If you have no place or container to keep a cigar safe, it’s entirely possible that it will dry out and become hard and brittle. This is not a good thing and would make smoking a rather unpleasant experience.
Before you throw your cigar out and waste that bit of money, you should look at ways you can go about reviving and rehydrating it. You can go about different ways, some more guaranteed to work than others, with some suggestions even simple and inexpensive.
Regardless, today we will be looking at how to rehydrate a cigar that you have forgotten and has dried out!
Diagnosing Your Cigars
Before you attempt to rehydrate your cigar, you’ll need to actually check if it’s necessary. Many people think that their cigars are dried out when they are not at all, only on their way out (which means you should smoke them soon).
An easy way to check would be to see what the cigar feels like in your hand. If you suspect a cigar of having dried out, grab and feel the skin. If it’s soft and supple and gives a little when you apply a small amount of pressure, it’s still good to go. Be careful not to break the skin, though, as it would be impossible to repair the skin without ruining the cigar.
When felt this way, a dry cigar will remain firm and won’t give until you’re applying enough pressure to break it. On the flip side, a cigar that feels soft and squishy without any substance is likely evidence of it being over-humidified or under-filled, which is an entirely different issue altogether.
The best way to guarantee that your cigars are in the right environment to keep them healthy is to use a hygrometer, which measures the amount of water moisture in the environment. If you use one to measure the humidity and it is anywhere below 65%, your cigars are drying out and likely might be already, depending on how little their environment changes.
The lower the humidity and the longer they’ve been drying or dried out, the more you will have to be patient as the process of rehydrating them can take some time.
Slowly Introduce Humidity
When reviving and rehydrating cigars, you’ll need to do so slowly. You’ll have to take the rehydrating process in steps and stages. If you have a humidor where you keep your cigars, take them out, place them in a ziplock bag and seal them off to trap them in an airtight container.
If you have humidor solution or humidity pillows, you can include them in the ziplock bag to further regulate the humidity. Given a few weeks or months, the cigar should rehydrate. You’ll have to monitor it and keep regular tabs going to ensure that it isn’t going to break.
You don’t want to throw the cigars into a humid environment and leave them to rehydrate because cigars expand and contract with the humidity and temperature. By taking a dry and brittle cigar and suddenly thrusting it into a too humid environment, you can end up risking the cigar exploding from suddenly swelling so much.
Using a Humidity Pouch
A humidity pouch is an excellent tool for reviving your cigars. One of the best aspects about them is that they are simple to use and don’t require any changes like a humidification unit would, as each bag offers one set humidity level. Using a two-way system, the bags will not release too much humidity at too fast a rate, and they’ll be super easy to maintain as they don’t require constant monitoring.
These bags range from around 62% humidity to 84% humidity, so you’ve got quite the range to work with when rehydrating your cigars. Start with the lower end of the spectrum with the lower humidity bags, around 62%, and gradually move up the range to more humid pouches over weeks or possibly months, depending on how dry they were. Typically you can keep them in a pouch for 2 to 3 weeks before needing to switch them to a percentage higher.
Most cigar owners stop around the 69% to 72% range, as this is considered the safe golden spot where you aren’t over-humidifying them while keeping them safe.
Maintaining a Humidor
A humidor is a container or room set to provide your cigar with the proper environment for them to thrive. It has a set level of humidity, which you control and have to maintain. Humidors are excellent tools to have handy if you’re a cigar lover, and it’s recommended you get one to ensure that you can keep your cigars healthy for longer.
When rehydrating your cigars, you’ll want to take the opportunity to ensure your humidor is prepped and ready to accept the cigars back in. Start by wiping down the interior with distilled water and closing it to leave for a day. Repeat this process once or twice, and then refill the humidification unit with distilled water or humidor solution – propylene glycol solution – so that it can be prepped by the time your cigars are ready to return.
Knowing When to Move Your Cigars Back
Throughout the process, you’ll want to check your cigars for signs of damage or extensive swelling and rotate them to ensure that they get an even rehydration. When doing so, do the press test by gently applying a small amount of pressure. If your cigar has returned to its softer state and has a little give, it’s well on its way to rehydrating and might even be ready already.
One of the easiest ways to test if the cigar is ready is to smoke it. When smoking a rehydrated cigar, you’re looking for an even burn, great flavor, and perfect draw. However, the drying process might have affected the taste, as the natural oils you’d have typically found in the wrapper, binder, and tobaccos could have evaporated.
Even so, the cigar should keep most of its original flavor and should smoke well before you consider putting it back in its prepared humidor.