Q & A: Binders?
What is a binder and what does it do?
11/29/12 | by JG of Egg Harbor, NY
There are three major components that make up every hand made cigar: wrapper, binder, and filler. The wrapper is the leaf you see on the outside of a cigar and the filler is the bunch of tobacco you see when you look at the foot of a cigar. The binder wraps the filler, keeping it "bound" together and is then concealed by the wrapper, so it falls inbetween the wrapper and filler. The leaves used for binders are of lower quality aesthetically, since they get covered up by higher quality wrapper leaves. The binder's main purpose is to hold the filler tobaccos together while the cigar gets put into a press. However, the binder can easily contribute to a cigar's flavor profile. Think of the binder the same way as you would think when adding a pinch of salt when cooking: it doesn't change the base flavors of a cigar, it just accentuates them.
Article: Maintaining Humidity
Your humidor is the most important cigar accessory in your entire collection. Without it, you’ll never afford yourself the opportunity to properly age and store your favorite cigars. However, every humidor must be properly maintained and checked regularly to ensure its effectiveness, especially when the seasons change. Maintaining and regulating consistent humidity in your humidor creates the absolute best environment for your cigars; this is the most important task for any cigar enthusiast.
Fluctuating humidity levels commonly occur throughout all humidors. It doesn’t matter what shape, size, or brand of humidor you own: you will always have small fluctuations in humidity on a week by week basis. The biggest fluctuations occur when the seasons change, which is why it is incredibly important to "season" your humidor four times each year as the weather changes, especially when winter arrives. Why is this so important during winter? When the outside temperature drops and becomes very cold, the amount of water the air can hold drastically decreases. When this cold air enters your home and warms up, it can now hold more water, which drops the relative humidity inside your house, thus directly affecting your humidor’s humidity levels by causing them to drop as well. Since the warmer air can now hold more water, your humidor will need "seasoned" again to reintroduce more moisture to your cigars and in turn, restore your humidor’s humidity level to the proper 70%.
When re-seasoning your humidor, don’t be afraid to add additional humidification elements. It’s common practice for many enthusiasts to add an extra jar or two of Humi-Care Cigar Gel or extra humidifiers to ensure there’s enough moisture in their humidors to "recharge" the warming winter air with water. Of course, the type of extra humidification you choose to use depends on the size and shape of your humidor. To help make regulating your humidor’s humidity incredibly simple, we highly recommend using electronic humidification units such as the Humi-Care EH Plus. These units carry an incredible value since you fill them with distilled water, set your desired humidity level, and let the unit do all the work electronically. Instead of having to refill a Humi-Care jar or plastic humidification unit on a weekly basis, electronic humidifiers usually hold enough water to support up to a month’s worth of humidification before needing to be refilled. Most importantly, electronic humidification devices are nearly 100% guaranteed to keep your humidor’s humidity at a consistent level over a long period of time, which is the ultimate goal for any person storing and maintaining premium cigars.