Inhaling cigars do you or don’t you?
People inhale cigarettes, so why not cigars? When it comes to inhaling cigars, there’s no specific rule, and the fact is, a number of cigar smokers do inhale as well as retrohale. In the latter case, you puff on your cigar and blow the smoke out your nose. In some cases, retrohaling results in a very peppery, nose-bending, eye-opening experience. On the other hand, it can help you discover flavors that you may not taste by simply puffing and expelling the smoke. As for inhaling cigar smoke, that’s another story. Continue reading
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have so many cigars you’ve run out of room to store them? It’s happened to me. Several years ago, I went on a cigar box buying binge and realized that even with 5 decent sized humidors, I had no room for the extra boxes. Though I was never a cheerleader for keeping my cigars in anything other than a traditional cigar humidor, I felt that maybe it was time for a change and decided to make a coolerdor (a.k.a. a “tupperdor”) for my overstock. I figured, why not? I had received numerous emails over the years from some very resourceful cigar smokers who have had great success with homegrown humidors made from beer coolers, storage bins, even old refrigerators. Besides having an overabundance of cigars – and there’s nothing wrong with that – some cigar smokers just don’t want to deal with the expense of buying a big cedar lined humidor. Moreover, traditional wooden humidors for sale can run anywhere from $49.95 to $4,995.00.
Though it’s not as pretty as a traditional humidor, a coolerdor, if setup correctly, does a great job of keeping your cigars fresh for less than the price of even the cheapest traditional humidor.
So, let’s get into making and how to store cigars in a coolerdor. First, decide how much room you’ll need for your cigars, and take into account if you’ll be storing loose cigars (singles), cigar boxes, or both. In my case, I used my coolerdor specifically for boxes. I’ll get into why later on. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A large beer cooler or plastic storage bin/tub.
- A humidifier designed to humidify about 250 cigars (preferably a crystal-based model).
- A digital hygrometer to keep tabs on your temperature and humidity.
- A calibration kit to ensure the hygrometer is accurate.
- Distilled water for filling and refilling the humidifier.
- Optional: Empty Spanish cedar cigar boxes for storing single cigars (with or without a lid), or Spanish cedar strips (in case you want to line the interior of your ‘dor like a traditional cigar humidor.)
You can probably purchase all of the above for less than $50. Once you have all the parts, you want to set up your coolerdor the same way you would a traditional humidor, except no pre-seasoning is required, which can take days for a traditional humidor.
- Calibrate the hygrometer with a good calibration kit (I recommend the Boveda calibration kit because it really works.) Since this will take up to 6 hours, do that first.
- Completely fill the humidifier with distilled water and make sure all of the water has been absorbed.
- Affix the humidifier in the center of the ‘dor’s lid. (Note: Depending on the size of your coolerdor you may need more than one humidifier.)
- Place the hygrometer in the spot of your choosing: a corner under the lid, one of the walls of the box, on the bottom, or on top of one of the cigar boxes, but not too close to the humidifier.
- Place your cigar boxes, sealed, open, or closed in the ‘dor, put on the lid, and you’re done. Be sure to keep your coolerdor in a cool, dark space if you can.
- Check the humidifier and hygrometer regularly, and recharge your humidifier as needed.
The reason I only keep factory boxed cigars in my coolerdor is because I like that fact that they will continue to age in their cedar boxes. So you get the best of both worlds: A closed, virtually air-tight system and the advantage of cedar aging as it’s done in the factory. As my traditional humidors begin to empty out, I move my coolerdor cigars in.
In an article we ran in CigarAdvisor some time ago titled“How My Katrinador Saved My Cigars,“ the writer, Bob “The Reverend Hurricane” Meyn, detailed the benefits of building his coolerdor. He used a 36-qt. red cooler, lined it with Spanish cedar planks, and because he has a lot of single cigars, used old cigar boxes for storage and purchased a big humidifier. Since the Rev lives in New Orleans, which tends to flood during the occasional hurricane, here’s what he wrote:
“The Katrinador has actually saved The Rev’s cigars once floating briefly in a hotel pool in Birmingham, Alabama during the evacuation of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina,” wrote the Rev.
The Rev also noted that his Katrinador has “functioned as well as any expensive humidor and easily outperformed them for maintaining the quality of my smokes, which in my opinion, is the real purpose of a humidor.” Based on the experience I’ve had with my coolerdor, all I can add to that is, AMEN.
Though I don’t want to discourage anyone from buying a traditional humidor, if you’d rather spend your money on more cigars, the choice is yours.
Ooh-ooh that smell! Cigar smoke odor. It gets on your clothes, it stinks up your car, your man cave, office, wherever you prefer to partake indoors. So how do you deal with it? There are number of options available to you, so let’s get started… Continue reading
It’s ironic. Every day some anti-smoking group wants to take the cigars out of our mouths by advocating another smoking ban, while at the same time minions of new cigar smokers are getting ready to enjoy their first cigar. If you’re among the latter group you may be asking yourself, “What cigar should I smoke first?” Continue reading
Why The Dominican Republic Grows Great Tobacco
Though Nicaragua has become the breeding ground of choice for many tobacco growers, in terms of sheer numbers, The Dominican Republic remains El Rey (the king) of the Central American tobacco-growing nations. The DR accounts for more than half of the cigars sold in the United States. Of course, the Dominican had a big lead. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, many of Cuba’s best growers and blenders emigrated to the DR. Most histories of Dominican tobacco production credit Carlos Toraño Sr. for introducing Cuban seed to the country, which we know today as Dominican “Piloto Cubano;” though it should be noted that many other Cuban tobacco men brought their seeds with them to other countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua. Continue reading
Some things are so intuitively easy you hardly have to think about them. Starting a car, making coffee with a K-cup, buttoning a shirt. You’d think that refilling a cigar lighter would be just as simple, right? Yes, but there’s a little more to it than you think, and by following the instruction guide below, you’ll not only learn how to fill your cigar torch lighter correctly, you’ll add many more months, even years, to its lifespan. Continue reading
Even with all the wild, wacky and dumbass hijinks you see daily on the internet, there’s one place where etiquette is still the norm – the cigar lounge. Not surprisingly, Zino Davidoff is credited for what we call “cigar etiquette” today. He even wrote a book about it, and I can’t think of a better person to write such a book than Mr. Davidoff. Zino was the quintessential “gentleman,” from his grooming, to his clothes, right down to the way he smoked his cigars. I’m talking “Old World” manners; when men opened doors for women, and removed their hat when entering a room. Though some of those customs have survived, today anything goes. But step into a traditional cigar lounge and you’ll think you stepped into the Bizarro world. I’m not saying that cigar lounges are for the stiff upper lip type; quite the contrary. That said, there are some guidelines that will help you become a better cigar smoker. Even some of Mr. Davidoff’s rules are a little too Victorian by today’s standards. For example: holding the cigar between your index finger and thumb, rather than your index and middle fingers. Zino felt the former method was more “elegant.” He may have had a point, but the way you hold your cigar is pretty much considered your own business. Another is removing the band so as not to “advertise” how costly (or cheap, for that matter) your cigar is. Though many cigar smokers still apply this rule, it appears to have faded over time, since a lot of other smokers want to know what you’re smoking. It’s also a great conversation starter. More often than not today, the band comes off when the ash gets too close. Continue reading
You hope it never happens, but one day when you least expect it…BAM!, your cigar begins to unravel on you. Your heartbeat increases; your mind becomes cluttered with frustration. “How am I going to smoke this cigar now?” you ask yourself. The last thing you want to do is trash it, especially if it’s a favorite, a pricey primo, or both.
The unraveling wrapper is one of those snafus that’s hard to fix unless you just happen to have some roller’s glue, and most cigar smokers don’t own a bottle of roller’s glue. The good news is, depending on how and where the cigar is unraveling there are several ways you can repair it, and you don’t have to be a torcedor either. Just keep in mind that whichever method you use, be it the remedies listed here, or your own invention, wrapper leaf can be very delicate, so caution and patience are the keys to getting the job done right. Finally, NEVER use spit; it just doesn’t work. Continue reading
Why the FDA Has It All Wrong
By now, we’ve all heard the news: the FDA has given us a look at what they’re thinking about doing to the cigar industry, vis-à-vis new regulations. Pending though they may be, it’s only a matter of time and outspokenness before they decide how hard to come down on cigar lovers. At the heart of the issue is how premium cigars are to be defined…they already have been, by various state legislatures; but now it’s time for the Feds to come up with something they feel is more formal. And the definition of what a premium cigar “is,” is really the subject of the debate if we’re to have any reasonable shot at the FDA moving away from regulating premium cigars. Continue reading
If “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” could the same be said for cigar lighters? Maybe, but like cigars, the tools for igniting them are almost as multitudinous as bird species. For the purposes of this post we’re going to focus on the most popular jet lighters used for lighting cigars, as well as how and when to use them. From single jet designs like the XiKAR EX Windproof lighter, to lighters with special tools, like the Vertigo Golf lighter with its built-in divot tool, to the Vertigo Intimidator with its four jets and futuristic design, there’s a torch lighter for every cigar lover. Continue reading