Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Good Stewardship and the Mixing of Vices

Those of you following my escapades on Twitter and Facebook know I've been experimenting this weekend.

It was a slow workday afternoon last Friday.  The phones weren't ringing, the emails were nonexistant, and the fax machine was quiet.  Even the weekend warrior walk-ins were few and far between!  This made the afternoon drrrrraaaaaagggg.

I'd read all my favourite blogs, exhausted Twitter and Facebook, and even made sure my work was up to date.  With little else to do, and with my sanity nearing its end, I opted to go for a walk.  Grabbing my sunglasses off my cigar humidor, I wondered aloud if I had any cigars left.  To my delight, I had two!

I'd neglected to refill the sponge in the humistat for quite some time, so the humidor was slightly less than humid... the inside was sitting at 20% humidity.  Not exactly conducive to keeping one's cigars fresh.

I figured "What the Hell", grabbed the older cigar of the two, borrowed my coworker Nick's lighter, and walked outside.

The cigar was horribly dried out.  I carefully trimmed the end off with my trimmer, making sure to work slowly, so the end didn't disintegrate and unravel the works.  No problem there.

The cigar was pretty harsh, burned a bit too hot and fast for my liking, but it was a welcome relief from the tedium inside the office.

I was out there for about half an hour.  A few of the guys saw me outside and decided to have their smoke breaks with me.  Our camaraderie was great!

While I was out there, I wondered if there were ways to reconstitute or rehydrate dried out cigars.  A few suggestions (and encouragement) came courtesy of Facebook, so I took some of the ideas and, after searching for answers on Google, I ran with them.

When I got home that evening, I grabbed a couple of the dried-out Rafael Gonzales' I had in my living room humidor.  They had been in a nearly bone-dry humidor for the better part of a year!  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I grabbed two for experimentation purposes, along with a flask full of Wild Turkey bourbon (which had probably been in there a couple of years).

One of the solutions I found was to soak a cotton ball with water, put it in a ziploc bag with a dried out cigar, and seal the bag (making sure the two don't touch).  The tobacco in a cigar is highly absorbent, and will slowly draw the water from the cotton ball.

Another solution was to pour a bit of brandy (or whiskey, cognac, etc) into a glass and to dip the end of the cigar into it.  A third proposed pouring water (or your alcohol of choice) into a shotglass and leaving it in a humidor with your cigars.

Not wanting to risk all the cigars in the humidor, I combined the first two solutions.  As we didn't have any cotton balls in the house, I grabbed a couple of Jillian's cotton makeup removal pads... just like cotton balls, but flat.  I soaked two of 'em in the bourbon, and threw 'em in the ziploc bag, not bothering to wring them out.  I carefully placed the cigars into the bag and sealed it up, making sure the cigars and cotton pads weren't touching.  I put the bags up on my old radio and left them alone for the weekend.



Fast forward to this morning.

Deciding that the cigars had had ample time to absorb the bourbon, I removed them from the bag.  Whew... they smelled like year-old Wild Turkey alright!  I put the cigars into my portable humidor and threw that into my lunchbox.  My lunch break couldn't come fast enough!

When it did, I excitedly scurried outside, trimmed the end of the cigar, and lit it.

Was it worth the effort?  It was indeed!  I was rewarded with one of the best cigars I have ever had the pleasure of smoking.

Pictured:  Happy CJ.


It was also a Hell of a lot of fun being creative with things I'd have normally thrown away.  The cigars would have been tossed, and the bourbon would have been used to unclog my sink.

So, with eight or so more cigars still in the non-humid humidor, and with a full liquor cabinet, I'm going to repeat the experiment with different spirits.

Tonight's attempt will be infusing another Rafael Gonzales cigar with cherry brandy, one with vanilla Cognac, and another with Glenfiddich Scotch.  I'll hopefully have more good news to report.