Cigars are a symbol of class. So, for something rich in taste and feel, only the best care is needed when it comes to storage and maintenance. That’s where the humidor comes in. But, it’s not enough to buy a good humidor. You must season the humidor box.
But what is a humidor, and why do you need to season it?
Cigars are the divas of the tobacco world - if they get anything more or less than the perfect amount of humidity, they can go bad. So, you need a humidor to maintain proper humidity for cigars and keep them fresh for an optimized smoking experience. Part of its setting up process is the humidor seasoning.
The inside of your new humidor can be dry and can suck all the moisture out of your cigars, leaving them dry. However, seasoning can prevent that by providing moisture to the humidor wood directly. Seasoning will further help seal the humidor properly (in most cases). So, simply put - seasoning is essential for both the cigars and the humidor.
Cleaning the Humidor:
You may pick any of the listed methods to season the humidor, but just make sure you clean it well when you open the packaging, so remove all the debris from manufacturing. You can clean it will a wet cloth dipped in distilled water as well if you like.
How to Season a Humidor:
You’ve understood that seasoning a humidor box is an essential part of setting up your humidor box. Here’s how to do it:
A. Traditional Seasoning Method
The conventional method of seasoning a humidor is a thorough process that takes a reasonably long time. It starts with the calibration of the hygrometer.
Hygrometer Calibration Using Salt Test
A hygrometer is a tool used for measuring air humidity. It’s a useful accessory in the process of seasoning the humidor box. First, you’ll have to calibrate the hygrometer. Hygrometers come calibrated from the factory. But it’s a good idea to test your hygrometer to ensure an accurate reading.
Calibration is a time-consuming but easy process. For this, you’ll need salt, distilled water, a plastic bag, and your hygrometer. The principle is simple: when you add a few drops of water to a tablespoon of salt, 75% humidity is released.
Here’s how to go about the calibration:
● Take a tablespoon of salt and add a few drops of distilled water to it to get a cakey mix. Make sure that the salt doesn’t dissolve. Place this mix in a bottle cap.
● Next, put the cap filled with the wet salt inside a plastic bag, along with the hygrometer.
● Then seal the bag shut and let moisture build-up inside it. This process will take 8-12 hours.
● Check the hygrometer. If the reading shows 75%, the hygrometer doesn’t need adjustment.
● If there’s an error, you can either adjust it or keep a note of the degree of error value and consider it when measuring the humidor humidity level.
You can also use a calibration kit containing a plastic bag and salt packets for this process.
Seasoning a Humidor: Things You’ll Need
The process of seasoning a humidor is quite simple. For this, you’ll need:
a) Distilled water or propylene glycol
b) New kitchen sponge
c) Paper towel
d) Plastic bag
e) Large clean bowl
f) Calibrated hygrometer
g) Cigar humidifier
Active Seasoning of a Humidor
Now it’s time to start the actual seasoning process. Here’s a step-by-step guide for you:
a) Soak the sponge in propylene glycol or distilled water for humidor seasoning.
b) Once the sponge gets completely saturated, wring the sponge so that the sponge is not dripping. But make sure that it’s still very wet.
c) Now, put the plastic bag in the humidor and place the sponge on it to prevent any liquid from seeping into the wood.
d) Next, put propylene glycol or distilled water in the large bowl.
e) Now, soak the humidifier in this bowl’s liquid till it’s saturated.
f) Then, take the cigar humidifier out and place it on paper towels, face down, for about half an hour. This will help drain out the excess liquid.
g) After this, you need to place the humidifier and the hygrometer inside the humidor, along with any other wooden trays or dividers that the humidor might have come with.
h) Keep them locked inside the humidor for a day and then check the hygrometer. It should read 80-85%.
i) Put the hygrometer back and wait for another day. Recheck the hygrometer. This time, the reading should come down to around 70%, which is what you’re looking for.
j) If you notice that the humidor humidity is 74% or above, you’ll need to wait for another day.
B. The Wipe Down Method
Another method of seasoning the cigar humidor is the wipe down approach. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
a) Soak the sponge in distilled water properly and wring out every bit of the excess water until it’s nothing more than damp. You can also use pre-moistened seasoning wipes instead.
b) Remove the humidifier and the hygrometer from the humidor.
c) Wipe down the humidor’s exposed surface areas inside. Be slow and leave nothing but a thin water layer on the wood, only to darken the surface color slightly.
d) Don’t forget to wipe the wooden trays and dividers, as well.
e) Now, place them inside the humidor for 24 hours.
f) During this time, you can calibrate the hygrometer.
g) After 24 hours, add the hygrometer, along with the cigar humidifier box, inside the humidor.
h) Now, wait for another day, after which the hygrometer reading should come to around 70%, which is the best humidity for cigars. If it’s more than 74%, then give it a little more time.
Even though this method is a little faster than the traditional way, it’s not popular. That’s because this method can easily saturate the humidor wood. As a result, it will become more susceptible to warping or developing mold. This kind of shock seasoning can harm your humidor’s seal, too.
The ideal way to season humidor boxes is to go traditional. Once it’s seasoned, make sure to fill at least 50% of your humidor with cigars so that the biosphere inside remains consistent. The ideal humidity inside the humidor is around 70%. So, keep checking the humidor and the humidifier every 2-3 weeks. With proper care, your humidor should be able to protect your cigars for a long time.