Any cigar aficionado knows that those pesky cellophane wrappers are not meant for long-term storage; rather, cigar humidors are where all cigars should reside until the time comes for them to be enjoyed. The purpose of these humidors, whether the larger versions or the smaller, household variety, is to keep the outside air out so a level temperature and humidity can be maintained.
To start, a level temperature is essential to preserving cigars. Cigar humidors keep a temperature that is as close as possible to the natural climate of tropical areas where the tobacco leaves grow and are harvested. The tobacco must be kept stable lest it become too dry from too much cold. A perfect temperature is around seventy degrees Fahrenheit.
By the same token, the humidity levels are also regulated by cigar humidors. Once again, tobacco leaves need to be kept in an environment that closely mimics their original clime. An optimal humidity level is close to that of the tropics, or around seventy or eighty percent. This keeps the leaves from drying out and rendering the cigar unsmokable and stale.
Now, it is not only too little humidity and too low temperatures that can ruin cigars; too much heat or too much humidity can cause beetles to hatch within the tobacco leaves and make quite a meal out of your prized cigars. These little buggers actually already exist, as larvae, inside the leaves; they only come out when the hot, moist air allows them to hatch.
So, knowing what cigar humidors are used for and why, it is time to learn about the actual structures themselves. These pieces can range in size from one extreme to the other, so it really depends on how many cigars you have to store and how much space you have for another piece of furniture. Also, they are not all the same… you actually need to make certain that yours comes with the humidification system and understand how that system operates.
Also, the inside of cigar humidors needs to be considered. They are made out of wood, but the type of wood is what is important. Just like too much cold can take away the natural depth of flavor, so too can the wrong wood choice. And there is always the chance that the wood’s smell may overpower and seep within the cigars, too. For this reason, Spanish cedar is typically chosen because it does not interfere with the tobacco.
In the end, it does not matter if the cigar humidors you are looking at are really big or really small… what matters is whether it uses nothing that interferes with your cigars, and will keep the right temperature and the right humidity to protect the long-lasting freshness of your cigar collection.