In 2012 I upgraded to a stand-up cabinet unit because I had outgrown my desktop humidors. Rather than continue to add 100-150 count humidors which were rapidly taking over all my counter space, I decided to consolidate.
Moving to a cabinet humidor allowed me to start purchasing boxes and looking at long term aging. It was a great solution for me until summer hit. I was always so concerned about maintaining my humidity levels I had never devoted any attention to my temperature levels.
It wasn't long before my daytime highs were approaching 82 degrees F, putting my precious collection at risk for mold, rot and tobacco beetle infestations.
Initially I pulled the trigger on a Habitat Monitor with a thermo-electric cooler. The Habitat Monitor performed extremely well at maintaining humidity levels, but I realized I would have to saw a hole in the back of the cabinet in order to mount the cooler.
I started looking at solutions that would be a complete cabinet already fitted with a humidification and cooling system.
What I found is that any units with a built in cooling were converted wine fridges with cedar trays which were far too limited in storage space for my needs. The other configuration was high end cigar cabinets with thermo-electric units already installed.
The cigar cabinets were beautifully crafted, but I was concerned that the cooling unit would not sufficiently meet my needs, and that the shipping costs (and brokerage fees) would be extremely cost prohibitive.
I gave up my search for some time until a few months later when I happened to spot a tweet from TLG Canada. They were announcing the arrival of climate controlled cabinets available in a 'Remington' model with 2,000 unit storage and a 'Redford' model with 1,250 unit storage.
I immediately discounted the Redford model as it was considerably shorter than what I already owned, and at the very least I was looking to have the same storage capacity.
The Remington unit seemed interesting. 26" W x 26" D x 74-1/2" H put it 8-3/4" deeper and 4-1/2" taller than my existing cabinet. Built in cooling and humidification, along with a beautifully styled exterior and a glass door that was advertised as sealing quite well.
The specs seemed right, but I couldn't find a lot of people online that has these units. It was uncharted territory and it was expensive (in my mind). It wasn't until a good friend of mine put it to me like this:
How many cigars do you have?
Quite a few now.
And what's the replacement cost of those cigars?
More money than I care to think about it.
What's the percentage this cabinet will cost you measured against your cigar collection?
I spoke at length with Shelly over at TLG and she assured me that the cabinet costs and the shipping costs were inclusive. There would be no surprises from UPS when this unit showed up at my door.
I decided to take a leap of faith, and I'm glad I did.
I placed the order and I didn't have to wait long. I think in total it took about 10 days for the unit to arrive at my house. I had spent the time managing my expectations.
I have ordered an innumerable amount of goods from the US and something this large and heavy, shipping as far as it was, was unlikely to arrive without some dings and scrapes.
The day came, and I booked the afternoon off work to receive the cabinet. I'm very glad I did.
It's stupendously heavy. I say this as a guy who has a 4 player self built arcade cabinet sitting in his living room. The driver was just happy to have my help hefting it up my stairs, and I was equally happy to have his help.
I removed the cardboard packing and held my breath as they fell off to reveal the cabinet in all of its glory.
It was beautiful. Pictures really don't do it justice. It looks like a handcrafted piece of high quality furniture. Quite a step up from the cigar cabinet I had previously.
On to the meat and potatoes of the cabinet.
It looks like a very nice piece of furniture. This is a big one if you're co-habitating. As a bachelor it's not a big deal if you have a big cigar cabinet sitting in the room, but if you can get a cigar cabinet that looks classy you make your significant other happy as well.
The door seal is excellent. So excellent in fact that almost 2 months into ownership I've not had to refill the water reservoir. To put that into context; my old cabinet was going through about 4 gallons of water every 14 days.
It's the beginning of summer and the cooling unit comes on about 3 or 4 times a day for about 5 minutes. Sitting in the next room watching television I can barely hear it engage.
Initially the cabinet hygrometer was quite inaccurate compared to tested hygrometers, but a quick email to Shelly and she had a solution from the manufacturer on how to adjust the calibration.
I was surprised to find out that the unit doesn't just cool, it heats as well. That might not be an issue for you if you're in a warmer climate but in the winter here house temperatures will be significantly lower when you're away from the house. Knowing that the Remington is going to maintain a temperature range gives me some peace of mind.
The cooling, heating and humidification engages when the cabinet is 2.5%/degrees off your set point. It might seem like a lot but it's a logical design in a cabinet this size. What that means for you is that if your RH is set to 66%, the humidification will kick in at 63.5%.
I set my humidification point to 68% to maintain a good range, more on that below. I set my temperature to 66 degrees F, which means the cabinet will cool if it goes above 68, and warm if it goes below 64.
The water reservoir could not be located in a more difficult place. It's at the back of the cabinet and it's blocked by the sliding drawer above it. The drawer doesn't come out far enough to easily refill the reservoir, and it's more than likely that drawer is filled with cigars. Fortunately it's not the end of the world because, as I mentioned, you'll rarely have to refill it.
The drawer mounts on the inside of the unit sit directly in the cabinet wall. It seems to me that a better design would be to have a metal bracket, both for strong structural support and because it would secure the drawers better.
One thing that does irk me is that the set points for the RH % and the temperature only move in 2 % / degree increments. That would be fine if the unit engaged at +/- 2 instead of +/- 2.5. Not the end of the world for temperature but for humidity control I would ideally like the unit sitting at 67% as the target instead of 68%.
The accent lighting is very minimal hardly illuminates the top row. Accent lights could have been built into the cabinet wall vertically to light the sides. It's a minor issue but worth mentioning.
The biggest design oversight? No internal power plugs. If I want to run internal fans, or mod the cabinet later I'm going to have to disconnect the wiring and run step transformers. It makes sense if they don't want people modifying the cabinet, but I'd imagine there are quite a few in the community who do want to make modifications.
I know the cabinet is listed as a '2000 cigar' cabinet but we've all come to understand that the real world measure is smaller than that. I would reasonably estimate this as a 1,300 cigar cabinet assuming you've got a combination of loose cigars and boxed cigars.
I should have purchased this last year instead of sinking money into my existing cabinet with stop-gap measures. If you're currently running a smaller wineador and don't have the space, or you're in need of climate control, this is an excellent investment.
You can buy a high quality cigar cabinet and invest a significant amount of money putting in a thermo-electric cooler, but it's never going to give you the performance of a dedicated climate controlled unit.
Depending on who you buy from, the cabinet will run you around $2,200 plus shipping. It's a sizable investment to be sure, but for me it was absolutely worth it.
Thanks to Shelly over at TLG Canada for her great service in helping me through this purchase.