Cold Truckin’

Q. I’m waiting for my El Credito Super Habanero Maduros to arrive, which obviously have been on frozen trucks for the past week. How susceptible to freeze damage are cigars?
Steve in Austin, Texas
A. Concerning your “frozen” cigars, I wouldn‚Äôt worry too much. It would be a lot worse if they were sitting in a an overheated truck for several days. On the upside, I can assure you any tobacco beetle larvae in the cigars are dead. ūüėȬ† And, I‚Äôm sure¬†your cigars¬†will be comfortably warm by the time they hit the Austin city limits.

One of the reasons premium cigars are wrapped in cellophane is not just to help protect the wrappers, but to add some insulation against changes in temperature during shipping. Plus, you have all the cigars huddled inside their factory box, which is inside the shipping box filled with styro peanuts, air bags, newspaper, or whatever, and that adds some extra insulation.

Of course, the only way to tell if the cigar is OK is by lighting one up right out of the box. But first, use the “pinch test” method on a few of the cigars from each row in the box. If they have a little “give” to them when gently squeezed at the head, middle, and foot, they should be fine and put into your humidor. If they feel very hard, like sticks, there’s a chance they¬†may have dried-out, but I wouldn’t bet on it.