Back again for perhaps our shortest question and answer in the Ask halfwheel series.
This week’s question comes from reader Mike, who didn’t bother to write more than one line, which is fine, because it’s simple:
What is the best way to rehydrate dry cigars?
In the spirit of Mike’s conciseness, here’s how I do it.
First, I find a dark and relatively cool place. Preferably there’s no direct sunlight and it’s in the low 60s.
I will then take the cigars and place them in a Ziplock bag or more recently I’ve been using OXO containers. I will start with just the cigars and a hygrometer for the first day or so. I want the cigars to stabilize and to get a sense of where I am starting.
Once I’ve got a starting point, let’s say 50 percent relatively humidity (RH), I will then look at adding humidity gradually and slowly. For this there are two options in my opinion. One is an electronic humidifier where I can slowly increase the humidity levels. There’s really no reason to not go slow here, so with an electronic humidifier I might go as slow as one degree every three days.
The other option is Boveda, who now sells its packaging in 32, 49, 62, 65, 69, 72, 75 and 84 percent options. If you need to start at 32 percent relative humidity and then wait until there’s been a noticeable decline in the moisture in the Boveda, this means that the water has left the pack either going into the cigar or the air. I would repeat this lengthy period for each increase.
Other than the importance of going slow, I have two other recommendations. Finding a place with stable temperatures is key as changing temperatures affect relative humidity levels. In addition, remember humidity rises, if you have a large container, taping the Boveda to the top of the container isn’t a bad option if you are looking for additional humidity levels as it will likely be slightly drier than if the Boveda is placed at the bottom of the container.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that even if you successfully rehydrate the cigars without them cracking, the cigars may never taste the same again. Many of the essential oils can be lost as cigars dry out drastically impacting the flavor of the cigars.
That being said, low and slow.
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