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Humidors: How They Stack Up

David Savona, Brendan Vaughan
From the Print Edition:
Wayne Gretzky, Mar/Apr 97

(continued from page 1)

A beveled top and routed face give this roomy humidor its distinctive appearance. The Biltmore has a tray with elegant dividers and a pleasant, but not overpowering, cedar aroma. It also has some flaws, including the inadequate magnet that's supposed to secure the Credo to the inside of the lid. We repeatedly found the Credo upside down in the tray. Though we had to add water twice, the cigars were kept in smokable condition. Despite the problem with the Credo magnet, which is correctable, and a finish that's rough in some spots (the top of one divider was unsanded), this humidor is a good value at $625.

John Christopher
RM150/$995
(800) 704-4367

Capacity: 150
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Two Credo Precision 70 Gold units
Details: Tray, four dividers, water bottle, lock and key, choice of hygrometer or cigar scissors
Score: B

A well-made, conservative humidor. The twin Credos provide ample humidity for this large piece, and they are framed by wooden holders, a classy and intelligent touch. The tray could use some improvement; it's a bit loose and the leather pulls look out of place. But it does the job. Go with the hygrometer instead of the scissors. The pair that came with our model was cheap and dull. The cigars inside this humidor were kept in fine condition throughout the test; after week one the humidity levels remained within one point of 70 percent. A good home for your cigars.

Triade
Amboyna/$1,190
33-78-73-10-79

Capacity: 100
Interior: Mahogany
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: Lock and key, two dividers, hygrometer
Score: B

The Triade has exquisite, colorful marquetry, a compelling combination of conservative and modern styles. The interior is well finished, if a little plain, and it's far too small to hold 100 cigars. Maybe 50. The joints are smooth, but the lid doesn't meet the box as well as it should. The magnet holding the Credo came loose several times; the manufacturer needs to secure the system properly before shipping. Despite the various problems, the Triade's humidity levels were flawless, the best of the test group. A less than perfect piece that works well. At this price, the flaws should be corrected.

Prometheus
(made by Triade)
H-Verts/100 Amboyna Burl/$1,240
(800) 229-5233

Capacity: 100
Interior: Mahogany
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: lock and two keys, two dividers, hygrometer
Score: B

The same humidor as the Triade. The only difference is the price, and the Prometheus' Credo did not come loose during our test.

C.A.O.
Executive/$849.95
(800) BEST-CAO

Capacity: 200
Interior: Spanish cedar (tray system)
Humidification: Two C.A.O. regulators
Details: Hygrometer, lattice three-tray system
Score: B-

This traditional-style humidor could use a heavier lid. It doesn't feel solid. Several times when we opened it, the tray system came along for the ride. That needs to be corrected. The exterior isn't as attractive as we'd like; the inside is a little better. The twin humidification systems--which the manufacturer says will work with either tap water or distilled water--provide plenty of humidity for this box. Our cigars were a bit soft at first, but that was corrected. The Spanish cedar tray system is the best part of the piece. You can keep three levels of cigars, and the bottom level is hidden. Keep your best cigars there, away from moochers.

Heritage Humidors
HH120 African Padauk/$895
(313) 669-8868

Capacity: 120 cigars
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Cigar Keeper
Details: One adjustable divider, tray, analog hygrometer
Score: B-

This is a heavy-duty humidor with a traditional look. A raised rectangle on the lid lends it a jewelry-box character, and routed finger holds on the sides are the only other flourish. Inside it has solid, durable-looking joints and sturdy hinges. The analog hygrometer, which is fairly accurate, sits in a wooden mount that matches the exterior wood (African Padauk). Two significant flaws prevented the HH120 from scoring higher. In addition to the box running a bit humid throughout the test, the lid doesn't lie flat unless you lock the humidor, and even then it's not perfect.

House of Lords
Monarch/$750
(800) 632-2228

Capacity: 100
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: Two adjustable dividers, tray, analog hygrometer, lock and key
Score: B-

This was the only humidor in our test with a leather exterior. It's a conservative brown box that kept cigars in decent condition, but the construction is lacking. Toward the end of the test, the cedar insert was starting to split at the joints. One divider fit well, the other was loose. The key clashes with the humidor and doesn't fit snugly into the lock.

Humidif
601 Black Walnut/$290
(800) 783-3481

Capacity: 35-50
Interior: White cedar
Humidification: Humidif Accurate System
Details: One adjustable divider, analog hygrometer
Score: B-

This small, run-of-the-mill humidor is short on aesthetics but long on value. The walnut veneer is marred by patches of cloudiness and the divider is a rough, unadorned strip of cedar. But it's well made with solid hardware, and it kept cigars in good shape. At $290, it's a decent buy.

Island Humidors
Standard C Series South American Rosewood/$460
(718) 966-5616

Capacity: 75-100
Interior: Solid Spanish cedar
Humidification: Hydromist Humidity Control System
Details: Two adjustable dividers, no hygrometer
Score: B-

This straightforward box kept cigars beautifully humidified, but a lingering glue smell affected their flavor. The smell dissipated over time, but it's something to look out for--use this humidor for at least one month before adding any precious smokes. The humidor is nicely constructed, with well-fitted joints and a near-perfect seam between the lid and the box. The hinges, however, seem susceptible to the strain of repeated opening and closing. Also, the entire bottom should be lined with a stabilizing material such as felt; this box is secured by just a single patch of felt at each corner.

John W. Goff Designs
Regency Collection Grand Windsor/$1,400
(800) 923-1950

Capacity: 100
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Epsilon
Details: Tray, two dividers, no hygrometer
Score: B-

The dark, swirling wood veneer of this piece is not quite up to the standards of the best boxes, but it's attractive. The interior is not nearly as inviting. With no hygrometer and a bare Credo, the inside lid is rather plain, and the black trim around the lip seems out of place and poorly done. Still, there are several unique elements here, which are appreciated. The hinge system is unusual and extremely smooth, an effective alternative to the standard system on most humidors. The I-shaped dividers are ornate and fit snugly into the tray. Some of the cigars on the bottom of the box were a bit dry, perhaps because the thick lift-out tray is not slotted.

By Design
Centurian/$850
(800) 278-6112

Capacity: 100
Interior: Red Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: Hygrometer/thermometer, three dividers
Score: C+

This looks a bit more like a silver caddy than a humidor. The By Design Centurian is a simply made, straightforward box. The workmanship could be better. One lid joint was already separating by the end of our test, and the interior is too aromatic and can overpower cigars. The lid doesn't fit as well as it should, and the inside is spartan and plain. But this manufacturer is one of the very few that included detailed seasoning instructions, and the humidor did a fine job of maintaining the proper humidity. A big box that's short on style and looks, but it works well.

Catina
Classico "Steinway"/$900
(910) 274-8810

Capacity: 100
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Western Humidor Humifier 2000
Details: two dividers, adjustable hygrometer
Score: C+

The top veneer on this box is attractive but imperfect. The lid is attached with a crude hinge system. When open, the humidor teeters on the verge of tipping over. While the joints fit snugly and the Spanish cedar inserts meet at smooth, well-finished angles, the rest of the interior is plain and unattractive. A bare humidification element is mounted above an ugly hygrometer. The logo in the corner seems like an afterthought. The humidification system pumps out too much moisture, and our cigars were very soft. Adding more cigars helped somewhat. This is a flawed humidor that needs constant attention to ensure that the humidity level doesn't get too high.

Heirloom
(a division of On Display)
XLHC/$750
(804) 231-1942


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