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About three years ago I went through a nasty break-up, life fell apart, and there wasn’t much joy in the luxury of cigar smoking for me. Somewhere in the turmoil I stopped caring for the 55qt cooler of cigars I had amassed. Since then it’s sat in my parents basement at a pretty consistent 65 degrees Fahrenheit but I assumed it was all done for. The cabs of PLPC, boxes of RA Limitada ‘15, Party Lusis, all of it.

 

Finally at a happy point in life, I took my new partner (best woman ever BTW) down to my local cigar store the other day and introduced her to my old hobby that had brought me so many good times before. Got the itch again and decided that I should work through the shame and regret and start smoking again. Still haunted by the memory of the collection lost, I began again the habit of checking 24:24 daily, dreaming of what could be.

 

Tonight we stopped by my parent’s place after dinner to pick up my old desktop humidor. I was set to chuck everything inside, season it, and recommit myself. She convinced me to open the Chernobyl Sarcophagus that is my 55qt cooler and as I did I couldn't help but open boxes. The hygrometer read 55% which surprised me. I can’t remember if it read high or low before but as I pulled cigars out to feel them, many felt OK and still had an aroma at cold. The wrappers lacked some sheen but none cracked when rolled between my fingers. Even the 65% Bovedas still had a bit of moisture in them even though they were not fully plump. I was shocked to realize that three or so years of neglect hasn’t left me a pile of tobacco dust. Perhaps the humidity of my beloved Pacific Northwest North American climate had been just enough to keep my cigars alive.

 

Having never smoked aged stock and even having forgotten what many of these smokes tasted like, I’m not sure how best to assess the situation. I have hope now but would like some input from more seasoned veterans before I dive in to the process of revival. Is it a fool’s errand to attempt to rehumidfy? Am I simply blinded by the shame of neglecting my babies and not realizing there is still hope? All the non-CCs are toast, hard and brittle but somehow nearly every CC in that cooler seemed to have a bit of life in it. 

 

What say the FOH gurus? Do I journey down the road to redemption or cut losses and begin again from scratch? Is there even a need for a massive operation or would a slew of new Bovedas set me right?

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I'm new but wouldn't hurt to try some bóvedas 

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Try bringing them up slowly. Get some high 50’s Boveda, then some low 60’s and ultimately 65’s.  I think your cigars are in much better shape than you think. I can’t remember who/where but I believe there is a shop that keeps their long term aging below 60%

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Toss in a bunch of 60-70% bovedas (depending on your preference), let them sit for a while and start smoking them!

To be honest, your storage conditions are probably better than most retailers who "age" stock and most certainly better than the "aging stock" in Cuba.  I wouldn't hesitate to smoke your sticks right away either.

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First of all, congrats on making it through to the other side.  Way more important than cigars. 

Coolers do a remarkable job of maintaining humidity for a really really long time, especially ones that never are air tight and never get opened. 

If as you said, the 65% packs still had some moisture in them, it's likely they hygrometer is actually wrong/reading incorrectly.  Just toss in a few more 65% packs in the cooler.  Wait a month...or don't.  You've earned it. 

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Yeah, this is pretty much the best case scenario for cigars abandoned for a couple years. If the bovedas aren't dried up yet you are probably in pretty good shape. Add more boveda 65s if they ones in there aren't dry yet. Hell, smoke PLPC now and see how they are.

Were the NCs stored in the same cooler? They might not be as dead as you think either.

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Is there any reason you would need to make the decision one way or the other up front? Why not start collecting some new boxes, seeing as you are intent on doing that anyway, but keep this old stock for awhile, and try re-hydration with more Bovedas? There is nothing to lose by holding on to them for awhile. Try a couple as you go along. Are they OK? Trust your senses. When I say that, it's not the same thing as a flat earth nut telling you to trust your senses. The fallibility of human senses has no place in describing how the Universe works, but when it comes to cigars, and you smoking them, well then your own subjectivity, your senses and perceptions mean absolutely everything!
You will always get good advice from this forum, but honestly, trust your senses on this issue.
In closing, cigars are much more resilient than many think. The fact you were not completely out of moisture means they are likely fine, as people have already said.

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Get a new/calibrated hygrometer, toss in several 62 Boveda and see where you’re at in a week. 

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  It sounds like they are good, if the bovedas etc still have content in them then they're still working and don't really need anything. If you do decide to then go very very slowly, talking months per small change so you don't split and wrappers.

  Pick some and give them a smoke, you might only need to do a bit of housekeeping and you're set for a great summer of smokes!

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2 hours ago, La_Tigre said:

Get a new/calibrated hygrometer, toss in several 62 Boveda and see where you’re at in a week. 

+1 on this 

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Smoke one my man. Based on what you’ve written, I would not be surprised at all to find they are not only smokable, but may be quite a surprise. There are people out there that store their cigars in the mid to upper 50’s for long term storage. Plus the bovedas still haven’t dried up? I think you are going to be good to go. Your geographical location likely played a large role here. Had you lived in say Arizona, I think they would be screwed. 

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Light some up! Before you do anything else, try some. Find out where you stand before any tinkering. Then recalibrate or get a new hydrometer. I’d be itching to try some if I was you. Please let us know how you get on?


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Man, I’d fire one up on the drive home!!   I’m betting they're fine.   As others mentioned just get them to whatever your desired smoking range is.  Heck, i’ve dry boxed cigars for 2-3 weeks that are fantastic, and I’ll bet rh isn’t above 55%....  

👍🏽

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If your parents’ place is west of the Cascades and they don’t have A/C, I bet you’d be shocked by how high the ambient humidity is there most of the year, especially in a basement. Most people underestimate it because they assume 70% at 65° and 70% at 90° would feel similarly.

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Send me a box and I'll let you know if you should send another.

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@PointFivePast selfishly, I live in Seattle and I’ll definitely attempt the revival on you behalf! 🤤 

I’ll at least settle for any charity boxes you’d like to donate to the Newbie CC organization.

Please DM me if you are feeling generous, but I say attempt the revival as it will be just another positive accomplishment to tip the struggle scale to thriving!

Cheers!

 

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If the bovedas aren’t bricks I’d say I agree with the consensus and you’re in great shape. You’re a lucky duck on a couple fronts.

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13 hours ago, Notsocleaver said:

Yeah, this is pretty much the best case scenario for cigars abandoned for a couple years. If the bovedas aren't dried up yet you are probably in pretty good shape. Add more boveda 65s if they ones in there aren't dry yet. Hell, smoke PLPC now and see how they are.

Were the NCs stored in the same cooler? They might not be as dead as you think either.

Some NC’s were in the cooler though most were in the wooden desktop which is much dryer with a completely dry 320g Boveda. I’ll take a test run on the NCs in the cooler though to be sure before chucking. A few limited run cigars NCs I never had the chance to even taste in there.

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11 hours ago, La_Tigre said:

Get a new/calibrated hygrometer, toss in several 62 Boveda and see where you’re at in a week. 

Going to recalibrate the electronic hygrometer whose batteries had died

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Thank you all for the advice! Seems I may have some gems on my hands here. It was a long few years to get the ship right again but at least there is a treasure trove of cigars to be had. I’ll throw some 62% Bovedas in slowly and beyond that just count my lucky stars!

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6 hours ago, bpm32 said:

If your parents’ place is west of the Cascades and they don’t have A/C, I bet you’d be shocked by how high the ambient humidity is there most of the year, especially in a basement. Most people underestimate it because they assume 70% at 65° and 70% at 90° would feel similarly.

 

5 hours ago, ImTripN2 said:

Salvage?  Three years of neglect?  Seems to me that you set up a perfect long term storage situation. Average RH in Portland is close to 70%, and at a reasonably constant 65 degrees, your cigars have been perfectly stored for ageing IMHO. I'd be really hesitant to toss in a bunch of bovedas yet, and go really slow if you do. If the cigars are not cracking and the current bovedas are not totally dry I think you screwed it up just right. 😉

Start smoking them and see.

Indeed no A/C in well shaded house in Portland. Maybe I should just build a locker down there and rent the space the from them permanently 😂

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29 minutes ago, PointFivePast said:

Some NC’s were in the cooler though most were in the wooden desktop which is much dryer with a completely dry 320g Boveda. I’ll take a test run on the NCs in the cooler though to be sure before chucking. A few limited run cigars NCs I never had the chance to even taste in there.

Yeah, wooden desktops can't seal as well as a cooler. The stuff in the desktop might be gone, but I bet everything in the cooler will be fine.

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