Photo provided by Luke of aspiringgentleman.com
Now that the warm, long evenings are returning, the opportunities to sit outside and enjoy a fine cigar are increasing. In fact I smoke the majority of my yearly cigars during the 4 or 5 good weather months we get here in Vancouver. To prepare for the glory days of summer, I need to do a little spring cleaning in the DIY Humidor I made recently for under $25. This process involves not just a physical cleaning of the box itself, but also assuring that there are cigars in the box and that they are ready to smoke. This is the least painful chore you will do this year.
Stocking the Humidor
Assuming I smoke about a cigar a week over the summer months, I should have at least 25 cigars that are ready to smoke. Most fresh cigars need a little bit of aging in the humidor to smoke at their best, and some continue to improve for years. So stock up now in the early days of warmth so that you have some properly settled smokes in the prime nights of July and August. When I stock my Humidor, I put a little thought into exactly what I might want to smoke over the summer. I start with some big, long smokes for the golf course – cigars that stay lit and tend toward the milder side. My current favourite in this category is the Taboo Twist, which will make golfers on the next fairway jealous when they smell the sweet roasted peanut aroma it throws off. The bulk of what I buy are high quality, flavourful cigars of varying wrappers that I can smoke after barbeques, sipping scotch on my patio. Usually these are coronas or robusto sized smokes of varying wrappers and origin. I complement the assortment with a few lanceros that I can smoke over longer sessions without getting too much of a head rush, and a good selection of little cigars that are appropriate for shorter smokes, say while I’m sessioning beers at a friends house.
Take Care of Older Cigars
This is a good opportunity to examine all of the cigars that have been sitting peacefully in the humidor over the winter. Pull each cigar out individually and check for dry, cracked wrappers or other damage. An increase in the temperature of your humidor may cause Tobacco beetles to hatch, so check thoroughly for examples of beetle larva damage such as little holes in any cigars. When I put all my cigars out on the table, I also set aside the cigars I wanted to ensure I smoke this summer and made sure they were at the top of the pile.
Wipe Down the Inside
Lastly, with all the cigars pulled out of the humidor, take some distilled water and paper towel and wipe clean all of the surfaces in the humidor. The bottom of your humidor is likely covered in little bits of tobacco that you can now easily get rid of. I topped up my humidor puck with some of the same water, then I replaced all of my cigars back in their rightful place. The next step, of course, is go outside and remember why you have a humidor in the first place.