As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always trying to find humidors that don’t immediately scream “this is owned by an old man.” Fortunately, there seems to be an increasing number of humidors that forgo the traditional stained wood on a rectangular box look.
One of the companies behind many of the “this is owned by an old man” humidors is J.C. Newman. The company’s Benchmade and Diamond Crown brands contain a variety of humidors finished in burl, oak, cherry and other stained woods. But last summer, the company announced three new colors for its Havana Collection line of humidors, each providing a much more modern look.
What Is It?
It’s advertised as a 90-count humidor with a suggested retail price of $365 that is offered in three color options: Cielo (blue), Fuego (red) and Sol (yellow). The external dimensions are 12.375 inches x 10 x 5.625. Internally, I measured 10.75 inches x 8.75 x 3.5. There’s potentially another .875 inches of room in the lid if you wanted to stack cigars to the very top, meaning a total of 411.5 cubic inches of usable space. Humidor Discount’s humidor calculator measures the internal dimensions as being capable of holding 69 robustos, though that would be without a humidifier or hygrometer in the lid.
The unit comes with the standard array of J.C. Newman accessories: a removable grid at the bottom, a Diamond Crown Humi-System humidifier, a Diamond Crown hygrometer, a key, one removable divider and a small dropper to help fill the humidifier. Due to the size, there is no tray, but the lid is magnetic.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Like a humidor.
My testing shows a very sold range of less than 3 percent relative humidity difference over the course of the last 30 days, something that’s pretty consistent within any 30-day period of the five or so months I’ve been testing the humidor. I do find that the included J.C. Newman hygrometer runs a bit wetter than I’d like, averaging 71.5 percent relative humidity. Still, it’s one of the best non-Boveda or non-electric humidifiers I’ve used and the fact that it’s magnetic is a nice touch.
My hygrometer needed a bit of calibration, as it was off by 1 percent relative humidity. Fortunately, J.C. Newman makes it super easy to adjust by using some pins on the back of the unit. Unfortunately, these are in even number increments, meaning there wasn’t a way for me to get the humidor displaying accurately.
- Colors — Elie Bleu makes some great humidors with bright colors, though they come at a cost. A 75-count version of one of its Classic Collection humidors starts at $2,000. There’s no way you could confuse the Diamond Crown Havana Collection humidor with that particular Elie Bleu, but at less than 20 percent of the price, J.C. Newman makes a brightly-colored humidor that works.
- Performance — Like every other J.C. Newman humidor I’ve used, this unit works really well at keeping humidity steady.
- Accessories That Work — Unlike most other companies, J.C. Newman’s hygrometer and humidifier are actually usable. I’d still recommend pairing the humidifier with Bovedas, and the hygrometer needs to be calibrated, but most humidors in and around this price come with accessories that should be thrown away.
- Magnetic Lid — Something that I think every humidor should have, but many don’t. As such, it’s always appreciated when there’s a built-in magnetic lid.
- The Finish — When this humor first showed up, Brooks noticed that there were about a dozen tiny holes throughout the wood. They are tiny, like if someone pushed a thumbtack into the wood, but they are visible. There’s also a much larger gash in the wood, fortunately, that is on the inside lip of the humidor, so it’s not noticeable unless you are specifically going to inspect the unit.
- Unevenness — It would appear that after six months the humidor’s lid and body have shifted slightly so they are no longer perfectly aligned. It’s not entirely visible unless you are doing an inspection, but once I saw it I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to unsee it. It’s only a small amount, less than 1/32 of an inch, but because of the red and black paint scheme, it makes it a lot more noticeable.
There are a lot of humidors in the size range, so I’ve tried to limit this to humidors within $200 of the Havana Collection’s $365 price.
- Colibri Heritage Humidor ($495) — With a street price of $400 this is the humidor that I would recommend over the Diamond Crown. For a bit more money, you get a much larger humidor that looks a good bit better in my opinion. The Diamond Crown has better included accessories, but the Colibri is a decidedly better value in my opinion.
- Savoy Executive Medium ($435) — The Savoy Executive line has long been my recommended humidor, particularly in regards to value. This is a humidor that should last you for the rest of your life but won’t break the bank. Unfortunately, the color options are very much in the “this is owned by an old man” category.
- Daniel Marshall Ambiente 125 ($445) — The lower-end Daniel Marshall Ambiente is the same interior you get on a higher-end box, but with a matte finish. It’s a solid option, though I’d take pretty much any of the humidors listed above, including the Diamond Crown, over the Daniel Marshall.
- Diamond Crown 90 Count Humidors ($300) — You can find a variety of humidors from Diamond Crown that have an identical interior to the Havana Collection. The only differences are the finishes and the prices, which tend to be a bit cheaper.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
With a street price closer to $325, I think you are still getting a good humidor for the money. Once again, I seem to have a Diamond Crown humidor with cosmetic issues—something that I’m led to believe is an anomaly—but the issues are small enough I doubt most people would notice them.
There are better humidors for a bit more money, but the real question—one that I don’t think I have enough experience to answer—is whether there are humidors at the $200-250 range that are similar in size and of good enough quality to recommend. I plan on buying a few of those options and trying to answer that question at some point in the future.
J.C. Newman advertises on halfwheel. The humidor used for this review was purchased by halfwheel.