At some point or another, every cigar smoker has neglected a stogie or two for a while, only to remember that they had it later. At this point, it’s fairly dried out and not smoke-able in current condition. Fear not – and toss not – You can re-hydrate those dried out sticks, we’ve the technology after all. The one overarching point of this guide will be to take your time. There’s no use re-hydrating a cigar only to have the wrapper crack from shocking it. Just like with barbecue, think low and slow. The “magic number” of humidity for a moderately dry cigar is going to be 65-70% humidity.
Ideally, you should use a humidor to revitalize any dried-out cigars you may have. But if you don’t have one, there are other methods. You should, however, highly consider getting a quality humidor as soon as possible in order to make sure you’re storing those stogies at optimal humidity to extend life. Also important to remember is that a cigar contains a lot of oils that, if the cigar gets too dry, will dissipate and thoroughly reduce the cigar’s flavor.
If using a humidor, try to store a dry stick in the driest part of your humidor. This is probably going to be the area farthest part from the humidifier and on the bottom of the box (use a hydrometer if you’re unsure). If you have them, you can also using pieces of cedar wood to cordon off the cigars you’re re-hydrating to better control their release. You should also consider turning them a quarter-turn about every day while they’re in different stages of hydration – probably about two weeks minimum but up to one month.
Another popular way to revive a dry stick is the sealable plastic bag method. There are a number of ways to make this work: you could put a small humidifier with Propylene Glycol (PG) in the plastic bag with a cigar or two. These are readily available as disposable packets that have the humidity they produce printed on them. Again, you’ll want to turn them a quarter turn per day until they’re moist again.
Finally, there’s the cigar box method. If you were gifted a whole or partial box of cigars, you know that the box itself isn’t a humidor and won’t hold moisture long. There are two simple methods you can use to keep those cigars hydrated and ready to smoke. These could be a little more risky when it comes to mold, as you’re not using an actual humidifier but water. You can get a towel and wet it with water, then completely wrap the cigar box. Alternatively, you can bring the cigar box into the bathroom with you when you shower. Open the box and close the bathroom door while showering. The steam from the shower will help to revive the dried cigars. This’ll also take about two weeks. Again, watch for mold with these methods.
There are many ways that you can bring cigars back from the dead of dryness. The key is to remain patient and don’t rush to hydrate too quickly. You should also know that if the cigar has dried to the point that the wrapper has cracked noticeably, it may be too late to try to revive, unfortunately. Follow these steps and you’ll be happily puffing away on stogies you thought were lost.