Why do you need a humidor?
All of you know that a humidor is a container used to store your cigars. Even if you are an occasional smoker, you definitely will have some spare cigars because no one likes to run around to buy a cigar when they want a relaxing smoke.
Secondly, the cigar flavors are from the natural oils present in the leaves (Read- How cigars get their flavors). In order to preserve those oils, cigars need to be stored in a place with a balanced humidity level.
The point is that the cigars are required to be maintained at the temperature and climate as the environment they were made in to get the optimum taste. A dry or damp cigar will lose its natural flavors and give you a horrible smoking experience.
So, if you are a cigar aficionado, you must spend some bucks to get a humidor. An essential thing after you buy a brand new humidor is seasoning it.
Seasoning a humidor
The question that comes to your mind is, Why should I season a humidor? As the name denotes, it is to keep your cigars humid to a certain level. When you get a new humidor, it directly comes out of the shelf or a factory, and the wood is dry. If you keep your cigars in it, the dry wood will absorb the moisture from the tobacco leaves and leave your favorite cigars dry and kill the flavor.
There are several types of humidors in various sizes and made of different materials. Still, the popular ones are made of Spanish cedar wood or cedarwood liner, which is considered the best because of its effectiveness in retaining moisture and add woody flavor to the cigars.
What do you need for seasoning a humidor
2. Distilled water (1-2 gallons)
3. Piece of Clean Sponge
4. A dry towel
The Process of seasoning a humidor
The first step is to calibrate the Hygrometer.
There are two forms of hygrometers, analog and digital. The difference between the two is that the analog Hygrometer needs to be calibrated frequently and can have variations in reading. Digital Hygrometers, on the other hand, are easy to maintain and more accurate in readings.
The best way to calibrate the Hygrometer is the salt method. For that, you need one plastic bottle cap, table salt, a transparent(see-through) plastic container, or a zip-lock plastic bag and distilled water. If you opt for a zip-lock bag, ensure that it seals well and is large enough to contain the Hygrometer and the bottle cap. Now fill the bottle cap with salt and add a few drops of distilled water to the salt, just enough to make it wet. Place the Hygrometer along with the damp salt in the container or the pouch, close tightly, and leave It for seven to eight hours.
Now you can check the reading without opening the container. The logic is that damp salt stabilizes the air humidity to 75%, and that is science. If the Hygrometer is reading 75%, then it is perfect to use. Otherwise, you need to adjust the needle to 75; for example, if the reading is 69%, you need to add 6 points to get the correct humidity level. If it is an analog Hygrometer, you can move the needle to 75% by using the calibration screw with the help of a screwdriver, or if it is a digital Hygrometer, they have buttons to adjust. Once done, the Hygrometer is ready for your humidor.
If you don’t like to touch salt and water, buy a Boveda calibration kit and follow the instructions. Easy-peasy?. It will help if you have some patience.
The second step in seasoning a humidor
Remove your humidifier unit from the humidor, place it in a plastic tub or a tray large enough to accommodate it, fill with distilled water, submerge the humidifier for a few seconds; this will help the crystals absorb adequate water. Remove and keep aside on a towel and leave it for around fifteen minutes for the crystals to expand.
Now take the dry towel, wipe and clean the humidor trays and dividers thoroughly to remove wood dust or particles. We don’t advise wiping the humidor with a soaked sponge because it can spoil the wood; instead, soak the sponge, squeeze the excess water to avoid dripping, take a zip-lock plastic bag, keep it inside the humidor and place the soaked sponge on the bag.
It is time to set the humidor for seasoning, attach the calibrated Hygrometer, and the humidifier to the box. Make sure that there is no water dripping from the humidifier. Place all the trays and partitions, cover the lid, leave it for 4-5 days, and your humidor will be ready for the cigars.
The humidity level that you need to keep inside a humidor is 67%-71%, and the climate can influence that a bit. If you are in a dry climate area, keep the humidity level slightly on the higher side or vice versa.