If you know anything about Michigan you know how long the winters can be. People often say there are only two seasons in the state: winter and construction. Personally, I don’t feel it is quite that bad. It’s worse. However, I will give credit to Michigan for having three seasons instead of two: winter, construction, and depression. Somewhere around the end of January the entire state falls into a pit of melancholia. Cases of depression, suicide, wife-beating, and the disrespect of one’s elders skyrocket. And then things get really bad.
Now it appears that spring has sprung. Finally. After approximately 8 years of winter a piece of blue sky has appeared and peeked out from behind a bank of glowering winter cloud cover. The temperature is heading toward 60 and I have put my straight razors, lengths of rope, plans of overdose, and loaded revolvers away in a drawer for later. Even as I write this the clouds have been rolling back and the sun has illuminated the landscape, showcasing all its dry, brown, lifeless glory.
There’s another reason why I am excited for winter to be on the way out. And that is the state of my humidor. Over the course of the winter I’ve had a hell of a time keeping it properly humidified. Mostly it hovers around 60% RH, which some cigar enthusiasts prefer. However, when I’ve put the cigars to the pinch test, they’ve felt somewhat dry, often giving off a crackling sound as I apply gentle pressure. I’ve put the humidor to the dollar-bill test and it passed with flying colors. I haven’t been able to detect any leaks in the seal and that has made it even more frustrating when the humidity refuses to budge.
In an effort to solve the problem, I ended up ditching the basic humidifier that came with the unit in favor of a Xikar Crystal Humidifier I purchased through Famous-Smoke.com. This one comes equipped with water-absorbing crystals, advertised to be able to hold 450 times their own weight in water. It is also supposed to be able to maintain a perfect 70% humidity level. That’s a little high for my own desires; I personally prefer 65% even. But I’d rather have trouble with the humidity being to high–easily remedied by simply opening the humidor a couple times a day–than hovering too low and risking the sticks drying out.
UPDATE: The new device arrived. I charged up the crystals and installed it inside the humidor. Within two days it had raised the level to 68% and within a week was reading between 70-71% consistently. at one point, it reached 72%, but retreated quickly. Now I’m a little concerned that it may be getting too moist, as one of the cigars I smoked today had an extremely slow and reluctant burn. (I took another of the same variety and set it out. In a few days I’ll try it again to see if was indeed the moisture or simply a poorly constructed stick.)
In any case, I am largely pleased with the change in the humidity level in my humidor. Now the problem is that it’s getting too full to accommodate all my cigars. That means I have to buy a new one!