Battle of the Boxes
There are fewer humidors on today's market and that's good news for consumers
From the Print Edition:
Gen. Tommy Franks, Nov/Dec 03
Things have come full circle in the business of humidors. Ten years ago, a few well-respected brands dominated the market. Five years later, there were dozens, many of dubious quality. Today, the market has thinned and resembles the 1992 market, with the addition of some venerable new boxes.
In our first humidor review, featured in the Winter 1992/93 issue of Cigar Aficionado, we surveyed 11 boxes. Our second test, conducted in the boom year of 1997, featured a veritable fleet of 42. Many proved to be inept at the considerably difficult art of maintaining humidity, and most of those boxes have since fallen by the wayside. This time we focused on a collection of 14 humidors. The personality of this group is that of a seasoned veteran, enduring where the boom boxes could not. We found many pieces of fine quality, and the overall performance of the group suggests that the market has stabilized. The best of these boxes continue to set the standard in the craft of humidor making.
We began the review by treating the humidors according to the manufacturers' instructions and allowing them to acclimate over one week. Next, we added cigars to each humidor. We tested the humidity regularly, using the same digital hygrometer throughout the testing period. If the humidity rose too high, we added cigars; if it was considerably high, we also added cedar strips. If the humidity was too low, we refilled the humidification system. Our intention was to keep the humidity between 65 percent and 70 percent, the desired range for storing premium cigars. All humidors were kept in the same room, under the same temperatures, for the length of the test.
After six weeks of testing, we brought each humidor before a panel of judges for discussion and rating, factoring in humidification performance over the test period, the construction of each piece, cost and appearance. The humidors were evaluated and scored using an alphabetical scale. Each humidor was judged on its own merit.
Daniel Marshall Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Treasure Chest
Veneer: Vavona burl; Interior: Spanish cedar; Capacity: 150 cigars; Humidification: Daniel Marshall System (one unit); Details: 24-karat gold fixtures, lock and key, magnetic cutter holder, magnetic refill calendar, digital hygrometer; comes with Daniel Marshall stainless steel guillotine cutter and 20 Daniel Marshall private-label cigars; Cost: $895; Contact: (800) 923-2889; Score: A
A celebrated veteran of the humidor business, California craftsman Daniel Marshall finds himself again at the top of the ratings with this large, stylish humidor. It is a great buy, given the accoutrements, size of the box and quality of its construction. The smoky, striking hazel veneer has a shimmering undertone. The humidor includes some nice extras: a magnet to hold a cigar cutter, a second magnetic system that serves as a calendar to remind you when it's time to refill the humidification device, as well as a cedar grate over the top of the humidifier, which dresses up the inside lid, giving it uniformity and balance. There is plenty of room for smokes, and the arched lid safeguards against scratches that might come from a flat top (should someone decide your humidor should double as a coaster or, say, a base for a doll collection). The humidor functioned very well; it didn't need a refill, never fell below 65 percent humidity and never rose above 70. It was still going strong at the review's end.
Davidoff No. 7
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