Origin of the Spanish cedar name
You hear a lot about Spanish cedar in the world of humidors. But the wood of the so-called Spanish cedar does not actually come from a native tree in Spain. It is wood from tropical species, either from South America or Africa, but not from Spain. So why is it known as Spanish cedar? Cubans, the main producers of cigars, actually began to call it that last century because of the appeal of the humidors made in Spain. Since they very much liked how humidors were built in Spain, they named the wood used in them as Spanish cedar wood. They thought that the humidors looked so good because of the material used, which they then considered as Spanish cedar.
The cedar that is used for humidors or in the cigar cellars is not the cedar that we all know
The cedar that is grown in Spain and that we all know is a tree. In fact, cedars constitute a genus (Cedrus) of pennaceous conifers. Its name comes from the Latin, cedrus. In the Iberian Peninsula, three kinds of cedar are grown: one native to the Atlas Mountains, another from the Himalayas and a third known as Libano (Lebanon). They are large trees of 25 to 50 meters high, highly ornamental, used in large forests and gardens. Its wood is used for other purposes than humidors. For example, it is used in building construction or shipbuilding, but its use in carpentry is limited.
On the other hand, in certain countries, the name cedar is given to other species that are shrubs or small trees. Among them are the species from which the wood for humidors is extracted.
Types of cedar for humidors
Generally, two types of wood are used for the interior lining of cigar humidors. Both are suitable for the purposes of the humidor: to keep the cigars in perfect condition. This is because they are tropical woods that are very suitable for environments with high levels of humidity in which they maintain very well due to their tropical origin.
The first species, known as American cedar, is distributed from northern Mexico to northern Argentina, including the Caribbean islands. That is, it is widely distributed throughout tropical America. In fact, it is part of the native flora of most Latin American countries (with the exception of Chile).
Its wood is between pinkish brown to light red with the lightest sapwood. It has a great aroma, but it also has a lot of resin. This last characteristic makes it difficult to use in large-scale humidors, since it requires a long drying time (it can be 15 or 20 years) and treatment so that the resin does not appear inside the humidor. It is applicable in cases of small-scale production cabinetry, when it can be adequately treated to avoid this problem.
The second most used wood species in humidors comes from tropical Africa and some countries in South America. Called bossé cedar, it grows in semi-deciduous forests (part of the leaves of its trees fall) and in the driest and undisturbed areas of moist evergreen forests. Its wood is somewhat less odorous, lighter and does not contain as much resin. Therefore, it is more suitable for humidors made on a large scale.
Type of cedar we use in Wacota
Our 40 years of experience have allowed us to learn that bossé cedar wood is the most suitable for the interior lining of cigar humidors or cigar cellars. In addition to keeping the humidity inside the humidor at the ideal levels for cigars (around 70%), its lower amount of resin makes it perfect for use in humidors. By using this cedar wood, we are much more confident that the resin does not appear in the humidors over time, as it can in the case of American cedar.