OPERATOR: Hello, Cigar Order Hotline. How may I help you?
CALLER: I recently ordered a couple of boxes of cigars from both Famous Smoke Shop and CigarAuctioneer, and I noticed that neither order shipped with any type of humidifying device. I’m new to the world of cigars, but of course I only want to smoke fresh cigars and I’ve heard that cigars can dry out in a couple of hours, let alone the week or so it takes to ship to me in California. So why shouldn’t I worry? Or should I?
OPERATOR: When you say “humidifying device,” are you referring to the humidipaks that some online cigar stores add to their packaging?
OPERATOR: First, let me say that Famous Smoke Shop does more to ensure your cigars are properly packed than any other retailer in the industry. Plus, more manufacturers have been including Boveda humidipaks in their factory boxes. Arturo Fuente was the first company to do this, so depending on what cigars are in your order, they may already have a humidipak.
Now, here’s really why you shouldn’t worry: Unless you leave them under a heat lamp, it takes more than a few hours for premium cigars to dry out. Actually, you’d be surprised how resilient cigars can be. I spoke to a customer recently who said he found a cigar in a tuxedo he’d worn to a wedding almost a year ago and the cigar was fine. Note that under normal conditions, cigars will stay fresh in their factory boxes for up to a month. But if I may ask you a question: Were the cigars fresh and supple when you opened the boxes?
OPERATOR: Then you really don’t have anything to worry about, now do you?
CALLER: I suppose not.
OPERATOR: I would also suggest after your cigars arrive that you move them into your humidor and let them rest for about 3 days to settle. Whether they were a little too dry or too damp when they arrived it will help. You may find they will smoke and taste better, too. Enjoy all those fresh cigars!
Cigars are, by nature, delicate objects. They are a hand-made product, and one made from a delicate plant. It’s one of the reasons most premium cigars are wrapped in cellophane; it protects the wrapper leaf and helps maintain moisture during shipping. Today I’m going to address some issues that surround shipping cigars, and resting cigars after shipment to ensure the optimal smoking experience. If you’re like most cigar smokers and order cigars online, the question is: Will the cigars be fresh when they arrive? They should be, since cigars can survive almost a month in their boxes or bundles under normal conditions.
The other question is, should you smoke one of your newly-arrived cigars right away? Sure, but it might be better to give your new arrivals a chance to “settle.” Most cigars are, indeed, ready to smoke right out of their factory packaging. But whether you bought them online or at a local cigar store, handmade cigars tend to taste and burn better after at least a few days in your home cigar humidor.
Honestly, I’ve never really understood why cigars seem to taste better after a little nap time in the humi. Maybe it’s just psychological, but they do, and many cigar smokers agree. That said, it’s the “burn better” aspect, whereby, resting cigars may have a more noticeable effect. It might be that some extra moisture accrued in the cigars during shipping. If that’s so, the cigars may burn irregularly. Giving them a chance to “breathe” in a space where they’re not so tightly packed appears to help. Moreover, the cedar in your humidor absorbs some of that extra moisture.
So, the next time you open a fresh box of cigars, give ‘em a break. They’ve traveled a long way to get to you, and resting cigars a little before lighting-up will do both of you some good.
If you enjoy cigars, odds are you have a friend or group of friends you enjoy smoking with. One thing I’ve come to love about the cigar-smoking community is their eagerness to share, and resistance to pettiness.
However, once in a while, you’ll find yourself on the short end of the stick, so to speak. You’ve just given your buddy a Camacho 10th Anniversary 11/18, and he returns the favor with a Famous Buenos Madurito Petite Corona. A decent smoke, for sure, but by no means a fair trade.
In my mind, there are several things to consider when sharing cigars. When done in good-faith, it offers the double-benefit of expanding your cigar horizons while reaffirming camaraderie.
- If participating in an online trade, make sure you’re dealing with someone you can trust. Many forums have systems in place that indicate members’ trustworthiness.
- Don’t confuse a “gift” with a “trade.” If you gift a cigar, don’t expect anything in return. If you’re looking to trade in-kind, make it clear. If it’s more of an open-ended trade, don’t expect a cigar immediately. As the saying goes, “the best things come to those who wait.”
- Don’t let MSRP be your sole guide when offering a trade. Instead, take a moment to consider availability, price paid, and whether the recipient will actually enjoy the cigar. Macanudo Vintage 2000 I might be a $17 stick, but it’s hardly a fair trade for a Padrón Serie 1926 80th Anniversary, especially if the other party prefers a full-bodied smoke.
- If offered an open-ended trade or gifted a cigar, accept it and thank your benefactor. The time will come when you smoke a cigar he or she would really enjoy, and when it does, return the favor graciously.
Trading cigars shouldn’t be about “getting ahead” or “tit for tat,” but rather about sharing some great sticks and trying stuff you don’t normally smoke. Use this as your ultimate guideline, and remember: always let your cigar-conscience be your guide.