While most of the humidors included in this series of reviews have come from brands you have heard of, today’s review is from one you almost certainly have not.
Cigar Humidor Case with Humidifier and Hygrometer, Orange, Spanish Cedar Wood (Holds Up to 100-125 Cigars).
That’s the name of the review. It comes from a brand called Yannabis, which also sells tobacco pipes, marijuana pipes and something that alerts you to whenever a door opens.
When I was picking out humidors for this series, I wanted to get something that seemed ambitious: one that is sold by a company I’ve never heard of, that looks too nice and is a bit larger than a humidor for $175 should be. After 20 minutes on both eBay and Amazon, this seemed like the most ambitious option.
As a reminder, this is a series of reviews of seven humidors that all meet the following qualifications:
- One that looks like a traditional wooden humidor, i.e. no plastic bins or acrylic humidors.
- One that is large enough to hold around 75 robustos, i.e. no travel humidors.
- It must be priced at no more than $175 before tax and shipping.
WHAT IS IT?
Just because you likely haven’t heard of Yannabis doesn’t mean you haven’t seen this humidor. It is the exact same exterior design as the smaller Colibri and Daniel Marshall Quasar humidor, which retailed for $1,500. Those two companies introduced the humidor in 2014 as part of Colibri’s expansive Quasar series, which is all based on a hobnail pattern based on the Colibri Molectric lighter from the 1960s. That pattern—which makes up the visible pyramid-like shapes—is the only thing on the outside of the humidor, covering all surfaces except the bottom.
The Colibri is the frontrunner for my favorite humidor design of the last decade—at least from the outside—and so once I saw the knock-off was within the price range, I decided to buy the Yannabis.
There are some obvious differences, even from the outside. The now-discontinued Colibri was only offered in two colors, dark gray and matte red. The Yannabis is offered in black, silver, yellow and the orange I purchased. If you want to get very technical, I think the Colibri is just slightly longer, maybe a quarter of an inch. The Yannabis measures 13.25 inches x 11 x 7, though I’m not 100 percent confident in those measurements given the unique challenges of measuring the points. Brooks Whittington thinks that the tips of the pyramids on the Yannabis are a bit duller than the one’s on the Colibri, I’m inclined to agree with him though there is no way I could ever tell this unless the humidors are side-by-side.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
We paid $159.99 before tax and shipping in December.
The humidor is listed on Amazon for $179.99, but there’s a 20 percent off coupon at the moment which brings the price to $143.99. There seems to always be a coupon, though the amount changes.
I’m not 100 percent sure that the coupon is constantly available, but it seems like that’s the case, which is why I felt comfortable including this in this series.
- The humidor
- A super absorbent polymer-based humidifier with magnetic back
- An analog hygrometer with magnetic back
- A tray with divider
- A divider for the bottom area
Super absorbent polymers are crystal-like substances that can absorb lots of water, sometimes as much as 300 times its weight. Over the course of a few minutes, the polymers absorb water and turn into a sloshy gel-like consistency that is mostly just water. Once they’ve absorbed the moisture, the polymers will release the water and eventually, if left in a dry environment, will transform back into the dry crystal-like state.
This is an alternative to the florists’ foam humidifiers, though the idea is pretty similar. Super absorbent polymers will release the humidity at very high rates—I use them to season humidors sometimes as opposed to just leaving open bowls of water—and while it’s a bit more of a high-tech solution than florists’ foam, the humidity still needs to be regulated.
A lot of the “gel humidifiers” that are on the market are super absorbent polymers that have been soaked in some sort of mixture, ofttimes distilled water and propylene glycol.
While I think there’s a debate about just how much better super absorbent polymers mixed with a solution are at specific humidification, in my experience the one clear advantage that the polymers have over florists’ foam is that they don’t develop visible mold.
HOW LARGE IS IT ON THE INSIDE
It measures 10.5 inches x 8.5 x 4.25 on the inside, 379.3 cubic inches. Per Humidor Discount’s humidor calculator, it should hold 84 robustos if optimized properly.
More than most humidors, there’s quite a bit of space in the lid, I’m guessing another .75 inches or so. How usable that space is will depend on the pile of cigars you want to stack on the tray, but it’s there for the daring. That being said, there is a negligible amount of space that is lost because of the two strips of wood that hold up the tray.
THE TESTING PROCESS
Given that I have seven humidors to compare against one another, I decided to come up with a testing process for all of them. I wanted to test the humidors both as they are sold and with some of the variables removed so I could test the quality of the boxes themselves.
All humidors had a brand new and freshly calibrated SensorPush device inside for all parts of the test. The SensorPush is a digital device that measures both the temperature and relative humidity, and then sends that data to a smartphone app where it is stored on a minute-by-minute basis. (The SensorPush is not included in any of these humidors.)
The testing process is as follows:
- Seasoning — Two weeks of seasoning with a new sponge soaked in distilled water placed on a plate inside the humidor. The sponge was re-soaked after the first seven days and then removed once the two-week period was complete. Seasoning a humidor is a process to add moisture to the wood. If you don’t do this process, you run the risk that the wood will be dry and will suck the moisture from both the humidifier and the cigar. This can lead to months of frustration, and worse, dried-out cigars.
- Included Humidifier — Four weeks of using the humidor with the included humidifier with no cigars and without opening the lid. This is intended to test the humidor as the manufacturer sends it. Once this was done, I removed the included humidifier and moved on to step three.
- Boveda — Six weeks of using the humidor with three Boveda 60 gram packs (69 percent) with no cigars and without opening the lid. This is intended to test the humidor’s performance without the variability of how well the included humidifier works.
- Dry Cabinet — Two weeks of the humidor with nothing but the SensorPush inside placed inside of an electronic dry cabinet set at 36 percent relative humidity. The dry cabinet allows for me to control the ambient relative humidity, meaning that I can measure humidity loss without having to worry about how much of that is related to the change in the outside air. This is done to test how well the humidor seals. It was done without a humidification device to get a clearer picture of moisture loss.
The Yannabis started at 59.7 relative humidity and finished at 86.4 percent, though it peaked a little bit higher.
Relative humidity increased and stayed above the 86 percent mark for the first week. Given where the seasoning finished, it’s not surprising given that adding humidity—even at a lower rate than the humidor was at—is only going to increase the humidity. It took just over three weeks for the humidity to dip below 75 percent, though by the end the humidor was at 68.
Based on my experience with super absorbent polymers over the last few years, I suspect that after a couple of weeks the humidifier had dried out, which means the super absorbent polymers were absorbing humidity, albeit not at some high rate.
One of the complications with using super absorbent polymers is that you can’t add the same volume of water to a container as you should given how the polymers expand. In very simple terms, if you took an empty 12-ounce glass and put an ounce of super absorbent polymers in it and filled it with 11-ounces of water, you would end up with a massive mess because the polymers expand and create air pockets, which means they would spill out of a full glass.
This volume limitation is a similar, albeit less visually striking, problem that exists with florists’ foam humidifiers. Regardless, it means that in the case of the Yannabis, the humidifier is likely only able to absorb a couple of ounces of water at most.
The Bovedas did their job.
For those wondering, the three Bovedas started at 185g and finished at 148g.
As mentioned last time, I’m still not sure what to make of this test because all of the humidors have performed pretty similarly. The Yannabis started at 68.6 percent relative humidity and finished at 58.5.
- It Works — No ifs, ands, or buts—this box keeps in humidity. I’ve been waiting too long to write that about a humidor in this series and I certainly didn’t think that the leading candidate would be “knock-off humidor from an unknown company,” but that’s what happened.
- Cutting the Middlemen Out — The most fascinating part of this humidor is the economics behind it. If this was a Craftman’s Bench, Savoy or even probably a Quality Importers humidor, it wouldn’t have been this cheap. The economic simplicity of removing some of the middlemen that are involved in selling those other humidors means that this humidor can get priced this way. This process has its pros and cons, but if you are comparing a whole bunch of Chinese-made humidors, I think it’s definitely worth looking at one that is presumably closer to the source than the others.
- The Design — It’s not for everyone, but I like it. The colors are interesting, and certainly more exciting than what Colibri made. I’ve seen other knock-off Colibri versions on eBay in the past, including in a lime green color that seems destined to match a Lamborghini.
- A Tray — It’s nothing fancy, but it’s very functional. Given that I more or less own this humidor in a version that doesn’t come with a tray, I don’t think it’s needed, but it’s appreciated.
- The Magnetic Lid — This is a feature I think all humidors should have at this point and the Yannabis humidor does. Not only that, it’s a massive advantage compared to the Colibri humidor which not only doesn’t have a magnetic lid, but also has this gigantic and non-removable wooden humidifier cover that takes up a lot of space.
- The Humidifier — I wasn’t sure where to put this because there’s both good and bad, so consider this the hypothetical middle. On the good side, I’d much rather have this than a florists’ foam humidifier. Quite frankly, I’m less concerned with the performance or more just thrilled someone tried something different. That being said, it has capacity issues that are going to require it to be refilled regularly. Furthermore, excessive humidity is still a very real issue with super absorbent polymers.
- It’s A Knock Off — I know Jimmy Miúdo, the person who led Colibri’s designs for products like this, and this is his work. It’s an interesting bridge to cross because unlike say a Louis Vuitton purse, I know the person who created the original. But whether it’s knocking off a humidor or a purse, it doesn’t make the theft of the design, idea and effort any better.
- Paint Overspray — The bottom front lip has some orange paint overspray. It’s light enough that you may not notice it at first, but you probably will eventually. For those wondering, I didn’t find there to be any paint smell.
- The Exterior Finish Isn’t Perfect — There’s some discoloration on one corner and visible splotching that becomes rather noticeable under bright lights. I would consider both of these to be minor issues—particularly at this price point—but it’s certainly far from perfect.
- The Design — While I might like it, I suspect this will hold many people back from buying it. It’s not a traditional-looking humidor and that’s going to be an issue.
- Customer Support? — I can’t say that I tried this, but I certainly bought this with zero expectation of customer service outside of Amazon’s general return policy.
The direct competitor to the $160 Yannabis humidor is a discontinued $1,500 humidor. That was the price of the Colibri Quasar Small humidor, though good luck finding one. It was released in 2015 and limited to 400 units across two colors. The build quality—particularly on the inside—of the Colibri is better. The joints for the wood are intricate and more visible, the wood has a more consistent color and there’s some additional pieces that are included for a better fit and finish. That being said, I don’t like the lids of Daniel Marshall humidors because of the aforementioned humidifier cover, which wastes a lot of space in my opinion. The other big difference is that the Yannabis has a tray and a single divider in its bottom area, whereas the Colibri has two dividers but no tray.
If the humidors were the same price and one wasn’t knocking off the other, I think I would take the Yannabis. It’s not built as nice, but it is still pretty good. For me, the wooden humidifier cover is just a glaring problem and I’d rather have a more functional lid even if it means sacrificing the fit and finish.
- Savoy Marquis ($111.95) — While I certainly don’t think this applies to every Savoy Marquis or Savoy humidors in general, the one that we purchased has a visible gap in between the top part and the lid. As such, I cannot recommend this humidor.
- Prestige Princeton ($134.55) — This was the aforementioned “safe” choice from Prestige and I think it’s a pretty sensible humidor with one major flaw. The single included humidifier was unable to provide enough humidity for this unit and as such the testing results were awful. I cannot recommend this humidor.
- Prestige Winchester ($149.95) — The Prestige Winchester’s unique wide design made it one of the more interesting humidors in this series. Unfortunately, the unit we purchased was as poorly constructed as any humidor I’ve ever reviewed. Just stay away.
- Craftman’s Bench Havana 90-Cigar ($79.95) — This is the least expensive humidor I’ve ever reviewed and it felt like it. Beyond the issue with the floor—which had become dislodged in a fashion that made it both visible and audible—this humidor came with a tiny humidifier that is way too small for this size of humidor.
- Quality Importers Old World ($94.99) — This is part of the sub-$175 humidor test. A full review is coming and I will update this review once that review has been published.
- The Deauville Tobacco Leaf ($99.99) — See above.
- Boveda Large Acrylic Humidor ($180) — This humidor is just over the $175 price point but would otherwise be the recommended option. It’s a large, see-through plastic box with a removable tray that allows you to show off your cigars. More importantly, it’s plastic, which means you don’t need to worry about seasoning it and really don’t need to worry about the seal. It just works. The issue with the Boveda is that it just doesn’t look like what most people think of as a humidor.
- Colibri Heritage Humidor ($495) — If you want a wooden humidor that is going to last, I think you are going to want to spend closer to $400. The Heritage Humidor can regularly be found at that price point and it’s just so much better in just about every way. It feels solid, it avoids the major manufacturing flaws and it has a much more modern look, albeit one that isn’t for everyone.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
It pains me to write, “buy this humidor that blatantly knocked off the work of someone that I know,” but if this is just about the product, it’s an unequivocal yes. It’s a good humidor, or at least the one we purchased is. My only concern with the product itself is whether the next batch of these humidors might be the same as the one I got. But if I’ve learned anything in this series of reviews, it’s not like the mainstream companies selling humidors have done much in the way of quality control.