“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming
Study 1: HumiForm vs two 84% RH Pouches for 14 days of seasoning, and then one 72% RH pouch.
Study 2: Repeating HumiForm portion of Study 1, initially targeting 72% RH rather than 84% RH.
Study 3: Repeating Study 1.
Study 4: Repeating Study 3 with wood moisture content readings on lid, bottom, and 4 sides of the humidor.
Study 5: HumiForm vs 69% RH pouch.
Study 6: Observing how well HumiForm emits bourbon vapors.
Study 7: Measuring variation of humidity of cigars in partial physical contact with pouch.
Study 8: Repeating Study 7.
Study 1. Comparing HumiForm Mini vs. Pouches for seasoning and controlling humidor to 72% relative humidity (RH) in 50-stick, glass lid humidor.
Two wireless hygrometers, salt tested to within 0.1% of 75% RH target, were placed inside two new, identical, 50-stick humidors with glass lids. A HumiForm Mini containing distilled water and cap-full of 3% hydrogen peroxide was placed inside one humidor, its filament positioned with about 2" of loop exposed on both sides of the copper tee. Two new 84% RH pouches inside a vented wood holder were placed inside the second humidor.
The initial plan was to determine how fast the Mini could achieve 84% relative humidity (RH) compared to the pouches, which occurred on Day 6. At that time, the filament exposure was reduced to about 1/2" on each side of the Mini. Since it did not seem the two pouches would ever achieve 84% RH, the pouch supplier was contacted on why was it necessary to season a new humidor to 84% RH over 2 weeks (i.e., what’s special about 84%)? They didn't really answer the question, but did respond their pouches are designed and formulated to provide moisture directly to the cellular structure of the wood in a humidor, and that their method provides more moisture directly to the wood than other seasoning methods, such as wiping surfaces with a distilled water soaked rag. They were also asked how long after seasoning ends it should take for the humidity to drop to the target. Their response is that after seasoning, the humidor most likely will not be at 84%RH, and that most humidors get to the low to mid 70% RH range. They claimed there is no need to "worry about your hygrometer during seasoning, the ambient air RH is not the moisture content of the wood in your humidor." They went on to explain that once seasoning is completed and the storage pouches are inserted, they will begin adding moisture to your cigars and it will take time for your cigars to absorb the proper amount of moisture. They also mentioned that if the cigars are too moist, their pouches will also work to absorb any excess moisture - that their product will never over humidify past the RH listed on the pouches.
After 14 days of seasoning, the humidor containing the pouches was in the mid 70% RH range. The two 84% RH pouches were removed and one 72% RH pouch inserted into the wood holder. The lid for humidor containing the Mini was opened for a few days to decrease the humidity and then its filament adjusted to maintain humidity in the 72% RH range. By Day 19, the humidor with the pouch achieved 72% RH.
Over the next two months, the humidity inside the humidor containing the pouch dropped into the low 60% RH range. The humidor containing the Mini held steady in the 71 to 72% RH range. At the end of the two months, the pouch was still jelly-like and the water level in the Mini was about 2/3rds full. No cigars were included in this initial study.
Study 2. Comparing HumiForm Mini vs. Pouches for seasoning and controlling humidor to 72% relative humidity (RH) in 50-stick, glass lid humidor.
In parallel, a third identical 50-stick, glass lid, humidor was added with a second HumiForm Mini inside, its initial filament set at 2" of loop on each side of copper tee. Beginning at 47% RH, the humidor achieved 72% RH in just 2 days. At that time the filament was reduced to about 1/2" as shown in photo, and the humidity leveled off at 70% RH. Again, no cigars were included.
It became evident the relative humidity was only one aspect of controlling humidor humidity. Through a contact at Taylor Guitars, where they have considerable expertise in measuring wood moisture content, we connected with an instrument company who makes high quality moisture meters. They suggested a small handheld, pinless, unit, which we ordered. While taking measurements, it became evident that the glass on the lid would prevent measuring moisture on the top surface, and the large opening for the round analog hygrometer on the front also made measuring difficult. Leakage around the glass lid and hygrometer opening might explain why the pouch wasn't able to achieve 72% RH target over the 2 month test period. HumiForm is completely adjustable, allowing for such leakage.
Study 3. Comparing HumiForm Mini vs. Pouches for seasoning and controlling humidor to 72% relative humidity (RH) in 50-stick, all wood humidor. Study dropped, moved to Study 4.
Study 4. Comparing HumiForm Mini vs. Pouches for seasoning and controlling humidor to 72% relative humidity (RH) in 50-stick, all wood humidor.
When the moisture meter arrived, we re-started Study 3 by kiln drying the 50-stick, all wood humidors to bring their initial humidity into the low 40% RH range for both humidors, and the moisture content measuring in the 7% to 8% range for 9 points measured on the bottom, 9 points measured on the lid, and 1 point measured on each of the four sides as shown in photo.
On 9/27/20, as in the original test, two 84% RH pouches were added to one humidor, this time placed directly on the bottom surface without vented wood holder. The HumiForm Mini filament was adjusted to achieve the 72% RH target as quickly as possible, and then reduced to maintain a nominal 72% RH within 2 days. By Day 3, the moisture content in the humidor containing the pouches began to vary, particularly on the bottom where the pouches were in direct contact with the surface. This variation continued throughout the 14 days of seasoning and ranged from 7.7% to more than 10% and relative humidity around 78%. The Mini maintained a relatively tight distribution for moisture content around 8.5% to 9% and relative humidity around 72%. On 10/12/20: the two 84% RH pouches were removed and replaced by a single 72% RH pouch for the remainder of the study.
On day 74, the HumiForm continued to provide very stable relative humidity and moisture content. During 14 days of seasoning, the moisture content of the surfaces inside the humidor containing two 84% RH pouches varied by as much as varied by 3% - compared to HumiForm varying by about 1%.
As observed in Study 1, following seasoning, a single 72% RH pouch was unable to maintain 72% RH inside the humidor and continued to drift downward in the low 50% RH range over the next 60 days. At less than one month into testing the moisture content variation of the humidor containing the pouch was similar to the humidor containing the HumiForm Mini, but moisture content inside the humidor drifted downward similar to the relative humidity.
Study 5. Comparing HumiForm Mini vs. Pouches for seasoning and controlling humidor to 69% relative humidity (RH) inside home made, clear plastic, containers.
Inside a produce keeper with vents on two sides, the side and bottom were lined with sheets of Spanish Cedar, and a HumiForm added on its lowest filament setting and a wireless hygrometer. In a second air-tight container, a new 69% RH pouch was inserted. In each humidor, 20 cellophane wrapped, already pre-humidified cigars, in the 70% RH range were inserted.
6 weeks later, the humidor containing the 69% RH pouch continues to hold around 72% RH, while the HumiForm Mini is at a nominal 69% RH.
3 weeks later, the HumiForm Mini averaged 68.2% RH, while the 69% RH Pouch has averaged 71.8%. The variation appears to track closely with temperature (see wireless probe readouts below). Where the 72% RH pouches to date have read well below target and decreased steadily over time, the 69% RH pouch used in this study has read high the entire time in use and continues to climb.
Study 6. Infusing cigars using HumiForm
Approximately 1/2 cup of bourbon was poured inside a Mini reservoir and placed inside a previously seasoned 50-stick, glass lid humidor.
A cigar with a pre-measured moisture content of 62% on cap and 64% on foot was placed inside humidor measuring 73.8% RH. 4 days later, the cigar smoked with very little flavor of the bourbon initially, but increased as the cigar burned.
Study 7. Measuring moisture variation of cigars in direct contact with 72% RH pouch.
A single 72% RH pouch was placed on the bottom of a previously seasoned 50-stick, glass lid humidor. The next day, two cigars stored for several months in the 71% RH range using HumiForm were measured by CigarMedics HumidiMeter in the 66% moisture range, and placed where half of each cigar was in physical contact with the pouch and the other half in contact with the wood on the bottom surface of the humidor. Cigar 1 was positioned with its cap half on the pouch and Cigar 2 positioned with its foot half on the pouch, as shown in photo.
Values of cigar humidity are a bit subjective, depending on factors such as how loose or packed the tobacco is at the point being measured, the pressure being applied onto the measurement prongs, cleanliness of prongs, etc. In this study, we pressed the prongs into the same locations each time they were tested for humidity. In general, the cigars seem to be losing moisture over time. We elected to redo this study with higher quality cigars in next study.
4 weeks later, the humidor containing the 72% RH pouch in service for 1 month was completely dried out. The humidor never achieved 72% RH, and topped out at 66% RH before continually decreasing during the month to 58.3% RH at the end of the study.
The cigar humidity that initially ranged from 57% to 64% RH decreased during the month to the 52% to 53% RH range.
Study 8: Repeating Study 7 Measuring moisture variation of cigars in direct contact with 72% RH pouch.
Two identical cellophane packaged cigars stored for several month in the 71% RH range using HumiForm were measured by CigarMedics HumidiMeter at the cap and foot positions, and placed half on the 72% RH pouch being used in study 7. Cigar 1 was positioned with its cap half on the pouch and Cigar 2 positioned with its foot half on the pouch, as shown in photo.
A week later, the humidor and cigar humidity levels dropped to 63% RH or lower, and one cigar foot reading at 57% RH. This is the third study where a 72% RH pouch is unable to maintain humidor humidity at 72% RH.
Two weeks later, the humidor containing the 72% RH pouch in service for 1 month was completely dried out. The humidor never achieved 72% RH, and capped out at 66% RH before continually decreasing during the 3 weeks of the study to 58.3% RH at the end of the study.
The cigar humidity that initially ranged from 64% to 66% RH decreased during the 3 weeks into the 50% to 59% RH range.