Gary Korb takes one more look at the Holidays with his list of top shelf cigars adorned with fancy white & gold bands. Whether it’s a last minute gift idea or a humidor-worthy primo to ring-in the New Year, you’ll find 12 of them all dressed-up and ready to smoke.
2012 CA Report: Best Bargain Desktop Cigar Humidors
Desktop Cigar Humidors on the Cheap: you don’t need a piece of furniture.
Cigars and humidors are like horses and saddles. We associate them as a dependent set, but you don’t need a saddle to ride a horse, and you don’t need a fancy wooden humidor to store cigars. There is one catch, however: You and the horse will survive without a saddle, but your cigars won’t survive without some form of humidification. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about wooden desktop cigar humidors, not coolerdors, tupperdors, or other makeshift storage units.
Now that we’ve established what we’re talking about, a lot of cigar smokers, particularly those new to the leaf, think they have to spend a fortune on a good cigar humidor. True, the prices of some cigar humidors can make your head spin.
Like the myriad mid-range-priced cigars that offer excellent quality, the same goes for cigar humidors. As it is with most things, more often than not, you get what you pay for, but you can find some really great buys with a little well-focused research, regardless what size box you’re shopping for. Once you decide on the size you feel is best for you, the rest is easy. There’s no reason to pay Parnian furniture prices for cigar storage space.
Since you will find a good humidor within your price range, let’s start with the very minimum you need to ensure your cigars will store and age properly:
- An attractive-looking box with a good seal (to keep air trapped inside the box).
- Spanish cedar-lined walls, base, and lid. (The thicker the better for insulation.)
- A reliable humidifier that will consistently maintain an average of 70% relative humidity (RH)
- A hygrometer to keep tabs on the temperature and RH. (Digital hygrometers also measure temperature.)
Following are three humidors (small, med, and large) that feature all of the above and won’t melt your wallet:
Toulouse Birdseye Maple Humidor: $69.99 (25 cigar capacity)*
This 25 ct. humidor is a great bargain. In addition to the nice price and meeting all of the minimum requirements, it has a grated base found in much more expensive models. The slots permit air to travel completely around the cigars, and that’s a real plus, since you won’t have to rotate your cigars as often.
Milano Cherry Humidor: $79.99 (75-100 cigar capacity)*
For under $80 you get a lot of box for your buck. In addition to the added space, it comes with a top tray for your everyday cigars, dividers and a key to deter cigar stealing thugs. I would suggest switching out the manufacturer’s humidifier with a crystal-based model, as they are much more efficient in the long run.
Deauville Tobacco Leaf Inlay Humidor: $99.99 (up to 125 cigars capacity)*
This humidor has a beautiful finish and comes with pretty much everything you’ll find in the Milano above. What I also like about this model is, the lid is supported by a brass piano hinge for better stability and alignment.
Don’t worry about buying a humidor that may seem like too much for now. Believe me, the more you get into cigars, the more space you’re going to need. It’s better to grow into a humidor than to have to buy another humidor because you wanted to save a few bucks on a lower capacity model.
Note also that online cigar stores like Famous Smoke Shop are always running some kind of sale on cigar humidors, so if you’re in the market, check back often. As for those of you where price is no object, there’s always this Rocky Patel Cajon drum humidor (called the Cajonador)…
For more information on cigar humidors and cigar storage in general, check out Cigar Advisor Magazine’s Cigars 101 tutorial series.
* Prices are subject to change since the date of this posting.