The undefinitive, unscientific exploration of dry-boxing


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I've heard (read) a lot about the benefits of dry-boxing and know many of you won't smoke a cigar straight out of 65% RH, which is about where I keep my sticks. I've only ever accidentally dry-boxed with mixed results, so I decided this week I'm going to do an experiment and would love if others joined me. 

I ordered a boveda 62% and a 58%. I'm going to take 10 of my go-to smokes, the Monte 4, from the same box and put 5 in a tupperdor at 58% and 5 at 62%. I'll keep both tupperdors in my temp-controlled humidor to keep the variables to a minimum.

I'm going to smoke one every other day for 10 days and take notes on how they change over time, using the follow schedule:

24 hours @ 62%

48 hours @ 58%

72 @ 62%

96 @ 58%

120 @ 62%

144 @ 58%

168 @ 62%

192 @ 58%

216 @ 62%

240 @ 58%

Let me know if you want to join the "study"!

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1 hour ago, PigFish said:

Not being critical, but if you want this to have meaning, given the rH spread and the hysteresis of Boveda products, you may want to delay your first tasting to a couple of months, and really limit your air exchanges.

Yes, I was there on ZOOM when you were telling us how long Boveda takes to work. You certainly convinced me that it's a very slow-working product!

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59 minutes ago, PigFish said:

Not being critical, but if you want this to have meaning, given the rH spread and the hysteresis of Boveda products, you may want to delay your first tasting to a couple of months, and really limit your air exchanges. If you weigh your cigars both before and after the storage starts, you will have some indication that you are actually removing water.

For giggles, one of these days I will put a dry cigar on a scale on a humid day and video it... Pretty interesting! (done it before)

Of course you can take a few cigars and throw them under the seat of your car, and find them two months later! That is the equivalent to how I learned this lesson, but I live in the desert!

Good luck! -tP

Great points and interesting idea. The main hypothesis I'm trying to test is whether I notice a difference across a week of dry boxing, but it can't hurt to add an extra stick in each tupperdor and give it a full month. I'll weigh them going in and coming out to try to add some science to this thing, and I'm thinking I should keep them outside my temp controlled humi so the ambient RH of around 40% will help a bit.

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55 minutes ago, PigFish said:

For giggles, one of these days I will put a dry cigar on a scale on a humid day and video it... Pretty interesting! (done it before)

Not trying to take this thread in another direction, but I’m curious what does happen here. I know Bovedas are slow to cause a reaction, I use them and have made this observation. But I’m wondering if you’re confirming what I swear I’ve experienced on really humid days in Hawaii - by the time I’m midway through the cigar, it’s absorbed enough moisture to completely ruin the burn and taste. But then again, I didn’t think a cigar was capable of doing so in such a short time, based on stuff I’ve read.

FWIW, all of the dry-boxing I’ve done has been placing a cigar in a sealed container, without any humidity device at all. 3 or 4 days always seemed to have a drying effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time. I got the bovedas on 5/18 in the evening and because I usually have my first stick at noon, I waited until 5/19 at noon to split the smokes into a 58% and 62% tupperdor. Box code ABO JUN 19. When they came out of my big humi, they were at 67% and 60* F. I weighed each stick before putting it into the tupperdor and learned my first big lesson: my kitchen scale sucks. Doesn’t even go to tenths of a gram, so my weights are all in whole grams. I’m using recently calibrated sensor pushes in each tupperdor to add a little more data to the experiment. 

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Each of the sticks was smoked at about noon, give or take 15 minutes. I smoked a control stick (67/60) on 5/19 and took a lot of notes to compare. My first test smoke was 5/20. Though it was slightly different (actually not as good as the control smoke) I don’t think it had anything to do with the different environment, but just the slight difference from stick to stick. It was about the exact same. Same with the 48 hr, 72 hr, and 96 hr smokes. I haven’t detected any changes in the taste, complexity, nuance, burn, viscosity, cold draw, anything. 

At this point I’m thinking either that 96 hours just isn’t enough time, or that the bovedas act slower than a dry humidor would, where the cedar might pull humidity out of a cigar faster. 
 

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Bovedas are indeed slow. I’ve had a multitude of 62 in my coolerdors for a year and it’s only pulled down from 69 to 67. (that could be in part the continuous filling that has happened over the year until I now have two at Tetris champ max.)

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... technically, Boveda is supposed to act like a true aqueous salt solution. This means it would take water from the cigars at a given temp and rH based on the cigars isotherm for that temp.

I have been working with a member at getting his EMC down in his cigars. And in his case we worked on a plan for heating his cigars. Heating the cigars frees up the water, and the Boveda should be picking that free water up. That is the plan anyway... and we will see how the theory works.

Heating water, weakens its bonding ability. So heating the cigar, and in turn the water, the cigar will contain less water than at the equivalent rH level of free water. That IMHO is a better way to treat an experiment like this.

The member doing the experiment can chime in if he is willing!!!

Cheers! -tP

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I always hesitate doing comparative reviews of a series of single cigars from one box.  Mostly due to the more variable nature of CCs.  If one cigar tastes better at 58 than another one at 65, how can I eliminate the possibility that the 65 was just one of the "off" cigars in the box?  Granted, I'm sure a large enough sample size would narrow it down but I doubt most of us would have the time/inclination to go all the way lol.

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9 hours ago, PigFish said:

... technically, Boveda is supposed to act like a true aqueous salt solution. This means it would take water from the cigars at a given temp and rH based on the cigars isotherm for that temp....

For the dry boxing scenario, wouldn't it make more sense to use an unmoistened desiccant?

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I think so, but it is not my party.

I suppose you could use the idea of the Boveda as a backstop. The idea may be a greater than or equal to argument here.

I see boveda as an unreliable partner in anything less than a very stable temperature space with little air exchange.

 I have a bit of a bias to actively controlled spaces as you know.

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6 hours ago, Colt45 said:

For the dry boxing scenario, wouldn't it make more sense to use an unmoistened desiccant?

I understand the question. Most people I know dry box in one of three ways, 1. an unseasoned or unhumidified desktop, 2. a humi with a low rh (either active, beads, or a boveda at 58-62), and 3. rolling around under the seat of their car. And most people I know do it for less than a week. That's not to say that people who keep their whole stock at 60% or some other lower-than-65% over months/years won't have a different experience, or that using desiccants to remove as much moisture as possible, regardless of the timeframe, won't give you a different taste or experience. I'm not really trying to test that, but would read every word if someone else did. I'm trying to see if I can tell the difference between a stick right out of 65/60 and a stick that's been sitting in 62% and 58%, in large part because so many swear by dry-boxing for a day or two at 58 or 62 rh.

 

16 hours ago, bbguardsp said:

I always hesitate doing comparative reviews of a series of single cigars from one box.  Mostly due to the more variable nature of CCs.  If one cigar tastes better at 58 than another one at 65, how can I eliminate the possibility that the 65 was just one of the "off" cigars in the box?  Granted, I'm sure a large enough sample size would narrow it down but I doubt most of us would have the time/inclination to go all the way lol.

Great point, and smoking one every day with the reference point so recent is highlighting the variability stick to stick far more than the slight change in RH. That said, I don't really know what the other option would be. If I did this with 10 different smokes it would certainly be a lot harder to compare, and I could do this with 300 sticks but I think my wife would get peeved by how much I'm smoking... and buying... not that she's a huge fan of my current consumption...

2 hours ago, PigFish said:

I suppose you could use the idea of the Boveda as a backstop. The idea may be a greater than or equal to argument here.

I see boveda as an unreliable partner in anything less than a very stable temperature space with little air exchange.

 I have a bit of a bias to actively controlled spaces as you know.

Totally agree. I'm in the process of building a desktop out of reclaimed mahogany specifically for dryboxing (in the process because my jointer crapped out within 15 minutes of starting the project), and all I really want to know from this is if 1. there's a difference at 65/62/58 to the extent that I can control it to that degree of specificity, and 2. if that difference is perceptible to me. If I had multiple smaller systems where I could stabilize and pinpoint lower RH in each, that would be preferable. What I've got doesn't really allow that, so I'm using a few small tupperdors with Bovedas.

All that said, I just had my third smoke at 62% (120 hours) and the first two puffs were immaculate. Just outstanding. Made me double-take to check what I was smoking. Makes sense that the foot would be where the moisture is most quickly impacted. After two puffs, it quickly reverted to the monte 4 I'm used to.

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This topic reminded me of what I was planning to do last year, a similar study into what humidity level I prefer in a cigar. I tend to keep my cigars at 65RH and room temperature for smoking, and usually dry box for 2 days from this before lighting up. Sometimes I smoke from a humidor at 62RH , sometimes straight from 65RH and don't seem to notice much difference in burn or flavour. Sometimes I think 65RH is more flavourful. MRN I believe I read somewhere likes to smoke his at 72RH. 

I plan to take a stick of RASS and Monte Media Corona and put one of each in a tupperdor at 58%, 62%,65%,69% and 72% for 3 months. That should be long enough to change the cigar's humidity with the Boveda. 

I look forward to the results of your experience too.

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Actually, On 1st January I've put 10 different small RG cigars in three jars: 62, 65 and 69 % RH (bovedas).

I've started smoking them a month ago. What I can say - cigars kept in 69% RH taste more bitter. The sample is small but at least I will know which RH is the best for my taste.

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5 hours ago, medzikone said:

Actually, On 1st January I've put 10 different small RG cigars in three jars: 62, 65 and 69 % RH (bovedas).

I've started smoking them a month ago. What I can say - cigars kept in 69% RH taste more bitter. The sample is small but at least I will know which RH is the best for my taste.

Cool, keep us posted!

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On 5/11/2020 at 7:52 PM, Ash Bridges said:

I've heard (read) a lot about the benefits of dry-boxing and know many of you won't smoke a cigar straight out of 65% RH, which is about where I keep my sticks. I've only ever accidentally dry-boxed with mixed results, so I decided this week I'm going to do an experiment and would love if others joined me. 

I ordered a boveda 62% and a 58%. I'm going to take 10 of my go-to smokes, the Monte 4, from the same box and put 5 in a tupperdor at 58% and 5 at 62%. I'll keep both tupperdors in my temp-controlled humidor to keep the variables to a minimum.

I'm going to smoke one every other day for 10 days and take notes on how they change over time, using the follow schedule:

24 hours @ 62%

48 hours @ 58%

72 @ 62%

96 @ 58%

120 @ 62%

144 @ 58%

168 @ 62%

192 @ 58%

216 @ 62%

240 @ 58%

Let me know if you want to join the "study"!

As a control, maybe you should smoke 5 regular ones from the humidor also? They may give an indicator of the variability within the box. 

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48 minutes ago, GavLew79 said:

As a control, maybe you should smoke 5 regular ones from the humidor also? They may give an indicator of the variability within the box. 

Absolutely. I smoked one right the day before starting the experiment and have one to compare on the last day. I should have cracked a fresh box so I could have a bunch of reference points during the experiment but alas, I couldn't wait. I do have another box with the same code so could add one there, especially after the 1 month at 58%.

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