Shortly before the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show Camacho showed off one of the more ambitious accessories I’ve seen not in a S.T.Dupont booth, the Strongbox Humidor.
The gigantic two-tone red and black humidor is part of Davidoff of Geneva USA’s expanding portfolio of accessories and unlike most cigar company-branded humidors: it is not only a unique design, but also offered for sale, with a suggested retail price of $699.
And it’s heavy.
It comes in a presentation box that looks like a gigantic shoebox. Like the humidor itself the top quarter or so of the cardboard box is black, while the bottom is red with a red Camacho logo on top. While it looks rectangular, the Strongbox Humidor itself is actually octagonal with slightly rounded corners. It measures 19 inches x 17 1/2 inches x 13 inches. It retains the red and black color scheme, but unlike the display box, the Camacho logo on the top is actually a machined emblem that protrudes from the humidor.
Opening the Strongbox requires a bit more effort than just about any other desktop humidor I’ve used due to the weight of the lid. There are two black metal handles on each side that help, but until you’ve opened it once the amount of force needed is a bit surprising.
With the humidor open, the unique-looking interior reveals itself. The Strongbox uses mahogany, darker than most Spanish cedar used in typical humidors, with unique circular holes for ventilation instead of long rectangular shapes and black metal finishes instead of the typical chrome or faux gold. On top there are two removable trays with the ventilation holes in the bottom of each and in the divider that comes for each tray. Once the trays are removed, the bottom area and its five compartments are revealed: there are two smaller areas on the left side, two identical compartments on the right side and a felt-lined center slot. None of these are adjustable, though there are removable ventilated lids for each of the four smaller storage areas.
In the top lid there is a cover with two finger holes to detach it from the lid itself along with a slot for a Davidoff Slimline 2-Way Regulator, i.e. a humidifier. The unit includes one humidifier, but an additional one can purchased for $200 and placed at the bottom, which is what I’ve done. The lid takes quite a bit of force to remove, so much so that when I first got the humidor I wasn’t sure if it was removable because it seemed like the amount of force ended was going to potentially break it. Turns out it didn’t and the lid easily snaps back into place via the four magnets.
The fact that the humidor is made out of mahogany has one major drawback: it smells. I’ve found over time that most of the humidors that are actually made of more than just veneer have stronger aromas than most are used to, but the Strongbox took this to a new level. I let mine air out in a closet for about three days before the smell reduced itself to acceptable levels. I would not recommend immediately storing cigars in the humidor unless the aroma is acceptable to you.
Outside of that, set up is fairly easy: remove all the protective packaging, set up the shelves, fill the regulator and place it in the humidor, which is done via magnets.
I spent a few months using the humidor without the included regulators and a couple months with the regulators. One was done to test how well the humidor itself held humidity and the other was done to more so test the humidifiers. There’s little question after nearly six months of use that the humidor keeps humidity. With Boveda packs and a calibrated hygrometer, the Strongbox humidor kept humidity within a degree of relative humidity to the Bovedas and I managed to go three months without having to replace the Bovedas.
There will likely be a review of the Davidoff regulators, both the Slimline included here and the larger one found in Davidoff-branded humidors. Davidoff claims this is a two-way regulator meaning it will not only give off humidity like a typical humidifier, but also absorb excess humidity when needed. The only other company I can think of that makes this claim is Boveda.
Testing the two-way capability of the unit is going to take some time and I haven’t performed any of that yet, but I can tell you that my humidor sat at 68-70 percent relative humidity in the two months of testing when I used only the regulators. As for using just the one included regulator versus purchasing an additional one, I would suggest just going with the included unit and purchasing Bovedas if you feel you need additional humidification. It’s a better use of both money and space.
That does lead to the question of what to do with the felt-lined bottom area in the center of the humidor where the second humidification unit would otherwise go. My advice is to store coffins and other larger cigars in it, though probably in cellophane as felt and loose tobacco bits doesn’t sound ideal. For those wondering about placing accessories in the center—it’s most certainly doable, but not something I’d recommend. Accessories often carry dirt, oils and scent with them, why one would place them inside a humidor is something I’ll never understand. In addition, you would need to move at least one of the trays in order to access the compartment—and both if you really want to remove anything larger than a AA battery—something that isn’t going to be at all convenient.
As far as alternatives, there’s not really a great assortment that come to mind. For starters, this is a massive desktop humidor, particularly when you consider it features a simple single lid like a traditional humidor. Most non-cabinet humidors that hold this amount of cigars have more than one access point. Elie Bleu is really the only company I can think of that makes traditional desktop humidors on a regular basis with this sort of large profile, but they come at prices five times that of the Camacho and then some, something that’s not really a comparison.
The Strongbox is positioned uniquely: it’s probably too large as a traditional desktop humidor, it has craftsmanship that puts it well above the $200 desktop humidors and while it holds a lot of cigars, it’s most certainly not a pure bang for the buck selling point.
If you are a fan of the aesthetics, this is a very good humidor. The interior is unique, well-thought out and very functional. The division most certainly restricts the amount of cigars one can store in it compared to something like the Adorini Black Slate Deluxe L, where the entire interior is removable, but I still managed to get 200 cigars of various sizes in the humidor. Finding a room where the bold red and black contrast and large Camacho logo fits is perhaps my largest issue with the humidor. But ignoring the home decorating struggle, I’ve been quite happy with the Strongbox.
Davidoff of Geneva USA sent the Camacho Strongbox Humidor for review. The company also advertises on halfwheel.