Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An inconvenient truth about my new cigar humidor


A few weeks ago I posted a video on how to setup and season a new humidor. The humidor was a Bally IV glass top model; a decent, affordably-priced box. Since I recorded that video, the humidor has been keeping a consistent 68% RH and the cigars are in good shape.

During the video I commented that because the humidor had a glass top, the humidifier had to be placed on the bottom, rather than under the lid, which brings us to today's subject.

The stock humidifier for this humidor is a standard, large, rectangular green foam model. It sits in a block of Spanish cedar that has vents cut into both sides to allow the moist air to escape. (Note that the humidifier is only vented on one side.) The block is made to fit firmly between the front and back walls. You can place the humidifier anywhere along the bottom, but the logical place seems to be flush against either the right or left wall with the open side of the humidifier facing out towards the cigars. Put in the cigars, forget about it, and see you later. So far so good, right? (See above photo) Then what's wrong with that picture?

This brings us to the crux of this story which was due to either an oversight on my part, or to an oversight by the manufacturer. (The humidor comes with no set-up instructions.)

A few days ago it was time to check the humidifier. It was still pretty damp so I left it alone.

While I was in there, I decided to move a few cigars around. That's when I discovered the inconvenient truth. A rare La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurado which had been touching the housing was wet and swollen. The cigar above it, a Davidoff Special R was a little better, but very soft. This was totally unacceptable.


Once the sinking feeling in my gut subsided, the only solution I could think of was to reverse the position of the humidifier and point it towards the wall. But that presented the problem of getting the air to circulate. Therefore, the housing would have to be moved away from the wall to permit proper air flow. (See the open space in the non-shaded area at left.)

It cost me some space, but it seems this is the only logical way to place the humidifier in this type of situation without ruining your cigars.

What I want to know is, has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation and how did you deal with it?

~Gary Korb

P.S. Check out my video on how to setup and season a new cigar humidor.

9 comments:

Scott said...

I don't over wet my humidifier... Most instructions say to soak them in a dish, but that will leave them saturated... Better to wet moderately, and have to fill it a little more often, than to ruin any cigars. I hope your La Gloria survives undamaged.

dmj said...

Gel beads in the little jars...that's I conquered situations like this. I, too, have had problems with the foam block humidifiers when they get too close to cigars. For the one humidifier of that type that I still have, it is in the side of the box, not touching any cigars, actually separated from them by a piece of cedar that is part of the box design. Eventually, I plan on replacing it, too; I just haven't gotten around to it.

Ricardo said...

I solved the problem by using beads instead. you could imagine the shock I got when all the cigars that were close to the humidification device were totally destroyed by mold! thoughtless design.

stphen said...

well very nice post regarding humidifiers, these humidors really check the humidity level at its best.

David said...

I use water pillows in my humidor. They work great and what's better is Famous has a good price on them.

stphen said...

Mold may form if cigars are stored at excessively high humidity levels. In such cases the infected cigars must be removed and the humidor should be cleaned carefully with a dry cloth. The humidifier should be cleaned carefully with warm water and if there is mold on the humidifier

Truthsmacker deluxe said...

Being somewhat of a newbie I was afraid to use the supplied humidifying device with my Bally IV and opted for 3 Humidipaks. Currently I have reduced to just 2 Humidipaks because my RH levels were too high with 3 (even though that is the recommended amount).

Ranger175 said...

I have the Bally II, which basically looks like the same one you have. I have an internal shelf that I can pull out. My set came with magnets so what I did was stick the humidifier underneath the shelf. This way it doesn't take up any floor space and I still get good circulation. My set also did not come with any directions so this was the best that I could come up with. I have asked cigar makers if this was a logical technique and they all said that if I am keeping good RH levels, then it really doesn't matter where the device is placed.

Ranger175 said...

I have the Bally II, which basically looks like the same one you have. I have an internal shelf that I can pull out. My set came with magnets so what I did was stick the humidifier underneath the shelf. This way it doesn't take up any floor space and I still get good circulation. My set also did not come with any directions so this was the best that I could come up with. I have asked cigar makers if this was a logical technique and they all said that if I am keeping good RH levels, then it really doesn't matter where the device is placed.