Like drinking a lukewarm beer, smoking an improperly humidified cigar is a sub-optimal experience and to be avoided at all costs.
Of those who say that they’ve tried cigars but do not like the taste, many have smoked cigars that have not been properly cared for. Experiences like these create an improper taste representation and are typically a far cry from what any Master Blender originally intended.
Thankfully, modern 2 way humidity control packs make proper humidification super easy, and have recently received a substantial upgrade in terms of their technology.
A Delicate Balance
Two-way humidity ‘packs’ possess an almost magical ability to either raise or lower the relative humidity (RH) to a precise, desired percentage amount within any closed environment.
This is essential in assuring that:
A) cigars do not become too dry and brittle as a result of an overly arid (dry) surrounding climate or,
B) cigars do not become too moist and soft as a result of an overly humid (wet) surrounding climate.
When A Cigar Is Too Dry
Dry cigars generally result in an overpowering bitter taste as they tend to ‘smoke hot’. Due to lack of moisture, dry cigars burn at an accelerated rate and can unravel quickly and fall apart. When a cigar has become dry, its construction, performance and most importantly – its flavor – have become seriously compromised.
When A Cigar Is Too Moist
Alternatively, when a cigar is too moist it becomes a big pain right off the bat, as overly moist cigars are almost always difficult to ignite. The edges of an overly moist cigar can burn faster than the filler inside. Similar to a dry cigar, the wrapper can crack or come easily unraveled, which results in a frustrating, less than favorable smoking experience.
Over time, excessive moisture for cigars can create mold growth or worse – can actually result in a cigar beetle infestation (yes, this happens).
This is no bueno.
Cigar enthusiasts have been utilizing 2-way humidification packs for some time now. They are the easiest solution (pun fully intended) to ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to keeping a humidor of any kind working at an optimal humidity level, and primed for keeping cigars fresh. They are self-regulating, and conventionally come in a RH% of either, 62, 65, 69, 72 or 75.
Determining the optimal RH percentage for a humidor’s cigars depends on a variety of factors including local climate, season, humidor size, number and size of cigars stored and of course – one’s own personal preference.
Humidity packs come in a variety of sizes for all manner of humidors and occasions. They are completely safe to be placed somewhere where they are touching cigars and should not be used in conjunction with other humidification methods as they will interfere with each other.
Humidity packs of one RH% should also not be in the same environment as a pack of a different RH%.
Stick to a specific humidity percentage, and go with it.
Recently, 2-way humidification packets have seen a upgrade in available technology via Integra Boost. Like other devices, Integra also uses a 2-way technology but without the use of salt like other products.
Many cigar smokers now understand that using humidity packets that are salt-based can diminish the aroma of a cigar over longer periods of storage. This can ultimately affect the smell and taste of a cigar when lit.
Integra Boost uses a proprietary blend of plant-based glycerin and water and has also become popular for preserving the freshness of food and other plant-based items such as cannabis.
When the moisture of a humidification pack has ultimately been depleted, they typically become dry and hard which means it’s time to change them. Some packs like Integra Boost or Humistart also include a replacement indicator card that changes color to precisely indicate when it is time for a new one instead of having to feel each pack.
Of course, it’s essential to ensure that the environment in which cigars are stored is effectively sealed and as air-tight as possible.
Being a cigar lover has never been more convenient when it comes to the options for optimal storage and maintenance of a cigar.
Today, humidification packs play a key role in not only proper cigar care at home, but also for the transport of cigars while we’re all out and about as well.