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The concept of a humidor is simple. To mimic the natural tropical environment found in many cigar native countries - with the end game being to maintain a relative humidity of 70% and a temperature of 70 degrees. This 70/70 rule of thumb is not set in stone, but more of a guideline, as a few points in either directions are completely normal. Most humidors made nowadays are efficient at achieving this task. However, when selecting a humidor there are several vital elements to keep in mind.
First, look for units lined with kiln-dried Spanish cedar. This wood is great at expanding and contracting during fluctuations in humidity, as well as being naturally resistant to mold. Over time, Spanish cedar can also impart a wonderful depth of flavor to your cigars, which increases over time. The longer you allow your cigars to rest, the more elements of the cedar are absorbed. The outside of the humidor simply boils down to taste, as the design or color has nothing to do with the condition of your cigars.
You’ll also want to look for a unit with a sound seal. A solid seal ensures outside air doesn’t seep into your unit, drying out your cigars. Units that advertise SureSeal technology are always a safe bet. If you already own a humidor and want to test the quality of your seal, gently lift up the lid of your unit and let it go. When it closes you should hear a whooshing noise, followed by a pause, before the lid finally settles in.
And above all else make sure that your unit can accommodate the amount of cigars you’re looking to store. If you overfill your humidor two things can happen. One, not all of your cigars will receive the proper amount of humidity due to the lack of circulation. This will result in some cigars receiving too much moisture, and others not enough. Two, you may find your stash beginning to dry out entirely, as many units humidification devices are designed for a certain number of cigars. As a general rule of thumb, only fill your humidor to about 3/4 capacity (a few more is ok) as this will allow for ample circulation and humidification.
Always keep in mind that a humidor doesn’t have to be a richly finished box that sets you back a handful of hard earned cash. Humidors appear in many different forms from jars, cooler-dors, rigged cigar boxes and plastic containers. As long as your cigars maintain the proper humidity and temperature of 70/70, your cigars are safe. Just keep in mind the longer you want to age or store your cigars, the more sound the unit the better.