Ready to level-up your cigar game? When you want to learn more about cigars, it helps to connect with a cigar expert in your area. That means visiting a reputable cigar shop in person versus buying cigars online.
Locating a Premium Cigar Shop Near You
So how do you know if a cigar shop is a premium cigar shop? (We don’t mean sketchy store fronts you see in strip malls—although they might be diamonds in the rough if you’re jonesin’ for a quickie smoke and know what you’re looking for.)
Just click on this link to find sellers of premium cigars via the Boveda cigar store locator.
How Do You Know If This is the Best Cigar Shop for You?
When you enter your first cigar shop, it can feel like a first date. You’re nervous. You don’t know where to go, who to talk to or what to do. Does everyone in there know more than you do? Could be, probably not. Rest assured, you know you the best. And that’s where you gotta start.
Cigar store features that might be important to you:
- Does it specialize in premium cigars and cigar accessories, like wood humidors and how they work?
- Does it have a walk-in humidor?
- Can you smoke in-store, if that’s your thing?
- Is there a smoking lounge with cushy furniture to enjoy conversation and smokes with other patrons? (Not a must, but an on-site cigar lounge is a nice-to-have.)
- Is a trained tobacconist there to answer your questions and help you select cigars?
Planning a Visit to the Cigar Store
As a new cigar smoker, you’re shopping for cigar knowledge as well as premium sticks. Call ahead to find out when the tobacconist or manager of the shop is on-site. Note their name, then seek them out when you arrive.
When is the best time to visit a tobacco shop if you have a lot of questions about cigars?
Mid-day Monday through Thursday is the perfect time to drop in for some “Cigar 101”. For a relaxed learning sesh, spend a lunch hour at the cigar store.
When is the worst time to visit a cigar shop if you’re new to cigars?
The weekend and the day before a holiday! Do not expect individualized customer service from Friday afternoon through Sunday. This is the busiest time in a cigar store. The cigar retailers are selling cigars and will have little time for instruction.
How much time will a tobacconist spend with you?
- Ask if they have about 15 minutes to answer some cigar questions.
- After 15 minutes, if the cigar retailer keeps talking, listen up and learn.
- If they’re checking their watch, thank them for their time.
- Buy some cigars! (Remember the old book seller’s line: it’s a bookstore, not a library.)
How to Choose a Cigar
Here are some beginner tips on choosing cigars you’ll enjoy.
What flavors and aromas do you like?
Before you shop for cigars, think about the foods, beverages and scents you like AND dislike. A good tobacconist can introduce you to cigars with flavors and notes to contrast and complement what’s appealing to you. For example:
- What’s your favorite beer, wine, spirit, sparkling water or soft drink?
- What nuts do you like?
- Do you prefer sour candy, milk or dark chocolate or caramel?
- Do you like the smell of hay, earth or leather?
Now, get specific. Why do you like what you like?
- You say: “I like Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch because it has a storing peat flavor.”
- Tobacconist thinks: What cigar pairs with a peaty Scotch? A nutty, sweeter creamy cigar with a dash of spice, like a Davidoff Winston Churchill «The Original Series» Toro!
- The cigar blows your mind!
Learn How to Taste Cigars
Learn how to smoke a cigar to appreciate the tobacco’s flavors from the self-described “biggest cigar nerd” at Altadis U.S.A., Travis Pappenheim.
How Much Should You Spend on a Cigar?
Cigar prices vary. Most hand-rolled cigar brands will run you between $5 and $20 a stick.
For most smokers, how much you spend can be dictated by where you’re going to smoke it. Think of what kind of beverage would fit the task—a cold Bud versus Chivas on the rocks. Buy your cigar accordingly.
- Spend less than $10 on a cigar for walking the dog, cutting the lawn, golfing, etc.
- Splurge on a top cigar when you can luxuriate over a smoke: T.G.I.F., campfire, beach walk, etc.
Establish your cigar budget before you go to the tobacco store—and share that number with the person helping you.
You don’t have to purchase cigars by the box. Buying them stick by stick or in a sampler pack lets you explore more premium cigar brands. (And is more budget friendly!)
What are Some Budget Cigars to Try
Watch Boveda’s Rob Gagner and Nate Beck curate top-rated smokes from Cigar Aficionado magazine’s discount cigar list. Every cigar is under $6, plus rated 90 points and up!
You’re About To Enter a Cigar Shop’s Humidor, Now What Do You Do?!
The boxes will be in a walk-in humidor, where there will be a huge selection of premium cigars.
Why do cigar shops keep cigars in a humidor?
Cigars are hygroscopic, so they absorb moisture from their environment and also lose moisture when the humidity around them is too low. A humidor keeps cigars in controlled, stable relative humidity (RH) and temperature.
If you leave cigars out in the open without moisture control, they’ll get too damp or too dry. Either extreme affects the flavor, burn and construction of a cigar.
So when you step into the shop’s humidor, close the door behind you.
Shop the humidor for cigar cheat sheets
Think of the last time you bought wine. Who doesn’t love it when retailers offer pairing ideas and flavor notes on the shelf right by the bottle? These help wine shoppers who love to hunt solo, same with cigar smokers.
- Hang-tags on displays that feature the cigar’s strength, taste, finish and pairings with foods and beverages
- Employee favorites that highlight a cigar’s tasting notes
- QR codes on cigar boxes that tell you more about what to expect from that cigar
Perdomo gives retailers hang-tags with cigar tasting notes that clue smokers into the cigar’s strength, taste, finish and pairings.
What Size of Cigar Should You Buy?
You’ll see a set of numbers on cigar boxes. These are the cigar’s dimensions. For example, a 5 x 50 is the most popular cigar size, it’s called a Robusto.
Cigars are measured:
- By length in inches (that’s the 5 in 5 x 50)
- By ring gauge—the thickness of a cigar is broken down in 64ths of an inch. A Robusto cigar is a 50 ring gauge, which mean the distance around is 50/64 of an inch
The longer and thicker a cigar is, the longer it smokes. A classic Robusto lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.
Remember, cigars aren’t for speed smoking, so don’t rush them. Indulging a cigar hobby is relishing the journey. If you’re short on time, smoke a shorter cigar.
How Long Are Cigars Good For?
As long as you store cigars in a proper container at the proper humidity, cigars can last for years. Sounds complicated? Boveda makes cigar storage easy. Just slip in the Boveda packs into a humidor with your cigars.
For months, Boveda automatically preserves cigars at the right moisture. The packs prevent the humidity from rising too high or dropping below what’s safe for cigars. If the humidity drops below a certain RH, Boveda releases moisture. If the RH climbs, Boveda absorbs any excess moisture.
When Boveda start to get crunchy, you replace them with new packs.
How Much Boveda Do You Need in a Humidor?
Click here to use the Boveda Humidor Calculator to find out how many Boveda packs you need for your humidor. You can pick up the cigar humidity packs while you’re at the brick-and-mortar cigar store. Or subscribe to Boveda when you add it to your cart to automatically receive replacements, so you never run out, save 10% on your order and get FREE U.S. shipping.
Do You Need to Store Cigars in a Humidor?
If you’re just getting into a cigar hobby, you don’t need to invest in a wood humidor. Many novice cigar smokers start by storing cigars in a humidor bag or an airtight plastic container called a tupperdor. Both make for inexpensive first-time humidors once you add in Boveda packs.
How Long Can Cigars Go Without Being in a Humidor?
As soon as you take a cigar out of the shop’s humidor, the clock is ticking. Most shops will package your purchase in a zip-to-close bag, which is airtight but doesn’t control humidity. If the retailer doesn’t include a small Boveda humidity pack for cigars, ask for one.
Now who’s ready to go cigar shopping?
New to Cigars? Keep Them Fresh with Boveda
Set up a new wood humidor with the Boveda Humidor Starter Kit—the easiest way to season a humidor for safe cigar storage.Shop Now
An unseasoned wood humidor robs cigars of moisture. Before filling a new humidor, season it first with the Boveda Humidor Starter Kit.Shop Now
Don’t just window shop for celebratory cigars! Buy cigars in advance and keep them fresh. Holds an entire box and then some.Shop Now
Take a reusable humidor bag with you when you shop for cigars. Holds up to 15 cigars. Provides one year of protective cigar storage.Shop Now