by Gary “Doc” Laden
Like fine wine, cigars are natural products that live, breathe and age. They’re loaded with natural oils and sugars that provide all the character, flavor and foundation for a unique smoking experience. We often speak of the marriage between wrapper, binder and filler, where the respective oils and sugars contribute to a harmonious balance. To really appreciate the harmony of flavors in fine cigars, they need to be aged and allowed to develop the “bloom” that naturally occurs as the oils and sugars mature into the rich, smooth nuanced flavors.
Like all natural products, they must be cared for properly in order to fully enjoy them as the cigar master blender intended. To do that, you need to know some of the basics about cigar care, and indeed, about cigar tobacco.
An important factor is that tobacco is “hygroscopic,” meaning it has the characteristic to readily draw moisture from the surrounding environment as well as give up its moisture. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to maintain the natural oils and sugars contained within the blend.
The biggest enemies that can alter the enjoyment of a premium cigar are fluctuations and/or cycles in humidity. The first enemy is the environment in which the cigars are stored (the humidor). The second enemy is any inferior humidification device that attempts to control this environment.
Humidity fluctuations are caused by the normal changes in ambient temperature and humidity, whereas cycles in humidity are caused when using any refillable humidification device. Both can be bad for your cigars.
The humidity inside your humidor spikes when any refillable device is filled with distilled water. This is then followed by a steady drop in humidity as the water evaporates. During each of these cycles, some of the natural oils and sugars contained within the cigar’s blend dissipate along with the moisture, robbing the cigar of its character, flavor and its foundation for improving with age.
Furthermore, the jolt in humidity that occurs when a refillable device is filled with water also creates an environment for your humidor to acquire mold, mildew and bacteria. This not only can cause off-flavors in your cigars but can also cause degradation during the aging process.
There is a unique, patented, product on the market that might solve the issues just discussed. Boveda was the first to patent two-way humidity control that continually responds to the environment and maintains a very stable and precise RH (Relative Humidity). This eliminates fluctuations and extreme cycles this fluctuations put your cigars though. It is this stability that prevents loss of the natural oils, sugars and flavor as your cigars age.
It’s well known in science that certain salts mixed with water will naturally regulate humidity. Boveda has patented the technology and science that has now made it practical for actual packaging. All other packaging inserts either add moisture or remove moisture. Only Boveda does both, monitoring the RH (relative humidity) inside the container and regulating to the specific RH engineered into the Boveda.
Available in multiple sizes and humidity levels, Boveda is the only company in the world that can solve your intermediate moisture need and maintain the ideal moisture content of the items inside your humidor. Boveda uses all FDA-compliant ingredients and won’t damage anything through direct contact. The life of any Boveda depends how much moisture it releases, which will vary based on climate and container. You’ll know it’s time to replace Boveda when it’s no longer pliable.
It’s impossible for Boveda to over-humidify beyond the RH on the pack. That’s why their usage instructions talk about minimums, not maximums. There’s no such thing as using “too much”. Using more than the minimum will just make each Boveda last longer.
Boveda doesn’t need to be activated or maintained.
Once the Boveda pack becomes rigid, it’s out of water and needs to be replaced. This could mean weeks to years, depending on the package or container, how much the container is opened/closed and the ambient environment. As a rule, use 1 Boveda per 25 cigars in a wood humidor, even if the humidor isn’t full. Boveda will never over-humidify, so you can never use too many. Yeah, it’s really that simple.
For more information, visit Bovedainc.com