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First time cigar smoker (first humidor)

Hi guys,

My brother got me a humidor for my birthday (similar to this model) and since then I've bought a Xikar cigar cutter, lighter, and a 5 Vegas sampler pack from this site. I received the cigars 2 days ago, but I just started to season the humidor yesterday (oops). I wiped everything down with distilled water and filled up the 2 humidifier units with distilled water and stuck them to the top of the unit. The humidity has risen to about 75% in 12 hours. I also have some cigar juice that I bought from this site. Should I add cigar juice to the humidifiers and throw the cigars in there? Or what should I do? I am not sure how long I need to let it "season"


  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Welcome. There is so much information on seasoning a humi your best friend is going to be the 'search' function in the cigar 101 section. You'll want to search for 'seasoning a humi' and 'salt test' for starters.

    That will keep you busy for quite a while. In the meantime, don't put your cigars in there yet, your humi isn't ready. Keep them sealed in the bag they shipped in along with (hopefully) the humi pillow. Put a large, shallow bowl of distilled water in the humi as well and keep the lid shut until tomorrow.

    The info your looking for is a bit much for a single post so searching really is a good way to get all the info. to start and then you can come back and post more specific questions as you proceed. Happy reading and congratulations on your new humidor and cigars!!!
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    Thanks for the tips. I watched several videos and browsed several threads on here.

    I am performing the salt test as we speak. I am considering getting a digital hydrometer though. Do you know if it will fit in the standard hole that an analog fits into?

    I am so eager to pull one of my cigars out and smoke it! I also have the cigar club cigars coming soon.

    I hope the cigar juice does the trick. If not, I will consider getting some of the beads.
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    Welcome. As Harpoon said a dish of distilled water for a while. My 160 cnt I ended up usiing the 65% beads, and a dish of water, plliows and gels. After a little over a week it seemed stable so I removed everything but the beads. Of course mine is smaller.......damn. Also used 2 hygrometers just to be safe. Probably don't want to rush it, it takes as long as it takes. I think I read you can warp the wood if you rush it.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    What count do you think my cigar humidor is from the picture in my initial post? Seems like a pretty big humidor. I am assuming that I will put then in 2 columns and just stack them as high as I can? Maybe 100-200? It came with 2 humidifiers.
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Another thing to keep in mind is that the hygrometer is reading the RH of the air so 75% in 12 hours doesn't indicate how much humidity the wood has absorbed, which after only 12 hours isn't too much. That's why the process takes a while even though your hygro would lead you to believe otherwise.

    The foam pucks and distilled water/propelene will work for a while just fine but eventually you'll probably want to use beads because they work both ways, giving off humidity and absorbing humidity, depending on what's needed. They produce an environment that's far more stable than foam can produce since it only gives off humidity. Foam and ppl can produce mold over time as well but for the near future you'll be safe.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    Ok, yeah I'll probably upgrade to beads in the near future. I just want to get this thing ready so I can throw my cigars in there. I am dying to try one. Can I smoke one straight out of the bag or do you recommend that I let them sit in the humidor for a while?
  • GoldyGoldy Posts: 1,638 ✭✭
    Smoke away! with more rest time the flavors will mellow and meld a bit more but I think smoking a fresh stick has its perks too.

    As for your count question, my friend has that same humi and it holds fewer sticks than you think. I think he was only able to get about 75 sticks in there.
  • skweekzskweekz PAPosts: 2,279 ✭✭✭
    Welcome to the boards. You can smoke one strait away but depending on the stick, it may not be at its optimal state for smoking. Lots of sticks are great right away; and lots are great with some age behind them. If you snoop around enough, you'll see definite patterns of what guys find are better both ways.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    I smoked a 5 Vegas Classic yesterday and a 5 Vegas Gold today. They were both pretty good. The classic took me a little over an hour to smoke and the Gold took maybe 30-45 minutes. I enjoyed them both.

    I did the salt test on my hydrometer (analog) and it came out at 76. Me, being an idiot, tried to adjust it down to 75 and ended up adjusting more than I should have. I put it back with the salt and after a while I could tell I moved it too much. It was hard to adjust because when I put the screwdriver in the back, it changed to like 70 and then when I pulled it out and went back up. Hard to explain. After messing with it for a while, I think I have it within 2 % accuracy. I put it back in the humidor and am continuing to season. It is reading 78 right now. I am going to buy a digital though for improved accuracy.

    I will give the humidor a couple more days to season and then if everything looks good I will throw my cigars in there. I can't wait to smoke some of the more full body cigars to see what they are like. Also can't wait for my cigars of the month to come in.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Two things:

    1) Digital hygro's, not only being more accurate, feature a button to reset to 75%, so you don't need to take the hygro out of the ziplock bag to adjust it

    2) Full flavors and complexity can be found in any cigar, from mild to full, so don't restrict yourself to just one profile

  • edelrionycedelrionyc Posts: 360 ✭✭
    They have digital hygrometers that fit in a stand anolog hygrometer opening. Welcome to the hobby and enjoy...
  • PsychoSJGPsychoSJG Posts: 743 ✭✭
    They have digital hygrometers that fit in a stand anolog hygrometer opening. Welcome to the hobby and enjoy...
    Hey Edelrio. Nice to see a fellow NYer. Where abouts are you?
  • YankeeManYankeeMan Posts: 2,502 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Welcome to the hobby. Get a bigger humidor and a second job!
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,633 ✭✭✭✭
    my advice is to smoke a cigar every day if you can. the more you do something the more you understand it. in this case its about understanding and enjoying what you taste.

    oh yeah... and read the forums alot. the search button here is my and will be your friend. the back logs here have tons of info that is cool to read.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    Well my dog thought it would be fun to bump into my humidor and spill my water bowl. I immediately soaked up all the water with a paper town. I hope I didn't damage any of the wood.

    I see a couple of green dots. I sure hope that isn't mold and that is just how the wood was before.

    I put the cigar juice in the humidifiers and the output is staying steady around  76...my digital hygrometer will come in tomorrow and I'll see how accurate my analog is after calibrating. I imagine i can stick the cigars in soon. I think the seasoning is about done.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    Just smoked a series A. Pretty good. Felt a little more intense than the Gold and the Classic. I have to say when I stood up I felt a little dizzy and now I have a headache...could have been the beer I had earlier though! Looking forward to trying some of the other cigars that I got in the sampler!

  • VidarienVidarien Posts: 246
    The green dots sound more like sunspots in the wood. You wouldnt get mold that fast. Dont bother with the analog, the ones that come with the humidors have nice gold trim and all and go well with the box, but..are notoriously unreliable, digital wont let you down.

    Also, the humidor RH level will change dramatically as you open or close your box since the wood hasnt been totally totally seasoned yet and more importantly, its empty. More cigars in the box = more stable the humidity level. Id make sure the wood is well seasoned before putting them in. Only reason i say that is because if you jump the gun and dump cigars in with unseasoned wood, your box will season itself by using your cigars as its water source, in other words pulling moisture out of the sticks.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    Thanks for the help.

    So far I have smoked a Vegas classic, gold, A series, and miami. I liked them all. I thought the A series was the strongest.

    Based on me liking all of those, does anyone have any recommendations for another sampler on cigar.com? I wouldn't mind trying some more expensive cigars, but budget cigars that taste good are fine recommendations too :)
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    5-Vegas has a pretty good line up for a reasonable price, good choice. Smoking a Classic right now, great in the morning. You may want to try a Man o War sampler, they come in a really cool tin, or even the "Best of 2010" samplers, they come in mild, med and bold. Watch the daily deals too, good way to try a few cheaply or stock up a little on what you like.
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Yeah, that best of 2010 sampler has been tempting me for quite a while. There are a TON of good smokes in there and several I haven't had yet. That would be a great purchase for anyone.
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    Yeah, that best of 2010 sampler has been tempting me for quite a while. There are a TON of good smokes in there and several I haven't had yet. That would be a great purchase for anyone.
    I bought one to try and then bought 2 more. Looks like some good weekend blitz samples too.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    So my humidor has been seasoning for about 2 weeks now and the humidity has been steady around 80%. I calibrated my digital with salt and set to 75% like I was told to do. My question is, is it ok to put my cigars in now? Why is the humidity so high? I thought it would drop to 70% and stabilize.
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    How have you been storing the sticks that are about to be placed into this humidor. They will probably eat up alot of that excess humidity pretty quickly.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    They are in a ziplock bag with a pillow humidifier
  • kaspera79kaspera79 Posts: 7,259 ✭✭✭
    You probably put the cigars in by now. Did the level come down as predicted ? If not take one or both of your humidifacations devices out and see what happens. It will be a juggling game for a little while.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    So I added the cigars (maybe 20-30) and after 2 days the top shelf is around 82-85% and the bottom shelf is around 77-79%. I took both humidification devices out to see if the humidity drops. Any recommendations? Do I need beads so they will suck the humidity down to 70%?
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Just keep checking the RH levels and if they remain high keep opening your humi alot and let that moist air out. One of the most enjoyable 'fix-it' moves ever! Things are variable at the beginning but eventually things will even out and become much, much more steady and easier.
  • ghuss37ghuss37 Posts: 18
    Interesting, I bought one of those Boveda one-step calibration units and it turns out my salt test was about 4-5% off. So I guess my humidity isn't too bad...it is around 70-75% in there with one humidifier.
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