glues used may stick to the leaf. Leave the ring on until at least one third of the cigar is smoked. It is also alright to leave it during the entire enjoyment of the cigar.

What’s a stogie?

Stogies are great cheap cigars. The name derived from a place called Conestoga, Pennsylvania. The name also refers generically to a cigar in general. The crude images of a cigar are sometimes accompanied by the generalization of “stogie.” A smoking stogie conjures up images of a dense odorous cloud. It is now used as a generic term for a cigar.

Can you recharge “dry cigars”?

Is it possible to recharge the humidor and revive the cigars in it? None of them are cracked or seem “too dried out”. Get them in the humidor and leave for a week or so and they should be good enough to smoke.

For answers to this and a ton of other questions about cigars, humidors, smoking tips, storage, click

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