Dry tobacco - how do you revive it?

Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
#1
I have a couple of tins of tobacco that I bought when first picking up pipes a couple of years ago.

I didn’t like aromatics but kept 2-3 tins in a drawer where I forgot about them.

Recently I found them - obviously completely dried out.

I tried several things:
1. I put a 72% boveda in one for several weeks. It did work somewhat. But I wasn’t really happy with the results.

2. one of them, I had recently bought a new tin of. I dumped the dry tobacco in the fresh tin, on top of the new one. Somehow after a week it seemed like the old one was almost completely back to fresh.

Don’t really know how that happened but it seems like the excess humidity traveled from the fresh to the dry tobacco and maybe took some of the flavoring with it.
 

dmkerr

No fiddle sticks left to give
Staff member
#9
I don't rehydrate. In my experience, rehydration never fully restores the taste of the blend. And most of what i smoke improves with moisture loss. Consequently, it becomes a matter of smoking a blend that tastes less good or simply tossing it. I would rather not smoke a blend unless it is at its best...just no point.

But if i felt i couldnt just throw it away, i would use slow tri's method.
 
#10
There are 2 methods I use to rehydrate pipe tobacco:
1. Place a piece of terracotta soaked in water in a jar with the tobacco for a few days
2. Place the tobacco in a bowl and cover with a damp paper towl then leave untill tobacco is at the correct moisture level
I've done the 2nd one once in awhile but not often cause in a lot of cases I prefer mine on the dry side
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Patron
Old Ted Award Winner
#12
Unfortunately, it's not just a matter of adding water. Oils and toppings are lost due to dehydration, as well as some water. Aromatics are particularly susceptible to not returning to the fresh state. PG evaporates too, and as it is used to keep moisture in and stabilize toppings, if dried will also act as a shield to keep new moisture out.

Consider letting a soda dehydrate. Even only half way. Then add water to "bring it back". Will it be restored to it's fresh state? Or rehydrate a steak, then want it cooked medium rare. Best of luck.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, sure, you can add water, and get the feel, maybe even some scent and behavior aspects of the tobacco back, but it will only be a shadow of it's former self.
 

Russ H.

Fight The Good Fight
#13
I tend to smoke pretty much any blend dry. However as @Ozark Wizard has stated there is a lot lost with aromatics when dried. You will lose a lot of the flavor profile with aromatics.
Sadly there is nothing that in my opinion that will bring back flavor profiles to a crispy aromatic. blend. One thing I have done is to put a blend in a glass bowl. Then stretch the cling wrap for food very tight over the bowl. Place the bowl in direct sun light, and allow the sun to make the air tight bowl sweat. You can add a little moisture prior to doing this. However I haven't done this in years. Pretty much anything I have tried with aromatics has ended with the tobacco being ok--just not super pronounced flavors.
 

DannoH

Well-known member
Patron
#16
I don't rehydrate. In my experience, rehydration never fully restores the taste of the blend. And most of what i smoke improves with moisture loss. Consequently, it becomes a matter of smoking a blend that tastes less good or simply tossing it. I would rather not smoke a blend unless it is at its best...just no point.
Very much this. Nearly any virginia-based blend tastes better to me well-dried.

I've smoked blends that were tea dust dry and found them delightful. Returned to half-consumed pipes that had been misplaced for 8 months - just fine.

This may say more about my palate (ahem) than anything else, but still, I prefer dry tobacco of any variety to moist.
 
#17
I only rehydrate when the tobacco is downright crunchy and can otherwise crumble to dust. I used to be very cautious about this never letting the actual water touch the leaf. I am not so cautious anymore as I now will just add a few drops of distilled water into the jar full of tobacco.

I put a few drops in and let it sit overnight and repeat until the tobacco has reached my desired humidity level. I have noted no difference between this and having the water separate from the leaf except that it is much easier.
 
#18
I only rehydrate when the tobacco is downright crunchy and can otherwise crumble to dust
This is exactly the state my tobacco was in after 5 years in an open tin.

Usually this doesn’t happen to me. I give away what I don’t want to finish or seal it properly.

I just wanted to try those blends again before deciding wether or not to give up on them.
 

blackmouth210

Friendly Misanthrope
Patron
#19
I have rehydrated tobacco a few different ways. All worked ok, but the method @Slow Tri mentioned was the most fool-proof. It's hard to mess that one up.

The other 2 methods:

Take a dropper and put a couple of drops of distilled water in a ziploc with the tobacco. Zip it tight. Shake the tobacco up. Let it sit overnight.
By morning the blend will be noticeably more moist. Don't leave the tobacco in that bag.
The difficulty can be in how many drops of water to use per ziploc. Pace yourself. You can always repeat the process the following night if the tobacco is still too crunchy after the first try.

Another option is to lightly wet a paper towel with distilled water and ball it up. Next, place the tobacco in a plastic bin like Rubbermaid and Tupperware makes. The kind that has an airtight lid. Make it large enough so you can spread the tobacco out in a single layer. And also big enough so that you have one spot where you can put the balled paper towel. Make sure the towel and tobacco don't touch. Put the lid on tight and give it a few hours.
This is faster than the method @Slow Tri gave. But not nearly as forgiving. Depending on how much you wet the towel, you may wind up with a soggy mess if you leave the lid on too long. So less water is better to start with.

Having said all that, I also like a crispy blend sometimes. I found about a half oz of Star of the East I had forgotten about in a tobacco pouch and dry...I mean DRY with a capital "F". Yet, that stuff was still a tasty smoke. I smoked it all without any rehydration and enjoyed it.
 
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dmkerr

No fiddle sticks left to give
Staff member
#20
Having said all that, I also like a crispy blend sometimes. I found about a half oz of Star of the East I had forgotten about in a tobacco pouch and dry...I mean DRY with a capital "F". Yet, that stuff was still a tasty smoke. I smoked it all without any rehydration and enjoyed it.
Aside from my first gifted batch of Stonehaven where the sender told me to never smoke it anywhere north of crispy, i discovered this the same way you did. I smoked a tin of McClellands Latakia Flake and pronounced it good but nothing to write home about. My 2nd tin got opened and forgotton until i stumbled upon it many months later, totally crispified. It was ambrosial. From then on, all my flakes are fully dried to ensure maximum flavor.