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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Great Humidor Catastrophe of 2009

No matter how much you dote on your cigars and humidor, there are always events and malfunctions out of our control. Last month the hygrostat (humidity control) in one of my walk-ins failed to work properly. Over the course of one night the humidity shot up into the nineties and devastated several hundred dollars worth of cigars. Fortunately, most of the cigars that were hyper-saturated survived without permanent damage. As you can see in the picture above, the cigars were laid out on paper towels to dry the wrappers and help them return to normal humidity levels. Fortunately, the few hours they spent in 90+% humidity did not ruin all of the cigars. Had this happened for an extended period of time, all would have been lost. However, a few dozen cigars did not make it through the night. Mostly, they suffered from wrapper damage which resulted from expansion. Most bulged and tore at the foot while others burst in the center. Some of the cigars were permanently disfigured as they contorted while expanding and contracting.
On The Bright Side
I have been smoking the aesthetically damaged cigars for over a month now and I can honestly say that their flavor qualities have not been significantly effected. While they may be ugly, they are delicious. As a professional Tobacconist, I am used to smoking damaged cigars. Some months I smoke nothing but damaged cigars. Its not so bad really…. life could be worse.
While extreme humidity can ruin cigars by fostering mold growth or drowning the leaves, it is not always a total loss. Remember, cigar tobacco is rolled at much higher humidity levels than 70% – usually in the 80-90% range. So, they can be resilient enough to recover.

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