How I saved my first cigar humidor
My first cigar humidor was a Diamond Crown by Reed & Barton. It was a 25 count box which set me back about $150. The cigar store owner was kind enough to knock $25 off the $175 shelf price, since I was also buying a large quantity of cigars, and some other accessories. The humidor came with a CREDO humidifier and an analog hygrometer, and I kept the box on the mantle of the fireplace in my first house. It always kept the cigars fresh year-round, even in the summer, when it got pretty warm in that old, pre-central-air-conditioned house. By the time I moved from that house to my second house the box was pretty well seasoned. I was also ready for a bigger humidor. I still have that Diamond Crown cigar humidor, and here's why:
Once I got the bigger humidor, I kept it at home and moved my old Diamond Crown to the office for stashing my everyday cigars, sample cigars, and a few special favorites. One thing I hadn't known about when I bought that first cigar humidor was that the lid should close on a cushion of air, which mine never did. However, based on its shallow bottom and heavy lid, I don't think that was ever possible, yet it never gave me a problem until several years later, by which time I had also replaced the original CREDO with a green foam humidifier. The humidity level was always too low no matter how many times I refilled the humidifier. Since I go through cigars rather quickly at the office, it didn't seem to matter all that much, but it gnawed at me. How could such a well-made humidor fail? I finally decided to move the humidor into the Famous Smoke Shop warehouse where I knew the conditions were perfect. I left the Diamond Crown humidor in there for over three years, which gave it a pretty good seasoning to say the least. But once I returned it to my office it began leaking again. I tried the dollar test and it failed miserably. Let me be clear: I'm not knocking the Diamond Crown humidors. Believe me, they're among the best made in the world. I blame it more on the basic design and the years of wear and tear on the hinges.
By this time, XiKAR had released their new crystal-based humidifiers and I wanted to see if their humidifiers could help save my old humidor. After all, the box had sentimental value, and I didn't want to put it back in the warehouse where I couldn't see it. Well, sure 'nuf, within a day after putting in the XiKAR humidifier, the box was percolating away nicely at a comfortable 66% RH with a room temp of about 73-degrees - a good balance. When the temperature goes down, the RH goes up accordingly and vice versa. IOW, the product lived up to its advertising.
So what does this all mean? Over the years, I've received a lot of emails from readers who have had problems balancing the conditions in their humidors with green foam humidifiers. I'm now convinced that the crystal type humidifiers are the are the most dependable, not to mention the most convenient way to humidify your cigars (extra large and cabinet-type humidors notwithstanding).
For the record: I'm not saying they're the ideal solution, especially if you have a serious leak in your humidor. Different humidors present different circumstances in terms of dealing with their particular biospheres. Plus, in fairness to CREDO, their unit, which had more of a clay-like material in it, did a better job than the green foam, but although it had a good run, it eventually became clogged after several years.
Generally speaking, I believe using a crystal-type humidifier will fare much better for you in the long run, and the green foam type humidifiers will eventually share the same fate as the Dodo bird.
~ Gary Korb