Over the years, I’ve received many emails asking me about freezing cigars and whether it’s OK to store cigars in the freezer or the refrigerator. Let’s start with the latter. NO WAY JOSÉ! True, refrigerators are made to keep foods fresh, but even though cigars are somewhat related to veggies by their nature, the humidity in the fridge is much too low to keep the leaves moist, and your cigars will eventually dry out.
Cigars and humidors are like horses and saddles. We associate them as a dependent set, but you don’t need a saddle to ride a horse, and you don’t need a fancy wooden humidor to store cigars. There is one catch, however: You and the horse will survive without a saddle, but your cigars won’t survive without some form of humidification. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about wooden desktop cigar humidors, not coolerdors, tupperdors, or other makeshift storage units. Continue reading
Have you seen any of the news this past week? The calendar is kind of weird right now – since 4th of July fell on a Wednesday I’m sure that many people made it a 5-day weekend (and more power to you). In case you missed it, there was another jobs report, and much yelling and screaming ensued; everyone yelled at each other about whether “the Mandate” was a tax or a penalty. Gov. Romney was riding a jet ski, and the President was riding a bus. It’s been a little (too) quiet, though, about where the effort stands to exempt premium, hand-rolled cigars from FDA regulation. So as we wrap up another week full of political news/noise, I thought it was a good time to drop in a few recent updates on the standing of the legislation pending in Congress, HR1639/S1461 – The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act. Continue reading
Sorry this is coming a few days after the fact – but I’m still getting my feet back under me after Cigarnival 2012. My original thought was to write something that was a grand recap of everything that happened here at Leaf this past weekend, but “when someone sings his own praises, he always gets the tune too high.” Continue reading
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.
It’s happened to everyone who smokes premium cigars – the bad burn caused by poor cigar construction. Whether it’s the cigar going out on you too fast, canoeing, or the wrapper coming undone, a bad burn is one of the most frustrating things that can happen. Since a bad burning cigar requires so much extra work, maybe a better word would be “irritating.” Often times, you’ve spent so much time getting the cigar to straighten out, you don’t even remember how the darn thing tasted.
There are several factors that contribute to a bad burning cigar. Some of these I’ve touched on in past articles. For example, it could be the wrapper was too delicate, too thick and oily, or just an inferior quality or poorly cured leaf. Other factors can be a wrapper leaf that’s too dry, which tends to cause the leaf to unravel. It could also be due to poor rolling. Either the bunch wasn’t rolled carefully enough, or during the bunching process some of the binder, which aids in the burning of a cigar, got tucked into the filler. The result is a canoeing cigar, because there’s nothing in those spots to help the wrapper along. Continue reading
During the Holiday Season it’s so hard to keep from tripping over ads and articles on “Great Gift Ideas!” I figured I might as well get in on it too, with my own guide to finding the perfect cigar gift. So, I’ve kept it simple. Here are five great gift ideas in five respective categories and various price points, that you can hint at to your wife, girlfriend, best friend, business colleagues or, you can tie a string around your finger like Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life, so you can remember to buy them for yourself. These are just suggestions, there are plenty more great gift ideas and deals to be found as well. I left the prices out, because they are subject to change and may even be on sale or include offers.
A sampler always makes a great gift. Here’s a dynamite collection for the cigar smoker who’s just starting out or has been smoking cigars for decades. I like this sampler because it’s got lots of cigars (16 in all!), big brand variety, and the price is extremely reasonable. Plus, they’re all made by the best in the business like The Fuentes, Eiroas, Garcias, Ozgeners, Toraños, Padróns, Perdomos, and Plasencias. Ranging from mild to muscular, these are “must-smokes” no cigar smoker should be without.
Cutters: Xikar Xi2 Fiberglass Cigar Cutters
CLACK! That’s the sound of a Xikar Xi cutter opening. When it comes to cutters, I’ve seen more Xikars in the hands of cigar smokers than any other make. That’s because they’re cool-looking, ultra sharp, guaranteed for the life of the cutter, and most importantly, they work! The Xi2 fiberglass series is very affordable, and the tear-drop shape provides maximum grip strength for the cleanest cuts ever – even up to a 56 ring. Don’t fiddle with the cheapo cutters. Get yourself or your giftee something they’ll appreciate for years to come.
I recently purchased this Vector Heatran lighter for myself and I love it. IMO, Vector has proven to be one of the more reliable makers of cigar lighters, and this triple flame is especially good for toasting and lighting cigars from a 50 to 60 ring gauge. It comes in several colors, is very affordable, and it has a fuel viewing window, which I would suggest you look for in any cigar lighter you buy. It really comes in handy. This lighter also has a handy cigar punch on the bottom, in case you forget your regular cutter.
Here’s a humidor that says, “I love the leaf.” The tobacco leaf on this well-made, dark maple humidor is bordered by hand inlays, that add an attractive touch of class to this case. Features include Spanish cedar lining, brass hardware, quadrant hinges, a large rectangular oasis foam humidifier, brass/glass analog hygrometer, top tray, plus a lock & key with a yellow tassel. Its affordable price and 125 cigar capacity also make it a great value. Cigar smokers always need more room eventually, and this humidor will allow you or your giftee’s collection to grow without having to buy another humidor sooner than you wanted.
Cigar & Accessory Kits: Horn of Plenty Super Sampler
For the cigar smoker who wants it all, THIS is a very cool gift at a ridiculously low price. Perfect for the new cigar smoker, this item comes with just about everything but the kitchen sink. You get our bestselling Capri humidor plus 20 cigars chosen from among the world’s best-known brands such as Alec Bradley, CAO, E.P. Carrillo, Oliva, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Tatuaje, Cohiba, and too many more to mention. But that’s not all! You also get a guillotine cutter, torch lighter, seasoning kit, humidifier, humidifying solution, and much more. This is a fantastic gift idea valued at over $296, for way less than you’d expect to pay.
So, check your list twice, take a look at these items, and browse around. There’s something for every cigar smoker at affordable prices, and you can do all your cigar gift shopping without having to deal with mall mania.
Note: Thanks for visiting our 2011 holiday gift guide – but you need to get with the times! Check out our cigar gifts guide for over 15 ideas perfect for any cigar smoker on your list!
I recently ran a survey question on Cigar Advisor asking if smokers rotated their cigar accessories. After all, you rotate your cigars, so why not your accessories? As of this writing, 37% did not rotate their cigar accessories, per se, they just wait until one or the other breaks and buy a new one. But running second at 31% was “It depends on the cigar.”
This may sound like an off-beat topic, but as I get a lot of my subject matter, it came from my own personal experience. One night, I was about to light-up a cigar in my “man cave” (a/k/a the basement), and instead of using my usual “everyday” lighter, I took out my dual torch lighter. As I was doing this I wondered, Do other cigar smokers rotate their cigar accessories?” And so, there it is.
I’ve got a decent amount of cigar cutters and lighters I’ve collected over the years. They include a few Xikar cigar cutters, several other double-blade guillotine cutters, a couple of V-cutters, and a pair of small folding cigar scissors. I suppose I should also include the punch cutters built-in to two of my lighters, but they’re not that sharp. Speaking of lighters, I have several single jet torch lighters (one of which I keep in my car for emergencies), a double and a triple jet model, plus a Zippo.
What’s interesting is that each of these tools can serve a specific purpose. For example, one of the reasons I switched to my twin torch was because the cigar I chose that night had a 50 ring, and the two flames seem to work better, especially during toasting. For even wider cigars, I might even pull out the triple flame. Sometimes I’ll opt for a V-cutter to clip a Torpedo, rather than a double blade. Or, I’ll use a punch cutter to make a “figure 8″ or “cloverleaf” cut in the head of a 50+ ringer.
That said, one might be inclined to presume that a good number of cigar smokers also rotate their lighters and cutters. According to the survey, only 18%. rotate their cigar accessories for the sheer purpose of giving them “equal usage.” However, if 31% of smokers are using different cigar accessories depending on the type of cigar they plan to smoke, then they really are rotating their cutters and lighters. I suppose I would be a member of this group.
What I find even more surprising is that 14% of the cigar smokers polled so far had only one cutter and lighter. Huh! I figured that even the one to three cigars-per-week smoker would have at least a couple of cutters and lighters. In my opinion, it is to every cigar smoker’s advantage to have a few couple or even a few of each. You never know when your lighter is going to fire-off its last round ever, or when your cutter has become so dull, you might as well use a butter knife to clip it (though the latter is easier to gauge.)
As I write this, Thanksgiving is behind us and we’re officially into the Holiday season. If you’re among those who only have one cutter and lighter, with all the sales happening, now’s a great time to add at least another of each to your collection of cigar accessories. If you have a single flame lighter, pick up a dual or triple flame. If you prefer buying cheap cutters, be adventurous and pick up a high quality blade that will last more like two years rather than two months.
Finally, if you’re in the camp that has a good variety of cigar accessories, more power to you. Whether you intentionally rotate them is not all that important. It’s more like, if you got ‘em, you might as well use ‘em.
OPERATOR: Hello, Cigar Hotline. How may I help you?
CALLER: I recently bought some cigars and put them in a container while I seasoned my new humidor. When they were in the container maybe I had too big a humidifier in the there or something, because they are really squishy. When you have over humidified cigars they get soft, right? If so, is there a way to get the extra moisture out and save them?
OPERATOR: Yes, you have over humidified cigars, but there is a way to get them back to normal. Was the container a plastic one, like you would put leftovers in?
OPERATOR: The problem with that kind of container is, they’re so airtight that the humidity builds up much faster. This will also happen if you use a mason jar type humidor for your cigars. Whether you keep your cigars in a humidor or a sealed container you have to allow for some air flow. With sealed containers, if you find the cigars are getting too soft, pop one of the corners. If it’s a mason jar, keep the hook unlocked. If the cigars were fresh when you put them in the container, you probably didn’t need a humidifier at all. The moisture already in the cigars would have kept them fresh long enough to season your humidor. Are they in the humidor now?
OPERATOR: The first thing you should do is sniff them and see if they’re getting moldy. If they’re not, you’re halfway there. Leave the humidor open, too.
CALLER: And if they are moldy?
OPERATOR: Then you may have to use them for mulch. But let’s assume you caught them in time and they’re not moldy. The next thing you want to do is remove the humidifier. Let the RH settle down to at least 65% and try to keep it there. If you smoke the cigars in the condition they’re in now, the wrappers will crack open on you and they may not even stay lit. For now, keep the lid open and let them get some fresh air for a couple of days, then close it again. Check on them every two days by taking a reading from your hygrometer until it reads 65%. Don’t smoke them until they’ve become a bit harder; not too soft, just supple enough to move a little when you gently pinch them.
CALLER: When can I put the humidifier back in?
OPERATOR: When the hygrometer dips down to about 63%. By then your humidifier may have dried out a little, too. It’s much easier to bring cigars back from being too moist than if they’re too dry. When they get too dry, once they’ve been re-humidified, they may have lost some of their flavor and bouquet.
CALLER: Thanks. I’ll give it a try.
OPERATOR: There is another thing you can do, which is similar to what I described. You can dry box them. Take a factory cigar box, preferably made of Spanish cedar, and put all the moist cigars in there for a few days. Put a hygrometer in there, too. The cedar will absorb the moisture from the cigars, and they should be fine. Just keep an eye on them until they feel right. Then you can move them into your humidor.
It all started on October 20, 2011, with a simple request from LTC Larry Dugan to Robert DeSousa, who is a LTC in the PA Army National Guard and also serves as state director for U.S. Senator Pat Toomey. The Battalion Commander’s Nittany-6 (from Pennsylvania) had just in arrived in Iraq for their tour of duty.
“Any chance of hooking us up w/ some cigars and a humidor? The unit we’re replacing isn’t really into the social cigar smoking thing, but our HHQ (SB) is–it’d help the Command relationship and overall mission I’m sure…”
LTC Lawrence Larry Dugan
Subject: Cigars for Soldiers.
Hate to bother you. This is a PA unit. 135 guys. They just arrived in Iraq. They will be the last unit there. Do you send cigars to troops?
Arthur replied, saying he’d be happy to oblige and forwarded the message on to the Customer Service Manager, Cory Reinhard. Mr. Reinhard, who has done this on many occasions for U.S. troops, set the wheels in motion. Once everyone was in the loop, the following package was prepared and shipped out within 24 hours:
50 CAO OSA Sol cigars, 50 La Gloria Artesanos Retro cigars, 35 Vegas Cubanas cigars by Don Pepin, all neatly packed in a Perdomo 80 cigar travel case. That’s quite an impressive stash. At least one topflight cigar for every soldier in the unit, plus a humidor that can take plenty of punishment and keep all those cigars fresh under the harsh conditions of Iraq’s climate and desert (see photo).
As noted above, sending cigars to the troops is nothing new to Famous Smoke Shop. We’ve been doing it since the war in Iraq started, and have also sent cigars to U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. The call center has even had phone-in orders where customers ordered extra cigars to be sent to the troops. Additionally, there is a group of local retail store customers who annually collect cigars for the troops and ship them out during the Christmas holidays.
“I’m proud to be able to support our troops by providing them with our products and giving them a little piece of home,” said Mr. Reinhard. “They are serving and protecting us and our country. Being able to assist them is the least we can do.”