As much as some guys like their cigars on the spongy side, an over-humidified cigar is just as unpleasant to smoke as a cigar that’s too dry. When a cigar is too moist, it’s tough to light, the edges can burn faster than the interior, and the wrapper can crack or come unravelled while you’re smoking it. The ideal conditions for storing your cigars are 70% RH (relative humidity) and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are the best ways to fix over-humidified cigars. Start by identifying the cause.
Causes of Over-Humidified Cigars
Sometimes simple operator error results in cigars that are too wet if you overcompensate when you’re refilling the reservoir in your humidor. In other instances, cigars you recently purchased may have come from an over-humidified environment. Here are a couple of common culprits.
Too Much Humidity in Your Humidor
If you saturate the humidification device in your humidor with too much water, or too frequently, you can over-humidify your cigars. The best way to avoid this scenario is simple: check your hygrometer. Make sure your hygrometer is calibrated, and monitor the readings on a regular basis, especially within the first few days of refilling your humidor’s reservoir. If the humidity spikes and doesn’t come back down, review the proper way to charge a cigar humidifier.
Too Much Humidity in a Retailer’s Humidor
If you buy a cigar that’s too moist, return it. Most reputable premium retailers monitor their humidification levels daily to ensure their inventory is always in perfect condition. If you just bought a cigar and you’re having trouble getting it to stay lit, or it seems too soft, ask the retailer to exchange it.
Fixing Over-Humidified Cigars
First, the microwave is not a remedy. Exposing your cigars to extreme conditions shocks them. When cigars expand or contract too quickly, their construction is hindered. Exercise patience. Give your cigars enough time to acclimate gradually to changes in temperature and humidity. Here are the best ways to bring your cigars back to a healthy equilibrium.
Remove the Humidification Device from Your Humidor (Temporarily)
If the humidity is too high in your humidor, remove the humidification device for a day or two. Record your hygrometer readings. The humidity should gradually fall. If the humidity is substantially high (80% RH or greater), crack the lid on your humidor and leave it open for a day or two. Opening the lid completely is not recommended because a gradual dissipation of humidity is preferred. Insert a pen or pencil under the lid so that it only opens a slightly. When your hygrometer registers a desired humidity level (68-70% RH), place your reservoir back in the humidor.
Rotate Your Cigars
Every couple of weeks rotate the cigars in your humidor so that the same cigars aren’t always closest to your humidification device, where they can absorb a disproportionate amount of humidity. Shift the cigars from the bottom rows to the top and vice versa.
One of the safest, easiest ways to remove excess humidity from your cigars is to add strips or sheets of cedar to your humidor or the environment where your cigars are stored. Most premium cigars are packaged in boxes with layers of cedar in between the rows. Save a few sheets of cedar when you buy a box of cigars, or request them from a retailer when you’re purchasing a few singles. Cedar naturally absorbs humidity and it will impact the flavour of your cigars positively as you and age them. You can add cedar strips to a traditional humidor or even a Ziploc bag to absorb excess moisture.
Dry-boxing cigars is simply storing them in an empty wooden cigar box for a day, or a few days, to draw out excess humidity. An empty cigar box is not a substitute for a proper humidor, but it’s a dependable enclosure for storing cigars that are too wet. Many cigar boxes are made of, or lined with, cedar, which naturally and gradually absorbs excess humidity from your cigars. Save a few empty wooden cigar boxes and seal any over-humidified cigars inside until they have dried out enough to smoke.
Leave Cigars Out of Your Humidor Overnight
It’s not uncommon for cigar lovers to remove a cigar from the humidor and leave it sit out overnight before they smoke it. They do so to let some of the immediate humidity dissipate to ensure an effortless burn. When your cigars are over-humidified, we don’t necessarily recommend this method because the shift in humidity can be too drastic. But it is something to consider if your cigars a slightly over-humidified and you just can’t wait to smoke them.