Resting new cigars relative humidity experiment


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This morning at 8am I received a box of HDM du Prince from a recent 24:24 hand picked clearance. Box code TOR Jun 16, which is the same as the ones in the Christmas Sampler from el Pres of best 2016 cigars. So high hopes. At 10am I took one out to smoke and put the others in a zip lock with a calibrated hygrometer. Ambient temperature 21C. Then I smoked the cigar. 

Appearance was dark mottled wrapper, dry looking without oily sheen. Cigar felt firm but pliant, no hard areas, and the foot did not look tight. It did not feel over hydrated. I would have guessed low to mid 60s.

The cigar smoked very well. The Draw was perfect. Burn was perfect. Part way through I left it for 5 minutes to make coffee and it did not go out. 

Taste started low-medium and steadily progessed to medium-full. Predominantly coffee (paired well with the black coffee I was drinking) with some interesting gingery/spice notes at various points. No harshness. Plenty of smoke. A very good cigar. Made my day. 

I checked the ziplock after a few hours. Humidity was 68.

I divided the cigars into a dry box at 62% humidity, a wet box at 72%, both with bovedas, and the sealed ziplock with no humidity regulation. I assume the ziplock will maintain the original humidity around 68%. 

I will re-test at each RH in 30 days. I will try to blind the test and get back on this thread with updates.

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I'm certain I've read that they store at 64rh at either 18 or 21 degrees. That's from memory though but I'm reasonably confident  

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4 minutes ago, soutso said:

In certain I've read that they store at 65rh at either 18 or 21 degrees. That's from memory though 

That is interesting. In that case the cigars picked up 3% RH (if stored at 21C or more if at 18C). I read on another post that sealed cold cigars will pick up humidity if opened in a warm environment as the water in the air condenses on the cold leaf. I unwrapped mine when they came in the door. They were freezing cold as the outside temperature was -2C. Probably lucky that the RH in my apartment was pretty low.

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I applaud you mate, great experiment.

I would like to see you weigh each cigar in each environment as a baseline and re-weigh to see if there is any loss or addition of water at the end. Cheers! -Piggy

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I applaud you mate, great experiment.

I would like to see you weigh each cigar in each environment as a baseline and re-weigh to see if there is any loss or addition of water at the end. Cheers! -Piggy


Excellent point!


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22 hours ago, Mycroft said:

That is interesting. In that case the cigars picked up 3% RH (if stored at 21C or more if at 18C). I read on another post that sealed cold cigars will pick up humidity if opened in a warm environment as the water in the air condenses on the cold leaf. I unwrapped mine when they came in the door. They were freezing cold as the outside temperature was -2C. Probably lucky that the RH in my apartment was pretty low.

Do some search on this forum and see what is written about the correlation of RH and temp.

I'll give you my take but it's likely a little rough around the edges so to speak. Remember that RH is calcuated on the amount of water vapour in the air, divided by the maximum amount of water vapour that can exist in the air "at a specific temp."

Based on this if your package is sealed, the RH readings will change and fluctuate based on the temps experienced during travel from a warehouse to its destination. 

Also be aware that tobacco is a hygroscopic material. (Basically like a sponge) When temperatures increase water is released from the cigar and into the air "space". When temps lower, water bonds to the surface of the wrapper and inside the cigar. 

So within your sealed environment you still get water being adsorded (yes adsorbed) into the cigar as temps rise and and when temps fall, the liquid absorbs into the cigar. 

That is my meathead take on this. A senior member such as @PigFish ? (LOL emoji popped up!) can iron out any technically incorrect things I may have stated here. 

 

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On 1/18/2017 at 6:03 AM, Mycroft said:

I divided the cigars into a dry box at 62% humidity, a wet box at 72%, both with bovedas, and the sealed ziplock with no humidity regulation. I assume the ziplock will maintain the original humidity around 68%. 

I will re-test at each RH in 30 days. I will try to blind the test and get back on this thread with updates.

i use this exact same method, some differences being boveda 62%, 65%, and 69%, and waiting closer to 3 months.

in my examples, the 69% RH was too high.  taste/flavors is subjective, the main issue was multiple relights/burn performance.  

i have removed the 69% entirely and added the 58% in its place.

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On 1/18/2017 at 6:03 AM, Mycroft said:

I checked the ziplock after a few hours. Humidity was 68.

I divided the cigars into a dry box at 62% humidity, a wet box at 72%, both with bovedas, and the sealed ziplock with no humidity regulation. I assume the ziplock will maintain the original humidity around 68%. 

I will re-test at each RH in 30 days. I will try to blind the test and get back on this thread with updates.

Cool experiment.  I look forward to hearing your results and subsequent feedback.

Just a note, however, about the ziplock.  It will mitigate loss of humidity, but will not prevent it.  Ziplock bags are porous and will leak humidity (depending upon the ambient conditions in which the ziplock is stored. 

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19 hours ago, BarryNY said:

I'd double bag any ziplocks - they will not hold their "sealed environment" for more than a few days.

Good point. I have transferred to well sealed tupperware type containers.

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2 hours ago, Jal154 said:

114C05E3-38A8-400F-BD39-DA09C1328C48.png

For the record my friends this chart is absolute hog-swallow. Whoever concieved of this has no clue about hygroscopic materials. Hygroscpicity is the valence bonding of water to a substrate. Yes temperatures plays a very important role, but inversely related to what is presented on this chart.  I have a YouTube video that will explain this. This chart is clueless crap!

Store your cigars at 65*/83 rH and what you will get are moldy cigars, not perfect ones.

- The Pig

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Does anyone know how porous ziplocs are?  I double/triple bag my cigars and I have some 65% boveda packs in there that haven't been replaced in 4-5 years and are still going strong (although, the environment they are stored in only varies between 50-70% humidity and ~18C to ~28C at most).  Based on my empirical evidence alone, I'm inclined to think ziploc bags are fine for cigar storage long-term.

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6 hours ago, mt1 said:

Does anyone know how porous ziplocs are?  I double/triple bag my cigars and I have some 65% boveda packs in there that haven't been replaced in 4-5 years and are still going strong (although, the environment they are stored in only varies between 50-70% humidity and ~18C to ~28C at most).  Based on my empirical evidence alone, I'm inclined to think ziploc bags are fine for cigar storage long-term.

You might search it. @Ginseng (Wilkey). He did quite a write up some time ago, but I don't remember if it was for this forum. From my understanding they are porous. But what harm is some porosity?

Of course, if your range of storage is 50 to 70rH and 18-28C... I mean why worry about the baggy?

Cheers! -Piggy

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The chart is still BS mate! It is contrary to how hygroscopic material behaves. And frankly, aH, and bringing it into this foray, is delusional. rH and temp is a means by which to calculate aH. But aH means precious little more than rH without a corresponding temperature. That is because we are not dealing with water vapor as much as we are dealing with how molecular  water bonds with tobacco.

The whole premise of the chart is wrong. The theory is therefore also wrong. This is typical internet fraud, shoddy work and junk science. In a whimsical sense, what this person is promoting to others is criminal from a cigar keeping perspective.

Best of luck on your project! -Piggy

If you want to understand PMC (percent moisture content), this is the truth of the matter.

 

 

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11 hours ago, PigFish said:

You might search it. @Ginseng (Wilkey). He did quite a write up some time ago, but I don't remember if it was for this forum. From my understanding they are porous. But what harm is some porosity?

Of course, if your range of storage is 50 to 70rH and 18-28C... I mean why worry about the baggy?

Cheers! -Piggy

I'm not too worried about the baggie, I just keep reading conflicting opinions on ziploc bags--although I guess I have been doing this for a while and think my smokes are great, so no worries (just curiosity).  But you're absolutely right, I think it's just me obsessing over it (like how it bugs me that sometimes my humi reads 61% RH instead of the 65% RH my boveda is rated for, but take into account the margin of error on both the boveda and the hygrometer and I realize 61% could be 65% in actuality.

It's funny in a way, I'd be curious to see how quickly cigars absorb moisture, as I often smoke outdoors (which will be 80-100% RH in the summer here).  As our resident expert in this, have you found it accurate to weigh cigars as a measure of water content (with a control obviously)?  Say I expose my 65% RH-stored cigar for 30 mins in a 90% RH environment before lighting up, I am curious how much water that takes on.  Or the inverse is when I travel with cabin air being ~10% RH if not even lower, that must dry out cigars quite quickly.

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3 hours ago, mt1 said:

I'm not too worried about the baggie, I just keep reading conflicting opinions on ziploc bags--although I guess I have been doing this for a while and think my smokes are great, so no worries (just curiosity).  But you're absolutely right, I think it's just me obsessing over it (like how it bugs me that sometimes my humi reads 61% RH instead of the 65% RH my boveda is rated for, but take into account the margin of error on both the boveda and the hygrometer and I realize 61% could be 65% in actuality.

It's funny in a way, I'd be curious to see how quickly cigars absorb moisture, as I often smoke outdoors (which will be 80-100% RH in the summer here).  As our resident expert in this, have you found it accurate to weigh cigars as a measure of water content (with a control obviously)?  Say I expose my 65% RH-stored cigar for 30 mins in a 90% RH environment before lighting up, I am curious how much water that takes on.  Or the inverse is when I travel with cabin air being ~10% RH if not even lower, that must dry out cigars quite quickly.

The short answer to the first question is yes, the post El Cornichon referenced does nicely explain that ziplocs are permeable; they'll hold liquids just fine, but will (very slowly) pass small molecules and water vapor.  This was only interesting in the context of LT storage for the "Air is Bad" crowd, so if you think "Air is Good" and you're not storing for the next millennium then no worries for you :P The post also pointed out that Saran Wrap was functionally impermeable as was tin foil (if you can tape the seams) and so these would be preferable for Long-Term-No-Air-Exchange Aging.

As to your second question, I too am curious about the speed of moisture absorption by cigars.  I've posted before on here that I find my 65/65 cigars burn erratically (tunneling mostly) when taken out into hot and humid conditions; whereas acclimatized cigars (3-5 days in ambient conditions) burn much more evenly (although more relights are required as you would expect).  Seems like the wrapper is absorbing local moisture much faster than the filler, but that's just an unscientific impression.

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12 minutes ago, PapaDisco said:

The short answer to the first question is yes, the post El Cornichon referenced does nicely explain that ziplocs are permeable; they'll hold liquids just fine, but will (very slowly) pass small molecules and water vapor.  This was only interesting in the context of LT storage for the "Air is Bad" crowd, so if you think "Air is Good" and you're not storing for the next millennium then no worries for you :P The post also pointed out that Saran Wrap was functionally impermeable as was tin foil (if you can tape the seams) and so these would be preferable for Long-Term-No-Air-Exchange Aging.

As to your second question, I too am curious about the speed of moisture absorption by cigars.  I've posted before on here that I find my 65/65 cigars burn erratically (tunneling mostly) when taken out into hot and humid conditions; whereas acclimatized cigars (3-5 days in ambient conditions) burn much more evenly (although more relights are required as you would expect).  Seems like the wrapper is absorbing local moisture much faster than the filler, but that's just an unscientific impression.

That's really interesting actually, as I think less air exchange is better for my preference in cigars and I've been using ziploc bags (albeit 3 of them for each box).  I figured 3 layers of ziploc bags would be a lot less air exposure than say a box in a humidor or something (but I guess some people must be vacuum sealing their cigars or going to extremes).

I store mine at 65% and generally have no issues with burn even when smoking in hot and humid.  I do agree with your unscientific impression though!  Are your acclimatized cigars in ambient hot and humid?  I rarely have tunneling issues even with cigars that sit out in the humidity for hours before I light them up.

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1 hour ago, mt1 said:

That's really interesting actually, as I think less air exchange is better for my preference in cigars and I've been using ziploc bags (albeit 3 of them for each box).  I figured 3 layers of ziploc bags would be a lot less air exposure than say a box in a humidor or something (but I guess some people must be vacuum sealing their cigars or going to extremes).

I store mine at 65% and generally have no issues with burn even when smoking in hot and humid.  I do agree with your unscientific impression though!  Are your acclimatized cigars in ambient hot and humid?  I rarely have tunneling issues even with cigars that sit out in the humidity for hours before I light them up.

The sticks that struggle the most are ones that I take straight from 65/65 to smoking on a hot and humid deck in Saigon.  If I smoke them in the A/C at the bar it's all business as usual.  When I "acclimatize" them, I leave them out in my hotel room with the a/c off while I'm at the office, so they quickly nudge up to 80F and 80rH conditions.  Do that for 3 days or so and they smoke very evenly, although they go out quickly.  Could well take less than 3 days, but I've not bothered to do a comparison.

 

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