Hands up who wants a big wet, soggy cigar? No one? Who wants a crispy fragile crust of a cigar? Still no hands? That’s why getting your humidor to that sought-after 65-75% relative humidity is essential.
However, there are so many tips, tricks, techniques and cheats out there, it can be very confusing. Let me show you what’s worked for me:
1. Get a hygrometer. Digital ones are obviously more accurate but the analogue ones are still pretty good and look nicer too. Usually your humidor will come with an analogue one.
2. Calibrate your hygrometer. The digital ones shouldn’t need calibrating but it’s always worth checking they’re accurate. Fill a screw top cap with regular table salt then drip water into it until it’s a sort of salty sludge. This salt sludge has a relative humidity of exactly 75%.
Here’s how I calibrated my hygrometer:
Pop your hydrometer into a snaplock bag with the cap of salty goodness and leave it overnight. There should be a little adjuster on the back of the analogue hygrometer. Move the needle to 75% and you’re done.
Note: you might want to double check the calibration has worked by repeating the snaplock bag process.
3. Remove the humidity unit from your humidor – that’s the thing with the green sponge stuff inside – and pour a generous quantity of distilled water on the sponge and put it back in the humidor overnight with the hygrometer inside.
Another note: only use distilled water. Tap water has chloride etc in it and can affect your smokes.
You can buy humidifying gel too, which keeps the air at a perfect 70% relative humidity… but where’s the fun in that?
4. Leave the humidity unit in there for a few days, making sure the relative humidity is nice and high. You’re trying to get the cedar wood lining to absorb a fair bit of water so that the humidor will stay constant for longer.
If there’s not enough water in the wood, the moisture in the humidity unit will go straight to the wood and not your cigars.
Yet another note: some people recommend wiping the walls of the humidor down with water first. This isn’t a good idea because you’ll just saturate the wood and make it too wet in there.
6. After a few days take the humidity unit out and close the lid again. What you want to check for is that the humidor itself has stopped absorbing water. The relative humidity will go down, but not too much –about 5 or 6 per cent is okay.
Eventually you’ll get the humidity to stablise and you’re ready to go. It shouldn’t take more than a week and worth every minute.
It’s not advisable to put your cigars in the humidor while you’re prepping it. They’ll be okay in a snaplock bag for around a week.
What do you do to keep your humidor regular (no bran comments, please)?