Most everyone in my circle who loves an occasional or daily cigar quickly learns that keeping cigars can be a tricky proposition. (I’m more in the occasional camp but when I want a cigar I want it to be ready in perfect condition.)
There are many different considerations but in the end humidity is king. Too dry and your cigars will dry-up, lose their life and flavor, potentially crack, and in some cases your cigars could be ruined beyond repair. Too humid and your cigars will mold and nobody likes that.
To keep your cigars at optimum humidity you are often compelled to buy a humidor. Once you get the humidor your problems are not instantly solved. You must first season your humidor, which is a fancy way to say that you have to add moisture to your humidor’s interior before use. You have to calibrate your hygrometer, which is important as you need to know the precise relative humidity (RH) level. You must then choose your method of humidification. Many humidors come with a standard humidifier that relies on you faithfully recharging the foam core with distilled water. Frankly, this is far too imprecise and far too much work for me.
Traditional humidors are often very attractive and can seamlessly become part of your study or living room. However, I have found that humidors come with a couple of serious downsides. First – cost. You really get what you pay for so if you desire a humidor that holds more than one box of cigars and if you desire a humidor that actually seals well (doesn’t lose all of your humidification efforts) you are going to commit some big bucks. Second – maintenance. Even good humidors will require careful maintenance especially in dry winter months. I know that many cigar lovers love the ritual but I prefer effective and easy.
After some careful research and some trial and error with a small, traditional humidor I opted for the homemade humidor often dubbed – The Coolerdor (Or is it coolidor? Does it really matter at all as it’s a made-up name?)
The concept of the coolerdor is a simple one, coolers are easy to keep clean, they are relatively inexpensive, and a good cooler has a tight seal. After acquiring your cooler you then choose some form of a humidifier, and then an optional dose of Spanish cedar (Spanish cedar lines the interior of the best humidors) and you are in business.
I built my coolerdor about two and a half years ago so I have given it a serious test drive. I must say that I am very pleased with the results and I can’t imagine abandoning my coolerdor. I recommend this method to anyone interested in keeping cigars in their home.
The How To – Building Your Own Coolerdor
First you need some equipment:
- Engel 30 Quart Dry Box Cooler
- Four cedar cigar trays (12.5 inch x 7.5 inch)
- One Boveda cedar 4-pack holder
- Boveda packs 72% RH
I chose the Engel dry box as it had some of the best ratings for sealing tight. I knew that the issues I had with my traditional humidor all came down to it leaking humidity; I didn’t want a cooler that did the same. I chose the 30 quart model due to the interior size. This cooler comfortably, but not too loosely held the 12.5 inch x 7.5 inch cigar trays. I opted for the cedar cigar trays as they offered a lot of cedar surface, which is prized in quality humidors. It has proven to be a wise choice for my coolerdor.
First, I cleaned the interior of the cooler thoroughly and allowed it to dry and air-out for two days. Next I installed the Boveda cedar 4-pack holder on to the back wall of the coolerdor. The kit comes with any easy to use adhesive magnetic material that allows you to remove and replace the holder with ease. Next I loaded the holder with four Boveda packs. (There are many methods of humidification but I prefer the Boveda packs because the are easy and they simply work.) I then filled the trays with my cigars and stacked them neatly in the coolerdor. Finally I installed a hygrometer to the inside lid and then my coolerdor was complete. I closed it up and within two days my coolerdor was holding at an optimal 72% RH. Because the seal is so good on my coolerdor I swap out the Boveda packs roughly every four to five months.
What I have described here may have some purists banging their heads but for the rest of us, it’s a tidy solution. Also, it has probably occurred to many of you that the coolerdor has a handle! This makes it easy to bring your cigars to a friend’s home, your backyard, or wherever you would like to have access to your stash. If you have any questions about building your own coolerdor just message me.