Developing a passion for cigars is a double-edged sword. On the one end, the hobby opens you up to a world of flavour possibilities, social and networking opportunities, and a relaxing pastime steeped in tradition. On the other hand, cigar connoisseurship demands a steep learning curve and modest initial investment.

Humidors 101 A Short Guide to Keeping Cigars Fresh - humidors, fresh, cigars

The first thing you’ll likely discover as you enter the wide world of cigars is that you need a humidor. Some people learn the hard way (letting a box of fine Cohiba go stale and un-smokable, for instance). And others – like you, the reader – learn the easy way, with the help of a knowledgeable resource like this one.

Below, learn everything you need to know about keeping your cigars fresh in a humidor.

What Is a Humidor and Why Are They Important?

At its most basic, a humidor is a tightly sealed environment for controlling the effects of humidity on a cigar. The first thing to understand is that cigars are finicky; they thrive with just the right relative humidity (RH). If their environment is too dry, they can lose flavour, lose complexity, and desiccate to the point of cracking and peeling. Conversely, a cigar that is too moist can harbour mould, rendering it unusable.

In a perfect world, a humidor keeps your cigars at an ideal RH (60% to 72%, depending on the type). Aficionados often achieve this precision with the help of Boveda moisture control packs, which dial in the RH to an exact percentage.

What to Look for in a Humidor

The most important feature of a humidor is a tight seal. If you have a tightly sealed container with a two-way moisture control packet, you essentially have yourself a humidor.

But before you go toting a Mason jar to your next cigar outing, consider that humidors also serve an ancillary function – imparting flavour. For that reason, most cigar aficionados recommend a dedicated humidor lined with Spanish cedar. Spanish cedar lends a woodsy, classic aroma to cigars, holds moisture for better RH control, and even staves off pests like the infamous cigar beetle.

Types of Humidors

Humidors come in all shapes and sizes. You can find bare-bones options that look like a wooden shoe box. You can find ornate, furniture-style humidors inlaid with pearl. Travel humidors are often little more than a leather carrying case with a humidity pack inside. And walk-in humidors are entire humidity-controlled rooms for storing a massive inventory of cigars.

Where Should You Place Your Humidor?

Humidor placement is an important consideration. And the better question might be, “Where shouldn’t you place your humidor.”

Avoid direct sunlight and heat. While it’s tempting to show off your cigar collection, refrain from keeping your humidor near a sunny window or bright office desk. (And keep it well clear of any radiators!). Instead, find a cool, dark corner of the home to park your humidor.

Hopefully, this article demystifies an essential component of cigar connoisseurship. With a little know-how and a few Boveda packs, you’re all set to enjoy fresh cigars.