If you’re looking to buy a humidor and have done your fair share of research, you’ve no doubt come across models made with Spanish Cedar. This is the gold standard for humidor construction, but it’s typically more expensive than other wood. Of course, the old adage that “you get what you pay for” holds up well in this regard. If you’re going to purchase a humidor, we strongly recommend investing a few extra dollars into a humidor made with Spanish Cedar. If not, stick with a “tupperdor,” which is just a basic airtight plastic container.
Believe it or not, Spanish Cedar doesn’t even grow in Spain. Despite its name, it’s grown predominately in the Caribbean as well as Central and Southern America. One of the unique advantages of Spanish Cedar evolving in these climates is that the wood is extremely resistant to both rot and mold, which are common in humid environments. These properties are obviously advantageous to humidor construction and the long-term storage of cigars.
Spanish Cedar is a porous wood, which allows it to absorb and store moisture. While other hardwoods like oak are typically better for other construction purposes, the increased density of those woods doesn’t allow them to maintain a proper humidity equilibrium. Spanish Cedar is also strong relative to its weight, and it resists warping while under humidification. This ensures that it maintains a tight seal to hold in humidity and prevent drastic humidity swings for extended periods of time.
Spanish Cedar also has a distinct aroma that adds to the cigar’s flavor and helps prevent tobacco pests, which are repelled by its aroma. This is the principal reason why some manufacturers insert a small sleeve of Spanish Cedar into their cigars packaged in tubos or wrap higher-price-point cigars in Spanish Cedar sleeves. While taste is subjective, most cigar smokers find cigars that have been aged with Spanish Cedar more enjoyable. While the aroma never completely goes away, it does fade a bit over time, so if you ever find you can’t smell that slightly sweet and spicy aroma anymore, you may consider doing a light sanding using light-grade sandpaper to bring the aroma back.
If the humidor you own now isn’t one made of Spanish Cedar, you don’t absolutely have to go out and buy a new one. Some humidor manufacturers use American Red Cedar or Honduran Mahogany, both of which have some properties that are advantageous to aging cigars. If you’re using a tupperdor, consider adding a few Spanish Cedar sleeves out of cigar box purchases for added aroma. You may find your cigars even more enjoyable after doing so.