Friday, March 31, 2006
Caring For Your Humidor
Here are a few quick tips to begin enjoying your humidor. First, get a good container from the kitchen that will allow the humidifier to lie flat in it. I use a Rubbermaid plastic container with a lid. You can save the leftover water in it. Next, buy a gallon of DISTILLED WATER. Most important. It reduces the chances of mold growing on your cigars in the summer. Pour the water in the container so that the humidifier will float. Cover and wait 10/15 minutes. Take the humidifier out, wipe dry, and replace on the metal strip on the lid. It should feel noticably heavier. Put it in your humidor. Now that wasn't hard.
It may take 2 or 3 days for your humidor to come up to temperature. Try to keep it in a constant temperature enviroment, it will control the humidity easily. Don't put the humidor in your trunk or the back of your hatchback where the temp goes way up. It will ruin your cigars and attitude. If you travel with your humidor, try to keep it in the back seat with a towel over it to keep the sun off and the temp fairly constant.
Depending on your local and humidity, you should need to refill the humidifier every 25 to 35 days. A gallon of distilled water will last a good year at that rate. Don't wait until its dry, refill when the humidity gets down to 67 or 66%. In very humid times, you may have to remove the humidifier completely from the humidor for a couple of days. You may only use 1 humidifier all summer. If your humidifier fails to absorb water take the same container of water and put 4 or 5 drops of unsented kitchen dish soap. Set the humidifier in it for 5 minutes and its good as new.
If you notice sap forming on the spanish cedar interior, don't panic. It's no big deal. Remove your cigars, gently wipe the sap with lacquer thinner, sand with 150 grit sandpaper, let the box air out, and presto-good as new. That sap usually appears when the humidity gets way up there, so again, try to keep the temp constant.
If you happen to run out of cigars and are not going to keep your humidor up and running, REMOVE THE HUMIDIFIER. Otherwise the hygrometer and humidifier will cover with sap. A pain to clean.
Now for the digital hygrometer and temperature gauge. On the back there is a removable plastic piece with a arrow on it. Remove that panel. Take a toothpick (or similar object) and pop out the battery. Use the toothpick to remove the opaque plastic strip. Replace the battery with the writing up. Replace the plastic cover. Turn on to it's face and peel back the cover over the screen. The battery should last a year or so, and replacements are available at most hardware stores.
- Big Mike
Thursday, March 30, 2006
A Look At Humidors
Cigar humidors are storage units designed to hold, preserve and display a collection of cigars. They come in varying shapes and sizes, and can typically be custom made to suit the tastes of the owner. Cigar humidors are an essential appliance for any serious cigar aficionado, and can be priced anywhere from $50 for a simple wood box made to hold a few cigars, up into the thousands for an elegant, handcrafted display case providing maximum preservation and elegance.
The most important aspect of a cigar humidor is its climate control system. This is what keeps the product fresh, preserving both the look and the taste of the cigars over long periods of time. Humidity and temperature are carefully controlled and monitored in the most advanced systems. For example, in the Climatech model by Vigilant, a maker of custom humidors and cabinets, the system automatically heats, cool, humidifies or dehumidifies the unit in response to outside conditions. It features digital controls and can operate maintenance-free for up to 90 days, holding up to 2600 cigars in the largest model.
In addition to the ready-made humidors available, a person can also turn almost any chest or cabinet into a climate controlled space for storing cigars with the purchase of a separate humidification system. These devices are designed to automatically monitor and control the climate of any room, thus keeping the conditions at an optimal level for the preservation of cigars.
Cigar shops and stores typically have a system called a walk-in humidor. These are full-sized rooms where inventory is stored and can be displayed for customers. The entire area is under the same kind of climate control system used for the smaller containers or display cases, optimizing the humidity and temperature to keep cigars looking, smelling and tasting as fresh as the day they were produced.
For both the casual cigar smoker and the serious aficionado, a cigar humidor is the key to longer lasting, better cigars, as well as an aesthetically pleasing way to show off a collection.
- Big Mike
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Enjoying Really Good Cigars
When you imagine cigars being smoked does the image of seasoned, robust, and wealthy foreign men sitting around with brandy swishing in their snifters come to mind? That is probably not an uncommon image, but it is not accurate for this modern age of cigar connoisseurs.
These days it would not be surprising to find a group of women in a cigar shop. More commonly there will be men. It could be men from every walk of life, every income bracket, and any age all enjoying cigars. And you thought all cigar smokers were alike? No more than all cigars are alike. That idea would actually offend many people in the right circle.
Obviously there are your run-of-the mill cigars. There are also cigars that are costly, aromatic, and have a life all their own. In researching the time and consideration that goes into creating the latter type of elite cigars you might be amazed that the process is quite similar to that of wine production. The finest cigars begin with the tobacco plant from which it originates. The grading moves forward to encompass where it is grown and when it is harvested. The truly great cigars end with it totally mattering if a master handler is at the wheel for the curing process.
Cost for the primo cigars will vary greatly. Taste will also vary. People who have humidors in their home might be true connoisseurs but anyone who appreciates a good smoke can benefit from the variations available. Both cost and taste are affected greatly by the care and attention master tobacco handlers provide. Knowing when and how many times to turn the tobacco leaves is an essential part of the totality of a great cigar. There is a true gift to knowing when the leaves have sweated properly.
The leaves are graded and separated. Each grade level produces different taste and cost of cigars. Many specialty shops throughout the United States offer cigars in all sizes and grades to the public. And in a society where smoking in public has fast become an invasion of air space these shops offer a place to smoke. Enjoying really good cigars indoors with other people around you is not a far-reaching dream.
- Big Mike
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The History of Cigar SmokingNo doubt, cigar smoking is a pleasure. Over the period, it is considered as the symbol of status of wealth and class. But, do you wonder from where this fashion of cigar smoking came into limelight and who started this? According to research, cigars have been around for over 1,000 years. It was started by the original native population of the islands in the Caribbean as well as the rest of Mesoamerica in as early as 900 AD. In fact, a ceramic vessel at a Mayan dig site in Uaxactun, Guatemala have been found, which was painted with the likeness of a man smoking a cigar that’s says the glowing past of cigars.
Later Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus had introduced the smoking to Europe. With two of his colleagues Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, Columbus had taken puffs of tobacco wrapped in maize husks, thus becoming the first European cigar smokers.
During 19th century, the popularity of cigars was on its heights. In fact, all the states of United States had a cigar factory. Cigars were more popular than cigarettes making almost everyone a smoker, or lived with one. Later, in the early part of the 20th century, cigar sales were at its peak. According to a report, the weight of tobacco sold in the United States alone in one year would equal the weight of the entire population of 10 states combined. Found everywhere in the united states, cigars were priced as per the size of the pocket of the general population as earlier Americans were not allowed to buy the Cuban cigars.
Online Cigars MarketThe passion of smoking cigars increased with the time. There has been a tremendous rise in the number of cigar smokers now in comparison of past years. Order whether an oscuro cigar, the black one or choose the claro, light brown cigar, make sure you get the right cigar to enjoy that unforgettable experience that lasts forever. By buying cigars online, you can also protect yourself from the duplicate cigars that are common these days. In fact, it also gives you the facility to get cigars at your doorsteps too, no matters you are the resident of any corner of the world.
Cigars are the ultimate experience of smoking. From last 1000 years, the fashion of cigar smoking is in practice and still alluring many aficionados to carry on this great passion.
- Big Mike
Monday, March 27, 2006
The Tobacco Plant
The tobacco plant belongs to the family of Solanacea (same as potatoes and tomatoes), and to the genus of Nicotiana. Tobaccos grown for smoking products are classified in the subgenus Nicotiana Tabacum, species Nicotiana Tabacum L. But after decades of gene tampering and uncontrolled hybridations, it is impossible to know exactly what is what! After much research conducted during the 20th century, it seems that all grown tobaccos are coming from 4 original subspecies : Havanensis, Brasiliensis, Virginica and Purpurea.
Tobacco seeds are tiny, very tiny. One flower gives about 3000 seeds. Depending on the variety, you can count between 10,000 and 20,000 seeds per gram, around half a million per ounce. Tobacco cannot be planted directly in the field. The grower has to set seedbeds first, to take care of them and to select the resulting small plants for transplanting. Nowadays, the grower can buy trays with alveoli prepared with soil and one single seed, coated with nutrients.
Leaves Per Plant
A tobacco plant produces between 20 and 30 leaves, and even more if buds are not removed. They are not all usable. According to the process in the field, mainly depending on whether the tobacco plants are topped or not, the grower is going to pick between 10 and 16 leaves.
How High Do They Grow?
If not topped, the most common grown tobacco plants can grow up to 8 or 9 feet tall. When shade grown and irrigated, the development is fast and the stalk is weak. Each plant has to be propped up to keep it straight up. On the contrary, some oriental types, with very small leaves, do not grow over 3 feet.
When going up from the foot to the tip of a tobacco plant, leaves become darker, thicker and fuller. Therefore, knowing the origin of the tobacco is not enough to guess how the cigar is going to smoke. The stalk positions of the leaves are the determinants for the taste...
Smoking, chewing and snuffing are the main ways to consume tobacco. Some types of tobaccos are used as decorative plants (Petunias). Nicotine extracts are used in pharmacology and perfumery. Nicotine was also used to fatten pigs but I am not sure it is still permitted. The tobacco plant is good material for genetic and botanical fundamental research because it is a fast growing plant allowing several generations per year.
- Big Mike