A properly stored cigar lasts longer and tastes better than some old stogie simply left in its box on the fireplace mantel. An environment of constantly optimized moisture will preserve the flavor and integrity of the wrap to assure an even burn and the best-tasting smoke possible. But the only way to achieve that is with a humidor. If you are looking to expand your cigar collection or upgrade from a small countertop humidor, a free-standing case will meet the needs of any aficionado. Here are a few details to consider before buying.

Cedar Shelves

You might not realize it, but the type of wood used for a humidor’s shelves can affect a cigar’s flavor. NewAir

Several types of wood are used in humidor construction, including American red cedar and mahogany. But Spanish cedar is the most widely preferred material for humidor shelves and drawers. This aromatic wood not only imparts a nice fragrance to cigars as they age, it also helps prevents pests, such as tobacco worms, and stabilizes the moisture content for optimal storage. Most high-end home humidors will feature Spanish cedar (which actually comes from Central and South America).

Moisture Regulator

Maintaining a specific humidity level inside a humidor helps preserve a cigar’s taste. Whynter

Cigars are best preserved at a relative humidity of between 68 and 74 percent. That means the humidor must be able to self-regulate temperature to maintain the proper humidity. Too dry, and the cigar will take on a bitter taste. Too moist and the smoke becomes overpowering and acidic. Because some people enjoy flavors derived from either end of this moisture spectrum, a quality humidor with a finely adjustable hygrometer allows the aficionado to regulate for higher or lower moisture content according to personal preference.

Lockable Door

Don’t risk losing your favorite cigars to someone with sticky fingers. amazon_Audew

Cigars are not cheap, and they certainly should not be accessible to any and all who pass by the humidor. Choose a unit with some sort of locking mechanism to prevent theft or idle curiosity. A door lock will also stop others from opening the case too often and upsetting your carefully cultivated curing environment.