It’s no secret. By purchasing your premium cigars online you can save a lot of money. There’s only one catch; you have to wait for your cigars to be delivered. As a result, I’m often asked how long mail-order cigars should be allowed to rest before smoking them.
Technically speaking, premium handmade cigars should be ready to smoke right out of the factory box when they arrive at the store. If everything was done right at the factory, including the aging time, and the cigars were properly stored by the vendor, your cigars should be OK when they arrive at your house.
Moreover, I’d be willing to wager that the majority of cigar smokers light-up that first cigar within seconds of signing for the package – even those who know that a little nap after their trip is good for your cigars. But whether you’ve purchased your cigars from another state, or the tobacconist on the corner of Main Street, premium cigars tend to smoke better after being allowed to settle in your home humidor. Two good reasons for doing so are: 1) you really don’t know how the cigars were stored before being loaded onto the truck, and 2) you don’t know what conditions the cigars were exposed to during the shipping period. Was the truck exceptionally hot or cold; did the box get pushed around or fall at any time during the trip, etc.?
Consider this: The cigars get some resting time while they’re in the truck, and if the vendor packed them well, the packing materials will help insulate them. The latter should also help keep the cigars fresh whether you ordered a box, a bundle or a sampler. Certainly, the conditions the plane and/or truck is exposed to en route, like those described above, could possibly affect them in some way. This is one of the reasons many online customers are willing to pay more for overnight shipping. That said, I rarely hear complaints about packages that are shipped coast-to-coast via Ground, which takes about five days.
Regardless of how long it takes the package to get to you, unless you’re really Jones’n for a cigar the moment the box hits your doorstep, I, as well as other cigar smokers I’ve spoken to on this subject, agree that cigars tend to smoke and burn better when given at least a week to rest after leaving the vendor’s warehouse, even if their warehouse/humidor is kept at optimum conditions. By allowing the cigars to settle in your humidor for a week or so, they have time to adjust to the conditions in which they’ll be stored until you pluck one out and light it.
I’ve also discovered that as each week passes, the cigars seem to taste better. Of course, the best evidence is empirical, so try this: When your cigars arrive, smoke one that day and place the remaining cigars in your humidor, coolerdor, what-have-you. Try another cigar from that same shipment a week later; then two weeks later, and so on. You will definitely see, or maybe a better way to put it, taste the difference.