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Progress Report: Humidor Ratings

Cigar Aficionado Rates Humidors with Staying Power
Stacey C. Rivera
From the Print Edition:
Vince McMahon, Nov/Dec 99

As we forecasted in our previous humidor review, the cream has risen to the top. Fly-by-night humidor makers have dropped out of the market and the remaining companies are paying increased attention to quality.  

In 1997, Cigar Aficionado rated 42 desktop humidors. At the time, it seemed that every company that could get its hands on Spanish cedar and a circular saw had a model on the market. Although some of the units we tested then showed promise, many were disappointing. In deciding to embark upon another humidor review, we wanted to focus on the best of the market, so we asked a select group of humidor makers to send us what they considered their best box.  

We charged the humidification device in each humidor with distilled water and allowed it to sit in the box for a weekend. The devices were then recharged and left for several more days. Those that had dried out were filled again. The boxes were then loaded with 10 cigars and kept under the same conditions for six weeks. We checked humidity levels once a week using the same digital hygrometer and noted the conditions of the cigars. Ten more cigars were added if the humidor became too moist. Distilled water was added when the humidor was too dry. At the end of six weeks, a panel of editors evaluated each humidor based on construction, design, beauty and performance. We also rewarded humidors that performed well for a lower price.  

DAVIDOFF
Number 1 Thuya $3,605 / (203) 323-5811
Capacity: 140-170
Interior:
Mahogany
Humidification:
Two large passive units proprietary to Davidoff
Details: Tray, dividers, lock and key, no hygrometer
Score:
A+

This humidor lives up to the Davidoff reputation for top-quality craftsmanship and hardware and earned the highest rating in our test. It is a beautiful box with clean lines and an elegant lock and key. The lid is of good weight and sits solidly in place, attached with a durable, full piano hinge. The side handles are countersunk and perfectly flush with the box, allowing for function while not disturbing the form of the unit. During the six weeks of testing, the box required refilling only once and maintained humidity levels within the optimal range. The only flaw we could find, and we were looking for one, is that there is no hygrometer included with the box. The company philosophy is that such a device is unnecessary since its humidity regulator should achieve consistent levels without monitoring.  

DANIEL MARSHALL
Daniel Marshall Series 1999/165 Cigar Humidor in Vavona Burl $595 / (800) 923-2889
Capacity:
165
Interior: Spanish cedar
Humidification: One Credo 70 passive device made for Daniel Marshall
Details: Magnetic marking calendar, dividers, digital hygrometer, lock and key, brass plaque, distilled water and five Daniel Marshall cigars
Score:
A  

The best buy of the boxes we rated is the Daniel Marshall humidor. It achieves an elegant look while performing as well as, if not better than, the higher-priced units. The box has a beautiful burl veneer. Inside, an attractive cedar container does an excellent job of dressing up the humidification device. The hinges are durable and provide a whisper-soft seal when the lid is closed. A magnetic calendar inside the lid functions as a discreet reminder--one we find smokers need--to recharge the Credo. Some editors felt the handles and lock detracted from the look of the humidor. Thankfully, mounting and engraving the brass plaque is reserved as an option, as some would prefer not to ruin the look of the burl with a nameplate. Adding to the good value, Marshall even throws in five of his own premium cigars.  

MANNING
Walnut & Myrtle Radius
$1,350 / (800) 414-8522
Capacity:
100
Interior:
Solid Spanish cedar
Humidification: One passive device, proprietary to Manning
Details: Tray, dividers, lock and key, no hygrometer
Score:
A  

Impeccable construction and craftsman-like details are the hallmarks of this humidor. The solid cedar box is covered in a beautiful, painstakingly matched inlay, and the formidable lid closes into two cedar seals. The Manning humidification system releases humidity through slits on the sides of the device rather than on the top, virtually insuring that water won't drip on the cigars and cause mold or worse. During the test the unit ran a little dry and the cigars took some time to come into their own, but in the end the cigars were in good condition. This is a humidor that will benefit from seasoning. While Manning is fairly new to the humidor market, the Ireland-based company has been making cabinets for generations. Now, in its first rating by Cigar Aficionado, it has impressed us.  

ELIE BLEU
La Flor de Alba
$2,000 / 011-33-1-48-99-64-64
Capacity:
100
Interior:
Aromatic cedar
Humidification:
Two passive devices, proprietary to Elie Bleu
Details: Dividers, lock and key, analog hygrometer
Score:
A-  


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Comments   5 comment(s)

Devon Buy — Petaling Jaya, ---, Malaysia,  —  February 19, 2013 11:05pm ET

I have posted an article on constructing your own humidor DIY-style at http://www.devonbuy.com/making-your-own-humidor/ and have found it to be quite usable, maintaining quite good humidity levels at 70% plus minus. I currently use it to store my Romeo y Julietas and Monte Cristos.

I'm sure there is still room for improvement. Would appreciate any comment with suggestions. Thank you.


Ted Nitka June 22, 2013 5:11pm ET

My company, Cheaphumidors.com (www.cheaphumidors.com) submitted a humidor in the original 1997 review. We received one of the highest marks for our Treasure Dome model.


Ted Nitka June 22, 2013 5:11pm ET

hi


David Savona June 24, 2013 9:38am ET

To clarify the comment from Ted Nikta regarding Cheap Humidors, they were rated by us in the 2003 review on humidors. The humidors did well, however I would correct the comment. Rather than "one of the highest marks" the humidor did fairly well. There were 9 humidors that scored better than the one we reviewed made by Cheap Humidors and several that tied with it. That said, there were several humidors in the review that scored much, much worse. Overall we gave the Cheap Humidors product a score of B-, which we stated was better than anticipated given the name.

For the full review, click here: http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/Battle-of-the-Boxes_8377/p/5


Aaron Hois February 22, 2014 11:53pm ET

I recently came across a web page called Lance Allen humidors I went ahead and purchased one of the humidors and was really impressed with the craftsmanship and its ability to retain humidity. Th what I can tell he specializes in makes custom orders though but I think its worth checking out just passing it along


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