cigar humidor

If you’ve never seasoned a cigar humidor before it can seem a little daunting, really though, it’s a doddle. So here are our top tips whether you’re seasoning a desktop humidor or a cigar cabinet. The process differs a little but the principles are the same!

Fundamentals of seasoning a cigar humidor

In short when your humidor is delivered it will be ‘dry’ and have very little or only ambient humidity in it. The idea of seasoning is to drive humidity deep into the wood so that once the humidor is seasoned it is easy to maintain at your desired humidity (another blog to follow on what humidity to store cigars at). For today we will aim for the ‘traditional’ humidity of 70%. Essentially what you are trying to achieve is a long term stable level of humidity to keep your precious cigars in tip top condition!

How to season your cigar humidor

Traditionally to season a humidor we use humidification fluid - simply put, distilled water. Never use tap water! A solution like the Xikar PG humidification liquid is perfect. Take a clean cloth, wet it with the humidification fluid and then wipe it all around the humidor. You don’t need to pour the fluid in the humidor, you don’t want the cloth dripping wet. What you want to see is the wood turn darker as you wipe around it. Make sure to wipe and trays and dividers as well as the main humidor itself. Shut the lid and monitor the humidity, you want it to get in to the low 80%s at room temperature and maintain at that level for 10 days or so. Repeat the process if the humidity falls.

It has become a bit of an urban myth of late that this method can lead to warping of the wood, or is more prone to mould generation due to too much moisture. Both are nonsense, just follow the steps I outlined and you will have no problem! I’ve personally seasoned over 20 cabinets and countless desktop humidors this way.

More recently Boveda have become a far more common option for seasoning humidors. Boveda make an 84% humidity seasoning pack. The process is uber simple. Get Boveda. Open Boveda. Put Boveda in humidor. Shut for a few weeks and bingo, humidor seasoned. 

With both methods, once humidity is stable in the low 80%s you can let it drift down to 70% then add a 70% Boveda, or fill the crystal humidifier with fluid.

Remember, patience is key to seasoning a humidor and if you don’t season it properly in the first place you will have to do it again at some point - which is a problem when it’s full of cigars!

Boveda Cigar packs or Cigar Humidification Fluid?

I have 2.5 answers to that question! 

If you are seasoning a desktop humidor or small desktop cabinet, Boveda are fine. It is however an expensive way to do it - remember you need 1 60g Boveda packet per 25 cigars of capacity. Even at our prices, that mount’s up pretty quickly, it is as I say though uber easy to do! Seasoning with Boveda also takes a long time. In my experience 3 weeks is not unusual to really get a humidor sitting constantly at 84%. 

It follows that using Boveda for large cabinets it’s a game only for the rich. In short, if you are seasoning a cabinet use the distilled water method.

And the .5 answer… personally I don’t like Boveda for seasoning anything. In my experience they don’t drive sufficient initial moisture deep into the wood and to have any chance of it happening takes a long time. Conversations with customers would also seem to bear this out. The number of issues now where people can’t hold a steady humidity without it dropping after 6 months doesn’t make sense. It’s a problem you never used to see when all we had was distilled water. I have experimented on a couple of medium cabinet humidors in the last year and controversially have mixed the methods - something Boveda don’t recommend but it’s been working here at NWoC HQ! Wipe the inside of the humidor down with distilled water as I described above, then put the Boveda in. You get the best of both worlds - the initial saturation of the wood followed by Bovedas ruthless efficiency of maintaining a stable humidity for a period of time with no fuss!