Officially, it’s called the Carlos A. Fuente Commemorative Humidor, but I’m pretty sure most people know it as The Man Humidor.
The humidor debuted at the 2018 Procigar Festival as part of a Fuente-donated lot for the charity’s auction. It then reappeared at the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, where Arturo Fuente announced it would sell the humidor to retailers, priced at $550.
- MSRP: $550
- Color Options: n/a
- Claimed Capacity: 164 cigars
Limited to 800 units.
WHAT IS IT?
As the name implies, it’s a humidor made to honor the late Carlos Fuente Sr. It measures 15 inches wide by 8 1/8 tall and 10 3/4 inches deep. Fuente advertises the humidor as being capable of holding up to 150 cigars, which actually seems to be a bit less than what I was able to fit in the humidor. Like most large desktop humidors, it includes a tray that allows for separation within the main storage area. But that’s not all; on the back lower side of the humidor, there’s a separate compartment. It’s opened by pressing a button that is a copy of Fuente Sr.’s fingerprint. Firmly press the fingerprint—or really anywhere on the bottom tray—and a drawer pops open.
The drawer is made to mimic Fuente Sr.’s practice of hiding cigars in secret stashes from his family. That tray is rated to hold 14 toro-sized cigars, though I’d say 13 might be more realistic.
The humidor comes in an attractive display box and also includes a single traditional brick-style humidifier, a tray with handle, a removable divider for the lower main compartment and two keys. Of note, there’s no included hygrometer.
It was designed by Manny Iriarte.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
For the most part: like any other humidor. After seasoning the inside, I opted to use Bovedas instead of the included humidifier for reasons I explain below. I placed three Bovedas inside the main compartment and one inside the bottom drawer. Since then, humidity has largely been within a 2.5 percent relative humidity range and the Bovedas have lasted nearly three months with the humidor getting opened multiple times per week. Given that it’s the colder and drier winter months, I’d consider the performance of the humidor a success.
There’s no question that the bottom hidden compartment isn’t sealed as well as the main compartment, but that’s to be expected. It is somewhat interesting that you are likely to put your most prized cigars in an area that not only could be forgotten about, but also one where the sealing isn’t as great.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
While the hidden drawer might get most of the attention, the real special feature isn’t even visible. Retailers that bought the humidor were able to buy two boxes of the Don Carlos The Man cigar, a limited production release featuring a different blend. The cigars have only been released one other time, at an event in 2016, and as such many people were probably like us at halfwheel: buying the humidors not for the cigar storage, but for the ability to buy the special cigars.
- Price — When I first heard the $550 price point, I thought it was a mistake. This is a big humidor, decently-made and carries the Arturo Fuente branding—and it’s only $550. I easily think Fuente could have made the humidor $750 and sold the same amount of humidors and just as quick.
- Build Quality Is Better Than Expected — The build quality is not the best, but it’s a lot better than I expected. Most of the time cigar companies make branded humidors, or sell branded humidors, there are obvious flaws. The Padrón 50th Anniversary humidor has nice features, but it doesn’t really work. A Gurkha humidor I’m testing works but has a bunch of plastic in lieu of metal. The Man humidor avoids both of those problems, which is a big step in the right direction.
- The Tribute — Art is subjective, but the commemoration part of the name is executed very well. The collage on top, the three-dimensional version of the face, the secret compartment with the fingerprint are all extremely well done.
- The Accessories Were An Afterthought — The included humidifier doesn’t really have a place to go where it could look nice. It sticks on via magnets, which must be installed themselves. My issue with that solution is the residue from the adhesive on the magnets is likely going to leave at least some residue against the high gloss lid. If the lid was magnetic, I could understand. I’m really not sure why Fuente didn’t go the Boveda route given the company’s longstanding relationship with Boveda.
- The Main Storage Compartment is Divided Oddly — While the inside of the box is pretty big, the space isn’t available in a manner that is the easiest to use. There’s only about two inches of space from the floor of the humidor to the place where the tray rests. However, there’s probably five inches of space from the bottom of the tray to the lid. The issue is, nearly two inches of that space is above the bottom shell, meaning when you open the humidor you would run the risk of cigars falling out. Furthermore, picking up the tray out of the humidor would be a disaster.
There are basically two sorts of competitors: large desktop humidors around the $550 price point and then alternative Fuente-branded humidors. My favorite humidors to recommend in this size and price point are the Savoy Executive humidors. The large size is rated for 100 cigars, though I think it will hold closer to 125 and is priced between $450-550 depending on the finish and retailer. The humidors are well-made and just work. A smaller Executive humidor is the humidor I use to store all of my to-be-reviewed cigars.
While there are a lot of other large desktop humidors, there are only three options I’d recommend if the Savoy isn’t your thing.
- Daniel Marshall 165 Cigar Humidor Private Stock ($545) — If you aren’t overly concerned with perfect appearances, Daniel Marshall sells humidors as private stock, basically scratch and dent. This particular humidor is rated for 165 corona-sized cigars, so probably less than The Humidor, but is basically half off. I haven’t purchased from the private stock collection, though probably will shortly as from what I gather the defects are small and cosmetic. The other Daniel Marshall humidors I’ve owned have all been highly impressive.
- Diamond Crown St. James ($575) — While I certainly didn’t get the nicest finished example, J.C. Newman’s Diamond Crown brand is the other mainstream humidor brand I would recommend. The unit I reviewed had small blemishes and a removable tray that I couldn’t remove, but was functionally great. Multiple commenters suggested the unit I got was just a bad one and the company offered to replace it with a new unit, all for cosmetic flaws.
- adorini Black Slate Deluxe ($550) — Another humidor I’m still using on a personal basis. adorini makes other humidors that might be closer in capacity to the Fuente, but the only one I’ve used is rated for 150 corona-size cigars.
For those looking for a Fuente-branded humidor.
- S.T.Dupont Fuente Fuente OpusX 20th Anniversary Humidor ($780) — This humidor is probably the closest competitor, but closest is relative. First off, the humidor was sold in 2015 and limited to just 750 pieces. It’s also a much smaller 50-count humidor and was priced nearly 50 percent more than The Man humidor. That being said, it does appear to be finished nicer.
- Prometheus ($4,000+) — Keith Park’s Prometheus has produced a variety of humidors for Fuente over tee years. They are beautiful, well-made and very expensive. If you want to buy the best Fuente humidor for the money, this is the way to go.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
While the humidor works fine and is priced appropriately, It won’t be on my list of recommended humidors. Properly seasoned and with enough Bovedas, I imagine it will work well into the future, but when It think about the quality of the four other products I’d recommend at this price point, The Man humidor isn’t close. That being said, if you want a Fuente-branded humidor that stores lots of cigars and won’t break the bank, this works and is your only option.