- Seasoning your humidor prepares it for long-term performance.
- Spanish cedar (or its alternatives) plays a crucial role in the seasoning/humidification process.
- Seasoning fortifies the humidor wood with moisture to be released when your humidor becomes too dry.
- A properly seasoned humidor won’t drop in humidity when you add more cigars or open it frequently.
Your humidor is the easiest and most important way to store cigars and keep them tasting their best. But without proper preparation, your humidor won’t hold humidity, putting your cigars at risk of drying out. Seasoning is the process of preparing your humidor to maintain the ideal environment. Get this part right, and your humidor will perform exactly as it should, keeping all cigars in optimal condition.
We provide detailed seasoning instructions for each Klaro humidor. But regardless of the type or brand of humidor, seasoning is a must-know for every cigar smoker, and the following information will help you understand how seasoning improves humidor performance and protects your cigars.
HOW DOES SEASONING WORK?
While every humidor is different, they share common components. The seasoning process incorporates the humidifier, the humidor wood, and the humidification element. These components create a baseline humidity level that won’t fluctuate when you add or remove cigars, open your humidor, or experience major external changes like temperature changes or changes to humidity due to the season.
It works like this: the wood in your humidor needs to absorb enough moisture to be able to properly respond to changes in the humidor environment, such as dry climates or winter dryness. Seasoning is the process of bolstering the humidor wood with enough moisture prior to adding cigars, so the wood absorbs the moisture and not the cigars.
If you begin storing cigars in your humidor before seasoning it, the humidor wood can’t do its job later on, which is to release the proper amount of moisture into the air when the conditions aren’t ideal for cigar storage. Your hygrometer may read within the 65% to 72% humidity levels for a while, but it won’t last as the climate changes.
We designed our seasoning process listed below to work specifically with our humidors, but it can work with other humidors as well. Learn more about the seasoning process below, and you’ll have your humidor set at ideal humidity in no time.
What Does a Humidor Do?
To understand seasoning, it helps to fully understand your humidor. A humidor is more than just a handsome box to hold your cigars. It’s designed to keep your cigars in excellent condition for long periods of time — years, in some cases.
Without a humidor, cigars are subject to the elements around them, whether that’s extreme cold, heat, moist environments, or dryness. These elements can wreak havoc on your cigar collection, causing them to suck up moisture and mold, or to dry out, crack, smoke unevenly, and become brittle.
A humidor maintains a relative humidity that’s ideal for the storage of cigars, between 65% and 72%. In these ideal settings, a cigar isn’t drying out nor is it getting laden with moisture. Instead, this humidity is similar to the climate where tobacco leaves are cured and stored during the manufacturing process. Many aficionados even use their humidors to further age tobacco to help develop the flavors and smoking experience.
This is possible because the humidor regulates the humidity of the internal environment, even when you add dry cigars or open it frequently, exposing it to outside conditions. But humidors require a little preventative maintenance to be able to respond to fluctuations down the road. And this is where properly seasoning your humidor comes in.
Why Season a Humidor?
Seasoning your humidor is the most important step in cigar storage. Proper seasoning ensures the humidor wood retains a sufficient amount of moisture to respond to a high volume of cigars, excessive dryness, or frequent openings. But that’s easier said than done.
It’s difficult to maintain humidity in a dry box. A dry box might contain random pockets of moisture, and you can add a humidification element to help create additional moisture in the air. But this isn’t sustainable. Humidors use specialized wood (Spanish cedar) that retains moisture long-term, only releasing it when the air becomes too dry. The type of wood you use matters, and the amount of moisture in the wood matters. Hence, the seasoning process.
Seasoning your humidor means the Spanish cedar interior absorbs a enough moisture evenly throughout to respond to fluctuations. Once that baseline is established, the humidifier better maintains a precise range of humidity that keeps your cigars safe and ready for smoking.
That said, you’ll often hear about popular two-way humidification systems that, in theory, do the work of properly seasoned Spanish cedar. Now, these are great for short-term travel humidifiers. But in our research, they just don’t provide the optimal humidity levels for a medium or large-sized humidor properly seasoned with the right type of humidor wood.
The Steps to Seasoning a Humidor
It’s not difficult to season a humidor, especially using the steps we’ve outlined for our humidors.
But getting the steps right is important, and incorrect seasoning instructions abound. For example, some suggest simply wiping water onto the interior lining of your humidor with a sponge. This is a mistake. Putting water directly onto a Spanish cedar lining can cause warping, which ruins the lining and makes it much more difficult to maintain a humidity level. Using the method below, you’re allowing the wood to naturally absorb moisture.
Another important thing to note is that your Klaro humidor includes everything you need to start the seasoning process. Additionally, after you receive your Klaro humidor, when you register the product you’ll have an opportunity to join our Klaro Membership, which provides a year’s worth of materials to keep your humidor seasoned. Routine seasoning and maintenance of your humidor keeps it in tip-top shape.
We formulated the solution used in the process below to create an optimal environment. Other solutions may use salt, but salt-based solutions can change a cigar’s taste, and even cause the lining of your humidor to corrode.
Level your humidor. Most smartphones have level apps that are perfect for this. Check the level from both front-to-back and side-to-side.
- Rest the wood tray in the bottom of the humidor. Remove the lid from the hydro tray, and rest that on top of the wood tray.
- Open the solution and add it to each quadrant of the Hydro Tray. Don't overfill or spill. The quadrants don't need to be completely full.
4. Close the lid and wait approximately 12 hours. During this time expect to see the hygrometer provide various readings, generally trending higher.
5. You’re looking for 68 percent humidity or higher for 12 hours or more. This can take 3-5 days. If you have difficulty reaching that level, we recommend using our specially-formulated Winter and Dry Climate Solution, available through the Klaro Membership.
6. After hitting 68 percent or higher for a full 12 hours, open the gel solution packet. Sprinkle in to each quadrant. Add more solution, making sure to moisten every crystal.
7. Wait 6-12 hours for the crystals to soak up the solution.
8. Analyze the humidity reading. On many Klaro Humidors, the hygrometer (which measures humidity levels) is a digital reader on the front of the humidor.
- If the humidity level is 70-75 percent, move on to step 8.
- If it’s reading between 65-69 percent, add more solution to each quadrant, then move to step 8.
- If it’s below 65 percent, we recommend that you use the Winter and Dry Climate Solution.
- If it’s above 75 percent, remove the hydro tray for between 12-48 hours. Then reinstall and determine the reading.
10. Carefully sit the hydro tray on the bottom of the humidor. Try not to spill. Place the wood tray on top.
Those 11 steps cover the gist for seasoning a humidor. That said, each humidor has its own nuances that may be different. Make sure to learn how to season your humidor specifically.
How to Check for Accurate Humidity in a Humidor
Now that your humidor is seasoned, how can you be sure that it’s maintaining humidity levels that are perfect for your cigars? There are two key things to keep in mind when you’re measuring humidity.
First, don’t place the hygrometer directly on top of the water tray. There, the hygrometer is more likely to get saturated with water and read higher. Ideally, sit it on the wood tray where you store your cigars.
Second, remember that your humidor will take time to adjust. The best way to measure its saturation and humidity level is to fill it with 20 cigars—or however many it holds—and wait two weeks. As the cigars absorb some moisture, the humidity inside the humidor will equalize and you’ll be left with an accurate reading.