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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 2)

Capacity: 100
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: Hygrometer, lift-out tray, lock and key
Score: C+

A spartan humidor, both inside and out. The exterior finish is rather plain, though fairly attractive. It's a fairly well-made box. The lid fits properly, and the joints where the sides meet are smooth. It can hold a good amount of cigars, and the tray and lock are nice additions, even if the lock itself is rather gauche. Its real flaw is the inadequate humidity. A bigger system would help, as our cigars were fairly dry throughout the test.

Caribe
Classico 50/$229
(800) 367-0782

Capacity: 50
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Rondo
Details: Analog hygrometer
Score: C

This simple humidor performed quite well, but the magnet holding the Credo kept falling off the inside of the lid. The cherry finish is attractive if nondescript. The lid fit is uneven, and the Classico 50's square shape prevents storage of cigars longer than eight inches. But it's solidly built. If you're looking for a basic, effective humidor, this inexpensive box is a potential value.

Controlled Environments Cigar Humidors
All Terrain Humidor/$129
(800) 876-8789

Capacity: 125
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: CedarBag humidifier with polymers
Details: Two dividers, no hygrometer
Score: C

The All Terrain Humidor (ATH) is the oddball of the bunch. It's an old ammunition box that's fitted with a cedar insert and two dividers that, when in use, force you to store cigars vertically. The ATH's capacity increases and cigars are better protected when the ill-conceived dividers are removed. The humidity source is a sack that's filled with "special moisture retention polymers," according to the instructions. Whatever it is, it overhumidifies the box, which is truly airtight. The ATH must be opened frequently to avoid mustiness and, eventually, mold growth. Still, the ATH has its place. It is large, making it perfect for a group fishing trip or an extended vacation, but it is inadequate for long-term storage.

Heirloom Perfect
The Coffer Walnut Burl/$1,895
(813) 462-8078

Capacity: 125
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Epsilon
Details: One adjustable divider, tray with adjustable divider, Western digital hygrometer
Score: C

The designer of this humidor had some interesting ideas, but the execution is flawed. The hinge mechanism is cleverly hidden, but it creaks when opening and is improperly calibrated. Another creative touch is the coffin-like lid, which is fitted on the inside with wooden holders for the Credo and the hygrometer. Again, the execution is imperfect. While the lip of the holder keeps the Credo in place, it obstructs part of the humidity source. The large box kept cigars in fine condition, but, given its flaws and its price tag, that seems small consolation.

Humidors by Design
Sapele 2110-019/$750
(208) 939-4988

Capacity: 125
Interior: Honduras mahogany
Humidification: Credo Epsilon
Details: Tray, four dividers, lock and two keys, brass handles
Score: C
(Note: this company is not related to By Design.)

This is an unsophisticated-looking piece, with prominent dovetails on the sides and a very old-fashioned look. It is extremely heavy and hard to lift. While it feels as if it will last, it could use some sprucing up. The inside lid is barren, with only a bare Credo. The tray, which is made of unfinished mahogany, was not designed properly, and swelled during the test. We struggled to remove it on several occasions. Lifting it out is a good workout, as is carrying the box around. The humidity levels were around 70 percent throughout the test, but the cigars on the bottom of the tray were a bit dry, indicating that the air is not circulating as well as it should.

Kohaut
175/$410
(702) 588-8456

Capacity: 75
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: The Ultimate Cigar Protector
Details: One removable divider, tray with stationary divider, analog hygrometer
Score: C

This is a dark walnut box with dovetail joints at the corners. The lid has odd striations of conflicting wood grains. Inside, the corners of the cedar insert are poorly jointed, and the tray seems cheaply made. The humidifier slides firmly onto a strip of plastic attached to the inside of the lid, but the cigars were kept in barely smokable condition.

Mom's Cigars
Mark 100/$295
(800) 831-8893

Capacity: 100
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: Two adjustable dividers, no hygrometer
Score: C

Made of mahogany, this rustic humidor may have scored higher had its Credo stayed affixed to the inside of the lid. Instead, it repeatedly fell onto the cigars. Fortunately, this problem can be corrected by drilling a small mount to the inside of the lid. As for the box itself, the construction is adequate; the hardware is tacky. You get what you pay for.

Norman Kosarin Designs For Your Smoking Pleasure
Wooden 50 Cigar Humidor/$890
(212) 319-0069

Capacity: 50
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Rondo
Details: Unmounted hygrometer, one divider, lock and key
Score: C

This is a cute little box, with a well-made exterior veneer in an attractive, traditional style. It's very lightweight, but all the joints fit well. Despite its diminutive size, the Credo Rondo simply doesn't provide enough humidity for the piece. Our cigars were dry throughout the test, even with two refills of distilled water. A bigger system is required. There are other annoying shortcomings: The hygrometer isn't mounted, and there are no instructions on how to attach it. The lid requires some force to properly close and you must apply serious pressure to lock it. Rather expensive for what you get.

Prestige Wood Specialties
Prestige X/$335
(800) 524-5024

Capacity: 70
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Precision 70
Details: Two adjustable dividers, analog hygrometer
Score: C

This is another humidor that does an adequate job humidifying cigars, but it is disappointing in several other respects. The walnut box looks almost homemade--the maker paid very little attention to detail. The cedar insert is badly splintered and the lid doesn't open wide enough. A couple nice touches keep it from scoring lower: the attractive dividers fit snugly and the hinges are set into the seam between the lid and the body.

Savinelli
Mahogany Tobacco Leaf/$700
(919) 481-0511

Capacity: 75
Interior: Rosewood
Humidification: Two Credo Rondo units
Details: hygrometer, two dividers
Score: C

This is a visually stunning piece, but it has a major design flaw. From the beginning of the test to the end, the Savinelli humidor had a lingering aroma of glue or varnish. This eventually ruined our test cigars. When we smoked one after it was in the humidor for a month, the cigar left a chemical taste on the palate. The cigars were lost. This is a shame, because this piece is otherwise well made, with careful detailing inside and out, and the humidity levels from the twin Credo Rondos were exceptional. The cigars felt perfect, but they were unsmokeable due to the odor. Before you buy a Mahogany Tobacco Leaf, we highly recommend that you carefully smell the interior.

Siboney
Smoked Walnut Burl/$720
(305) 262-3775

Capacity: 100
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Credo Epsilon
Details: Two dividers, analog hygrometer
Score: C

This beautiful humidor has an opulent, smoky veneer that's mostly black but is peppered with grayish-brown wood-knot patterns. Unfortunately, its beauty is marred by an imperfect fit between the lid and the box. Toward the end of our test, the veneer was coming apart at the front left corner. The inside is no improvement. The dividers are loose, the veneer bleeds glue and, worst of all, the cigars were mushy for the first three weeks before the humidity finally stabilized.

Western Humidor
Series 1000-T/$580
(800) 776-0096

Capacity: 100 cigars
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: Western Humidor Humifier 2000
Details: Two adjustable dividers, tray with two adjustable dividers, Western digital hygrometer
Score: C

This box gives you a lot of humidor for the price. It's significantly larger than most 100-cigar models; Western's literature says it's "designed for cigar smokers with a preference for large cigars." Unfortunately, the humidification is inadequate. We had to add water three times during the six-week test. The box is competently built, but the detailing is shoddy. The digital hygrometer is fastened loosely with Velcro, and there are patches of ink-like stains all over the crudely fitted tray.


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