This week I received a great question from a novice cigar smoker about cigar humidification. He came across some cigars that had been not been properly humidified for an extended period of time and he wanted to know if he should just throw them away.
Of course everyone knows that proper storage of cigars is an absolute necessity. If cigars are over humidified then they become too spongy and can grow mold. If you let them dry out then they lose a lot of essential oils and flavor and not to mention burn like a piece of fire starter.
My suggestion to him was not to throw these cigars away. I instructed him to place them in a humidor for at least two months and let them come back to life. At the end of this time period give them the squeeze test. If they give a little and don’t crack then try and smoke them. If they are still brittle then give them some more time. You have nothing to lose here so why not?
I will say that the cigars will not taste the same as they did before drying out but depending on tobacco and quality of cigar they could still be a decent smoke. Now before anyone throws a shoe at me and screams the “B” word, of course if the dried out cigars have holes in them then toss them in the trash. We would never want to take the chance of causing a beetle infestation in the humidor with the rest of your cigars. If you still want to play it safe with your beetle free cigars then it is ok to place these cigars in a separate “quarantine humidor.” I don’t think this is a necessary step but how do you put a price on peace of mind? Being dry for so long, if the cigars had any beetle eggs inside then they would have most certainly hatched already.
So the key to the story here is if you find some discarded cigars that haven’t been stored properly, it doesn’t mean they have to go straight to the trash. Give them a little care and at worst you will have an everyday cigar, or yard stick as some like to call them.
Chris Gwaltney, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits category manager: premium cigars and craft beer
Follow me on Twitter @abccigarChris