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Preparing Your Humidor for Summer

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With summer around the corner, it is important to take a few minutes to ensure your cigars are ready for these warmer months. Premium cigars are created using long leaf tobaccos and require special storage in a climate that is maintained at a temperature of 70oF and 70% humidity, as a rule of thumb. These levels ensure the tobaccos will retain their oils and age properly until you decide to light one. With cigar storage, consistency is the key ingredient. Fluctuations and other inconsistencies can cause irreparable harm to your cigars, including problems as severe as cracks in the wrappers, leaving your prized possessions unable to be smoked. If you’re uncertain as to what precautions to take, don’t worry: we have assembled a simple checklist to ensure your cigars are well prepared for the new season.

Step 1: Cleaning and Inspection
While this fi rst step is important to take prior to a change in seasons, it’s also something that should be done regularly throughout the year. Gently remove cigars from your humidor and with a small can of compressed air, blow any excess bits of tobacco out of your humidor. With your humidor free from debris, turn your attention to the cigars. Begin by separating your sticks from those that are in cellophane and those that are not. As you separate each stick, inspect them with your hands and eyes looking for any signs of tobacco beetles or mold. These two nuisances can strike any cigar; regardless of how well you think you are caring for them. It is important to always be on the lookout for mold and tobacco beetles, even more so if you regularly monitor and maintain your humidor. Any troubled sticks should be separated from the rest and discarded immediately.

Step 2: Seasoning Your Humidor
With your humidor empty, it is time to season it - commonly referred to as “activating” your humidor. Most humidors come lined with Spanish cedar, a wood selected for its ability to retain moisture (in addition to its cigar enhancement properties). The wood itself can act as a humidifier. Using a clean sponge that has been dampened with distilled water, begin wiping down all interior cedar surfaces. Be sure to also wipe down any drawers, shelves, or dividers made of Spanish cedar as well. Continue this process until the wood is visibly moist; the color will turn to a darker shade. Once the humidor has been wiped down, place the sponge on the bottom and keep it sealed for 24 hours. During that time period, the cedar will continue to absorb as much moisture as it can, while the humidor will allow none to escape. After 24 hours, check the sponge. If the sponge is still damp, then the Spanish cedar cannot possibly absorb any more moisture, the extra moisture is not escaping, and therefore; the humidor is properly seasoned. If in 24 hours the sponge is dry, the process must be repeated. Once complete, fill your humidification elements and place them inside your humidor along with your hygrometer, if necessary.

Step 3: Organization
With the cigars separated and your humidor seasoned, it is time for the final step. Begin placing your cigars back in your humidor. I recommend placing the non-cellophaned cigars at the bottom of your humidor. Typically, the cigars at the top of your collection are handled the most and with the cellophane cigars on top, you will minimize the chances of damaging the naked sticks with your hands. However, enjoying cigars is an art form that can be tailored to each and every individual’s personal preferences, so that part is entirely up to you!