It takes only a few weeks for a cigar to become dry in adverse conditions, but it takes a few months to restore them. And although dry cigars could be brought back to an acceptable smoking condition, they will probably never be as good as they originally were.
So an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t let a good cigar go bad. Read up on humidors and storage options on this website.
There are several ways of treating dry cigars, depending on their condition. If a cigar has become dry and the wrapper has not cracked and unraveled, 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. And if it has completely dried out, it will fall apart between your fingers regardless of how gentle and careful you are, so restoration would be impossible.
Your first step is to remove your dry stogies from their cellophane wrappers, or cedar/aluminum tubes. If they’re not super-dry, the entire cigar box (with its lid open) may be placed inside a large walk-in humidor or any location where they can slowly be reintroduced to dampness – ideally 70% humidity. (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)
In 4-6 days, you can remove the cigars from their box and expose them to the full humidity of the humidor. To combat small water bubbles that may appear under the wrapper, rotate the cigars a quarter-turn every 2 days. Continue this process for as long as necessary – possibly up to three weeks.
When the wrappers look even and the body feels smooth, and when there is only a gentle crackling sound when you press your cigars between your fingers, it’s time to return your cigars to their original box. After treatment it is best to let cigars rest for 6-12 months to allow the three components (filler, binder and wrapper) to re-equilibrate before smoking. Just check on their condition every three months.
Quick tip: For cigars that aren’t too dried-out, restoration can sometimes be achieved by simply wrapping the closed box in a damp (not wet) towel for about two weeks.