Summer or Winter, seasonal change in New Zealand is fairly dramatic - and this has a direct impact on your cigars and the way your cigars taste.
In Canterbury this week, my private humidor hit 30 degrees and the humidity had jumped to 74% - this is not good, but to be expected with an old style house where it bakes in the summer and freezes in the winter.
Storing cigars correctly, ensure a pleasurable experience every time.
Try to keep your cigars at around 20 degrees all year round; RH (relative humidity) has a DIRECT LINK to temperate; trust me on this; you will fight against yourself for a long time trying to get 70% humidity if you don't first get 20 degrees (21 degrees is better, but 20 degrees will get the desired RH) correct.
CANTEROS.nz has a temporary humidor situation while the new walk-in humidor is built early 2018; during winter as soon as I got the heating right, bang; 69% humidity - just the same now, I've added a new air conditioner and (cheated) with a evaporative cooler; 21 degrees and 69% humidity.
At home, you need to find that sweet-spot in the house that is close to 20 degrees and doesn't fluctuate badly on a hot or cold day.
In my personal humidor(s) I use the Boveda system, purely because it is a set and forget; gel-jars and oasis systems are just hit and miss; they cannot react to changes in temperature and relative humidity; Boveda is the only 2-way system; too much, it draws it in; not enough, it releases more.
In the humidors for the store I use Cigar Oasis electronic systems - so they react perfectly. The new 30 square metre walk-in humidor will run a brand new sonic humidification system out of the USA with a commercial air conditioner to keep a constant 20 degrees (I like to err on the side of caution).
How do you store your cigars?
If you are not using a humidor, why not - it's like storing your favourite wine in the sun; or your beer for that matter; storage is paramount to an enjoyable experience and not a dry, bitter cigar (or worse, a soggy one).
If you do own a humidor - it needs to be seasoned (conditioned) correctly and it need some preventative maintenance along the way; at least every quarter I re-season the "lips" of the humidor; these should be maintained to keep that perfect seal.
When your humidor lid drops; it should not go THUD; it should be like it hits a pillow of air and then gently closes.
10-minutes tops, once every three months; done.
Below is really good insight to what happens with a traditional (gel-jar or oasis) humidity system;
1. FLUCTUATIONS IN HUMIDITY WILL CAUSE CIGARS TO LOSE ESSENTIAL OILS AND FLAVOURS.
Like fine wine, cigars are natural products that live, breathe and age. They’re loaded with natural oils and sugars that provide all the character, flavour and foundation for improving with age. In fact, we even speak of the marriage between wrapper, binder and filler, where the oils and sugars contribute to a harmonious whole. Aging and allowing cigars to develop the “bloom” as the oils and sugars mature makes us really appreciate the harmony of flavours in fine cigars. (This is the reason you bought the cigars in the first place.)
Caring for cigars properly, like all natural products, is essential for enjoying them as the cigar master intended. To do that, you need to know some of the basics about cigar care, and indeed, about cigar tobacco.
Tobacco is “hygroscopic,” meaning it has the ability to draw moisture from surrounding environments as well as give up moisture. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to maintain the natural oils and sugars contained within the blend.
2. NEGLECTING TO STORE CIGARS IN A PROPER ENVIRONMENT IS A MISTAKE. DON’T COMPOUND A MISTAKE WITH ANOTHER MISTAKE.
The biggest doom to fine cigars are fluctuations and/or cycles in humidity. There are 2 major enemies that are trying to impend this doom upon your cigars at all times. The first enemy is the storing environment. The second enemy is any inferior product that attempts to control this environment.
In other words, humidity fluctuations arise with normal changes in ambient temperature and humidity. Whereas cycles in humidity occur when using any refillable humidification device. Both are bad for your cigars.
The humidity inside your humidor spikes when filling any refillable device with water. This is then followed by a steady drop in humidity as the water evaporates. During each of these cycles, some of the natural oils and sugars contained within the cigar’s blend dissipate along with the moisture. This robs the cigar of its character, flavour and its foundation for improving with age.
Additionally, the jolt in humidity that happens when filling a refillable device with water creates an environment for your humidor to collect mold, mildew and bacteria. This not only can cause off-flavours in your cigars but can also cause degradation during the aging process.
3. HOW TO WIPE OUT FLUCTUATIONS IN HUMIDITY AND AGE YOUR CIGARS PROPERLY:
The answer is simple, Boveda.
Before Boveda, all that cigar aficionados had to care for their precious cargo were one-way humidifiers like orange peels, lettuce heads, etc. (this all seems very old-fashioned to us). Two-way humidity control continually responds to the environment and maintains a very stable and precise RH (Relative Humidity). This stops fluctuations and extreme cycles these fluctuations put your cigars though. It is this balance that prevents loss of the natural oils, sugars and flavour as your cigars age.
Over the years, I've worked out a basic understanding that anything North of Wellington requires 69% Boveda's and anything in the South needs 72% because it is just so draw; we don't get that high relative humidity.
My old cigar mate Dean used to just keep his cigars in cigar boxes on top of the fridge in Onehunga, because the average humidity was around 70% - he was right too, never had a bad cigar out of those boxes.
CRITICAL things to remember:
- Temperate is paramount (20/21 degrees will get 69/70% humidity)
- Gel-jars and oasis devices work; but cause a spike in humidity and a loss in essential oils
- A humidor is a great; but a correctly seasoned and maintained humidor is PERFECT
- Cigars are natural, poor storage will guarantee a poor experience
- Cigars are not cheap, if you put the effort in to enjoy them, life is great
- Some 200 hands have helped make your individual cigar-experience; respect that artisan experience and you will celebrate every cigar you have
CANTEROS.nz is New Zealand largest stockist of Boveda humidity control systems; we cover everything from 62% to 84%, always in stock, always the best price.
|62%||Ideal for Herbal storage|
|65%||Herbal or Cigar storage|
|69%||Ideal for Cigar storage (North Island / high humidity areas)|
|72%||Ideal for Cigar storage (South Island / low humidity areas)|
|84%||Cigar-humidor seasoning only (not ideal for cigar storage)|