Cigars becoming too strong


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Due to my spending habits, my humidors have run out of space biggrin.png So I decided to upgrade and get a 500ct humidor which is on its way. In the meantime I am using a tupperdor (first time) to put the extra boxes in. I have 4 boxes in there (03 Sir Winston, 08 Partagas Sdc #2, 14 Magnum 46 and 14 BRC). I have smoked from 2 boxes so far, SW and Sdc #2.

I tried 2 SW sticks when I first got them and they were just perfect. A month later in the tupperdor and I pick up a 3rd stick. It was unrecognizable. It was so full bodied I couldn't detect the flavours properly. Totally unenjoyable.

Now comes the SdC. Same case, I tried one when I first bought it and it was spectacular (full bodied in a good way). A month later in the tupperdor (today), and it smoked like the SW. Only it was much stronger and full bodied. I mean it was beyond full bodied! The strongest cigar I ever smoked, not in a good way. The flavours disappeared. One weird thing I noticed, the ash kept falling every 2-3 puffs. Reminded me of the SIglo II Rob & Ken reviewed a few years back. Totally unsmokable. First time I get a nicotene buzz since I first started smoking.

I am just wondering, is this because of the tupperdor? I am storing them at 68% rh like I do in my regular humidors. Why are they turning so harsh? I have been smoking for almost 9 years this never happened to me before. Maybe it was just coincidence and those 2 cigars would have smoked like that regardless.

Any Ideas?

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From the way you described, sounds like the Cigars were a bit moist due to the higher RH from the Tupperdore. Try dry boxing next time before you indulge.

Those 2 cigars are some of the finest in the Habanos portfolio as you experience your first go round. So the movement to the Tupperdore was the obvious new variable. When cigars are "wet" they will minimize flavor and give you a dark ashen burn.

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This is only speculation based on my limited knowledge, but it sounds to me that your rh% may be too high. Tupperdors are very good at locking in humidity and if your rh% is off (biased higher) due to a malfunctioning or miss calibrated hydrometer, your cigars will absorb the moisture readily than say a desktop humidor, which has extra wood to help absorb some moisture. I find CCs burn poorly and taste harsher at rh% greater than 68%. Perhaps this is the case with your cigars? Do you trust your hydrometer? Maybe your cigars were really at a lower rh in the desktop due to the extra wood, but now, in the tupperdor, they are really at 68%rh, which may be too wet for your taste.

Just as an experiment, you may want to drybox a couple of cigars to see how they smoke after being dried-out for a couple of,days. If better, look at calibrating you hydrometer and lowering your RH. I find my cigars smoke great at 62%-65% rh.

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The circumstantial evidence suggests the cigars are overhumidified. I started out on tupperdors and Lock & Lock containers and this can be a problem when a combination of two things occur in tandem:

  1. small containers
  2. tightly sealed containers

I suspect what you are experiencing as "strength" is actually "harsheness" due to your cigars being too damp. Here are some other clues suggestive of overhumidification.

  1. they are hard to keep lit
  2. the draw is tighter than previously experienced
  3. the wrapper is slow to burn and instead of a nice protruding coal when you drop ash, the coal looks sunken into the cigar
  4. the cigar feels wet or spongy
  5. the cigar starts right out with a bitterness or acridness

As Cisco noted, your hygrometer might be misreading, in this case, a bit to a lot lower than actual. What I suggest is to order a Boveda calibration kit with humipack and check your device. What you can do in the immediate term if you can't get a Boveda kit is to make a dish of saturated salt in water. This means put in salt until further adds don't dissolve but stay as crystals. Put the hygrometer in a sealed jar with the dish or shot glass of saturated salt and it should read around 75%. See this reference or this one.

Wilkey

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I have some agreements and disagreements with the posts above.

First the agreements. Too much water makes for a bad smoking experience. Your cigars may well be too wet. The clues given, especially by my friend Wilkey, as he itemized them for you, are specific and accurate. If this is your experience, your cigars are too wet...

The buzz however does not come from water content. The masking of the subtile nature of a fine cigar is symptomatic and will be as previously stated. The taste will be bitter and acrid, as stated. That taste will likely be strong... But, the 'strong nature' is coming from the cigar in the first place and so is the buzz.

You should understand that cigars are not uniform nor particularly consistent. Yes, it would be nice if you could enjoy the exact same cigar that you smoked the last time, but that is a rarity (MHO). I often smoke through whole boxes of cigars without taking in other cigars. You will learn from this experience, that Cuban cigar consistency is a myth. I settle for a great smoking experience and leave the consistency to the cola drinkers and cigarette smokers!

I am not a guy that intentionally ages cigars. BUT, your nicotine heavy cigars need age! The fact is, some of the blended tobacco is likely defective. It may be under-fermented. Sorry to be the one to say it, but those are the facts of life with Cuban cigars. You should have seen what they were like before... This was a (more) regular occurrence!

Don't store them too wet and don't go putting a lot of free water in your system. Solve that problem, if it exists first because it will affect all of your cigars. Then, let these cigars alone for a while.

Here is one last note... The next cigar could be totally different. Just because you left them for year, does not mean that they changed! The next one will be individual and it could be much better or even worse. Cigars, I am afraid are not like little families. All the cigars in the box were put in the same class based on their appearance on the sorting table and not for any other reason.

I hope this helps. Put the whole box aside in the anticipation that they are or will be similar and cross your fingers that they are not... Welcome to Cuban cigars! The rest could be sublime, or somewhere in between. You won't know until you smoke them.

Happy smokin' and Merry Christmas! -Piggy

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Sir Piggy,

So very right of you to decouple strength from harshness. The two cigars he referred to I would not generally consider nicotine bombs. Thus I think he's conflating in this case.

Fermentation is also a key factor to consider, as you noted. Heavily fermented ligero can be less nicotinic than lightly fermented seco while at the same time being heavier and richer. Think maduro process.

Wilkey

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Sir Piggy,

So very right of you to decouple strength from harshness. The two cigars he referred to I would not generally consider nicotine bombs. Thus I think he's conflating in this case.

Fermentation is also a key factor to consider, as you noted. Heavily fermented ligero can be less nicotinic than lightly fermented seco while at the same time being heavier and richer. Think maduro process.

Wilkey

It was the nicotine buzz comment that I think that put me on the trail.

Like most of you, I looked at the 68rH number and said to myself… "too wet." BUT, I realize that many folks don't link rH with temperature. So if the OP is nice and snug in his Canadian home, his cigar may well be at 75˚F and 68rH and they may be just perfect… water wise! Although that is probably too wet for my taste, it may coincide with those of whom store at 65/65. I am guessing of course!

I think he has got some construction issue problems, at least with the cigars that he mentioned and smoked. Poorly fermented tobacco being ' constructed into a cigar,' I am considering as a construction issue.

Merry Christmas my friend! -Ray

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Ok...I dry boxed the cigars for 3 days and I notice the "harshness" slightly mellowed down. SW had a weird flavour I could not put my finger on. SdC was still harsh, was a tad better in the last 3rd. Through the nose and on the tongue it was very unpleasant, lots of bitterness but I could remotely detect its' true identity.

Clearly something went wrong when they were in the tupperdor, I just hope they are not completely ruined and it is not the start of a mold thing. What is confusing me is they don't feel soft or wet. I have smoked wet/spongy cigars before and they had draw/construction issues but their flavour were not bad.

Should I continue dry boxing them? for how long?

Thanks all

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Personally, I don't believe in cigars increasing in strength or body. I believe in cigars becoming more complex, flavorful, etc (after aging)... which is often confused for strength or body. In addition, harshness is also another possibility. This can be attributed to poorly fermented tobacco, poorly blended cigars, over humidification, loosely packed cigars, extremely dry cigars, and smoking too quickly (or a combination of any of these factors). I know many folks will not accept this, but there is substantial variability in the quality of Cuban cigars. This might be amongst a row in a box, an entire box, a master case, a production month, a production year, a factory, etc. Time and aging dies not cure all. You can have a crappy cigar, and an orgasmic cigar, all within the same box.

I would just make sure that your humidity is under control, using a properly calibrated hygrometer. After allowing the cigars to stabilize, re sample and go from there. It doesn't matter what storage container you use, as long as the humidity is correct and stable. I personally use large coolers that get opened an average of 1-2 times per month. The proper humidity (or water content, to be correct) is a personal preference. Nobody is right or wrong. Experimentation will eliminate any guessing or blind following of someone else's opinion.

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Clearly something went wrong when they were in the tupperdo......

It's surely possible that storage conditions might have affected your cigars, but I think it's worth keeping in mind the "bigger picture" as discussed by the guys above. If we remember that cigars in a box may not have been rolled by the same roller, or on the same day, or with the same allotment of tobacco, that they are sorted and boxed by color - it might make a little more sense.

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Although limited in experience with CC's, all the B&Ms in my area believe cigars have become much more complex and bold over the past decade or so. That said, the moisture level has definitely affected my smoking experiences in the past. Is 70/70 dead yet or what?

These days, we all talk about 65/65 or less...

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Although limited in experience with CC's, all the B&Ms in my area believe cigars have become much more complex and bold over the past decade or so. That said, the moisture level has definitely affected my smoking experiences in the past. Is 70/70 dead yet or what?

These days, we all talk about 65/65 or less...

The referenced cigars are NC though, if that wasn't obvious with the B&M comment....

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It sounds to me more like a contamination issue then anything else. Any chance the container is made of bad plastic, or could anything have spilled on the cigars? They will absorb flavours & chemicals in both liquid & gas form and this could be the issue

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This possibility was ruled out a bit faster, in my opinion.

Merely throwing out possibilities. I wasn't trying to solve his issue. Folks need to try and troubleshoot for themselves when they encounter bad performers. It's difficult to derive explanations for every instance when someone doesn't enjoy a cigar. There are many factors to be considered, and taste is highly subjective. Again, storage conditions or youth can't always be the reason for crappy cigars.

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Great topic as I have had very similar issues of late whenever I smoke some of my cigars.

weather they are a VR Unicos or a Behike, I have found of late they all taste the same... S**t.

I was assuming perhaps my tastes have changed somewhat, perhaps I needed a break, of course I always dry box BUT perhaps not long enough and I believe it's over humidified.

In saying this, this topic/thread is brilliant in that I believe many have come across this from time to time and is the reason why this forum is what it is. People, with experiences, be they personal and or professional, learning from each other.

Thanks for posting perfect10.gif

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Just like Mika (and the OP), I have had a spell of weird, uniform taste to my cigars stored in my wineador.

Hygrometers seemed to be reading about 65 rh and the whole house is ACd. Slight change of temperature from winter to last summer seemed to increase cigar wetness without showing on the hygrometers.

Patience and 60 rh beads eventually fixed the issue. The mini Hydra got its green foam sponge switched to beads and the weird, soapy taste was gone from every cigar around August, so 3-4 months after it was discovered. Luckily I had cigars stashed in other humidors which were unaffected. Otherwise it would have been a loooong summer :P

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Good news at last...

after dry boxing the cigars for almost 10 days and letting them rest in my new humidor, they are smoking pretty good. Though they haven't recovered 100% they were smokable and enjoyable. I won't touch them for another 6 months at least.

While the tupperdor played a part in this whole episode, it was the hygrometer that was the culprit. I calibrated the thing a month before using it if I remember for 6 hrs and it showed it was 3% off. I did the salt test this time for 24 hrs 4 times! cause I did not believe the numbers I was getting. It was 25% off! tantrum.gif I just couldn't believe it. I put it my other humidors where I use calibrated Xikar hygros and 65% boveda packs and indeed it is 25% off. So when it was showing 68% it was actually 93%. Never again will I buy Prometheus products. While I am sure that was a dud I can't trust their products anymore. They also charge like double what Xikar costs. Ridiculous. That was the only digital hygro i could find here. Anyways you live and learn. I thought the cigars were surely too far gone.

thanks for all the feedback guys.

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