Smoking a premium handmade cigar is a pastime that is both enjoyable and exudes class. And if you ever tried smoking a dry cigar, you know how horrible it can be. It usually burns out hot and fast with an extremely bitter taste to go with it, making the experience not so palatable.
If you have ever experienced the above, you will know how important it is to maintain a handmade cigar’s moisture or humidity level. You might ask why there is a need to maintain the humidity level of a cigar. The answer is that cigars easily absorb moisture from their environment and lose it just as easily if kept in a dry place.
Cigar humidity is paramount, as the whole experience involves it. This article will highlight the importance of humidity to your handmade cigar.
In this article,
- The effects of humidity on cigars
- The right cigar humidity
- Cigar in less humidity
- Cigar in excessive humidity
- Best cigar humidity
- Helpful tools for cigar humidity in a humidor
- Actual humidity vs. Relative humidity
- How to store cigars in a humidor
The Effect of Humidity on Cigars
In this session, we will focus on how humidity affects your cigars. We’ll focus on the performance of your cigars at different humidity levels. These levels include;
- The right humidity
- less humidity
- Excess humidity.
What’s So Special About the Right Cigar Humidity?
I’m guessing this is a question you are asking right now in your mind. You don’t have to wait too long. The answer is simple; it improves the quality of your cigar experience.
The proper humidity allows cigar burn slower with a better flavor, and at the same time, makes the heat moderate. This means that even though the cigar can produce extreme heat due to its mass and material, it won’t. Instead, it will burn at a steady pace with a moderate amount of heat. And that’s not all.
It is good for the cigar to have low relative humidity, but it turns into kindling for the fire if it’s too low. It’s also important to note that the RH of a cigar perfect for its burn rate depends partly on the type of paper used.
How About Cigars in Less Humidity
The cigar is hygroscopic in nature and gains and losses humidity quickly. If you leave a cigar in a room without air conditioning or exposure to sunlight, it completely dries out within a day.
At this stage, your cigar is kindling. It is not impossible to salvage, but the sheer drop in quality makes it almost unpalatable.
The reason is that there is a loss of essential oils due to evaporation while the cigar dries up. Hence the cigar loses a lot of flavors, and the taste is no longer as appealing or high quality as it originally was. This is why proper storage is important for a cigar to ensure it doesn’t lose moisture.
The Effect of Excess Cigar Humidity
Now, we know it’s better to have the humidity just right. You still need to know the dangers of excess moisture in your cigar.
Contrary to what you might believe, when a cigar gets damp, it doesn’t affect the burn rate by making it slower. It instead makes some parts ball faster than the other, giving it an uneven burn rate. The phenomenon is known as ‘tunneling.’ This will affect the smoking experience. Most cigars have different tobacco flavors at different layers and a progressive change in their taste and richness. This uneven burn distribution or rate nullifies this purpose and makes the smoking experience dull.
Don’t tell me you think that is all.
The most important is that once tobacco becomes damp, the leaves swell, and drawing smoke becomes even more difficult. It also emits more smoke, has a clingy smell, and can overwhelm your sense of smell. The chances of choking are even higher on this one.
We now know this, so it’s time to ask an all-important question.
What Is the Best Cigar Humidity?
There is no perfect answer for this question, as it is relative to the atmospheric humidity, relative humidity, and temperature of the storage space. Note that the humidity in the atmosphere is also relative or dependent on the temperature.
There is a popular rule of thumb called the 70/70 rule. This rule states that a 70% humidity along with a 70-degree Fahrenheit temperature is perfect for your cigar. Following this rule means you have the right water vapor pressure to store your cigars.
Owing to this relativity, an increased temperature should lead to a direct decrease in humidity to keep the standard 70/70. For example, a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit should have a humidity percentage of 65.
Obviously, like every other rule, there are exceptions to this rule. Once the temperature goes below 60°F, this rule is not necessary anymore, simply because the atmosphere can never hold that much humidity. Hence, there is no corresponding RH level that will give you a possibly appropriate AH.
Some Helpful Tools for Cigar Humidity in Humidor
Searching the web will give you tons of tools to improve the cigar humidor‘s humidity level and maintain it. Although we expect this article should be for people who already know a thing or two about cigars, we won’t want to leave my readers ignorant.
A humidor is an airtight container you can use to keep cigars or tobacco moist. To not bore you with many details, I am only going to list three accessories that aid in improving and maintaining the humidity of or humidifying your cigar.
1. Humidor humidifier
The humidor humidifier keeps or maintains the moisture in your humidor. You have to know that no matter the kind of humidifier, be it the Cigar Humidifier Beards, Electronic Cigar Humidifiers, Floral Foam humidifiers, humidity Pouches, crystal gel humidifiers, etc. They have specific maintenance requirements. I advise that you follow the instructions, which could be anything from every few days to every few weeks or months.
Also, be sure to replace your humidifiers as per the instructions for each respective humidor type. Generally, you need to recharge the Cigar crystals with distilled water every 2 to 4 weeks or as the crystals shrink down to their un-humidified size.
A container of gel crystals can last 1 to 2 years. Keep on this, so you have fresh materials humidifying your cigars at all times.
Related: best humidifiers for your humidor
2. Humidor hygrometer
A hygrometer helps you measure or check the ideal humidity for your humidor. With this, you can know if the moisture presence is excess or you have to increase the humidity.
When talking about humidor monitoring systems, the Xikar PuroTemp™ Wireless Hygrometer System can be called one of the most accurate humidor hygrometer systems. Using a wireless remote PuroTemp system, cigar enthusiasts who want to keep their cigars fresh and in prime condition can monitor them in real-time.
That’s not all. It can read up to three separate remote units in various locations and humidors. As long as it is within a 60ft. range, you can set and access the temperature and humidity levels without opening the humidors.
The system comprises two features: the base unit monitor and a remote (the actual hygrometer).
Note that the base unit displays the time and alternates between temperature and humidity in approximately one-minute intervals for each respective remote. Those who want to monitor multiple humidors require additional remotes.
You may want to know more about humidor hygrometers.
3. Humidor solution
The Famous Humidor Solution is a humidor solution that will help you supercharge your old puck-style humidifier. It works with a combination of propylene glycol and distilled water. This allows your humidor to regulate itself, working at a minimal price while using minimal upkeep.
Click here to get more information about the humidor solutions.
What You Should Know About Humidity
As much as you need to know how humidity affects your cigar, it would also be good to have insight into some concepts about humidity.
Reporting humidity levels comes in different ways, but relative humidity and absolute humidity are the two most usual. Weather forecast reports use Relative Humidity, which is equally what makes this method the most used.
To explain how this works:
Humidity is water vapor in the air. To get relative humidity, divide the highest density of water vapor in the air at any temperature by the one already available. This gives you a relative humidity percentage.
As the name implies, it is the density of water vapor available in reality. This humidity determines if a cigar stick will remain the same or get destroyed if it soaks it up. The actual humidity level will go high as the temperature level increases.
If there are two different temperature levels with one high and one low, actual humidity levels will also read differently. However, with relative humidity, the readings for the two different temperature levels will remain the same.
What does this mean for you? When your hygrometer reads 50% humidity, it is time to moisten your cigar. But if the reading is 70% humidity, time to dry out the cigar.
Accordingly, for proper humidity for the humidor, the relative humidity level has to be lower as the temperature goes higher, and vice versa.
How To Store Cigars in A Humidor
- Fill a humidor only with distilled water. Avoid using water from a tap as this can cause molds to build
- Every week, check the humidor humidity level and check if there are any molds on the cigar.
- If you want the flavors to meld, remove the cellophane wraps before storing the cigars.
- Leave some space between each cigar as you stack them. Let rows be free and allow for airflow.
- Experts suggest that you keep the humidor open for some hours every week. This allows fresh air to get into the box because if the box remains closed for long periods, it could have a moldy smell.
- Ensure that you keep turning the position of the cigar every six months. This approach helps the cigar to receive optimal humidor humidity.
Owing to these revelations, it is paramount that we cigar lovers and smokers pay attention to the humidity levels of our cigars. The reason is that the enjoyability of these cigars is highly dependent on Cigar humidity. It is also imperative that we choose our humidors, humidifiers, and humidifying kits carefully to get the best possible results.
Now since you have learned something about cigar humidity, why don’t you also check out our other related guides as follows:
- How to store cigars
- Best humidors
- Top 13 travel humidors
- Best cigar coolers
- Best small humidors
- Best acrylic humidors
- DYI humidor
- How to use a humidor