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Reviving Your Cigars

Romeo y Julieta Romeo de Luxe cigars LEThere has been much discussion and argument over whether cigars can be restored to their normal state once they have dried out. If a cigar has become dry and the wrapper has not cracked and unravelled, then it can be restored. But this must be done slowly and patiently. If the wrapper has actually broken then the cigar should be discarded. If it has completely dried out, it will fall apart between your fingers regardless of how gentle and careful you are.

Remember, that although dry cigars could be brought back to an acceptable smoking condition, they will probably never be as good as they originally were. There are several ways of treating dry cigars, depending on their condition. They must be removed from any cellophane wrappers, cedar or aluminium tubes before any restoration process. If they are not excessively dry, the box with its lid open should be placed inside a large walk-in humidor or, if one is not available, in a cellar or similar dampish location, where they can be exposed slowly to dampness, as close to 70% humidity as possible. After two or three days the top and bottom rows should be interchanged and should remain in that position for another two or three days.

If you do not have a walk-in humidor or cellar then you can probably undertake a similar process using two 'Zip N Seal' plastic bags. Firstly, puncture the smaller bag with many little holes and then insert the open box and close the bag. Place that bag, now containing the cigars, into a larger 'Zip N Seal' bag containing a wrung-out slightly damp sponge. Seal the second bag. After four to six days the cigars should be removed from their box and exposed to the full humidity. Sometimes small water bubbles may appear under the wrapper, but there is nothing to fear as long as you give the cigars a 25% rotation every two or three days. Complete the process until the cigars have been fully rotated at least twice, providing even exposure to the humidity. By this time any bubbles will have disappeared. This process can take up to three weeks.

At the end of the treatment the wrappers will again look and feel smooth with only the normal gentle crackling sound when the cigars are pressed between fingers, they can then be returned to their original box.

Please remember the following points before you start:

- If you use the 'Zip N Seal' bags, ensure the wrung-out sponge is just damp, not excessively wet
- When the cigars are not too dry they can sometimes be restored by simply wrapping the closed box in a damp (not wet) towel for about two weeks.
- After treatment it is best to leave cigars for 6 to 12 months for the three components (filler, binder and wrapper) again to equilibrate before smoking. Just check on their condition every three months.
- It takes only a few weeks for a cigar to become dry in adverse conditions, but it takes a few months to restore them to a smokable condition.
- It is best not to mix cigars of different brands, particularly Havanas and New World, but to store them separately.

Restoring Extremely Dry Cigars: If you provide extremely dry cigars with too much humidity, too quickly, then the wrappers will split. It is best to keep them in their box in a large or walk-in humidor or 'Zip N Seal' bag for about a month before opening the lid. Then they can be removed and then undergo the previously described rotation method.

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