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I'm headed off on a little vacation, and of course I wanted to bring some fine cigars along to smoke on the beach while relaxing and doing nothing. While where I am going is relatively humid (65% generally -- higher during the rainy season), the air conditioned hotel would suck the life out of my cigars. Can't have that, now can we?

I visited a cigar shop, and found all sorts of answers to my dilemma. Hell, a Tuperware container would do the job just fine, and I was considering doing just that, when a little product from Csonka called the "Csonka Cigar Valet" that caught my eye. I'd purchased their "Csonka Pro Air Care Purifier" from http://www.csonka.com/ and I've been pleased with its performance, so I gave the Cigar Valet a look.



It's a sturdy steel-framed box that's wrapped in padded leather, and has a latching mechanism that can lock if you're paranoid (personally, I'll never use it), and a flip-down latch that holds it doubly tight and snug. It's a good looking piece, something that's classy but not ostentatious, and thus would fit in just about anywhere.

To open it, you unlock it (if you bothered locking it), then flip up the latch, and it opens clamshell-style to reveal two Spanish cedar-lined compartments for your stogies. The larger compartment will handle Churchill and slightly larger sizes, the smaller one will keep your Robusto-sized cigars safe and happy.

Csonka claims that the model I purchased will hold 12 cigars; you can fit more or less than that, depending on the size of the smokes you're putting into it. They offer the Cigar Valet in different capacity sizes; for me, the 12 cigar one is the perfect balance between a small box and storing enough cigars to keep me happy.



One of my concerns wasn't just keeping the cigars humid (Tuperware will do that), but also keeping them protected, so they don't jostle around much during my travels. There's nothing worse than a perfectly good cigar ruined by banging around, tearing the wrapper off. To that end, each compartment has an adjustable foam-padded brace that holds your cigars down snugly. Nice.

The Cigar Valet also comes equipped with all of the amenities you might need: a cigar cutter, an analog hydrometer, four humidification elements, and two pipets for storing distilled water in, for refreshing the credo units on the go. All in all, a very complete package.

I prepared it as per the instructions, wiping the cedar down with distilled water, then dropping 50 drops or so of distilled water into each non-removable (at least not *easily* removable) humidification element. It's been keeping a constant 70% humidity level for the past few days, which is pretty impressive considering how incredibly dry the air is during the winter in Upstate New York.

A little tip if you do buy one: only put in as much water as they tell you to, 50 drops or so for each credo unit. One of the credo units in mine just kept on sucking up as much water as I'd give it, and I ended up with a puddle in the top compartment. Ooops. No drama, I wiped it down, and everything is fine now.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with this product. The Cigar Valet sells for $99, and although I have seen it for a bit less, it is rather pricey. However, it looks nice, it includes everything you need in one compact package, and more importantly, it does the job of keeping your cigars protected and properly humidified while you are on the go. Recommended.
 

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I picked up the Csonka Valet on sale from Famous-Smoke for only $60.

I don't use the built in credos when I travel. I have a Climmax Tubo that works perfectly. It does take up some cigar room, but I prefer it to the credos.

While it is true that they work great to bring the humidity UP during these dry winter months, I'm not sure how well they would do to keep the humidity from getting too high once the weather finally warms.

The Climmax media in the tubo will absorb moisture if the humidity gets too high. Plus, they work with straight distilled water. I prefer not to use PG solution.

My Valet worked beautifully on the two trips I've taken since getting it. $99 is a bit pricey. If Famous puts it up for sale again, I'll try to remember to put up a notice here.
 
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