Ready to step up to 10 cigars that’ll kick your ash from here ‘til Tuesday? Here’s our picks for the top strong cigars that you need to smoke at least once – bonus points, if you can finish all 10.
2019 CA Report: 5 Must-Know Humidor Tips for Warmer Weather
Must-Know Humidor Tips for When the Weather Turns Warm
No matter what your level of love is for your prized cigars, there are two facts not to be ignored: (1) you spent good money on them… and (2) you need to take good care of them. But with the change of seasons and warmer weather in the air – as well as higher humidity – there are different ways to go about keeping your box in the right condition (as opposed to in the winter, when heat and dry air have you bombing your humidor with moisture). When the weather is too hot and sticky, it can wreak havoc on your premiums, so my goal here is to help you keep those coveted sticks in optimal smoking condition.
That humi-box of yours, no matter what size or how expensive, has a tobacco ecosystem inside and there are certain dos and don’ts to consider in the warmer weather. But this really all depends on the climate you live in and how you keep your home. The general rule of thumb has always been 70-70: 70 % humidity and 70 degrees. There are those who don’t prescribe to that theory at all – but you know what? It’s all about how YOU like to keep your cigars. Some people like them on the drier side, and some like them a little moister. I personally like them at 68-69% humidity so when you give the foot a slight pinch, it has a little give and bounces back. But it’s all preference and there is no right or wrong – well, let me take that back – there IS if the humidity and the temperature get too high, because that can cause you some real problems. So, what’s “too high”? Let’s address that.
High Humidity Inside Your Humidor
During the warmer months, I check the humidity every few days. Most pros say that keeping it between 65 -74% relative humidity is safe. But if the humidity is climbing too high, I’ll open the box lid for several hours, or, as much as a full day, depending on the conditions. You can always replace your humidifier with a smaller one, or, toss in a Boveda pack to see how that works. And there’s been times when it was so humid outside, where I’ve completely removed the humidifier all together, (monitoring the hygrometer each day so when the numbers drop back down, I place the unit back in.)
So, why don’t you want your cigars over humidified? Because tobacco leaves suck up moisture like a sponge and they become soggy. Soggy cigars won’t light or stay lit (they basically just smolder) and they won’t draw because air can’t pass through the swollen, wet leaves.
Sometimes if too much humidity is creeping into your humidor, it’s possible that the seal on your box may not be very good. When you close the lid, you should hear a nice thump of air, as opposed to a thud from the wood. A good way to check the seal is doing the dollar bill test, which I demonstrate in this Cigar Advisor Fan Mail video:
High Temperature Inside Your Humidor
If your humidor becomes a hot box, it can do irreversible damage to your stogies. Once it gets to 76 degrees and up, the natural oils within the leaves can start to dry. And while you can bring dried cigars back to life, once they lose their oils, you’ll never get them back. So, you might be thinking, well, why not just pump up the humidity so they don’t dry out? Because, that’s when there’s the deadly combination of both high humidity and temperature – the perfect storm for microscopic eggs within the leaves to hatch, releasing the dreaded Lasioderma serricorne – unaffectionately known as the tobacco beetle. These hungry little bastids will eat holes through your cigars, and if you don’t catch them quick enough it becomes a beetle buffet, destroying your entire collection. If these uninvited little scoundrels do crash your box, carefully remove and inspect every cigar for pinholes, as well as look for any live or dead bugs within.
I’ve read in online forums where some people have recommended freezing your cigars, but THAT is a major no-no. Years ago you could freeze your cigars, no problem – but not today. Remember years back, the old refrigerator freezers that were loaded with caked-on frost? They were full of humidity, which kept cigars in good condition. But today, we have frost-free freezers and that sucks every ounce of humidity out of your precious stash. So, NEVER place your cigars in a modern-day freezer. You can’t believe everything you read in forums.
Keeping Your Cigars Cool
Air Conditioning keeps your cigars nice and cool, but it can suck the moisture out of them, so keep your humidor away from air vents. Also, you never want to keep your box near a window in the sun, for obvious reasons. Now, if you live in a very hot climate or you don’t have AC, try to keep it in a cooler spot, like in the basement, or an area of your home that doesn’t get a lot of sun. Another method that a lot of guys swear by are wineadors that are temperature controlled and look pretty sweet.
Rotate Your Stash
A good way to give all the cigars in your humidor the equal amount of humidity is to rotate them. Gently take the sticks from the top and move them to the bottom, while moving the bottom cigars up to the top. The ones at the bottom get less moisture, and this will help to keep all of them in the same condition. It’s good practice to do this about once a month.
Now check out my list below of 10 recommended products for keeping your cigars fresh and in tip-top shape. And please feel free to leave your comments or questions at the bottom of the article!
Ironsides Ebony Finished Oak Humidor (25 Count)
This is the same manly looking box that sits upon my Cigar Advisor office desk. Its black oak grain finish is adorned with steel accents and a name plate for engraving. I always get a lot of nice comments, which gleefully boosts my ego while enjoying my favorite cigars. Love this cedar-lined beauty.
Rocky Patel Pearl Cajonador Drum Humidor (100 Count)
This one is as unique as it gets, a real drum you can thump on while housing your hand rolled happy sticks. It measures 21 inches high by 12.5 inches wide and can hold up to 100 of your favorite smokes. There’s rumor that Neil Peart of RUSH will be playing this on his next tour. Okay, I made that up, but this really is one bangin’ humidor.
Art Deco Beveled Glass Top Humidor (30 Count)
The Art Deco themed Orleans is one heck of a sharp looking, old-school desktop box that’ll make you look and feel like a class act. It’s got an attractive high-lacquered finish, a hygrometer on the outside, and a window on the lid so you can stare at your prized possession smokes all day.
Admiral Humidor (120 Count)
It’s the very humidor that my Cigar Advisor Editor in Chief keeps next to his desk, and for good reasons. It stores a lot of cigars while holding its humidity nicely, and it’s pretty-damned attractive, just like its owner. (Hey, my cigar isn’t the only thing that’s brown). Seriously though, this nautical chest is beautifully hand crafted, making it clear who’s running the ship.
Old World Humidor (50 Count)
This is just a gorgeous humidor that makes the statement, “I take my cigars seriously”. Sepia-toned Mercator projections adorn the top and sides while holding up to 50 hand rolled cigars. Perfect for your home or office.
Foot Locker Humidor (400 Count)
Got a lot of premium cigars in your collection? Then you need a quality chest that not only houses your entire bounty, but keeps those gems safe and fresh. The Foot Locker is perfect for long-term aging as well as keeping your daily smokes on hand. With a beautiful cherry finish, brass handles, and the ability to hold close to 16 boxes, this is the humidor for the serious collector.
Cigar Oasis Excel 3.0 Humdifier (for 100-300 Cigars)
It’s the humidification unit I keep in my end table humidor at home, and I swear by it. Just fill it with distilled water, plug it in, and your cigars are sure to be kept in excellent condition. The large LCD shows the humidity and temperature in the humidor and displays the current set point. For maintenance free, long-term humidity control, this is the one I personally recommend.
Moist-N-Aire Cigar Case Humidifier (for 300-1000 Cigars)
You’ve seen this big boy for years in many a cigar shop or lounge, mainly because it’s built to last for years to come. The Moist-N-Aire is made for large cabinet humidors, dispensing enough humidity for a couple hundred cigars, up to 1,000. Its high quality and almost indestructible. Go big or go home.
XIKAR Rectangular Hygrometer
XIKAR makes ultra-premium cigar gear, and this hygrometer shows the temperature as well as being known for its pin-point accuracy. Its sleek design makes it a perfect fit in almost any size humidor.
Don Salvatore Digital “Analog Style” Silver Hygrometer
Made with an old-school analog look, this stylish hygrometer is actually digital with a large-face LCD screen. It gives you accurate humidity readings with temperature displays for both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Available in gold or silver.