I plan on getting a definite answer on optimal aging methods


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I've been vacuum sealing excess boxes and after a few years I unsealed one for a sanity check and was pleasantly surprised how much aroma came from the box when I opened it! 

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For those who vacuum seal, do you add Boveda packs or just trust the seal will hold rh through the seasons?

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6 hours ago, therealrsr said:

For those who vacuum seal, do you add Boveda packs or just trust the seal will hold rh through the seasons?

The thing about Boveda packs is that they suck moisture as well as add it. For years of aging without being able to check on the cigars, I am afraid I might open the boxes in time to find a beautifully humidified Boveda packs and dry cigars

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5 minutes ago, Fakhm said:

The thing about Boveda packs is that they suck moosture as well as add it. For years of aging without being able to check on the cigars, I am afraid I might open the boxes in time to find a beautifully humidified Boveda packs and dry cigars

Interesting point, but I am not sure I see the same result.  When I have had long delivery times with the small packs sealed from xyz, the boveda is dried out before the cigars, i.e. it holds the same rh as the rest of the pack until it has no moisture to give.  You can get bloated packs which may allow rh to raise beyond absorption capacity, but I find that hard to imagine with a properly rh seasoned box going into vacuum storage.  No expert, but there are some around for sure.  @PigFish would probably know.

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7 minutes ago, TheGipper said:

5. When removing a box from long-term vacuum seal, the advice on the top of the old Rafael Gonzalez box applies: smoke 'em within a few weeks of taking them out of vacuum seal, or let them sit for a year.  I have noticed a distinct sick period for boxes after taking them out of vacuum seal.  So it requires a little planning ahead, I usually remove the vacuum bag a year before I think I want to start to get into a box.

This is very important and something to think about ahead of time in terms of all 4 storage methods. You need to figure out how long to let them rest afterwards otherwise you may end up measuring how much you like X% moisture content from regular storage vs Y% moisture content from vacuum sealed storage, rather than "aging".

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5 hours ago, therealrsr said:

Interesting point, but I am not sure I see the same result.  When I have had long delivery times with the small packs sealed from xyz, the boveda is dried out before the cigars, i.e. it holds the same rh as the rest of the pack until it has no moisture to give.  You can get bloated packs which may allow rh to raise beyond absorption capacity, but I find that hard to imagine with a properly rh seasoned box going into vacuum storage.  No expert, but there are some around for sure.  @PigFish would probably know.

True Bovedas get drier out in open environment as they are releasing humidity in an environment that has less RH, but in an airtight environment I think the movedas would prioritize sucking in moisture until they get to their target RH and then start releasing once ambient falls below over time. I have no idea though, just speculating.

 

in any case, I assume no need for bovedas ad the container is airtight, but I will thrown in a few different Bovedas set to 62 and 65 and no Bovedas in different boxes as a stand-alone study. I don’t want to skew the results by adding one more variable so these will be different cigars, I will leave a note to check the conditions of the packs and the cigars once opened, this test i might run for less than five years

 

3 hours ago, TheGipper said:

Tips from a long term vacuum sealer:

1. Let the box stabilize in your humidor for a good long while before vacuum sealing it.  The humidification state of the box will be preserved by the vacuum seal, so make sure it's how you want it.

2. No Boveda in the bag.  I had slightly worse results when adding a Boveda in the few I tried.  Possibly the slightly lower air pressure inside the bad hinders the Boveda.  Besides, your vacuum bags are a near perfect water vapor barrier, so what is the point of adding one anyway?

3. The benefit in vacuum sealing is the seal, not the vacuum.  Just remove excess air from the bag.  Do not let an even mildly hard vacuum form.  Hit the seal button well before the box starts to bow.

4. Check the vacuum bag a few weeks after sealing and setting down.  A rare handful of bags have some leak (probably because of a wrinkle in the sealing strip area). You will be able to see if the bag is completely loose.  Get a new bag and re-seal it.

5. When removing a box from long-term vacuum seal, the advice on the top of the old Rafael Gonzalez box applies: smoke 'em within a few weeks of taking them out of vacuum seal, or let them sit for a year.  I have noticed a distinct sick period for boxes after taking them out of vacuum seal.  So it requires a little planning ahead, I usually remove the vacuum bag a year before I think I want to start to get into a box.

6. Don't bother to vacuum seal unless you can lay them away for at least 3 to 4 years.

7. Try to find a way to let a box (or a few) go 10+ years in vacuum seal.  You may really like the results.

Brilliant advice, thank you.

 

the bit about a vacuum sick period is interesting and makes perfect sense! 

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I don’t over think this no oxygen aging thing.  remember seeing a British cigar merchant open a very well aged 50 cab that had been wrapped in wax paper. I think it’s an elegant method to keep the box air tight with out having a vacuum sealer or using plastic bag. I dislike bags , they never quite fit the box and make stacking messy and I don’t have a sealer. I use a Stretch Wrap for shipping to close up boxes I want to keep for long term no air aging and it’s worked very well for years. An 8” roll cost less than $20 US. 

 

IMG_0559.jpeg.3285462ce585eea18725530d013adbb4.jpeg

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3 hours ago, therealrsr said:

For those who vacuum seal, do you add Boveda packs or just trust the seal will hold rh through the seasons?

The vacuum seal is enough, no additional humidity required

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Been chatting with you on the other site.  There is a lot here on this subject.  A lot of what I learned on the subject is from people here.

I wish you luck and look forward to you contributing on this subject.    Perhaps only do some at 5 years, leave the rest for 10 years.

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I’m willing to bet that as long as they are humidified with distilled water at proper humidity it won’t make a bit of difference in the long haul….I’m talking 25 years that I’ve been smoking stuff that has been handled differently but always with humidity. Hell, I bet the distilled water doesn’t even make a difference. But I still use it. 

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5 hours ago, Wookie said:

I’m willing to bet that as long as they are humidified with distilled water at proper humidity it won’t make a bit of difference in the long haul….I’m talking 25 years that I’ve been smoking stuff that has been handled differently but always with humidity. Hell, I bet the distilled water doesn’t even make a difference. But I still use it. 

I guess you don't get the concept oxygen plays on organic material.

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5 minutes ago, Monterey said:

I guess you don't get the concept oxygen plays on organic material.

Not to speak for someone else. But I think it's just the weird fact that in general you don't see these super well preserved vacuum sealed sticks around in the vintage market.

When did vacuum sealing become common? 70s? 80s? 90s? And yet we don't see vacuum sealed Cuban Davidoffs in A+ shape. Or any such really old cigars. How come no one thought of this until now?

Why is it rare to see anyone advertise vacuum sealing on Bond Roberts?

I mean some of these cigars people have put in storage for 20+ years.

Anyways this is not evidence that it doesn't work, but just a weird state of things that it hasn't caught on if it does work.

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6 minutes ago, Bijan said:

Not to speak for someone else. But I think it's just the weird fact that in general you don't see these super well preserved vacuum sealed sticks around in the vintage market.

When did vacuum sealing become common? 70s? 80s? 90s? And yet we don't see vacuum sealed Cuban Davidoffs in A+ shape. Or any such really old cigars. How come no one thought of this until now?

Why is it rare to see anyone advertise vacuum sealing on Bond Roberts?

I mean some of these cigars people have put in storage for 20+ years.

Anyways this is not evidence that it doesn't work, but just a weird state of things that it hasn't caught on if it does work.

Ive seen plenty of boxes wrapped in Wax paper come from the JJ Fox keep, stuff going back to the early 50's. So someone/ones where thinking about minimizing the oxygen exchange during storage before many of us where born. High quality, affordable vacuum sealers that you can use at home have really only been a thing for the last 20 years or so. The technology is obviously older, but I dont think it really hit the main stream until more recently. I think the anal retentive mentality of thinking about cigars is a much more recent thing as well. Multiple ambient sensors, connected to wifi, recording every second, tied into our whole home HVAC system, monitored from anywhere on the planet. I Feel like vacuum sealing is just the current iteration of a concept people have been toying with for a long time now. 

12 minutes ago, Bijan said:

Why is it rare to see anyone advertise vacuum sealing on Bond Roberts?

This one seems pretty obvious to me and its the same reason you rarely see wax paper wrapped boxes either. Wax paper/vacuum bags don't sell, attractive boxes and cigars do. Even if they where wrapped in wax paper for 40 years, or vacuum sealed for 20, I dont see those storage methods presenting/marketing particularly well.

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28 minutes ago, Corylax18 said:

This one seems pretty obvious to me and its the same reason you rarely see wax paper wrapped boxes either. Wax paper/vacuum bags don't sell, attractive boxes and cigars do. Even if they where wrapped in wax paper for 40 years, or vacuum sealed for 20, I dont see those storage methods presenting/marketing particularly well.

True but people take the pain to write stored in X brand humidor cabinet at 68/68 or 65/67 or whatever. So it's not like it's not discussed at all.

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59 minutes ago, Bijan said:

Not to speak for someone else. But I think it's just the weird fact that in general you don't see these super well preserved vacuum sealed sticks around in the vintage market.

When did vacuum sealing become common? 70s? 80s? 90s? And yet we don't see vacuum sealed Cuban Davidoffs in A+ shape. Or any such really old cigars. How come no one thought of this until now?

Why is it rare to see anyone advertise vacuum sealing on Bond Roberts?

I mean some of these cigars people have put in storage for 20+ years.

Anyways this is not evidence that it doesn't work, but just a weird state of things that it hasn't caught on if it does work.

Home vacuuming doesn't go back that far.  It wasn't until the 90's.did it really start.  It really did take hold until early 2000's.  There is a lot that is not understood as people wait for others to test it out.  Listing on BR a vacuum seal bag could hurt sales because people are not yet familiar enough with the results.  People believe cigars just get better and better with age with no dropoff. To them this process would only hurt the cigar.   I can speak to it, as can many others as we have done our own testing.  I have had boxes with 10+ years of age in vacuum seal and they are far superior to their non-vacuumed equivalents.  I don't need others to tell me if it is good or bad because I have done enough tests on my own and am beyond happy with the results.  The smell you get from opening a bag that has been sealed for along period of time is intoxicating.   But as noted above, those that have never done it speak to the "fact" that it doesn't work.  To each their own.

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2 minutes ago, Monterey said:

I can speak to it, as can many others as we have done our own testing.  I have had boxes with 10+ years of age in vacuum seal and they are far superior to their non-vacuumed equivalents. 

Thanks!

Just as a guess how would it compare to storing in a zip lock bag with air removed? Or in plastic wrap? What's your guess on how much it needs to be in a relative vacuum, vs generally having little to no air flow?

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2 hours ago, Bijan said:

What's your guess on how much it needs to be in a relative vacuum, vs generally having little to no air flow?

In my opinion, it's nothing to do with the vacuum, which I actually try to minimize.

Ziploc bags are not made of the same material as vacuum seal bags.  They have very different permittivity characteristics for water vapor and air molecules.

Put a bundle of cigars in a ziploc.  Put your nose to the outside of the bag, and you'll still smell it faintly on the outside.  Same isn't true for good vacuum seal bags.

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2 minutes ago, TheGipper said:

In my opinion, it's nothing to do with the vacuum, which I actually try to minimize.

Ziploc bags are not made of the same material as vacuum seal bags.  They have very different permittivity characteristics for water vapor and air molecules.

Put a bundle of cigars in a ziploc.  Put your nose to the outside of the bag, and you'll still smell it faintly on the outside.  Same isn't true for good vacuum seal bags.

Right but I have my cigars in 4 120 qt coolers. They are in quite a small room with no ventilation or air flow except for when I open the door to get in. There is no smell of cigars until I open the coolers.

By this logic I could move all my long term boxes to one of the coolers and not open it for 5+ years, and I'd have the same effect as vacuum sealing.

And furthermore how much air flow are the cigars getting when I open a cooler only once or twice a week for 1 minute (while most of the cigars are sitting several layers down in closed boxes)..

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19 minutes ago, Bijan said:

Right but I have my cigars in 4 120 qt coolers. They are in quite a small room with no ventilation or air flow except for when I open the door to get in. There is no smell of cigars until I open the coolers.

By this logic I could move all my long term boxes to one of the coolers and not open it for 5+ years, and I'd have the same effect as vacuum sealing.

And furthermore how much air flow are the cigars getting when I open a cooler only once or twice a week for 1 minute (while most of the cigars are sitting several layers down in closed boxes)..

In theory, if you have a cooler, and you jam pack it with cigars and never ever open it, I guess you would achieve some similarities to vacuum sealing.  However, if the humidity ever increased or decreased, then you are not air tight.So in theory, you got the principal, but in reality, it is not possible to simulate a vacuum sealed bag.  You can get similar results with ziplock bags and wax paper.  Vacuum sealing is just more efficient.  I believe Davidoff of London just bags up their boxes for aging.  So it does help.

Oh, @kyee, where are you?  Kyee has been at this longer than most of us.

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20 minutes ago, Monterey said:

In theory, if you have a cooler, and you jam pack it with cigars and never ever open it, I guess you would achieve some similarities to vacuum sealing.  However, if the humidity ever increased or decreased, then you are not air tight.

The part about humidity not increasing or decreasing would apply if temperature is stable.

As termperature changes you will have changes in relative humidity (assuming you don't have a perfect vaccum). The less air you have I guess the less effect there would be (though I am not sure I fully understand the physics of the process), so I could see vacuum sealing helping.

Though even with opening and closing my coolers change in humidity is less than 1% over an entire month (3 out of 4 coolers have not changed a single % of relative humidity at any point during the past 30 days, the 4th one was at 65% the first 10 days and 64% the next 20 days since then), but this is with Bovedas.

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