Cigars, Humidors

The Humidor Progression

I never thought I would be one of those guys with a big cabinet in my apartment to store and show off my cigars… what a long, strange trip it’s been.

I was so excited! I had a small box of 25 cigars. It was the most cigars I had ever owned at one time, and knowing the requirements to keep them properly humidified, I went out to buy my first humidor. I might have spent $50 at the magazine and cigar store at the corner of St. Catherines and St. Mark Streets in Montreal. It was a small desktop model, as simple as one could get… what one would expect for a kid of my age at the time (mid-20s) living just above the poverty line.

That humidor lasted me over a decade… and then for a birthday or holiday, my (now ex-) wife and son agreed to buy me a larger humidor. It was a desktop display unit with three levels, glass on all four sides (similar to this one). It was not the easiest cabinet to maintain, but it did it’s job… until I started going to Cuba… and making a bit more money… and for a while, selling cigars. I eventually traded that humidor to a friend for a bunch of cigars.

I was on a trip to Cuba, coming home with at least 100 cigars, I drunk-bid on a large desktop humidor on ebay, and won. It was similar to this one. I used it for a while before selling it to a friend.

I found online a great desktop cabinet humidor (see link… I had the black model) from Thompson Cigars in Florida and I picked up two of them. Each was supposed to hold 200 cigars, but really with larger ring gauges that was a very optimistic amount, and 125 was more realistic. Either way, they were excellent humidors… and it was only when I realized I was relocating to California that I sold them both (I do not remember the circumstances of those sales).

If you are not familiar with the climes of Los Angeles County you might not realize that despite being on the ocean, just a few short kilometers inland is a desert. Yes, they spend a fortune trying to hide that from us, but I remember leaving a hygrometer on my desk one evening and in the morning it read 28% humidity… not exactly conducive to storing cigars. I was making much better money now, and buying much better cigars. I decided to purchase my first ‘fridge-a-dor’… really a wine fridge that also monitors humidity. I had to invest in a separate humidification system, but it was a great unit that would also keep my cigars cool on the frequent 80°F+ days. When the cigar store / lounge I hung out at told me they had a similar unit (this one by NewAir) to sell, I picked that one up too. These served me well, but when I relocated back to Canada I made the difficult decision to part with them. I gifted them to friends who helped with shutting down my apartment and shipping my gear (including my cigars).

I have a close friend who is, aside from being an avid cigar smoker, also an expert carpenter. He makes custom humidors, and while I was living in California I decided to ask him to make one for me. The original purpose of this was to take to events where I would be selling cigars. It is a gorgeous box that holds in excess of 150 cigars… but it arrived shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic did, and I did not work another event before returning to Canada. The humidor, of course, returned with me. It is engraved with my name, and I have no intention of letting it go… even though it is not my primary humidor it is still a gorgeous and very meaningful piece.

I moved into my new Ontario (Canada) home in September, 2021… and knew that shortly I would be receiving all of my cigars from my previous home in California. I would need something to store them in. A fellow cigar smoker north of Toronto was advertising that he had a humidor similar to this one for sale. And so, that Sunday morning I jumped into the car and headed north. It was a 2-hour drive either way, but it was worth it. The humidor did a great job for me, and although it got filled pretty fast, I did not really plan to upgrade.

A couple of months ago a friend told me that a mutual friend of ours had a cabinet humidor for sale… two of them, actually. I was hardly interested… until I broke my ankle. How is this relevant, you might ask? Simple… while the cigars in the drawer were easy to access, the boxes underneath were not. I would have to get onto my knees to access them, and it was going to be several weeks before that would be possible, and longer before it would be painless. I also knew that I had nearly maxed out the humidor’s capacity… a friend from the US came to visit a few times, each time bringing more and more cigars. Humidor Tetris (a fun game for the cigar enthusiast with a respectable collection) was nearly impossible with my ankle in that much pain, and I started giving more thought to the idea of the cabinet cigar.  The biggest issue would be logistics – moving such a piece requires a truck, and cannot be strapped to the roof of my Subaru sedan.

IMG_1534Fortunately, friends came to the rescue. It cost me gas money and a handful of cigars, but Saturday morning my new humidor arrived. It needed a thorough cleaning before being re-seasoned (our friend had not been using it to store cigars for the last year), so it remains empty… which is not a problem, as my end-table humidor is still at its post, protecting and defending my collection.

The timing could not be better. This week I am expecting six new boxes to arrive – some from Cuba, some from Quebec. I suspect that those would officially no longer fit into my trusty end-table humidor… and so in a couple of days, once the levels of the cabinet stabilize, I will move my beloved collection into their new home. I will be posting the end-table for sale, because not only do I not need the extra capacity, I would also like to recuperate some of what I have paid out for my new accessories… and cigars.


Every cigar smoker will spend the money they need to protect their investment… and that is how we have to think of cigars. It is not an investment insofar as we are hoping to recuperate what we spent on them, rather they are an investment in our future enjoyment and relaxation. As our collection grows, we have to spend more money to protect it. It is easy to think of a $2000 cabinet humidor as an extravagance, but in reality it is what we would need to spend in smaller, less expensive humidors to store and to protect the same number of cigars… and which would be extremely unwieldly to store properly. I do not have enough countertop space to comfortably have three large desktop humidors. That, by the way, is before even taking into consideration the cost of multiple humidification systems, which depending on how you go can be quite costly.

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