24th Feb2012


by GoodFellasCigars

By definition a hygrometer is any device that measures the relative humidity or the amount of water vapor in the air in relation to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at a given temperature. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with building the very first hygrometer in the 1400s. Over the years improvements in terms of practicality and functionality were brought about by Francesco Folli, Robert Hooke and, John Frederic Daniel.

 How do Analog Humidor Hygrometers Work?

Take a guess on what is really inside an analog hygrometer? Was one of you’re guesses hair? You wouldn’t know from looking at something that is mostly metal and plastic. Hair actually makes a hygrometer work. More specifically horse mane hair due to it’s durability and thickness. Why hair? Hair is made of layers of dry, dead cells centered around a protein matrix which provides structural support for the cells. When the dead cells are exposed to humidity they begin to absorb the water molecules in the air and expand slightly. This results in a net increase of the total hair length. 

Above you see the inside of a analog hygrometer and as you can see the hair is attached to a base inside the frame of the analog. It is then looped counterclockwise a few times around a spring-loaded axle and then lastly attached to a weak spring. As the humidity rises the hair lengthens, reducing the torque on the spring-loaded axle allowing it to begin to rotate clockwise. This in turn causes the visible metal pointer to rotate showing you that there is an increase in humidity. Also, when the humidity decreases the hair retracts and the metal pointer rotates showing the decrease in humidity.

Analog hygrometers relying on the horse hair are not as trust worthy as digital hygrometers. This is due to the hair over time becoming weak and loosing the properties as described above. Even worse though is the eventuality the hair will snap which will cause the hygrometer from working altogether. This make the metal pointer appear stuck in place.

How do Digital Humidor Hygrometers Work?

Digital hygrometers are overall a very simple mechanism. They are also more reliable than analog hygrometers for the simple fact they do not rely on hair which breaks down overtime. Above you can see the basic layout of the inside of a digital hygrometer. The yellow parts are two separate but interlocking pieces of metal that are mounted a top a non-conductive silicon plate. The two pieces of metal are then the attached to a wire that links them to a battery, micro-chip, and a voltmeter. From there the micro-chip compares the readings from the voltmeter to a database and then displays the calculated humidity on a digital screen. Humidity on these are very precise and only are off by +/- 2%. How does all this work though? Water is a conductive liquid and at higher humidity levels there will be more water vapor in the air. This water vapor then settles on the silicon plate and allows for electricity from the battery to transfer between the metal pieces. The more humidity means the more water vapor on the silicon plate which then means  the more electricity can flow between the metal pieces. The voltmeter measures this flow and then lastly the micro-chip calculates this reading in it’s database and then displays the humidity reading corresponding to it’s calculations.

Once you buy a hygrometer either digital or analog it will need to be calibrated first otherwise it will not read humidity right. Here is out to calibrate a digital and an analog hygrometer:

You will need:

  1.  A digital hygrometer
  2.  A bottle cap the size of a water bottle cap or bigger
  3.  Salt
  4.  Water
  5.  A sealable plastic container or sealable plastic bag

Complete the following steps calibrate your analog hygrometer:

  1. Take the cap and fill it with salt until it is just under level with the top of the cap
  2. Add a slight amount of water to the salt in the cap in order to just make a salt paste mixture. DO NOT over saturate.
  3. Place the cap with the pasty salt mixture in to the container or bag and be careful to not spill its contents
  4. Place the digital hygrometer into the container or bag as well
  5. Seal the container or sealable bag air tight
  6. Wait for twenty-four hours
  7. Take out the hygrometer out of the container or plastic bag
  8. Check and note the reading on the digital hygrometer
  9. (DIGITAL) If the hygrometer does not read seventy-five degrees you will have to adjust the reading. Adjusting varies depending on the make and model of the digital hygrometer. In this instance to calibrate the xikar digital hygrometer pressing and holding the center button for a few seconds will make it read seventy-five degrees. In other common digital hygrometers that have dials you will have to turn the dial either left or right until it reads seventy-five degrees. Always read the directions for your particular make and model to make sure your digital hygrometer is adjusted properly.
  10. (ANALOG) If the hygrometer does not read seventy-five degrees adjust by inserting a flat head screw driver in the back of the analog hygrometer in the center knob and turning either left or right until it reads seventy-five degrees.  Turning left will dial the hygrometer up and turning right will dial it down.

If you have followed these steps you have now successfully calibrated your digital hygrometer

20th Feb2012


by GoodFellasCigars

Let’s start off with the basic definition of what a humidor is. A humidor is anything that is designed to store and age cigars. Quality humidors are lined with Spanish cedar inside them and when kept up properly should maintain an optimal humidity in the range of 68% to 72%. Most people in the cigar industry see a humidor as a small investment that will protect a much larger investment of cigars for many years.

To restate again a humidor should be made of Spanish cedar on the inside but, the outside can be made of almost anything. Spanish cedar used in humidors is in fact not cedar at all. It is actually a form of mahogany that gives off a very pleasant cedar-like aroma and responds well to changes in humidity which makes it an optimum choice for storing and aging cigars.

Two other main components a humidor that must be placed within the humidor to work properly are a hygrometer, digital or analog, and a humidification device which can range from gel products to bead tubes to just your standard round absorbing pads. The humidification device either adds or removes moisture from the air inside it to maintain the desired humidity. The hygrometer purpose is to give an accurate reading of the humidity and some models also measure the temperature within the humidor.

Humidors don’t usually come ready to use right away though. First you will have to season it. Seasoning is a process that creates an optimal climate within you’re humidor of 68% to 72%. Here is how to season a humidor the right way:


You may have heard that wiping down a humidor with distilled water is quick and easy way to season a humidor but, sadly this is a sure fire way to ruin any humidor by warping the wood and destroying seal of the edges, defeating functionality of a humidor. So you must ask yourself; do you want a humidor that will be ready fast or you want one that is going to last? Here we will show you how avoid this unfortunate ending.

You will need:

  1. Four Medium Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tube ( 65% Rh is recommended) more if the humidor is larger than a 100 count and less if less than 100 count. You are going to need to find out the cubic inches of your humidor to really determine this. 1 medium tube = 540 cubic inches.
  2. A calibrated hygrometer
  3. Distilled water
  4. Humidor
  5. Saucer
  6. Unscented sponge/s
  7. Have cigars ready toward the end of this process ( at least 25% of the capacity of what the count of humidor is)

Complete the following steps to season your humidor:

  1. Place the unscented sponge(s) on the saucer
  2. Dowse the unscented sponges with distilled enough to be able to wring out water
  3. Open up the humidor
  4. Remove the tray if the humidor has one
  5. Place the saucer with the dowsed sponges into the humidor
  6. Place the hygrometer in the humidor
  7. Wait 10 minutes and then record the base reading from the hygrometer
  8. Place the tray back into the humidor if possible
  9. Close the lid full shut
  10. Wait at least 8 hours until completing the next step
  11. Check and record the reading on the hygrometer, if the humidity has risen you are on track
  12. Place the lid back into the humidor if possible
  13. Close the humidor lid fully
  14. Wait 18 to 24 hours until completing the next step
  15. Check the humidity in the humidor. If the humidity has again increased you are in track (mid 70s)
  16. Place a Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tube ( 65% Rh is recommended) into the humidor
  17. Place the tray back into the humidor if possible
  18. Close the lid fully shut
  19. Wait 24 hours until completing the next step (Stabilization period)
  20. The humidity will rise and possibly spike dramatically. This is normal do not be alarmed
  21. Remove the saucer and sponges from the humidor
  22. Place a second Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tube (65% Rh is recommended) into the humidor
  23. Place the tray back into the humidor if possible
  24. Close the lid fully
  25. Wait 12 to 24 hours before completing the next step
  26. Check the humidity from the hygrometer, if the humidity is not in the low 70s place the lid back in if possible and close the lid fully and wait another 6 to 8 hours and if it is go onto the next step
  27. Place your cigars within the humor
  28. Place the tray into the humidor if possible
  29. Close the lid fully shut
  30. Wait 2 to 4 hours before completing the next step
  31. Fill the last 2 Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tubes (65% Rh is recommended) as directed by Heartfelt’s directions
  32. Place the last 2 Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tubes (65% Rh is recommended) on far left and right of the tray once back in 2 to 4 hours
  33. Close the lid fully shut

If you have followed these steps you have now successfully seasoned your humidor

Commonly Asked Questions From Readers

Q: First, my question.  I have a new, small humidor and I’m seasoning it (unfortunately I did it the wrong way by wiping down the interior).  I can’t seem to get it below 80% humidity.  I currently have a 4 oz jar of gel, filled with distilled water in the humidor.  How can I bring the humidity down?  Would a PG solution do a better job than simply distilled water (I’m referring to how I fill the gel-based humidifier)?

A: Some ways you can bring down your humidity are:

1. If you have any cedar sticks from boxes or anything place one of those inside because the dry cedar stick should absorb some of the excess humidity within the air.

2. Grab an unused sponge and take a chunk off and place it inside. After a decent amount of time take it out let it dry again then put it back inside and repeat if necessary.

3. Crack open the lid just slightly. I suggest using a small match box wedged between the lid. Do this for about an hour or two and it will drop the humidor’s RH.

4. Put more cigars inside. Fill it almost to capacity.

These are a few methods that should help you drop the overall RH of your small humidor. Some reason your humidor could be high are:

1. You might have needed more time in the seasoning process such that there wasn’t enough time for the humidor to settle down.

2. You might have over soaked the wood with distilled water so there might be liquid still resting in the inner layers.

3. Climate you live in. Example: Northern states have dry winters so we have to constantly maintain our humidors because the outside climate if taking so much. Southern states have a lot of humidity and warmth year round so their humidors need less attention and stored in cooler areas because the outside climate can give too much in their case which brings up another reason.

4. Where do you keep your humidor (also pertains to climate) upstairs (higher level) or downstairs?

Upstairs especially in a higher humidity climate can cause the humidor to really go up and down with its RH value. The key thing to do is store a humidor in a lower level of a building which is ideal because most homes or building basements are roughly all the same temperature due to them being inside the earth and don’t change too much varying on the season. Example: In the winter your basement is warm and in the summer it usually is the coolest place in your house. This makes sense because depending on the time of year is dependent on what your body is used to. But, if one does not have a basement or a lower level placing within a closet works best and lastly don’t place in the sun because it’ll heat up the humidor.

As for would a PG solution do a better job than simply distilled water…The answer to that is no because those jars of beads are Silica based. They are specially designed to only take distilled water and can be ruined by propylene glycol. The only things that really take PG solution these days are the round or rectangular pads that come with the humidor which are basically useless and cost you more in the long run because the PG solution is a lot more expensive than distilled water.


Q: Now, regarding the large cabinet humidor, it has 3,500 cubic inches of interior space.  I went with a cabinet-style humidor because I wanted to keep my cigars separate and organized and didn’t want to bother rotating them monthly.  Here’s what I am planning and your comments seem to align with it.  I am planning to use one Heartfelt Industriesmedium, rectangular humidifier in the bottom (it says it can humidify 2,160 cubic inches).  Then I plan to use four medium Heartfelt tubes (that purport to humidify 540 cubic inches).  I plan to place two tubes on the middle shelf and two more on the top shelf to bring the tube total to four, plus the rectangular one on the bottom.  Might that be overkill?  Since the math computes to a coverage of 4,320 cubic inches, might that over-humidify my new cabinet?  (Don’t want to do that.)  I also will have three hygrometers in the new cabinet (top, middle and bottom) to help me better regulate the internal micro-climate. To season it, I bought six new sponges and plan to use one per saucer, spaced mostly evenly throughout the humidor.  I figure, based on my own calculations, that it might take a full week to bring the whole unit up to 70% humidity.

A: That sounds like a pretty solid game plan, I like it. As for your question about might that be overkill? The answer to that is no for a few reasons:

1. Yes the beads do say how much area they will cover but, they don’t say how much area they will cover when cigars have been introduced into the equation. So having it cover more area than what your humidor says is fine. In this case more is better!

2. The one thing about the Hearfelt Beads is they maintain the RH level in your humidor. Example they carry bead tubes that say 60%, 65%, and 70% RH. The reason for these percents and having a certain percent within your humidor means the tubes are going to try their best to keep it near whatever percent is on the tube you bought. Theses bead tubes just don’t kick moister out they regulate that’s why I love them. I suggest the 65% tube for the simple fact if your humidor is being fussy in summer months and likes to spike really high the 65% will help keep it from rising to unwanted RH levels. If you had the 70% in a summer month you could get a rise of 80% RH which is extremely unwanted. So be safe and stay 65% my friend.

Overall it’s safe to use more Hearfelt Beads than the minimum amount recommended in your humidor. The over compensating will help with humidor recovering from things like opening your humidor to compensating for the ever changing seasons to lastly a possibly bad seal a humidor may or may not have.

Q: I just bought a new one that is tall (24″) and has several drawers to store cigars in an organized way. How would I season this humidor? Would I add additional sponges at the third and fifth drawer level? How many hygrometers should I install and how many Heartfelt tubes should I use to maintain long-term humidity control? Thanks.

A: It sounds like you have a cabinet humidor that holds between 250 to 300 cigars if I’m correct. For this size of a humidor it will season slightly different than the one shown in the video for the simple fact there is a lot more surface area with the one you have so water will evaporate faster. My suggestion to seasoning this is to get about 3 shallow bowls/plates fill them with distilled water and place 1 on the top shelf and 1 on the bottom 2 shelves.
As for a humidification device I suggest the Cigar Oasis XL Cigar Humidifier because you have a large humidor and you would have to use too many bead tubes to keep it maintained properly but, if you would like you could get 3 medium bead tubes along with this to be safe and place them on alternating racks you can. You want to place the Cigar Oasis XL Cigar Humidifier on the bottom shelf along with all the bowls inside your humidor but, not the bead tubes if you decided to get them those you put in after seasoning process.
And as for a hygrometer I suggest getting one and placing it on the top rack because the Oasis has one built into it. Then you’ll get a good reading from the top and bottom of your humidor. Once you have all that inside your humidor close it up for about 5 days to a week and come back in that amount of time and your humidor should be stabilized right around 70%. The Oasis should be preset right out of the box to 70% and will always keep your humidor at that level. Once all that time is up had your cigars and don’t be surprised if the humidor will drop down a few % because within 24 hours it should restabilize.
01st Nov2011

Illusione mj12 Maduro

by GoodFellasCigars

Wrapper:  San Andreas Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan  Corojo/Criollo

Filler: Nicaragua Corojo

Shape: Toro

Size: 6″ x 54

Country: Honduras

Strength: Medium – Full

Price Range: $10

Dion Giolito, owner of Illusione Cigars unveiled a Maduro line of the Illusione at IPCPR 2011.  This line comes in four sizes cg:4, 888, 88, and mj12. Dion Giolito takes an interest in conspiracy theories and that is reflected in the names of most of his cigars. For instance  the mj12, The Majestic 12, is the supposed code name of a top secret committee form in 1947 by an executive order of President Harry Truman composing of military leaders, scientists, and government officials. This committee set out to investigate UFOs after the events of Roswell. Rumor has it that The Majestic 12 is still in operation.

In keeping with the alien theme, the original mj12 is stylistically wrapped in silver foil. The silver foil alludes to the silver foil found at Roswell in 1947. In contrast, the maduro version is wrapped in a black paper.

Illusione cigars made a splash with the Natural version of the mj12 and now adding a maduro version has yet again made a fantastic leap into the proverbial pool. The mj12 Maduro has changed the changed the game by adding a great twist on the maduro concept. What comes to mind to when thinking about a maduro cigar? Got it? Well I’m guessing home baked spiced gingerbread did not come to mind. This cigar oozes rustic home cooking and it works fantastically well. Enough of making everyone crave gingerbread snaps, lets get to the smoke.

At first look the Illusione mj12 has a very inviting coloring of gold tones mixed in with a  brown spectrum. It is quite firm to the touch and does not compress when slight pressure is applied. The aroma coming from the cigar before being the lit up consisted of a very pleasant and oddly comforting light barnyard and hay mix.

With Lake Superior just feet in away of me I lit the foot of the cigar and commenced on a very relaxing smoke filled journey that believe it or not did not involve aliens. The first thing that is noticeable is a warmth that is emitted form the cigar with underlying flavors that would need some coxing of a couple more draws. From this coxing one could pick out spices most notably allspice wrapped in wonderful warmth. The finish had much more flavor to it. Spiced gingerbread and tones of cinnamon was residing toward the back of the mouth. The draw though was decent and the burn was slightly wavy. This was a good start to the Illusione mj12 Maduro.

With the coming of the second third the flavor profile added smooth bitterness of black pepper, adding more of a bite to the cigar. The finish of gingerbread and tones of cinnamon seemed to tone down but, this may be due to the flavor of the draw coming closer to fruition. The draw which improved became a quite solid. The burn became less wavy evening out. Over all the second third was fairly consistent with the the first third. Which even though not changing incredibly a lot it was still very good considering the unique flavor profile coming together so well that it has to keep your interest.

Transitioning into the final third the flavors intensify. The Illusione mj12 Maduro is still quite smooth, keeping the flavors of the previous two thirds but with the addition of wood tones. Complementing this nicely the finish resurged with a welcomed vengeance of toasted allspice, cinnamon with the expected spiced bite that comes with those classic flavors. The draw opened up quite nicely, producing a good amount of smoke. The burn remained fairly even. One has to smoke the Illusione mj12 Maduro all the way through. It would be a shame not to experience the greatness of the final third of this cigar.

Over all the Illusione mj12 Maduro is a fantastic cigar. It oozes the essence of home baking that is very much welcome as the weather starts to cool and, for this reason The Illusione mj12 Maduro is fittingly November’s Cigar of the Month. Illusione really hit this one out of the park by adding such a unique and unexpected spin on the maduro concept. Hopefully this cigar starts a flavor revolution in the cigar industry, going for the unconventional and bring us cigars that we will never expect but never forget.

A special thanks to MansonPhoto from MansonPhoto.com for the pictures please rate and comment on the photos because he would love your feedback!


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nearing second third
nearing second third
second third
second third
First third
First third

26th Oct2011

Marco V Havana Box Pressed Robusto

by GoodFellasCigars

Wrapper: Havana  2000 from Corojo Seeds

Filler: Blend of 4 Piloto Cubano Ligero and Corona Tobaccos from the Dominican Republic

Binder: Piloto Cubano

Shape: Box Pressed

Size: 5 x 50

Country: Dominican Republic

Strength: Medium-Full

Average Price: Around $6 Minnesota Price (we have high tax)

The Marco V Havana Box Pressed Robusto by Marc Kiser, owner of Marco V, is an excellent, even smoke if your looking to just kick back and relax with your friends. The one of the reasons we enjoy this cigar, is the man that makes them is from our home state of Minnesota and two, this cigar is an amazing smoke for a nice long walk or relaxing with some of your buds having something sweet or creamy to drink.

The construction is nice and clean with this stick having the Marco V logo really pop on the band. Very minimal veins, nice and light in referring the overall weight of the cigar, and the wrapper is cleanly put together. Decent give when pressing against the cigar but, snaps back immediately after releasing. The foot smells of sweet tobacco and as for the pre-draw it is very smooth and easy with the flavor of sweet tobacco mainly being there.

The initial light has a aroma of a rich oak and the flavors noticed are a pungent pepper, rich oak, and a spicy nut. The first third keeps a consistent profile of a really defined oak flavor along with a nut tone that’s decently spicy. The draw is very lite and smooth with the burn being jagged, the ash a grey/white mix that is loose and semi-flaky. The ash being loose makes sense due to the light nature of the draw.

Going through the second third the spice begins to kick up more then before making the nut flavor nice and warming on the palate. A oak/earth mix is also still present along side too but, it remains in the background noticeable on the end of each draw. At this point or technically in general for this cigar I suggest taking it slow to enjoy the overall flavors, if you go too fast the cigar will heat up and become harsh with this one. Like I said in the beginning this is a stick that’s meant to be enjoyed on a long walk or just chilling with your friends. The burn at this point has evened out and now is going steady. As for the smoke, each draw produces quite a bit and when it is resting not that much is produced. Once again you really notice the nutty, warm spice at this point which is most likely due to the Corojo wrapper.

The last third is the same flavor profile as before with the spice tingling the tongue and the only other thing I picked up at this point was a very lite underlying licorice tone that was quite pleasant after the spice. The finish was a warm woody nut with a pepper spice that followed.

Overall this is a great everyday bargain smoke that I would have if I just needed to sit down and take a load off for a decent amount of time. If your interested and want to know anything more about Marco V cigars check out their site: http://www.marcovcigars.com/Home_Page.html