Resting Your Cigars After Delivery

Gary KorbIt’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.?

resting cigars

Thanks to www.cigarinspector.com for this great cartoon on resting cigars!

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.

Author:

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Comments

  1. steve skipp says:

    i find that the cigars i get are usually a little “wetter” than i prefer and let them “rest” (de-humidify) in my box for a while.

  2. Russell Breckwoldt says:

    I was wondering if you would comment about freezing cigars first before putting them in your humidor. I guess coming from a medical background, and being a big tropical fish enthusiast, quarantining has been drummed into my head. Every cigar I get, whether from the corner guy or online, hits the freezer first for 24-36 hours, then the fridge for 24-36 hours, then the humidor. I guess maybe it’s a personal choice, but I’ve never had a problem with the cigars doing this, they all burn and smoke just fine. Was just curious if anyone else does this consistently. I thank you for your time.

    Regards,

    Russell Breckwoldt
    Matthews, NC

  3. Gary Korb says:

    @ steve skipp: You are correct. Some warehouse humidors are not only humidified, they’re kept at a pretty cool temperature, too. This helps during shipping to compensate for any conditions that may dry them out such as excessive heat or travel time. This is exactly my point. If the cigars feel a little spongier than usual, that should tell you straightaway the cigars need some time to adjust to their new home. IOW, it’s better to receive your cigars more moist than dry.

  4. Gary Korb says:

    @ Russell: Congratulations, you are the first person to tell me you do this with every stick. I’m not a fan of freezing cigars unless they have beetles, and even then, I just feel that freezing them does something to them; what, I don’t know. But if you say they smoke and taste fine, then I’ll take your word for it. Presuming you’re buying pretty reputable brands, you have little to worry about. In all the years I’ve been smoking cigars, I’ve had a beetle problem no more than two or three times.

  5. Pete says:

    Ok, I hear what your saying and agree. Now put it in context of me, I am in Iraq. Package has been en route for almost 2 weeks, and I don’t have a proper humidor. I plan to use an ammo can, water tight, and sponge. I still need to buy a hygrometer and get the situation all set up, but that is my situation.

    Thanks
    Pete

  6. Andy says:

    @Pete

    Currently in Afghan right now: I bought a humidor, couple humidifiers (dry and hot here, i noticed one wasn’t enough so i bought a second), hygrometer, and monster venom, as well as a couple bundles of sticks. F-S is typically pretty quick about shipping out, though getting the stuff out here takes about a week and a half/two weeks like you said, and whats more, im sure the conditions the smoke travels in after it hits mil-air sucks.

    Forget the ammo can, chances are water tight doesnt equal air tight. I know you’re gettin that sweet sweet combat pay/tax free checks, etc; drop like 60 bucks on a half decent kit and your cigars will be happy even in that heat/dryness, mine are. Just don’t forget to REALLY be sure to season your box if you decide to get it.

    As far as a rest period, I typically give my new stuff a half week, maybe a week if I have decent stuff left that has already been sitting.

    Almost out of here, so happy with how my humidor performs out here i plan on taking it home and using it there.

  7. Adrian says:

    I always put my cigars in the humidor for a few days before smoking, unless Im all out and I wanna light one up with my buddies in the backyard. Until then they ALL wait in the humidor.

  8. Marco Lebron says:

    Well guys and gals I like them to rest @ 70 to 69% and take my weekly smokes to another humidor that I keep @ 65%. I find that the true flavors of the cigar bloom and taste better at the lower side of the humidity range. I keep 2 large humidors going for resting so that I can average my smoking to cigars that have cured for 2 to 6 months on average. With some of my favorites hitting the 1 year mark. I have had average cigars turn into magic within this time and great cigars become memorable. It takes a lot of patience and self control to keep them this long but the wait is definitely worth it.