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Humidor Water Pillows

Two Packets Of Water Pillows

Background

In the past, cigar enthusiasts basically had one choice when it came to humidification elements: green floral foam. Sure, there have been some attempts to use other common items, from clay to sponges, but the ever-present foam was the best and most cost-effective method that we could come up with. 

Not that foam is without weaknesses. Foam can harbor bacteria and mold and must be treated with anti-mold compounds. Further, after about a year, the foam needs to be replaced because it has become clogged and saturated with the by-products of fermentation and various other contaminants. 

In recent years we have been given a couple more valuable options for humidification: Super-absorbent polymers and Silica gel.

The Water Pillow falls into the category of new wave products. The Water Pillow uses a super absorbent polymer (polysodium acrylate) as the humidification element. Super absorbent polymers (SAP) can absorb more than 500 times their weight in water. They come in the form of small beads or, in the case of the Water Pillows, in powder form.

The polymers are very absorbent: when soaked in water they swell up and then release this moisture into the internal environment of the humidor through a process of diffusion. The rate at which a polymer will deliver moisture within your humidor is based on the relative humidity inside: at lower RH, more water is diffused from the polymers into the humidor air, at higher RH’s, the delivery rate of moisture is lower. 

Setup and Using Water Pillows

The Water Pillow construction sequesters SAP in small plastic/fabric bags. The instructions say to dip in distilled water for 15 seconds. This is actually very important because you can easily over-saturate the polymers. 

After wetting the inner bag, you then place it into a secondary outer plastic bag with a Ziplock-type closure. This protects your cigars from having moisture come into direct contact with your cigars. I recommend allowing the inner bag to sit for 30 seconds or so after wetting, to allow any excess moisture to be soaked up by the SAP and be sure to wipe off excess moisture from the outside of the bag. 

Function of Water Pillows

The Water Pillows come in a sheet of cells, which are connected by perforated plastic so you can easily tear off a cell for use. They are also sold singly. 

Super absorbent polymers, as the name suggests, absorb water. Lots of it. When using the Water Pillow, I have found that the longer you allow the pillow to sit in water, the more it will absorb. For example, the un-moistened pillow weighs next to nothing (see table below), but with varying lengths of soaking time, the pillow will greatly expand.

Time Soaked Weight of Pillow 
0 sec < .1 oz
15 sec .4 oz
30 sec .6 oz
1 min .8 oz
5 min 1.0 oz

That means that you can consider different soak times for different applications. A Water Pillow with a 10-15 second soak time would work perfectly for mailing 5-10 cigars in a plastic cigar bag. For use in a 15-count travel humidor or smaller, I would recommend a 15-20 second soak, while a soak time of 1 minute would be good for use in a small humidor. 

I would suggest experimenting a bit with soak times: I wouldn’t recommend anything over a minute. Overfilling the polymers in an enclosed space can pack them too densely and they will have trouble regulating humidity. Further, you may have to experiment with both the soak time and the number of Water Pillows to use for each humidor application. 

The outer plastic bag is used to protect your cigars from direct moisture from the contents of the Water Pillow. However, if you have a humidor where the Water Pillow can be placed out of contact with your cigars, there is no need to use the outer plastic bag. Just make sure that you wipe off excess water from the outside of the inner bag before placing in your humidor.

Water Pillows are very easy to use and convenient. I like to keep them around for mailing packages with cigars and to toss in my travel humidors. As a long-term humidifier for larger humidors (above 50-count), I would recommend a different product. Using multiple Water Pillows in a larger humidor would get cumbersome, in my opinion. Of course, the Water Pillows are advertised primarily as a “portable” solution and are therefore aimed at my recommended applications. According to a company source: “The ‘ideal’ application for Water Pillows is to be used in conjunction with a ziplock or slider reclosable bag containing anywhere from 5-10 cigars.”

Regardless, I have successfully used SAP in both active and passive humidification systems by using larger containers filled with varying amounts of polymers. There are plenty of applications for polymers, given the right container.

Value Of Water Pillows

There are other packet-type products that can be used for humidifying smokes. One that I have reviewed is the Bóveda Humidification Packet. However, I estimate that it would take at least 3 Water Pillows to regulate humidity in the same area as 1 Bóveda packet. Even so, the Water Pillows would still be the least expensive way to go.

I recommend this product highly for the application for which it is intended: mailing 5-10 cigars and also recommend it for use in small travel humidors. This is an inexpensive product that is easy to use and works as advertised.

Buy Water Pillows

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Review of The Adorini Cedro L Deluxe Humidor

Adorini Cedro l Deluxe Humidor Open and Displaying Cigars

Partners Felix Spohn and Dr. Daniel Spohn founded the Adorini brand of humidors in 1999. Adorini is now widely recognized as a quality humidor brand that can be had at reasonable prices. Adorini sponsors the annual Festival del Habano, in Cuba, where they donate the humidification systems and hygrometers for the Gala’s auction humidors.

Humidor Product Details At a Glance

Product Name: Adorini Cedro L Deluxe
Product Type: Desktop Humidor
Included: Analog “hair” hygrometer, cassette humidity system, cedar tray and divider system, labeling clips, lock and key, wetting solution, lifetime warranty.
Test period: 
1 month.
Note:
 I did NOT test the “long-term” (i.e., >1month) accuracy or reliability of the Adorini hair-hygrometer.

Background and Description for the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe

The Cedro L Deluxe is a cedar wood veneer humidor with an approximate capacity of 100-150 (according to the company) cigars. The humidor has a natural (non-gloss) finish and includes everything you need to get started with a humidor.

Setup of the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe Humidor

I first want to say that the packing material and documentation was first rate. It should come as no surprise that, if you have a humidor shipped to you, most distance carrier services can be very rough on the product. Well, okay, it often seems like they drop-kick the products across the country. That is why I never take packaging for granted. The Adorini packaging included a soft cloth sack to cover the humidor, which was set inside multiple layers of cardboard, styrofoam and bubble wrap. I couldn’t have asked for better packaging.

The documentation was also first rate. For the most part, the instructions are very clear and there is a clear description of the feature set of the humidor. The only thing that wasn’t clear was the purpose of the different cedar pieces that add to the functionality of the humidor. (See next paragraph)

The humidor came with 10 cedar pieces of different sizes and shapes. These consisted of a mix of horizontal and vertical cedar dividers to create different “compartments” inside the humidor. There were also some small cedar triangles to adjust the height of the cigar tray. The number of pieces seemed excessive to me and yet, the slatted interior wall design of the humidor probably necessitated all the parts to make the divider system work. (Note: Company representative told me that my comments about how the use of the interior pieces are not adequately described in product literature had been, “forwarded to our design-team to include in [future] manual[s].”)

One warning is that the pieces are sized such that, you can’t really afford to break or lose one if you want to maintain the ability to divide cigars into sections within the humidor. It would have been nice, since they are already including so many pieces, to include a few more as “replacements” should the need arise. The divider-system also comes with some handy labeling clips that allow you to provide each section within your humidor with a title or description. I found that to be a very handy and clever feature.

Cedar Veneer

The Adorini Cedro L Deluxe is a cedar veneer humidor. That means that there is a thin sheet of wood, in this case cedar, glued to all the surfaces of the humidor. This allows the humidor to be decorated with a specialty wood without being encumbered by the cost and construction constraints of a solid wood humidor. That said, my preference in humidors has always been toward solid-wood pieces for their uniqueness, beauty and especially their collectibility value. Solid wood humidors, especially solid exotic wood humidors, are both expensive and difficult to make. What they add to your home or office as a work of art and an heirloom treasure will definitely cost you a premium, but they can be the best investment for the future.

It’s not that I have anything against veneer humidors, per se. Elie Bleu has taken veneer processes to the very highest level and I own Elie Bleu as well as Daniel Marshall and Davidoff veneer humidors. However, the primary weakness of veneer is its capacity to chip and/or separate, which may destroy the “look” of quality and beauty of the humidor. So, the veneer has to be of the absolutely highest quality to sustain it’s value. Veneer can be very thin, say 1/32nd of an inch, or a bit thicker like 1/16th. The veneer on the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe is very thin and, in fact, I found the veneer edges on the humidor lid were showing wear and were thinning at the seams. That, of course, did nothing to detract from the functionality of the humidor, but did catch my eye and detracted from the form and beauty of the outer box.

Adorini has gold plated quadrant hinges
Adorini Cedro L Deluxe Humidor has gold plated quadrant hinges

There are several advantages of veneer humidors. First, you can add expensive veneer to dress up a humidor for much less money than solid wood. Second, the walls of veneer humidors are typically made from particle-based wood that doesn’t have the same tendency to warp, as does a solid wood humidor. This means the veneer humidor puts less strain on the joints and hardware and ensures a thin, tight seal. Veneer humidors are also lighter than solid wood. All good reasons to choose a veneer box.

The thin veneer on this Cedro L Deluxe notwithstanding, I found this humidor to possess excellent quality overall and its function was superb. The hardware was installed perfectly, the seam between the upper and lower halves had a great fit and the joinery was consistently good.

Capacity

The humidor is rated by the company at 100-150 cigars, which in my experience means that it will hold somewhere between 75-100 average-sized cigars. For years, humidor count has been based on using a traditional Corona-sized cigar, which is typically 5.5-inch by 42 ring gauge. Not a problem since the entire humidor industry uses this count-system and therefore it is a standard convention. The challenge is always to carefully position your cigars in such a way as to get the greatest packing efficiency. This is one reason why I take out most of my humidor dividers and simply, “stack ’em up.”

Hygrometer Accuracy (validity of measurement) and Reliability

The Adorini instrument was pre-calibrated, but the company did not have more information on that process.

Without controlled calibration, there is no telling how accurate a device might be and without valid measurements of temperature and humidity you might not be alerted to significant and/or chronic changes in your humidor’s environment. I noted the potential for inaccuracy in measurement instruments and the importance of quality calibration processes.

To cross check the accuracy of the Adorini hair-hygrometer I gave it a “real-world” test and installed it inside my cabinet humidor right next to my PEM2 Datalogger, which has been calibrated and certified for an accuracy of +/- 1%. Whenever I checked the relative humidity, the hair-hygro device was always around 1.5–2%RH higher than the PEM2 device (Note: All measurements were approximate because it’s hard to tell exactly with an analog readout). In my opinion, the difference between the PEM2 and the Adorini hair-hygrometer was non-significant. In other words, the hair-hygrometer “worked fine.” As with other analog hygrometers that I have tested, I have found hair-hygrometers to be very easy to calibrate and generally accurate.

However, many hair-hygrometers suffer from “needle-stick.” This usually occurs after a period of time in which the humidity inside your humidor is relatively stable around a certain point, say, 70%RH. The “hair,” whether organic or synthetic, will lose its full range of elasticity and “stick” at a certain level. Because of this phenomenon, a hair-hygrometer can be fairly accurate, but with a test/retest capability (reliability) that does not match a digital hygro. More time is needed to test this effect with any device and I did not have the time necessary to put the Adorini hair hygro to the long term test.

Finally, the Adorini hair-hygrometer does not provide the temperature readout. In my opinion, precise measurement of both temperature and humidity is needed if one wants to prevent mold and accelerated oxidation. Unlike wine, cigars are more readily at the disposal of their environment. For wine, the glass and cork represent a resilient defense against oxidation. However, cigars in a humidor are affected more readily by the opening and closing of the humidor and by changing environmental temperature.

Humidification

The polymer humidification system inside the Adorini Cedro L Deluxe proved to be rock solid and easily capable of humidifying this humidor. Polymer based humidification media is my favorite in all but the most humid environments.

Polymers are great at keeping up moisture levels inside a humidor, but must be kept from growing mold. Adorini supplies a 100ml bottle of distilled water with silver ions added. The addition of silver ions makes the water antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal. However, once you run out of this solution, distilled water will not make a satisfactory replacement (as suggested on their website). You will need some sort of commercial wetting solution.

Warranty

Adorini advertises a lifetime warranty on its humidors. However, I could not find the details of the warranty on their website. Warranties on humidors, lighters, cutters and such, can take many forms. Warranty of integral parts (e.g., hinges, locks), accessory parts, (e.g., humidifier, hygrometer, wood dividers) and workmanship (e.g., in the case of separating corner joints or warping of wood) can all be considered warrantable defects. The Adorini website does not clarify “warrantable defects.”

And, the way the warranty is processed will need clarity. What exactly constitutes a warrantable defect? Who decides what is warrantable? Who pays for shipping of humidors that are defective? (i.e., Humidors are typically heavy and shipping costs can be substantial.) The answers to these questions need clarification before the Adorini warranty carries sufficient weight.

Conclusion

The Adorini Cedro L Deluxe humidor is a well made production humidor that is attractive and yet highly functional. An innovative tray and divider design creates a versatile interior for organizing your resting cigars. The hygrometer and humidifier both operate efficiently and, more importantly, over the month-long test period, kept my cigars tasting fresh and burning well.

The more important quality concerns can only be answered over the long haul. The condition of the joinery, hardware, locks and internal accessories after months and years of regular use will tell the tale of ultimate quality. Tests of the warranty may also bring light to the question of how solid are the claims of an Adorini “life-time” warranty.

Bottom line: This humidor does its job in keeping cigars fresh and does so with style and at a fair price.

Buy The Adorini Cedro l Deluxe Humidor Now

Some More Humidor Reading

What’s The Best Humidor? Find Out Now

Tupperware Humidor? Build Your Own Cigar Humidor

How To Keep a Humidor at 70 Degrees, The 70-70 Formula

Why Buy a Humidor Made From Spanish Cedar

Humidor Water Pillows

How To Pre Season a Humidor