"Flavoring a couple sticks

I decided to try adding a Cognac flavor to a couple sticks. I've got a round air tight metal container with a glass top and good seal. I put some Cognac in a small glass bowl (really small!) at the bottom. Over it is a screen-like strainer I got from a loose tea thingie. I set the two cigars on top of that, put a digital hydrometer in there, and closed it up - yesterday. Now, I knew the humidity would go up, but to my distress I noticed this morning the hydrometer shows  85%! Gasp! I opened it up and blew some air in to try to reduce the humidity. I know this is folly, but what should I do about this? Obviously 85% is unacceptable, but I don't know how to reduce it given the small size of the container and the open liquid right beneath the cigars.

Any help or suggestions?  Here I thought I had this great idea....
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Comments

  • doromathdoromath Posts: 576
    Well I have zero experience infusing cigars so I'm just going to throw some things out there. Despite my lack of experience I felt obligated to respond rather than ignore.

    You're in a bit of unknown territory as far as general cigar humidification goes. All the values we talk about for relative humidity are based on water vapor. Throwing Cognac in there is going to change things since ethanol (drinking alcohol) has a higher vapor pressure than water. That means that at the same temperature, ethanol will have a higher concentration in the vapor phase than water will.

    Since the main concerns with high humidity are cigar expansion and mold, you really need to know what the relative concentrations of ethanol and water are that are making up that 85% reading. A digital hygrometer will not be able to tell the difference. All it measures is the amount of liquid condensing on some internal circuitry. So while your RH is 85%, you may not have any actual water vapor condensing out of the air which would cause you the dreaded mold. You may still be shocking the cigars with how much liquid they're taking on, but I don't see how you can avoid that as that's the intent here.

    Since you're only working with 2 cigars you've got some freedome to experiment (unless they're something VERY pricey). I would say keep going with it as you were and let the humidity play out. Once the cigars are infused, turn your infusing container into a mini humidor and let them sit for awhile at proper water-only humidity. If there's no mold: Smoke em!

    Just don't go putting them back into your general cigar population after the infusion process. Losing 2 cigars to mold is tolerable, but to let them get your whole collection is a tragedy.

  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    I'm not sure but a friend of mine picked up a couple of onyx cgars and then dipped them in a bottle of cognac. He used a long needle type thing to dip the cigar in the bottle and took it out after a second or two. he did this for a couple of weeks. After letting the cigar dry really well before the next dip. After he thought they had enough "infusing" he let them rest for about a year or so. He brought them over at a BBQ and they tasted really good. Not sure if this is a solid method but they tasted pretty good. Very strong tasting cognac, moreso than say the gurkha's.
  • The CankThe Cank Posts: 799
    I've wanted to try this for a while
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    Wow doromath, thanks for all that info. I never even thought about the difference between alcohol and water vapor, or that there even WAS a difference. So, after my shock of seeing that much humidity, I took them out of my new metal 'vessel' and moved them to a spare humidor that I keep at 70% or so. Here in Nevada, maintaining any kind of humidity is a job. I put the two sticks and the Cognac into that box and it settled at 71% (give or take whatever the error is). I was out of town when I checked the forum here and read your treatise. I decided your idea about going for it was valid so this morning when I got home, I put the stogies BACK into my original container, put some fresh Cognac in (less than the first time) and it's so far, showing 74% - probably on its way to 85% again. One stick is a Romeo Y Julieta and the other is a Tusker (I think that's a Thompson home brand - a friend passed two of them along to me). So now I'm just going to sit back and watch what happens. Rum soaked crooks they WON'T be! Ha. Thanks again for all the good info.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    Interesting idea there phobicsquirrel. I've dipped the end of a cigar into some port once, and actually enjoyed the result, except that the cigar got a bit 'swampy'. Your friend has the patience of a saint though. I can assure you there's no way I'm going to put any cigar away "for a year or so". My wine never 'ages' that long. I'm too interested in tasting them (cigars AND wine). However, I'd love to taste the result of HIS patience - ha. Thanks for the response. If this turns out ok, I'm just liable to keep doing this. It's fun to play around with the whole idea. I read somewhere about infusing cigars with strong coffee, like espresso. I wonder what THAT would be like?
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    Hey Cank - feel free to give it a go. One of us HAS to figure this thing out. I'm not sure how long to even TRY this for. Days, weeks, months, or (GASP!) years. Naw, forget years. There's no way I can wait that long - unless I bury the stuff out on the desert, make a waypoint in my GPS, and quad out there a year or so later to retrieve. The farther away, the more likely it is I won't be tempted to take them out "before their time".
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    I use to think that letting cigars sit for years wouldn't happen but alas I have cigars that have been resting for going on 3 years. Funny how things work.
  • ironhorseironhorse Posts: 469
    MrTommy:
    Interesting idea there phobicsquirrel. I've dipped the end of a cigar into some port once, and actually enjoyed the result, except that the cigar got a bit 'swampy'. Your friend has the patience of a saint though. I can assure you there's no way I'm going to put any cigar away "for a year or so". My wine never 'ages' that long. I'm too interested in tasting them (cigars AND wine). However, I'd love to taste the result of HIS patience - ha. Thanks for the response. If this turns out ok, I'm just liable to keep doing this. It's fun to play around with the whole idea. I read somewhere about infusing cigars with strong coffee, like espresso. I wonder what THAT would be like?
    I am not sure that coffee would work given its suspended particulate matter. i.e. when you leave a pot of coffee for a day, there is a sedement at the bottom. BUT, I am certainly no expert at infusing and have never done it. I just thought I would throw that out there. Perhaps a coffee liquor like Kahlua or something would work better for this?
  • Rob1110Rob1110 Posts: 1,455 ✭✭
    As far as coffee goes, that's gonna be easier than liquid. Start at the source of the coffee. I took a few Diablo cigars and put them in a small tuperware container with some beads and a bed of coffee beans. Plan on letting them rest in there for 3 - 6 months before you notice much difference. Mine have been sitting almost a year now. There's another thread on here somewhere about infusing alcohol.

    If you're looking to get rid of most of the alcohol content and use the sugar base of an alcohol such as rum or cognac, you could start with a larger portion in a wide pan, set it on fire to allow most of the alcohol to burn off. What you'll be left with will be a concentrated alcohol flavor with a very low percentage of actual alcohol. Use that straight or cut with some water in place of your normal humidification device in a small tuperware container. Good luck and have patience.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    As a quick aside here as I run out the door... I peeked in at my two sticks in the original metal container and noticed that the Romeo is actually drying out at the 'lighting' (I'm sure there's an official name for each end of the cigar but they escape me at the moment) end and unraveling a bit. I'm going to have to get a batch of seconds for this ongoing experiment. So, this may lend some credence to the info from the gentleman who said there may be a difference between water humidity and alcohol humidity (or lack thereof). Hmmmm. Didn't think this would be such a big deal. Just put the cigars in the Cognac laden humidor, wait for them to absorb the aromas, and smoke. Silly me!
  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    Rob1110:
    As far as coffee goes, that's gonna be easier than liquid. Start at the source of the coffee. I took a few Diablo cigars and put them in a small tuperware container with some beads and a bed of coffee beans. Plan on letting them rest in there for 3 - 6 months before you notice much difference. Mine have been sitting almost a year now. There's another thread on here somewhere about infusing alcohol.

    If you're looking to get rid of most of the alcohol content and use the sugar base of an alcohol such as rum or cognac, you could start with a larger portion in a wide pan, set it on fire to allow most of the alcohol to burn off. What you'll be left with will be a concentrated alcohol flavor with a very low percentage of actual alcohol. Use that straight or cut with some water in place of your normal humidification device in a small tuperware container. Good luck and have patience.
    wow, I know I liked the diablo you sent but with coffee, that will probably be very good. You'll have to let me know what you find. And from the coffee you sent me I am sure it will be really good.
  • The CankThe Cank Posts: 799
    MrTommy:
    Hey Cank - feel free to give it a go. One of us HAS to figure this thing out. I'm not sure how long to even TRY this for. Days, weeks, months, or (GASP!) years. Naw, forget years. There's no way I can wait that long - unless I bury the stuff out on the desert, make a waypoint in my GPS, and quad out there a year or so later to retrieve. The farther away, the more likely it is I won't be tempted to take them out "before their time".
    Ok I have a few sticks that I can ( sacrifice ) use. I'm going to give this a shot. I'm going to do it simple. A shot glass full of whatever I decide to go with and the 7 cigars in a gallon zip lock bag. I will go from there
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 4,486 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think Clearly Suspect was working on something similar not long back, posted as "Infusing some cigars" you might look back through the pages and see what he came up with.
    WARNING:  The above post may contain thoughts or ideas known to the State of Caliphornia to cause seething rage, confusion, distemper, nausea, perspiration, sphincter release, or cranial implosion to persons who implicitly trust only one news source, or find themselves at either the left or right political extreme.  Proceed at your own risk.  
  • cabinetmakercabinetmaker Posts: 2,561
    MrTommy:
    As a quick aside here as I run out the door... I peeked in at my two sticks in the original metal container and noticed that the Romeo is actually drying out at the 'lighting' (I'm sure there's an official name for each end of the cigar but they escape me at the moment) end and unraveling a bit. I'm going to have to get a batch of seconds for this ongoing experiment. So, this may lend some credence to the info from the gentleman who said there may be a difference between water humidity and alcohol humidity (or lack thereof). Hmmmm. Didn't think this would be such a big deal. Just put the cigars in the Cognac laden humidor, wait for them to absorb the aromas, and smoke. Silly me!
    You light the foot, and put the head in your mouth and puff on it...



    Hmmm, seems to be an "insert joke here" type of moment.





    Freud would be so proud.
  • GadwinDuilGadwinDuil Posts: 474
    Hey Tommy, If you need a second opinion on how well you did with you cigars, hit me up :P I have a bunch of Padilla Fumas I bought off the daily a few weeks ago that I've decided are good subjects for some kind of experimental Infusions - so we can swap war stories sometime! If you didn't see my location - I too am Carson City, And feel your humidity pain for our damn desert we call Nevada.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    Sounds like instructions for an airplane bomber... Freud's loving it. So, for anyone who'd interested, here's what's going on with this experiment. Now when I check the humidity in that container, it's showing at 95%. Holy crap! When I open it, it's DEFINITELY humid in there. I put both these sticks into cellophane slips that I had left from a cask of Romeo's to try to hold them together. Not sure how a wrapper can un-wrap from too much humidity, cuz this usually happens when a stick gets dry. Sometimes this happens here in Nevada just while you're 'enjoying' a stick. When the humidity skyrockets to 20% here, you have to puff fast - ha. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe my great little metal container isn't the perfect flavoring device after all. Seems to get really humid really fast. Or, maybe my little bowl with the Cognac in it is too big (even though it's only holding maybe a tablespoon of Cognac). Wifey suggests floral foam instead of the bowl. I might try that. I hate to think I might be becoming obsessed with this project... Amos, I'm going to look for that thread you mentioned. I'm curious what someone else had done with this 'scheme'. ADDED: Found it! Thanks. He mentions high humidity too, around 80% (I've got him beat - ha). I'm a bit concerned about this humidity thing, but we'll see what happens. 95% just sounds a bit much. What I may have to do is get a new 'smallish' humidor that I designate as an "infusion box" (maybe I'll even get the glass engraved with that - yeah, that's it!) and go from there. That way maybe I can keep the humidity at a more comfortable 80% or so. Meantime, I'll just let these two sticks sit in this 'tank' and soak up my Jacques Cardin VSOP for a while. I'm not even sure how to tell if these things are done. And just what IS done? Ok, I've got a day to get started here.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    GadwinDuil:
    Hey Tommy, If you need a second opinion on how well you did with you cigars, hit me up :P I have a bunch of Padilla Fumas I bought off the daily a few weeks ago that I've decided are good subjects for some kind of experimental Infusions - so we can swap war stories sometime! If you didn't see my location - I too am Carson City, And feel your humidity pain for our damn desert we call Nevada.
    Hey - local talent! We should meet up at the Carson Cigar Company one day. Michael makes a mean Gentleman Jack Manhattan.
  • The CankThe Cank Posts: 799
    OK Im starting this project but I think I am going to try my hand with some wine. A nice deep red. I am going to use 7 Arturo Fuente Special Selections. I am headed to the spirits place now to pick out a bottle. If anyone sees why using wine instead of liquor would not be good please let me know as I will wait till tomorrow to start this little thing.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    The Cank:
    OK Im starting this project but I think I am going to try my hand with some wine. A nice deep red. I am going to use 7 Arturo Fuente Special Selections. I am headed to the spirits place now to pick out a bottle. If anyone sees why using wine instead of liquor would not be good please let me know as I will wait till tomorrow to start this little thing.
    Right on! I'm beginning to think this 'infusion' business is unlimited as far as what you use for a flavor. Hell, tea toatlers could use milk - UGH. I would think though, that a port or sherry might be better than straight red (cab or zin or whatever). But hey, who knows? My little project is still sitting at 97% humidity. Scary, but I'm carrying on... Good luck, Cank. I'll be watching.
  • GadwinDuilGadwinDuil Posts: 474
    Hey - local talent! We should meet up at the Carson Cigar Company one day. Michael makes a mean Gentleman Jack Manhattan.
    Haha, It's the only cigar place I go to :-P I'm sure I'll run into you sometime, but now I'm starting to think i should wait till I know more than a couple months worth about cigars or else I'd show up and you'd spend the whole time teaching me how I'm supposed to light up the right way! I'll PM ya sometime and see if you're up to going and you can show me this mean Jack Manhattan! Also, I'm genuinely interested in how your infusion goes. I want to give it some trys myself in the nearish future with a few different flavors.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    Ok, I took some pictures (no comments on my prowess at picture taking allowed!) of this ongoing project. Hopefully this link will take you to my Picasa picture site. http://picasaweb.google.com/tmolnar1946/TheBigCigarExperiment# Let me know if it works. It's the first time I've tried to use it.
  • GadwinDuilGadwinDuil Posts: 474
    The link works just dandy - that is to say if I was only supposed to see 4 pictures! :P I'm interested to see the head of the cigars because earlier you mentioned that they were cracking and unraveling... No biggie though - Keep them in the celo to make sure they don't burst or anything!
  • The CankThe Cank Posts: 799
    It looks good to me
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    GadwinDuil:
    The link works just dandy - that is to say if I was only supposed to see 4 pictures! :P I'm interested to see the head of the cigars because earlier you mentioned that they were cracking and unraveling... No biggie though - Keep them in the celo to make sure they don't burst or anything!
    Ok,maybe later this week when I'm home I'll get a couple pictures of the 'unraveling'. It was the foot, not the head (note how I paid attention and now use the correct cigar terms...). Interestingly, it was the higher buck Romeo Y Julieta and not the cheapo Thompson Tusker that began unraveling... Go figure. Oh, and I'm lucky I got even the four pictures up there. I just created the account FOR these pics!
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    The Cank:
    It looks good to me
    Thanks. Any idea how I tell if and when these things are done? This is totally uncharted territory for me. I know one gentleman said a year or so? Ain't happening! Not this time anyway. In order for that to happen I'll have to put the container under the house - out of sight, out of mind.
  • GadwinDuilGadwinDuil Posts: 474
    MrTommy:
    It was the foot, not the head (note how I paid attention and now use the correct cigar terms...).
    Dang! I coulda swore I head someone say that you light the head and put the foot in your mouth (insert some joke about sticking a foot in your mouth) But I may have read it backwards :P
  • The CankThe Cank Posts: 799
    MrTommy:
    The Cank:
    It looks good to me
    Thanks. Any idea how I tell if and when these things are done? This is totally uncharted territory for me. I know one gentleman said a year or so? Ain't happening! Not this time anyway. In order for that to happen I'll have to put the container under the house - out of sight, out of mind.

    I was going to say around a year...... Not what you want to hear huh......... well try for 6 months.
  • MrTommyMrTommy Posts: 15
    The Cank:
    MrTommy:
    The Cank:
    It looks good to me
    .

    I was going to say around a year...... Not what you want to hear huh......... well try for 6 months.
    Wifey says the humidity in the container is reading 99%. Holy crap! Maybe I'll just wring them out and drink the tobacco flavored Cognac - ha.
  • mrpillowmrpillow Posts: 464
    Maybe the presence of the cognac is causing the hygro to give incorrect readings?
  • The CankThe Cank Posts: 799
    MrTommy:
    The Cank:
    MrTommy:
    The Cank:
    It looks good to me
    .

    I was going to say around a year...... Not what you want to hear huh......... well try for 6 months.
    Wifey says the humidity in the container is reading 99%. Holy crap! Maybe I'll just wring them out and drink the tobacco flavored Cognac - ha.

    that sounds tasty ! I think the alcohol will stop the mold so I think the RH shouldn't matter. But I may be WWAAYY wrong on this. Joe or Kuzi needs to chime in on this one
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