The Science of Humidor Design
"There is considerably more to a humidor than a humidifier and a seal. Every aspect of a well engineered humidor contributes to the preservation and taste of a cigar.
"Without the correct balance between material, space, technology and aesthetic, it's just a box."
- Neal Jones -
Moisture & Aroma
While all Neal Jones humidors come fitted with humidifying technology, the interior design and material choice also have a significant impact on moisture control and aroma. Here a balance must be struck between aesthetic and function.
An unbalanced use of non-absorbent materials (such as glass or lacquered timber) will result in the humidor failing to store moisture efficiently, leading to large fluctuations in humidity. Excess moisture will be soaked up by the cigars which can lead to swelling and irreparable damage. Enough unlacquered timber must be added to a cabinet to help maintain the humidor’s relative humidity by acting as a moisture buffer. Unlacquered timber soaks up moisture in the same way as a cigar but will also store it, meaning fluctuation in humidity (such as when the doors are opened) will not damage the cigars as there is a supply of stored moisture to draw on.
Aroma & Flavour
A good humidor also supports the flavour of cigars. Tobacco quickly absorbs aroma, so fragrant timber should be used carefully. If a humidor is completely free from strong scented materials, the cigars stored within will not be tainted; however, where cigars are stored individually or the humidor is opened often, tobacco can lose aroma and flavour. This is where strategic timber choice becomes crucial.
Tropical timbers with a slight scent such as mahogany, meranti or bangkirai are possible to use in a cabinet as they have little to no effect on the scent of cigars. However, to pro-actively prevent the loss of the cigar aroma, Cedrela Odorata (known as cigar box cedar or Spanish cedar) will need to be used strategically as it has a strong aroma that is very similar to that of tobacco.
We choose our cigar box cedar from Belize due to its propensity to have less resin spots, which can occur in humidors. We use this timber not only for its aroma, but also because it protects against tobacco mites and fungus, and has high rot resistance.
Neal Jones offers an almost unlimited selection of materials for bespoke humidor commissions. Clients are usually also able to customise humidors from our pre-designed collection with their own choice of material. A Neal Jones designer will work with you to ensure your vision is fulfilled whilst ensuring the humidor remains technically balanced and suitable for your habits and needs.
Every piece of timber is unique. Once timbers and cuts have been decided, your designer or artisan will hand select a choice of raw materials so you can choose the grains and natural patterns which most appeal to you.
These are some of the more popular material choices for bespoke and custom humidors:
Design Engineering & Technology
For larger cabinet and walk-in humidors, climate control is essential. Humidified air does not naturally disperse evenly around the interior of large humidors and so artificial air circulation is needed. Cabinet design is essential to airflow, and this is supported by the integration of small fans which are periodically switched on by the climate control system to ensure the correct atmosphere is evenly distributed around the humidor.
The climate control system is designed to reflect the anticipated use of the humidor; for example a hotel based humidor would expect far more access (and therefore door opening) than a humidor in a private house, and one to be installed on a superyacht has different extremes to manage.
All Neal Jones humidors are designed with market leading precision humidification systems, with the emphasis on performance and dependability.
Many humidor makers believe that completely sealing a humidor is the best way to keep your cigars at a constant humidity; however, we believe that controlled ventilation in larger humidors is essential for two reasons:
By allowing a small amount of air in and out of the cabinet, it reduces temperature difference between the atmospheres inside and out, which helps maintain a constant water saturation level when opening the doors. If the temperature drops the relative humidity rises. Hot air can carry a lot more water than cold air, and therefor has a higher water saturation level so if there is a flood of hot air into the cabinet when a door is opened and that air is then cooled when the humidor is resealed, that excess moisture will be locked in the cabinet as condensation on the surfaces.
This leads onto the second reason, which is over humidification. With a small amount of air able to escape, if over humidification does occur, controlled ventilation greatly assists the dehumidification system in correctly this imbalance quickly.
Over the many years we have supplied humidors, we have taken into account the different ways people store their cigars, whether it is a small cabinet that gets used regularly or a walk in humidor that stores many collector cigars and only gets opened every so often.
Remote Monitoring & Failsafe Protection
A large humidor or humidor cabinet, which can house upwards of two thousand cigars, represents the safe storage of a significant investment. To help protect this investment, Neal Jones offers Cigsor integration - a WiFi enabled hygrometer which allows constant monitoring. This can be managed via a smartphone application or directed to the Neal Jones monitoring service to allow immediate rectification.
In the event of onsite power failure, Neal Jones humidors are capable of maintaining moisture while power is restored and can be rendered airtight in an emergency.
An optional aftercare package includes regular service visits by trained personnel, who provide a full humidor condition report, and even the provision of emergency back-up humidors.
For larger humidors, we add concealed lighting to our cabinet and walk-in style humidors to give a more atmospheric feel and to help highlight the rich colour of cigars for display purposes.
We used warm IP rated moisture resistant LEDs, which are energy efficient and can be switched on with either the room lighting, cabinet doors opening, manually, or by timer.
Unless otherwise specified, Neal Jones humidors are all designed with at least one lock. Additional layers of security such as alarm systems and biometric identification can be incorporated into the design for humidors destined to house valuable collections or are located in areas with public access.