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Cigar Tip: Storage Wars (Multiple Humidors)

25 Apr 2012

Wouldn’t it be nice to have one large humidor in your home, preferably a walk-in, with all the cigars easily accessible, sorted by name, and labeled with received dates? It would make aging simpler, humidification easier to monitor, and your whole stash more organized.

Sometimes I think those of us who regularly visit the online cigar community, or those of us who write for it, automatically assume every reader has one elaborate cigar storage setup that costs thousands of dollars. I’m sure some do. But I don’t. And chances are you don’t, either. That said, I want to be clear that I’m not complaining. As I’ve written before, I’m fortunate to have a wonderful cigar den that allows ample room for my humidors, as well as nice space for indoor smoking during those cold Chicago winters. While I may not have a walk-in teeming with the world’s rarest and most expensive smokes, I’m certainly happy and thankful for what I have.

All this isn’t to say that my setup doesn’t present some challenges. It does, and I think many of the challenges apply to the average cigar consumer. So I figured I’d outline my top two challenges—and the solutions I’ve concocted to confront them—so the information can help others (or with hopes that you have comments and suggestions about how I might improve my own setup).

First, let me say that at any given time I have anywhere from five to seven humidors. The variance is explained by the fact that, depending on inventory, I sometimes outfit two large Tupperware containers with humidification beads and Spanish cedar to store spillover smokes. In a perfect world I would only have one very large humidor to worry about, not a handful of medium- to small-sized humidors. But because the five traditional wooden humidors all carry sentimental value (i.e., the one I got for my wedding that’s engraved with the wedding date) I can’t bring myself to consolidate. Plus, given the space I have in our condo in Chicago, one very large humidor would be a lot tougher to make space for.

One challenge with this setup is monitoring the humidification levels of each individual humidor. Each humidor seems to hold onto humidity differently, and that can make proper maintenance difficult. My solution? Once every so often (more often in the winter, when the natural air humidity is lower) I examine and rotate the cigars in each humidor. I also check to see if the humidification device in each humidor needs to be “recharged.”

The second challenge—especially with all the rotation—is keeping track of which cigars are stored where. I combat this by keeping brands together (i.e., Tatuaje with Tatuaje, PDR with PDR, etc.) and then noting in a spreadsheet which brands are in which humidor. This isn’t perfect because it requires me to reference a document if I’m looking for something in particular. But I’ve found it helpful. I’m considering doing something similar but, instead of organizing the cigars by brand, organizing them by type (i.e., cigars that need to be reviewed, golf course smokes, special cigars for special occasions, etc.).

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how to improve my setup. Or, if you have a completely different setup/strategy, please feel free to share in the comments below as well.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

16 Responses to “Cigar Tip: Storage Wars (Multiple Humidors)”

  1. Tim @ StogieGeeks Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    I recently began trying to use Evernote for tracking whats in my collection, favorites, and wish list items. Cross platform – Windows, OSX, IOS, Blackberry, etc… you can access from anywhere and share your lists with family and friends (a bene during the holiday gift givng season IMO).

    I also have several 100 CT humidors and do organize by favs, sticks I am aging, and sticks I am trying for the podcast or for a review. Of course the Tupperware makes an appearance quite often.

    Similar to Chicago, BOS Winters are difficult, so this year I just bought a bunch of Boveda packs, let my beads go dry, and used the packs during the dry months (pricey but less work). Now that spring is here, I plan to switch back to the beads which typically only need charging every 4-6 weeks during the humid months.

  2. Redford12 Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Agreed that multiple humidors are a blessing and a curse. I empty mine on a regular basis to recharge them, take note of inventory, and rotate cigars.

  3. Ashburn Dave Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I outfitted an igloo cooler with cedar and beads a few years ago and haven't looked back. I've got a few humidors inside of it for individual sticks and it holds quite a number of boxes. Gave up on spreadsheets a long time ago, mostly because I consume cigars faster than I collect them.

  4. Heavy Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Wish I had you guys problems. Sticks don't last more than a month in my house. Hope one day to a large or multiple humi's with a stock that I can afford to let build up. Long Ashes to all…

  5. Gavin Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    simple. Maduros in one, naturals especially connecticuts in the other. My big one has four trays, so I can keep as many similar cigars together as possible.

  6. Eric Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I have implemented many strategies over the years using the two humidors I have; one for recent, one for aged, or one for toros and one for short vitolas. My list of evolutions could go on, but whats funny, I actually like the rummaging, and the mystery of 2 haphazard humis. I'm typically very anal retentive and organized in other aspects of life, but I've let my 100ish cigar collection become more a less a smorgasbord without much rhyme and reason. I do however keep the bottom shelf of my largest humidor for the storage of high-end/special occasion smokes.

  7. Tom Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I too am experiencing the multiple humidor blues and I am about to buy a fourth one soon. I love the idea of using a tupperware with cedar and humidification to help with overflow. I am going to try that and hope it alleviates my storage woes, at least temporarily. But what can I say, it is a labor of love.

  8. Thomas Huxley Friday, April 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    FYI, after 12 years of cigar smoking and many humidors (plastic & cedar), I've never found that humi-beads work AT ALL. Personally, I think it's a gimmick. Nowadays, I just use a slightly damp sponge, which of course requires that I monitor temp and humidity constantly. But is that a bad thing?

    • Les Muller Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

      your experience with beads is interesting, I've converted all 4 humidors to beads and love them. bought from everyone to start but ended up with heartfelt 64% in everything now.

  9. larrycan Friday, April 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Four humidors work well for me. One for cigars in rotation, one for aging, one for flavored or infused (cello on) and a mooch box. I usually buy in 5's or 10's and move cigars from my rotation box to my aging box or mooch box as I see fit.

  10. Chris S Friday, April 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Patrick, did you ever think about a cabinet humidor? Something like this:… which would allow you to still keep your valuable small humidors, but won't compromise space?

  11. thebigash Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    My first experience with multiple humidors didn't go well. I was young and had little experience with cigars so I favored the higher priced sticks and left the medium to low price ones to dry out in plastic bags with no humidification. Fast forward 5 years to find my humidor is much larger and I've learned more about the storage of fine cigars. I have 3 humidors but only one large one in operation as it is bigger than I need ( at the moment ). As my need grows, and I'm sure it will, I will expand my storage methods.

  12. SchekRN Friday, June 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I have 2 good sized desktops and a cabinet that holds about 50 boxes. I vary the humidification in each just slightly, knowing that some cigars smoke better at different levels of humidification. Also the longer term storage cigars tend to be kept at slightly higher humidity, occasionally transferring some to a 'drier' humidor as needed. I have no real science to it just some trial and error, and some knowledge of the types of tobacco in the cigars. So, even if I don't get it perfect every time, a cigar will still smoke well. It also helps in the summer that I leave the a/c in the cigar room at 70 degrees. It wasn't that hard to sell my lovely wife on the idea of constant a/c use. Her occasional Short Story and PG robusto maduro are always in perfect condition.

  13. JamesWagner Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    I too have a humidor, but it's big enough for me. Because I don't store cigars for much longer and will buy new ones only after enjoying the ones I already have.

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