Say I had some cigars ...
May 11, 2005 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Back in October, I bought some cigars. Five of them. Macanudo Portofinos -- the kind in the white screw-top tube. Since then, they've lived in a kitchen cabinet, never opened, untouched in a zip-lock bag. My question is ... does anyone think they're still smokeable as is? Or is there some way to restore their viability?
posted by grabbingsand to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
they should be fine...I know I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:22 PM on May 11, 2005

Speaking personally, I would try to rehumidify them before smoking them. They've probably dried out a good bit by now.

If you're going to be dabbling in cigar smoking, do yourself a favor and buy a small used humidor on eBay for $20-$30 like I did. Mine looks very nice and holds a box's worth of cigars. Use this to rehumidify the stogies - Google for alt.smokers.cigars FAQ or something; there is one, and it covers this topic.

If this is a one-time thing, a tupperware container can be made into a humidor in a pinch, but it's not very good for long term storage.

Either way, make sure you have a hygrometer, properly calibrated, to verify that you have the correct humidity in your box.
posted by autojack at 1:01 PM on May 11, 2005

Unless your climate is perfect for storing cigars, they are probably really dried out right now. The tobacco will probably crumble a bit as you squeeze them, or feel somewhat stiff. A cigar aficionado would be horrified at the thought of smoking them. The flavor won't be right, and who knows what else. I'm a relative cigar newbie, so I'd smoke 'em, and since I don't have a really strong sense of what that cigar should taste like, I wouldn't notice the difference. I have gotten more crumbly bits of tobacco in my mouth when I've smoked too-dry cigars though. They tend to come apart mid-smoke too.

Hopefully someone with more knowledge will chime in on just what the consequences of cigar dryness are.

Oh, and this article maintains that restoring dried cigars is usually not possible, but gives some humidor-oriented tips for trying it.
posted by agropyron at 1:06 PM on May 11, 2005

If you smoke one and it's dried out and burning too hot, I wonder if the roll-your-own-tobacco trick might work: you could try putting a chunk of orange peel in the bag with the others, just for a day or two. Of course, this will affect the taste of the cigar...
posted by Specklet at 1:07 PM on May 11, 2005

I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't fine especially if they were properly humidified when you bought them. If they had been laying about unprotected my opinion would be different but sealed in the tubes and zip lock bag I would be more concerned about mold than about dryness.

A lot can also depend upon where you live. In my neck of the woods I sometimes have to be more concerned about dehumidification rather than humidification.

Either way, try one. If it is dry the orange peel suggestion is worth trying.
posted by Carbolic at 2:29 PM on May 11, 2005

You can easily check the state of the cigars by lightly squeezing the foot end (the end you light). It should be slightly spongy, and give at least a little bit. If it's crackly, or tobacco flakes out, it's probably no longer worth your attention. See the above article on restoration (it's worked for me a couple of times), but the odds are slim.
posted by dragstroke at 2:30 PM on May 11, 2005

I would recommend avoiding orange peel, or anything which will affect the taste of the cigar.

The usual advice on re-humidifying is to put the cigars in a ziploc bag with some moist oasis material or damp sponge (you should buy humidification solution or use distilled water, as this prevents bacteria which will do further damage to your cigars.) Any cigar FAQ should have more details on this. They will never be perfect but you may be able to get them in serviceable order.

In future, use a humidor. It's not expensive to get a basic one and it will make all the difference in maintaining cigars in their proper condition. Plus they look cool!
posted by skylar at 3:14 PM on May 11, 2005

Best answer: I've just read the bit about the screw-top tube. If they are still i metal tubes and the tubes have never once been opened, they will be completely fine and you won't need to worry. The tubes are there to keep them fresh and prevent them from drying out.
posted by skylar at 11:09 PM on May 11, 2005

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