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n00b in a bit of a pickle

This is a discussion on n00b in a bit of a pickle within the New Puffer Fish Forum forums, part of the The Cigar Lounges at Puff category; Hey guys, I'm Rick. I'm in the mid-atlantic area. I don't smoke regularly and have recently come into quite a ...

  
  1. #1

    Newbie in the ocean


     

    n00b in a bit of a pickle

    Hey guys, I'm Rick. I'm in the mid-atlantic area. I don't smoke regularly and have recently come into quite a few cigars. Here is the story:

    I work in sales and a customer of mine heard me mention a cigar night. He came in a few days later with a large mixed bag full of cigars (around 30 or so). Up until this point, I had a few cigars in a ziploc bag from the store and a $2 single blade cutter. He mentioned that he planned to bring me many more cigars in the future. After this little event, I decided that I should get some better equipment. I picked up a couple of cutters of different types (Xikar Xi3 and a no name punch) to do some experimentation. During a trip to Vegas, I stopped by the Harley-Davidson store in one of the casinos and saw that they have a Humidor. I'm sure it was overpriced and unnecessary but I decided I wanted to pick one up when I got home. It seems to be pretty decent. I did some research on setting it up, etc. I seasoned the humidor before I put the cigars in and used distilled water in the humidifier. Here is where I started having issues.

    I noticed that the humidity was running a little high. I opened the humidor to try to lower the humidity to within acceptable levels (I have since read that there is a better method for keeping 70%). After being open for a while, the humidity leveled out and we were good to go...or so I thought. After a few weeks, I decided to check the humidifier to see if it was dry. I pulled it out of the little holder in there and noticed some white fuzz on the plastic (its the kind with the little black box with foam inside). My heart sank. That humidifier did not go back into the humidor and I carefully inspected all of my cigars. The only thing I found that didn't look normal I found out later was blooms/plumes on 5 like cigars that had been left in a little box of their own. After careful inspection, I didn't find any mold on any of the cigars or anywhere in the humidor. I went to my local cigar shop and picked up a new humidifier. I filled it with distilled water and set it back in the humidor.

    Once again, weeks later, I went to check on the humidifier. Alas...this is what I found:

    I went to insert a photo of my new humidifier with a little mold on it...but apparently, I need 30 posts to post a link...

    It looks about the same as it did on the other humidifier. However, it looks like I caught it earlier this time...it wasn't as bad on this one as the other. BUT...this time I did notice a bit of the fuzzy on the humidifier holder in there. I pulled both out and haven't done anything since...I guess I just got frustrated with it. Also, the hygrometer was reading within normal ranges.

    Yesterday, I saw this customer again. He decided to give me a humidor (its a Thompson...looks like the "Arch Barrel" model) with 60-70 cigars inside. This one has a digital hygrometer. I got it home and opened it up and saw that the little plastic tab was still tucked in there. So rather than having to replace a battery for the hygrometer, I just had to pull the tab out. I pull the tab and guess what I see....53! There was a dry box-style humidifier, a little jar with "wonder gel" in it...and...get this...2 packets of SILICA GEL!!!

    So here I am...I have one humidor with about 40 cigars with a moldy humidifier recently removed and nothing keeping it correct and a bigger one with 60 cigars that are all dried out. I guess I just can't win...


    After doing some reading, here is my plan of attack:

    -I currently have both hygrometers in a bag working on the salt test to make sure they're accurate.
    -Tomorrow, I will check them and calibrate if necessary.
    -I am going to inspect all of the cigars in the little humidor to make sure they are still mold free. I have read that there are some methods to "clean" small amounts of mold from cigar exteriors. Would you advise that I try to do anything like this or should I assume that if they look fine, they are fine?
    -Is there some method to clean/sanitize the interior of the humidor that had the mold just to make sure everything is gone? I have a strange feeling that the new humidifier got moldy due to some spores left in the humidor from the old one but I'm not 100% sure.
    -Is there a method to clean/sanitize the humidifier? Would I be able to bleach it then let it dry and try again or throw away the foam and clean/bleach the plastic and replace the foam with new? Or do I have to throw it away and buy a new one again?
    -I have read about a 50-50 propylene glycol solution to use in the foam style humidifiers. I am planning to do that to try to prevent the mold this time around.
    -I have also read that dry cigars can be slowly rehydrated and recovered without too much damage. My plan for this, because I have an entire humidor full of dry cigars is the bring the humidity of the entire humidor up slowly rather than to season the humidor and toss them all in and wait. I'm thinking 5-10%/week?


    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to becoming more active here.

  2. #2

    No longer a community member.


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    Rick!

    Wipe out your humidor with distilled water. For the love of God, don't use bleach on it or anything you'll be putting in it, unless you want all your cigars to taste like pool water. Buy a Boveda calibration kit to set your hygrometer correctly, then buy some Boveda packs (I use the 65%) to keep the humi at the proper Rh. If you season the humidor properly and add the Boveda packs then your sticks will recover eventually, but it will take some time.

    There are lots of ways to skin a cat but I think this might be the most simplistic way to get your desired results.
    Last edited by Tobias Lutz; 07-06-2013 at 10:45 PM. Reason: links

  3. #3

    Young Puffer Fish


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    After all of the reading that I have done on here, the best thing is to get some sort of 2-way humidification system in place. That can be the Boveda that Tobias suggested, or the Heartfelt beads that many others use. The issue with the "wonder gel" and PG solutions is that they only give of moisture and have no way of absorbing it to help regulate RH like the HF beads and Boveda. Whatever you choose, all does not appear to be lost yet.

  4. #4

    Fish Stick ssrobbi's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    Get some boveda packs from your local B&M and order HF beads for the future.

    Also you can whipe it off with just a little bit of alcohol (or everclear if you have any)...too much will ruin the wood but if you just use a little it'll disinfect it.

    Before I can recommend anything for rehydrating your cigars I guess I would have to know just how dry they were (pending results from your calibration test)
    Word of the Day: | Innocuous - having no adverse effect

  5. #5

    Disinterested


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    Do not use bleach for anything! As suggested, 190 proof Everclear is by far the best. Don't use the lower proof, or any other spirit, since it will leave behind sugars that actually promote mold. If you absolutely cannot source Everclear, you can use 99% isopropyl. You have to get that from a pharmacy. Don't use the standard stuff as it contains emolients that will stain and leave a nasty smell. Allow to dry under the brightest light you can find; minimum 250 watts, for 12 hrs. It will only take seconds for the alcohol to evaporate, but bright light kills mold spore.

    You will need to reseason, and I would strongly recommend the stickies in the accessory forum.

    You need to be careful of your ambient temp. Never allow it to exceed 70*. Also, storing at 65%, as opposed to 70 will help. You'll get the added benefit of far less burn issues, with no loss of flavor.

    Rehydrating cigars can indeed be done. However, if they've sat at <50% for any extended period, it's pointless, as the oils have been lost, hence the flavor. It seems you just made the cut, if yours were at 53*. To rehydrate, slower is best. You should increase rh gradually, not to exceed 2% per week.

    Finally, in smaller desktops, Boveda packs are the media of choice. One pack should provide sufficient humidification for a 100ct box. I would buy several though, so that one can be recharging while the others are working. Get the 65% version.

    Chuck the foams and gels someplace where they're certain to be run over by a large dump truck, or other appropriate commercial machinery.

  6. #6

    I'm totally serious, dude B-daddy's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    Ok. Raise your right hand and repeat after me.

    "I (state your name) promise to ask the smart guys on Puff for advice (Note: not me, the smart guys) whenever I have a question about cigar maintenance or storage; so help me God..."

    Don't worry. You can recover. Hell, just from this thread, you're in step 4 of your twelve step program.
    "24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?" -- Steven Wright

  7. #7

    "Keeping it lit" fiddlegrin's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle



    Words to live by!
    Dafiddla
    "What Could be Finer, than a Spanish Cedar Liner?"

  8. #8

    THE MAN WHO LOVES TWANG! TonyBrooklyn's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    WELCOME TO PUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Listen to these guys you'll be fine.
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
    Jimi Hendrix



  9. #9

    Puffer Fish with some spikes Xspenceve's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    That's one generous guy giving you all those sticks plus a humidor! Sounds like you are well on your way to sliding down your slippery slope!
    "A good cigar is to a man as a good cry is to a woman"

  10. #10

    Puffer Fish with many spikes RayJax's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    Welcome to Puff! I don't have much to add to the above as it is sound advice!

  11. #11

    Maturing Puffer Fish ShotgunLuckey's Avatar


     

    Re: n00b in a bit of a pickle

    sounds like a cheap tupperdor is in order while you get your humidors straightened out
    Last edited by ShotgunLuckey; 07-21-2013 at 12:42 PM.


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