Micheal Laffey

Signs Your Cigar Is Too Dry to Smoke

Before you say goodbye to your stale cigar, make sure it is too dry to enjoy. You can rehydrate cigars, but some are a lost cause.

Read this article to know what to look for when deciding if your cigar has gone bad. In addition to a dry feeling, there are other ways to test the cigar and figure out if you can smoke it.

Signs Your Cigar is Dry

There are a few signs to help you determine if your cigar is too dry to smoke. To help you learn how to tell if a cigar is dry, we’ve broken down the four signs that your cigar is too dry, plus an easy test to help you gauge the moisture content in the cigar. If you need to know how to tell if a cigar is dry, consider these aspects:

Dry Texture

Sometimes, you can see the dryness of a cigar. If you see cracks or severe discoloration, it is probably bad. You may also hear a slight crackling noise when you handle the cigar. These physical characteristics should tell you that the cigar has become too dry to smoke.

Stale Flavor

Another way to tell if the cigar is too dry is by the flavor when you smoke it. If you light the cigar, and it has a dry, harsh, bitter flavor, the cigar is probably bad. Unfortunately, the only way to tell if the flavor is gone or stale is to light the cigar and smoke it.

Lack of Smell

Another way to tell if a cigar is bad without lighting it is to smell it. This smell test is the easiest for smokers who know the familiar scent of their favorite cigar. If the smell is different and seems off, you should probably toss the cigar or consider rehydrating it. The smell will likely be dusty and stale or have no smell at all. Cigars should have a powerful and distinct aroma when they are in good condition.

The Pinch Test

The pinch test is one of the easiest ways to determine if a cigar is in good condition. When you hold the cigar between two fingers, you should be able to squeeze it lightly and feel some elasticity. If there is no bounce when you pinch the cigar, it may be too dry or too moist.

A dried-out cigar will feel like a piece of driftwood and won’t have any give when you squeeze it. On the other hand, if the cigar feels mushy and soft and doesn’t bounce back, it has become too saturated with moisture and can’t be smoked.

Causes of a Dry Cigar

dry cigar leave

The causes of a dry cigar are simple. The relative humidity around the cigars dropped too low, sucking the moisture out of the cigar’s wrapper and tobacco leaves. Even if you use a humidor, it can dry out your cigars if you don’t maintain the correct moisture levels.

The cause of a dry cigar almost always boils down to improper storage. So if you aren’t storing your cigars in the right environment, they will likely dry out or take on too much moisture.

Steps to Revive a Dry Cigar

If you’ve determined that your cigar is dried out, don’t worry. It is possible to revive a cigar by adding moisture to it. However, you can only do this if the cigar is not past the point of no return. If the wrapper is disintegrating, it likely can’t be saved. At that point, you should throw it away.

But if you want to try bringing your cigar back to life, try following the steps below:

  1. Place the dry cigar in a plastic bag, airtight container, or humidor.
  2. Slowly increase the humidity where your cigar is. A humidor will likely have a built-in function for this, but you can also buy hygrometers separately to monitor the humidity. You can increase the moisture in the air by using a humidifier or misting the air frequently. Do not humidify your cigar too quickly. If you do it will become too moist on the outside while still being dry on the inside. This process can take days or weeks when done right.
  3. Check on your cigar every so often and perform the pinch test to determine if it is moist enough to enjoy. Aim for a 68-72% relative humidity.

Remember, there is no guarantee you can revive your dry cigar, but this is the best method if you want to try.

How to Prevent Your Cigar From Drying

While it is possible to revive a cigar, it’s best to prevent it from drying out in the first place. There are several ways to keep your cigars at the right humidity.

Leave the Plastic Wrapper

Leaving the plastic wrapper on the cigar is the bare minimum of cigar care. If you do not have any way to properly store cigars before you’re ready to smoke them, you shouldn’t remove the wrapper until you smoke it.

Monitor Humidity and Temperature

Wherever you store your cigars, it should be a room or location where you can control and monitor the temperature and relative humidity. So a room with a thermostat and humidifier is a great place. But you can always purchase thermometers and hygrometers, so you can check the climate regularly.

Seal in Plastic Bags

Another option for maintaining the moisture in your cigars is to seal them in a plastic bag or Ziploc bag. You can store a damp sponge with them to keep the air in the bag humid, so the cigars don’t dry out. A Ziploc bag is great if you aren’t a frequent cigar smoker or are traveling with cigars. But if you regularly enjoy cigars, we recommend finding a more reliable storage method.

Store in Airtight Containers

Airtight containers are a step above plastic bags. You can also keep a sponge or damp cloth in the container to keep the humidity levels up. Airtight containers are great for traveling with your cigars or if you have many to store. Tupperware containers seal in moisture and flavor, so they work well for cigars.

Use a Humidor

Using a humidor to store your cigars is hands-down the best option. Humidors are boxes designed for cigar storage because they regulate temperature and humidity while seasoning the cigars for an incredible aroma and flavor. When you use a humidor, you should unwrap your cigars because they will take on more flavor from marinating in the humidor.

There are many humidor varieties. Some are more high-tech than others, but they all function to maintain the integrity and freshness of your cigars. You can’t go wrong with a decent humidor for cigar storage.

Why You Shouldn’t Smoke a Dry Cigar

It will not be a pleasant experience. Dry cigars often lose most of their flavor and produce harsh, uncomfortable smoke on your throat and mouth.

They won’t taste how they should or burn right, so the only reason not to smoke a dry cigar is that it won’t be good. If you love cigars, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice in smoking one.


cigars in bundle

It is a sad day when a cigar-lover has to part with a premium cigar that just became too dry. But if you know the signs of a dry cigar, you will be able to salvage the smoke before it reaches the point of no return.

Keep this guide handy next time one of your cigars doesn’t look or smell quite right. And hopefully, you’ll be able to save it!


Below are a few commonly asked questions about whether a cigar is bad and what you can do to save it. Read this section for extra information on cigar quality and care.

Can a cigar be too moist?

Yes, absolutely. If a cigar is too moist it will become spongy and soft, and it may not even spark if the wrapper is too humid. If your cigar becomes too moist, you can try to dehumidify it by leaving it in a dry space. You could even put them in the sun for a few minutes to speed up the process.

Can cigars be re-rolled?

Technically, you probably could re-roll a cigar, but you shouldn’t. Premium cigars are rolled by experts and then carefully aged. If you attempt to re-roll, you will likely destroy the wrapper and wind up with a misshapen and non-smokable cigar.