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.
I often wonder about that question, and the answer is “yes.” You could ask the same question about coffee. If you have a cup of coffee every morning, it’s probably more of a habit – something you do on a regular basis – than an addiction. But if you drink 10 cups of coffee a day, one could make the case for addiction.
Whether it’s smoking cigars, playing online poker, or watching reality TV, just about anything can become addictive. What starts often as a hobby for some cigar smokers, may eventually become habitual, and beyond that, addictive. How do you define the three? Cigar smoking as a hobby would apply to a friend of mine who smokes only several cigars a month, though he might smoke more often if his wife wasn’t so insistent he take it outside. He also does a lot of domestic and international travel, and there are very few places left in the world where one can enjoy the company of a good cigar and a libation; so that also keeps his smoking to a bare minimum, but he’s fine with it. As Yoda would say, “A bona fide cigar hobbyist, he is.” Continue reading
If you want to continue to enjoy premium cigars as a passion and hobby, don’t just make a comment to the FDA – make it a Damn Good Comment. If you’ve already spoken out about exempting premium cigars, thank you. Speaking up and speaking out is a big help for us all, as cigar enthusiasts. If you haven’t, there’s less than one week to go: the FDA closes its comment period on 8/8 for the submission of comments, data and research on the proposed deeming rules that will determine the future viability of the premium cigar industry. Continue reading
During the past few weeks, you have probably read press releases or early reviews on some of the new cigars that debuted at this year’s International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Trade Show in Las Vegas (IPCPR 2014). Following is a recap (in no particular order) of some of the cigars and accessories that you may be buying in the months to come. Continue reading
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
Just when you thought you knew everything about premium cigars, another facet of the cigar industry pops-up, like identifying cigar boxes by their year and factory. So what of it? For one, it’s about making sure you’ve purchased the right box of cigars; secondly, it will refine your cigar expertise; and third, it’s vital information for those who collect vintage cigar boxes. 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
Topics related to federal regulation tend to appear so complicated that many people just don’t bother to pay attention. The aim of this article is to try and simplify what the Federal Drug Administration proposes with regard to regulating premium handmade cigars, and what cigar smokers can do about it. Yes, this is also one of the few pending regulations where we, the people (at least the people who enjoy smoking premium handmade cigars), can raise our voices in an effort to influence what the FDA will eventually enforce. More on how to do that later, but let’s start at the beginning so you can understand what the FDA regulations are proposing. Continue reading
One of the email questions I receive on a pretty regular basis is, “After delivery, how long should I keep my cigars in the humidor before smoking them?” For all intents and purposes, the cigars should be “smoke ready” right out of the box. Just about all of the leading manufacturers age their cigars for a minimum of 6-months in Spanish cedar-lined rooms before shipping. Depending on the cigars, it could be as long as three to five years, and in some cases, even longer; then you have the tobaccos, themselves, which may have been aged for any number of years. It’s safe to presume that a sizable segment of cigar smokers smoke that first cigar out of the box within the first few minutes the package arrives, or at least within the first 24 hrs. Why not, right? Continue reading