I’m not sure when the Zino Z80 humidor entered the market and I’m not sure based on Davidoff’s website if the company intends on continuing to sell the thing. We purchased it, normally $695, for $399 as part of a Black Friday sale. I’d never heard of the Z80 and certainly hadn’t seen one in person, but figured it would make for an interesting review.
WHAT IS IT?
It’s a two-tone humidor that in this combination isn’t the prettiest of desktop options. I imagine there is some Aston Martin interior where the combination of light natural wood finishes and a high gloss black lacquer looks good, but I certainly don’t have anywhere to put the humidor where it doesn’t seem just a bit odd.
There are three different wood options offered—Ayous, Oak and Paulownia—I opted for the Paulownia, which is a creme color. As with many Davidoff humidors, the interior is not made from Spanish cedar, but rather okoumé, an African wood that is known for its lack of odor. The thought process here is that Spanish cedar isn’t needed for its humidification properties any longer given the advancements in humidification. As such, that species of wood—though historically popular for cigars—is a detriment as it adds external scents to the cigars inside.
It’s advertised to hold up to 80 cigars, hence the name, though that’s probably going to be a struggle for anything larger than a robusto. The interior dimensions are 12.875 x 8 inches with the bottom being 3.375 inches tall and the top measuring 1.25 inches tall. All that brings the interior volume to 476.375 cubic inches, however, the bottom contains four pegs that aren’t designed to be removed and those dimensions don’t include the tray, which also reduces the overall volume.
The humidor ships with a tray that has three removable dividers, the same number that is included for the bottom compartment. A magnetically-attached humidifier is also included, as well as a squirt bottle that is used to help fill said humidifier. There is no locking mechanism, and as such no key, and as with most Davidoff-humidors, a hygrometer is not included.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Pretty much like any other humidor: season the humidor, fill the hygrometer with water, place the cigars inside, close and occasionally monitor.
Here are some notes I made during the set-up process:
- A Note About the Inserts — The inserts for the humidor seem a bit short right out of the box. This is probably a good sign as they will firm up once the humidor is fully seasoned.
- A Tip for Seasoning — The box is really shallow, so I turned the tray upside down so I could fit my wide mugs into the humidor for seasoning.
- Scissors Required — Davidoff includes a water dropper to allow for easier filling of the humidifier. For whatever reason, the tip of the cap is sealed and needs to be cut off. I’m not sure why it is, other than it probably saved a few cents in manufacturing costs.
- Angles Are Better — One tip I have for filling the Davidoff humidifier is to have it at a slight angle, pour water from the higher end and lit it trickle down. It seems to absorb water in a manner that leads to less spilling that way.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The details. There’s the tray which has rounded handles on the inside to assist with lifting. The hinges are completely unique; a flush design that operates via a ball that has been cut in and a separate attachment inside of it instead of exposed handles on each side. The area where the inside of the lid meets the lip of the bottom part, it has a groove as opposed to a squared inlay. There’s a small strip of wood on the back that isn’t lacquered, presumably so it wouldn’t chip due to opening and closing.
- The Finish — Unlike most other humidors, all of the wood pieces have been finished and smoothed down. It’s a completely different physical feeling compared to an exposed Spanish cedar humidor.
- Hinges — As opposed to the hinges found on both sides of the humidor, the Z80 has four internal hinges that are nearly flush with both the inside and back of the humidor. It’s a small feature, but after using the Z80 for a few months, it’s hard not to stare when I see a $1,000+ humidor that has exposed hardware. There is a better solution and this humidor has it.
- The Tray — The tray is very nice and that’s great, but just the fact that there is a tray is notable given this is a humidor designed to hold fewer than 100 cigars.
- The Weight of the Lid — It’s satisfyingly heavy.
- Davidoff’s Humidifier Works — While it’s not as accurate as Boveda packs, some beads or an electronic humidifier, the Davidoff Humidification System is a lot better than the green florist’s foam found in cheaper humidors. For me, these humidifiers always run a bit north of 70 percent relative humidity, which is a bit higher than I would prefer.
- The Lid is Not Magnetic — I’ve said it before, I will say it again: humidors over $250 should have fully magnetic lids.
- Appearance — I’m not really a fan of how any of the three color choices look in person. It’s a weird contrast between the lacquer and the natural wood. I’m 100 percent confident that making the humidor solely out of the high gloss or solely out of the natural finish would be better than this.
- Value — Even if I take the 80 cigars at its word, the value proposition is pretty bad. This is $8.69 per cigar stored, whereas I think $2-3 per cigar is a good range for non value-priced storage solutions.
Davidoff’s other Zino Z60 humidors are definitely the closest competitors to the Z80. The slightly smaller units don’t feature a tray and hold 20 fewer cigars, but otherwise keep most of the same features. There are a lot more designs available for the smaller capacity model and it’s priced at $495.
- Prometheus Milano Octagon ($649) — Prometheus’ Octagon and Milano lines are maybe the next closest thing. The 100-count sizes are priced similar to the Zino Z80 and the French-made humidors have a luxury feel to them similar to the Zino.
- Elie Bleu Fruit Collection 75-Count ($2,000) — Elie Bleu makes a variety of humidors, both colors and sizes, under the Fruit Collection moniker. The big difference is the price and I’m somewhat skeptical that it’s even worth mentioning them as a legitimate competitor.
- Daniel Marshall (Various) — As someone that has owned a variety of Daniel Marshall humidors, I certainly think they are a very good option and probably a better value than the Z80. However, the Zino’s fit and finish is a bit nicer, I prefer the okumé over the Spanish cedar interior and the Daniel Marshall humidification system—which uses florist’s foam—is nowhere close to the Davidoff option.
- Savoy Executive Medium ($435) — Balancing quality to value, the Savoy Executive is still the frontrunner. It’s built in a manner that is similar to the luxury humidors, but the price point is noticeably different. The Savoy isn’t as pretty many of those humidors, but when it comes to protecting your cigars, it’s as good as any of the options on this list. When pressed to choose between the two, it would depend on both the size and appearance of the space, but there are some features of the Savoy I wish the Zino had.
Should You Buy It?
A few months ago the people at Boveda asked what I thought the best humidor on the market was today, I told them it might be this one. I think the Zino Z80 is the best-made humidor under $1,000. Not one of, it’s the best. In many ways, this is a baby Davidoff humidor, a smaller, cheaper and debadged version the $2,500 humidors people gawk at in retail stores all over the world. If only it wasn’t two-tone and seemingly out of stock, I’d probably be picking up another one.