Do I Have to Season a Cigar Humidor? The Importance of Proper Preparation

smoking a cigar by jay | Posted on April 28th, 2024

If you’re a cigar enthusiast, investing in a quality humidor is essential for preserving the flavor, aroma, and integrity of your cigars. However, before you proudly stock your new humidor, there’s a crucial step that can’t be overlooked – seasoning.

cigar humidor

What is Seasoning a Humidor?

Humidors, particularly those lined with Spanish cedar, are designed to maintain a consistent humidity level, typically around 65-72%. Seasoning is the process of introducing moisture into the humidor’s wood lining, preventing it from sapping the moisture out of your precious cigars. An unseasoned humidor will act like a sponge, leaving your cigars dry, brittle, and unpleasant to smoke.

Why Seasoning Matters

  • Preserves the Full Smoking Experience: Proper humidity plays a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of flavors and aromas that cigar makers have carefully crafted into their blends. Dry cigars can become harsh and lose their nuanced characteristics. Seasoning ensures your cigars stay pliable, allowing for an even burn and a smooth, enjoyable smoking experience.
  • Protects Against Cracking and Warping: Cigars are hygroscopic, meaning they readily absorb and release moisture from their environment. Unseasoned humidors can fluctuate wildly in humidity, causing cigars to lose moisture too quickly. This rapid drying process can lead to cracking in the wrapper or warping of the cigar, compromising both the aesthetics and smokability. Seasoning creates a stable environment that prevents these issues, keeping your cigars in pristine condition.
  • Maintains Optimal Humidity for Long-Term Storage: A well-seasoned humidor creates a microclimate ideal for aging cigars. Consistent humidity levels allow your cigars to mature gracefully, developing richer and more complex flavors over time. Without proper seasoning, the delicate aging process can be disrupted, potentially ruining your valuable collection.

The Effects of Not Seasoning a Humidor

Skipping the seasoning process can have several detrimental effects on your cigars, turning your prized collection into a box of frustration.

  • Dry and Brittle Cigars: Unseasoned humidors will steal moisture from your cigars, leaving them dry and brittle. This makes them difficult to light and keep lit, often resulting in a frustrating smoking experience with an uneven burn. The wrapper becomes inflexible and prone to cracking, while the filler tobacco can crumble when squeezed.
  • Cracked Wrappers and Warped Cigars: Rapid moisture loss can cause the cigar wrapper to crack, ruining the aesthetics and potentially exposing the filler tobacco. This can also lead to uneven burning and affect the draw (the ease with which you can puff on the cigar). Uneven drying can cause the cigar to warp, becoming misshapen and uncomfortable to hold. A warped cigar may also have airflow issues, impacting the burn and overall smoking experience.
  • Loss of Flavor and Aroma: Dry cigars lose their essential oils, the very components that give each cigar its unique flavor profile. A dry cigar will taste dull and muted, lacking the complexity and nuance intended by the cigar maker. The aroma, which is also impacted by essential oils, will be faint and unpleasant.

The Dangers of Improperly Seasoning a Humidor

While essential, over-seasoning or using improper methods can also be detrimental to your humidor and cigars. Here are some of the risks:

  • Mold Growth: Excessive moisture creates a breeding ground for mold spores that can be ever-present in the air. Mold can quickly grow on your cigars, damaging the wrapper, filler, and binder. Not only does mold ruin the look and taste of your cigars, but inhaling mold spores can be harmful to your health.
  • Swollen Wood: Over-humidification can cause the humidor’s wood to swell, potentially damaging the humidor’s structure and creating a poor seal. This can lead to fluctuating humidity levels and difficulty maintaining the desired environment for your cigars. In extreme cases, the wood may crack or warp.
  • Adhesive Failure: Some humidors use adhesives to hold the wood components together. If excessive moisture comes into contact with these adhesives, they may weaken or fail, compromising the humidor’s integrity.

It’s important to note that these aren’t the only dangers of improper seasoning. Here are some additional things to avoid:

  • Leaving the humidor lid open for extended periods: This allows moisture to escape, hindering the seasoning process and potentially drying out your cigars in the long run.
  • Using a humidifier that’s too large: An oversized humidifier can introduce too much moisture too quickly, increasing the risk of mold growth and wood damage.
  • Using an improper water source: Tap water can contain minerals that can leave residue on your cigars and clog the humidifier. Distilled water or a propylene glycol solution are the recommended choices.

By following the proper seasoning techniques and using the recommended materials, you can minimize these risks and ensure your humidor provides the optimal environment for your cigars.

The Verdict

Yes, seasoning your humidor is an absolute must! Taking the time for this important step ensures your cigars stay in prime condition, delivering the rich and satisfying experience they were intended for.

smoking a cigar


Self proclaimed cigar expert. I've been smoking since 2010. I've practically lived at a cigar lounge from 10am to 10pm and trying every new cigar that came out for years.

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