My journey into the hobby of pipe and cigar smoking can be defined as “seasonal.” I began by enjoying cigars at the ripe age of eighteen. At the time, I thought I had found the love of my life and that I would never be tempted by another ever again. That is until the one day that I strayed from my first love by purchasing my first pipe and pipe tobacco. It was a sweet escape from cigars and I enjoyed my pipe for a few months before returning to cigars. And so I’ve played this on-again-off-again game for now well over a decade. I will go months enjoying cigar after cigar only to be lured back into the realm of the pipe and all the many flavors its tobacco provides.
Last year turned out to be quite the year for pipes. I acquired quite a few new pipes and really began experimenting with new tobacco blends and flakes. It seemed the more I tried, the more I kept looking for that perfect blend or flake. The more pipes I acquired, the harder I chased that perfect pipe with just the right draw. And I did all of this at the expense of my cigar collection which was being neglected in a humidor that was not being given proper humidification. Each time I looked at my humidor I told myself that I needed to reseason my humidor so that my sticks wouldn’t dry out, but each time I would find something else to do.
Until last Sunday.
I’m now coming out of a “pipe season” and transitioning into a “cigar season” of life. So what does a man heading into a cigar season need? Well, he needs cigars. And a lot of them! Last Sunday, I took my humidor off the shelf, dusted it off and slowly raised the lid with apprehension as if I were opening up a casket that had been buried long ago. Yes, just as I had assumed, the cigars were very dry. And mind you, I’ve got some prized possessions in this humidor! Five or so Opus X cigars. Maybe ten Cuban Bolivars and Cohibas. I almost cried when I saw just how dried out they were!
But I’ve done some research and I’m encouraged that my collection of sticks might be able to be saved…to a point. Of course, they’ve forever lost the oily texture that well-humidified cigars have, but from what I’ve read, I can slowly (and very gently) rehumidify my collection back to life. This process, from what I understand, takes time. Lots of time. But I figure time is all I have. It took time for these bad boys to dry out and it will take time to bring them back from the dead.
As I understand, in order to do this, you have to introduce humidity back into the cigars very slowly so the wrappers won’t burst, thus ruining the cigar totally from a construction point of view. To accomplish this, I reseasoned my humidor but I’m trying to keep the humidity around 50% or so until the cigars get acclimated to that level of humidity. In a few weeks, I’ll bump up the humidity a little more by adding another humidification device and hope for the best. I’ll keep doing this until the cigars are at the proper humidification and hopefully save my collection. Most of the cigars are replaceable so if it doesn’t work, then at least I gave it the ol’ college try. But I would really love to hang on to the Opus X’s and Cubans. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I’ve learned a valuable lesson: If you’re going to cheat on your cigars by smoking pipes for an extended period of time, don’t forget to take the stogies out for a night on the town every once in awhile.