Cigars and wood go together like peas and carrots. As you may be aware, a cigar humidor is a sealed container designed to keep your cigar collection fresh. The type of wood used to make the humidor will impact how effective it is.
At Cigar Amigo, we’ve taken the time to review the best types of wood for cigar humidors, to give our readers a better understanding of how it all works.
Continue reading below to learn about the best wood for humidor containers, so you can keep your cigars fresh for as long as you need them.
Best Wood For Humidor
Spanish cedar wood is often considered the best wood type for modern humidors. Most containers use Spanish cedar only the interior lining, or use it for the entire humidor. Regardless, it helps keep cigars safe and fresh.
That said, a Spanish cedar humidor is often the most expensive choice. However, it’s worth the investment if you’re an avid cigar collector.
Why Spanish Cedar Is the Best?
The primary function of a humidor is to retain moisture so your cigars don’t dry out. Every time you open your humidor, you let moisture escape. Spanish cedar has a natural ability to hold moisture better than other wood types.
Spanish cedar also does an excellent job of protecting your cigar from tobacco beetles. These pesky insects can sneak their way into humidors and devour a completely fine cigar collection. While they aren’t harmful to humans or pets, tobacco beetles are every cigar owner’s worst nightmare.
Flavor retention is another reason why many aficionados opt for Spanish cedar versus other wood options. The Spanish cedar lining holds the strong aroma and flavor profiles needed to make your cigars taste amazing.
Given these advantages, Spanish cedar is hands-down the most effective wood type for cigar humidors.
What Types of Wood Are Used for Cigar Boxes?
While Spanish cedar is often considered the most high-quality wood for humidors, there are other popular woods used to make cigar containers. Here’s a breakdown of all the different types of materials and woods you can find for humidors.
American Red Cedar
American red cedar (also known as Eastern cedar) is another reliable wood for keeping cigars fresh. You’ll mostly find humidors made from American red cedar throughout the United States, Canada, and some parts of Mexico.
While Spanish and American red cedar seem like the same wood, they are slightly different in terms of quality and price. That said, American cedar offers an outstanding absorption rate and protection against tobacco beetles.
However, many cigar smokers don’t like the intense earthy smell American red cedar has. They claim that it has a negative impact on cigar flavor, which is potentially true. It also doesn’t retain moisture and temperature as well as Spanish cedar. As a result, you don’t have as much protection in the long-run.
The best selling point for American red cedar is that it’s significantly less expensive than Spanish cedar.
Honduran mahogany is a tropical wood found throughout South America, and it’s the last remaining commercially grown mahogany tree on the planet. It’s a solid wood and can retain humidity levels almost as well as Spanish cedar. As a result, it’s an extremely desirable wood for humidor manufactures worldwide.
Moreover, Honduran mahogany has a mild smell that generally won’t seep into your cigars. If you don’t enjoy the intense odor of American or Spanish cedar, Honduran mahogany is an excellent alternative.
However, the mild scent makes this wood more favorable for tobacco beetles. You’ll need to be more proactive about maintaining your humidor as a result. A Honduran mahogany cigar humidor is also a more affordable option than one made from Spanish cedar.
Why Are Humidors Made of Cedar?
Be it American or Spanish cedar, most humidors contain some form of cedar wood. The reason being is that cedar does a fantastic job of retaining favorable humidity levels that allow your cigars to age nicely. It’s also an exceptionally durable wood that won’t break or chip easily when dropped.
Almost all humidors will use Spanish cedar wood for the inner lining, shelves, or casing. Cedar wood also has a pungent odor, which helps deter tobacco beetles and other insects. Furthermore, the woody smell can be absorbed into the cigars. Many cigar smokers love the smell of quality woods, and claim that it makes the stogies taste better.
What Is the Difference Between Cedar and Spanish Cedar?
At first glance, Spanish cedar seems to belong to the pine family (hence the name). However, Spanish cedar isn’t actually a cedar wood, nor is it Spanish. Instead, it belongs to the mahogany hardwood family. It’s most known for its durability and resistance to wood rot and mold. It’s primarily grown in tropical climates around Central and South America.
When you compare Spanish cedar with other mahogany woods, you can see similar coloration and patterns. Spanish cedar is also extremely lightweight compared to other materials. As a result, it has excellent workability and can be used for a wide range of products.
Standard cedars (also known as aromatic cedars), have intense odors and appear pinkish in color. You can find this type of wood virtually anywhere, but it’s mostly grown in North America. It’s natural ability to absorb moisture and control temperature make it the best box material for a humidor.
Can Any Wooden Box Be a Humidor?
Since humidors are generally made from cedar, solid wood, and mahogany, does that mean any wooden box can be a humidor? The short answer is no, because not all woods retain the appropriate humidity level to keep cigars fresh. Only certain types of wood have the natural ability to absorb enough humidity to keep stogies moist enough to enjoy.
Many novice cigar smokers make the mistake of keeping their stogies inside the original cigar box. While some cigar boxes have similar quality to humidors, they aren’t designed to keep cigars fresh in the long-run. As a result, the cigars will start to dry out after about 30 days.
With a container made from cedar or mahogany, cigars can last anywhere from a couple years to over a decade.
Is It Hard To Make Your Own Humidor?
Building your own humidor is surprisingly simple, and it could save you a bit of cash if you do it right. If you don’t have access to different materials or have a background in solid wood construction, no need to worry. You can use an old cigar box to craft your humidor at home.
How To Make a Humidor at Home
If you want to make a solid wood humidor at home, you’ll need to obtain an old cigar box and some cedar wood for the interior lining. You can typically find wooden planks at your local hardware store or online.
- Cut the wooden plank into a square shape so that it fits nice and snug at the bottom of the box.
- Place a hygrometer inside so you can accurately measure the humidity.
- Add a humidification kit inside and leave it closed for roughly 3-5 days.
- Check the hygrometer and make sure it has a reading between 65-70%.
If this is your first time making a humidor, make sure to test it with some low-grade cigars. You don’t want to put your most premium stogies inside only to find them dried out after a couple of days. Once you know your container works, you can use it for long-term storage.
Wood is one of the key components to keeping stogies fresh. Without wooden containers, nobody would be able to collect fine-grade cigars. Spanish cedar wood is by far the best material for helping regulate humidity and temperature, but there are different types of wood that get the job done.