Some more thoughts along this topic. I'm pretty sure that the raw tobacco that is used by the manufacturers can sit around in the warehouse for years before getting used -- and little effort is made to keep it hydrated over this time (trying to maintain hydration would be very expensive and the risk of mold would be substantial). This is partially documented at the MacBarren website: http://mac-baren.com/selection-of-raw-tobaccos "In our raw tobacco warehouse, we have enough tobacco for two years production" "Raw tobaccos have a moisture level of about 7%. At such a low level, the leaves would crumble during further processing. The first step in the production process is therefore to loosen the tobacco carefully and add steam." An intrinsic part of the manufacturing process is to rehydrate before blending and packaging. If we accept that what we receive in the tins is of good quality then we must also accept that re-hydrated tobacco is of good quality (which was the original question of this thread). To give an extreme example: Syrian latakia was last produced over 10 years ago and yet that last batch of tobacco is still being used to make blends today. That means it has been drying out as it sits in a huge bin in some warehouse for over 10 years. Therefore every new tin of tobacco containing Syrian latakia starts with decade old bone-dry tobacco. And yet, ever new tin of Syrian latakia based tobacco I have smoked has been wonderful.