Getting to know Operation: Cigars for Warriors
Sometimes a cigar is a lifesaver that only you can give
It’s been one of those “you just can’t make this **** up” days. But instead of fighting with your teen, battling a boss or weaving through construction, you’ve just survived a mortar blast.
Can you understand why settling back with a cigar takes on even more importance for the servicemen and women in combat? A long pull on a really good cigar provides a bit of calm amid a chaotic war zone. It’s bonding time. Stress relief. Throw back to home.
Premium cigars are the second most requested item by members of our armed forces, according to the nonprofit organization Operation: Cigars for Warriors or OP: CFW, for short. Coffee is number one. (Guess you need a good ol’ jolt of java before relaxing with a smoke.) But OP: CFW leaves caffeine to other charitable groups. Founded in 2012, OP: CFW is the only organization that specializes in sending premium cigars to all branches of the military in combat zones or long term deployments, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We have sent cigars to warships as well. One shipment went to a Navy ship in North Korea,” Jamie Lemon, OP: CFW’s Public Relations/Marketing Director said. Because of the number of requests, OP: CFW’s prefers to ship one care package per troop.
Annually, OP: CFW serves about 25,000 service people. Since its inception, the cigar charity has shipped more than 750,000 cigars. Where do the donations come from? Cigar aficionados, cigar makers and cigar retailers. DONATE NOW
Boveda goes to combat to defend against the enemy of cigars
Boveda was OP: CFW’s first sponsor and is always there to protect OP: CFW shipments as they make their way all over the world. No matter how combative the environment, Boveda’s 2-way humidity control adds and absorbs moisture to lock in a precise 69% RH that’s perfect for cigars. (If Boveda can safeguard cigars in the arid desert or the humid high seas, your home humidor is safe and sound.)
“OP: CFW reached out to us about five years ago to see if they could buy Boveda at a discount. Boveda was critical to get their cigar shipments across the globe in perfect condition, but the cost was getting too high as OP: CFW’s cigar donations were increasing,” Charlie Rutherford, Boveda’s Business Development Director, said.
“Once we learned about OP: CFW’s mission, we GAVE them as much free Boveda as they needed instead of just giving them a discount. An organization that supports soldiers who go to work every day defending the freedom and liberty of the U.S. is not going to pay for Boveda when a cigar at the end of the day might be the closest connection they have to normalcy.”
Warriors wait for orders because of FDA ruling
Previously, more than 30 cigar makers have been on board to donate cigars, including Rocky Patel, Moscato and Oliva. Since August 2016, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations now prohibit the cigar industry from the decades-long tradition of donating cigars to troops.
“The FDA ban on manufacturers cut our supply roughly 80%,” Robert Allan, OP: CFW Director of Operations said. But the ban hasn’t decreased the demand, according to Allan. “There are times our military has waited months for a shipment. Right now we are at an eight week shipping delay or longer.”
Some U.S. legislators are seeking an exemption for corporate military cigar donations. According to an October 24, 2016, article from the cigar website Halfwheel:
“U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, introduced a bill that would allow for donations to the troops. It currently has one co-sponsor and seems highly unlikely to pass in the current Congress.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, has stated he will try to add an amendment to the defense authorization bill — the annual bill that sets the military’s budget — something that will have much better odds than Castor’s standalone bill.”
It’s your time to serve—give now
In the meantime, the FDA ruling does not prevent individuals from donating cigars to the troops. And that’s where Boveda customers like you come in. Boveda is reaching out to every cigar lover out there. Next time you add to your own cigar collection, share a cigar (or box) with a man or woman fighting for our freedom.
OP: CFW is a 501 (c) (3) charity, so your donation is tax deductible. There are three ways to give:
- Dip into your humidor for a few favorite sticks, like a Tatuaje or MoyaRuiz, and send cigars directly to OP: CFW.
- Drop off cigars at any of 200 OP: CFW’s donation sites. Many are in smoke shops, where you can also buy a box and leave it there.
- Or click here to donate immediately.
In upcoming months, Boveda will share stories from some of the troops you’ve helped. So you can hear how that cigar care package gave a moment of relaxation and spread camaraderie, which in turn protected us all back home. Thank you for your service.
“Thank you for the cigars, OP: Cigars for Warriors have provided! It has brought together our Airmen [and Airwomen] in a fun and joyful atmosphere. We, Aircraft Maintainers, thought it would be great to “light one up” in front of our AC-130U aircraft. …this awesome organization that enabled us to enjoy our cigars. Thank you, Boveda. Once again, thank you OP: Cigars for Warriors team.”
Traveling with Boveda
Reviving Dried Cigars
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about having dried cigars. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone–really. Whether it was in a backseat, an overhead bin or a motorcycle saddlebag, many a cigar-loving traveler has dried out their smokes by treating them like common baggage.
Throwing humidity control to the wind even for a few hours can damage your cigars and diminish their flavor.
Think about it. Cigars are born, raised and rolled in humid countries. Take cigars on a plane ride and you’re exposing them to moisture-sucking conditions. Humidity in that airplane’s cabin is extremely low–usually less than 20%, according to the World Health Organization’s website. 20% RH? That’s Death Valley for cigars!
Humidity fluctuation is why many high-end brands, including Arturo Fuente, Matilde and Rocky Patel, nestle a Boveda 69% RH packet in each box to protect their cigars while they’re in transit. Boveda’s patented 2-way humidity control keeps the cigars at an ideal moisture level until they reach your home humidor.
That’s great if you’re globetrotting to the Dominican Republic. But journey to Cuba or other locales that can’t or don’t yet carry Boveda, and you should bring along your own humidity protection.
Cigar aficionados don’t leave home without the travel insurance of a Boveda Humidor Bag, which:
- Zips to seal
- Takes up next to no space in a suitcase
- Provides the same protection as a plastic container
- Works better than store-bought sandwich bags because of its tough, high-barrier laminated construction
- Comes prepacked with a patented 69% RH Boveda packet, which adds or removes moisture to protect your cigars
But let’s say the damage is done and you think your cigars are toast
If the wrappers are intact, there is a good chance you can ‘repair’ them, according to Cigar Inspector. And Boveda is the safest and easiest way to revive dry, road-weary cigars. Just ask Matt from Michigan, who went searching for a way to revive some abused Cubans and happened upon Boveda.
“As far as cigars go, I am a newbie,” Matt explained. “On trips to Cuba, I smoked a lot of very good cigars—Cohiba Robustos, Cohiba Siglo Vis and H. Upmann Coronas Majors. I was spoiled right from the get go!”
Yep, Matt was hooked. So he brought some Cohiba Siglo VIs stateside. “I had my cigars for about a month with no humidor. I did not know that they needed to be taken care of in that way,” the humidity novice admitted.
While we appreciate Matt’s roll-up-his-sleeves, solve-it-himself approach, here’s Boveda’s official 1-step method for reviving dried cigars:
- For a month, store your dried cigars in a Boveda Humidor Bag that’s prepacked with a 69% RH packet. Done. (No bag? Pop a Boveda 69% inside a plastic container with your dry cigars for a month.)
Why a month? Cigars lose moisture 4x as fast as they can safely gain moisture. Exposing your cigars to a safe, stable level of perfect humidity with Boveda minimizes the chance of the wrapper cracking as the filler gains moisture and grows. Nothing good happens quickly with cigars, so be patient.
Sure, you can chance reviving dried cigars with wet sponges, crystals and beads. Those one-way methods humidify cigars too quickly and don’t know when to stop. This “flashing” of your cigars with humidity is dangerous any time, but especially when the wrappers are dry and hypersensitive to moisture. Could it work? Sure. But the odds are your wrappers will crack when you finally settle it to smoke those sought-after souvenirs.
Travel lesson? Take a Boveda Humidor Bag aboard with you to avoid those dead sticks in the first place.
Take a virtual trip with Boveda to these cigar-friendly destinations:
Innovative Brands Partner to Provide Safe Online Cigar Trading
PuroTrader’s CEO and Co-founder Pierre Rogers shares how one cigar gave cigar aficionados access to 8,000 more.
On PuroTrader, you can trade, buy and bid on your favorites, from Arturo Fuente and Rocky Patel to Montecristo and Gurkha. Every cigar seller ships your order with a Boveda 2-way humidity control packet. Once again, Boveda travels in pretty good company. Here’s Pierre to round out the story.
I was living in Boston in 2003 and Señor Avo Uvezian, the famous owner of Avo Cigars, was celebrating his 77th birthday at the well-known Boston staple, Abe & Louie’s Steakhouse. I was invited to join his private party in the upstairs lounge. (Back then you could actually smoke cigars indoors.)
Señor Avo commemorated his birthdays by releasing a limited-edition cigar. That year, it was the Avo 77. So there I was, listening to the man of the hour playing jazz on the piano while smoking a wonderful cigar bearing his name.
The steak was black and blue. The wine was almost as smooth as the jazz. The crowd soaked in the excitement of the evening. I believe that the most beautiful thing about cigars is how they draw people together from all walks of life. Blue collar guys mingle with partners from law firms. Lobbyists mix with congressmen. This is the power of the cigar.
“I purchased a box of the rare Avo 77s. I planned to properly age that box for years. Preserve the cigars. Preserve the memory.”
Fast forward five years. My collection of cigars and I moved across country to California. For a few months, my beloved cigars traveled through several large cabinets until they reached their final home in my newly completed walk-in humidor.
While unpacking my collection and checking my inventory, my heart sank. Somehow one Avo 77 was missing from my box! How could this be? I didn’t smoke it, but nonetheless, it had disappeared.
Every collector knows that you either have a complete box or you don’t—there is no in between. I was shocked, disappointed then angry.
I was determined to find a replacement Avo 77. Firing up the internet, I searched for someone who still had one of these rare cigars. Even though it was just five years since their release, they were nowhere to be found on dealers’ inventories. I posted on nearly every cigar forum I could find. Still no luck! Was it really possible that all of the Avo 77s were gone?! I spent the next few years slowly searching the net for just one cigar to complete my box.
Then it hit me. If I could peek into every cigar collector’s humidor, I was bound to find a single Avo 77.
“I needed to create a platform where collectors came together to buy, sell, trade and discuss all things cigar!”
As luck would have it, I found myself in Hawaii with a dear friend of mine enjoying a fine cigar and sitting by the ocean with our wives. I told the story of my AWOL Avo 77. Then revealed my idea for a global trading platform that could radically change how cigars were bought, sold and collected.
He stopped me midway through my story and said, “WE need to do this immediately!”
Out of our concepting, PuroTrader was born. I sold my Ferrari F430 to start the new company.
Next we set off to create the world’s first global trading platform for premium and vintage cigars. We thought about the investable value of cigars, especially rare and aged. We wanted to connect every humidor in the world, so buyers and sellers could influence the value of premium cigars. Bring transparency to an opaque world. Put the power of pricing and distribution back in the hands of the consumer.
It was shocking to discover that most cigar shops sell only two types of cigars: ones they like and ones they think they can sell. What you see on the shelves is determined more by gut instinct than actual data. With technology, we disrupted the antiquated tobacco business. PuroTrader made cigars more accessible across the world, which created a much better experience for collectors and aficionados.
“Funny thing about starting a business in a non-existing space, there is really no place to turn for advice or guidance.”
More than 80 payment-processing banks turned us down because they thought an online tobacco marketplace was a big risk. Web designers who weren’t up to the task came and went. We hired a tobacco lobbyist firm out of Washington DC to interpret the current legal landscape and give us guidelines to follow. (The law hadn’t yet caught up to the digital age.)
Creating a massive database of cigars was no small undertaking either. With more than 8,000 entries of cigars from pre-Embargo to the most recent limited editions, PuroTraders has one of the largest cigar databases in the world. Our users support these efforts by using PuroTrader as “e-Humidors.” Collectors now alert us if they find a cigar that isn’t in our database.
As PuroTrader continues to grow, more real data will guide cigar collectors, including:
• What’s the return or appreciation of cigars over time
• What parts of the world buy what format and what blends
• What are the seasonal buying trends for manufactures, retailers and ultimately cigar smokers
Today, PuroTrader is the largest online cigar trading platform in the world. In 2016, the company sold close to 51,000 boxes of cigars and, at its current pace, is set to triple that by end of 2017.
We have had over 1.2 million engagements on social media since launch. We have users in every developed country in the world. This amazing platform we have created is nothing without the overwhelming support we receive from the cigar community. Without the cigar community sharing our site with their fellow brothers of the leaf, we would be nowhere.
As far as that elusive Avo 77, I’m still on the lookout. Hopefully someday someone will post a box on PuroTrader, and I’ll bid on it.
How does PuroTrader work?
Vetted collectors and retailers post inventories on PuroTrader. Cigar inventories are extensive but change daily. If you don’t see the one, check back often. PuroTrader requires sellers to include Boveda with your cigar shipment. Boveda 2-way humidity control packets add and absorb moisture to maintain a precise RH%, which will protect your cigar investment during transit.
Looking to buy?
Browse, enter an auction or search for a particular cigar.
Looking to sell?
Post boxes or loose cigars from your personal collections for sale or auction.
Looking to connect?
Chat with fellow cigar aficionados in the Cigar Lounge! Share tips and tricks with other cigar enthusiasts.
You know the man, now get to know one of his preferred cigars for FREE!
Only 200 in Reserve:
Cuban Cohiba Robusto from PuroTrader’s Private Collection
FREE with ANY PuroTrade Order
We asked PuroTrader to delve into the Founders Vault and set aside a few perfectly aged Cohiba Robustos, exclusively for our best customers.
Be one of the first 200 to buy or sell ANY cigar through PuroTrader and a Cohiba Robusto from PuroTrader’s Personal Collection will be yours – Boveda included of course ($25+ value).
These Cuban Cohiba Robustos are a smooth smoke and:
• Deliver a complex blend of flavors—fresh grass, bean aromas and rich earth
• Were aged for at least two years
• Carry the box code pedigree from PuroTrader’s preferred factory
But the availability of these prized cigars is limited. Once the 200 Cubans are gone, the Founders Vault shuts.
How to Season Your Humidor in One Step with Boveda
Shot glasses. Sponges. Distilled water. Bro, do you even season?
Are you prepping a new humidor or cleaning up after a party? Either one sounds like a chore. Seasoning your humidor does not have to be a part-time job—despite what you read on cigar forums. The science brains at Boveda have created an easy, one-step way to season a humi. Just toss a Boveda 84% RH Seasoning Humidor Packet into your new humidor. In two weeks, remove the packet. That’s it! Watch Boveda’s Rob Gagner show you how to season your humidor with Boveda. You can just sit back and use that shot glass for its intended purpose. Salud!
Remember, your cigars have to move out while you season your humidor!
Don’t mistreat your poor Olivas or Matildes. Prevent your precious cigars from drying out. Store them with a Boveda maintenance packet in a Boveda Humidor Bag or another sealed container for two weeks while the Boveda 84% RH seasons your humidor.
Why season your humidor with the Boveda 84 RH Seasoning Packet?
- Eliminates seasoning with messy sponges and distilled water.
- Works in 14 days in one step with nothing else to add.
- Delivers the only patented 2-way humidity control by automatically adding AND absorbing moisture.
- Releases purified water vapor, which won’t contaminate your cigar storage.
Like a great cigar aficionado, prepare to lock in the right moisture level after seasoning your humidor, whether it’s airtight, leaky, thin walled or glass topped. Patented Boveda packets maintain a precise RH for your humidor’s conditions—even if it lives in a desert or rainforest. Arturo Fuente, here you come!
– Dianna Donnelly
Dianna Donnelly is a Cannabis educator, blogger, and free-lance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.
Why is it Important to Season Your Humidor?
In the name of Rocky Patel,
please, please, please don’t store cigars in a new humidor without seasoning it first. Think it’s too complicated? Seasoning a humidor doesn’t have to be a CHEM 101 project. See how Boveda 84% RH Seasoning Packs will make your desktop humidor cigar-ready in just two weeks. (And all you have to do is toss it in.)
Can you skip humidor seasoning?
A new humidor is a like a vampire. Its dry wooden interior is thirsty. It will suck the moisture out of every unsuspecting Arturo Fuente it comes in contact with. Additionally, you’ll constantly battle low humidity levels that make for dry cigars and lousy smokes.
What if you season a humidor with distilled water?
For a cigar aficionado, a humidor is an investment. Your humidor and its seal may not recover from improper seasoning with distilled water. Introducing 100% humidity to your humidor can shock the wood and literally cause damage. Why risk cracking, molding or warping the wood?
Why season your humidor with the Boveda 84 RH Seasoning Packet?
• Works in 14 days in one step with nothing else to add.
• Delivers the only patented 2-way humidity control by automatically adding AND absorbing moisture.
• Releases purified water vapor, which won’t contaminate your cigar storage.
Whether your preferred smoke is La Flor Dominicana, Tatuaje, Padrón or another prestige cigar brand, let’s start off with a proper humidor seasoning.
Video: Step by step instructions on HOW to Season your Humidor.
Website: Buy Boveda 84% RH Seasoning Packs right now!
3 Things We Wish People Understood About Cigars and Flavor
1. Fluctuations in humidity will cause cigars to lose essential oils and flavors.
Like fine wine, cigars are natural products that live, breathe and age. They’re loaded with natural oils and sugars that provide all the character, flavor and foundation for improving with age. In fact, we even speak of the marriage between wrapper, binder and filler, where the oils and sugars contribute to a harmonious whole. Aging and allowing cigars to develop the “bloom” as the oils and sugars mature makes us really appreciate the harmony of flavors in fine cigars. (This is the reason you bought the cigars in the first place.)
Caring for cigars properly, like all natural products, is essential for enjoying them as the cigar master intended. To do that, you need to know some of the basics about cigar care, and indeed, about cigar tobacco.
Tobacco is “hygroscopic,” meaning it has the ability to draw moisture from surrounding environments as well as give up moisture. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to maintain the natural oils and sugars contained within the blend.
2. Neglecting to store cigars in a proper environment is a mistake. Don’t compound a mistake with another mistake.
The biggest doom to fine cigars are fluctuations and/or cycles in humidity. There are 2 major enemies that are trying to impend this doom upon your cigars at all times. The first enemy is the storing environment. The second enemy is any inferior product that attempts to control this environment.
In other words, humidity fluctuations arise with normal changes in ambient temperature and humidity. Whereas cycles in humidity occur when using any refillable humidification device. Both are bad for your cigars.
The humidity inside your humidor spikes when filling any refillable device with water. This is then followed by a steady drop in humidity as the water evaporates. During each of these cycles, some of the natural oils and sugars contained within the cigar’s blend dissipate along with the moisture. This robs the cigar of its character, flavor and its foundation for improving with age.
Additionally, the jolt in humidity that happens when filling a refillable device with water creates an environment for your humidor to collect mold, mildew and bacteria. This not only can cause off-flavors in your cigars but can also cause degradation during the aging process.
3. How to wipe out fluctuations in humidity and age your cigars properly:
The answer is simple, Boveda. Before Boveda, all that cigar aficionados had to care for their precious cargo were one-way humidifiers like orange peels, lettuce heads, etc. (this all seems very old-fashioned to us). Two-way humidity control continually responds to the environment and maintains a very stable and precise RH (Relative Humidity). This stops fluctuations and extreme cycles these fluctuations put your cigars though. It is this balance that prevents loss of the natural oils, sugars and flavor as your cigars age.
Why does Rocky Patel package with Boveda?
For over 7 years, Rocky has been packaging his cigars with Boveda. To Rocky, it’s a matter of protecting the time, effort and quality he’s put into producing his high end cigars. For 2016 and beyond, you’re going to find Boveda in even more lines of Rocky’s cigars.
The uncertainties of a global supply chain with the seasonal weather changes puts stress on cigar shipments. Sure, there are points along the way where storage is climate-controlled. But not in the back of a UPS truck in the middle of a FL summer or a Minnesota winter. Cigars are at the mercy of the climate. But not with Boveda.
Boveda in a cigar box is an insurance policy. It’s for the quality-robbing that comes along with shipments stuck in customs, slow transit and fluctuating climates.
Rocky wants you to experience his brand exactly the way he intended. That’s why Rocky only trusts his brand to Boveda.
Boveda will self-distribute in US tobacco market Jan 1, 2015
Beginning Jan 1, 2015, Boveda will be returning to their roots of working directly with US retailers by resuming their own distribution.
To continue as an authorized Boveda reseller, please visit BovedaWholesale.com and complete the short application. Accounts will be approved on Dec 31st for you to begin ordering Jan 1st. Due to the New Year’s holiday, orders will ship by January 5th.
Our short application process will ensure we have the correct address and contact information for your store(s) in order to inform our store locator and make it easy Boveda customers to find you.
Orders ship M-F, usually within 24 hours of order placement. You’ll receive a confirmation email once the order is placed and another when the order ships, including a tracking number for the shipment. Orders can be paid via credit/debit card or PayPal.
Your order history and shipment tracking is always available in your online account area. If you have any problems signing up for an account or ordering, you can always reach us at email@example.com
We’re looking forward to serving you directly again!
Charlie Rutherford, Business Development Director
The surest method of reviving dried cigars
Being reminded recently of some vintage methods of trying to revive dried cigars. This article from Cigar Inspector discusses variations of methods that have existed for years, using items/places around your house. The reason results vary widely is because they’re 100% dependent on external conditions – ambient RH, ambient temp, number of cigars, level of dehydration, etc. – and every smoker will have their own unique set of circumstances. The only guarantee you have by following all those steps is that it’s a lot of work. Here’s why:
1-way moisture devices (PG solution with sponges, crystals, beads, kitty litter) will only give off humidity and they don’t know when to stop. They only quit giving off moisture when they completely evaporate. This “flashing” of your cigars with humidity is dangerous anytime, but especially when the wrappers are dry and hyper-sensitive to moisture. Could it work? Sure. But odds are it will be an expensive lesson when the wrappers crack during smoking.
There’s a way to avoid all the risk of the old methods – Boveda (formerly Humidipak).
Our patented 2-way humidity control only adds a safe, measured amount of humidity and it stops when it gets to the RH% on the pack. That’s why, unlike every PG solution/distilled water + sponge, crystal, bead, etc., that keep adding moisture even when it’s not needed, you’re never in danger of over-humidifying cigars with Boveda. That’s the beauty of 2-way humidity control. It adds or removes moisture as necessary. It isn’t controlled by the environment, but rather acts on it. So, here are two one-step methods of reviving dried cigars.
1. Put cigars in a Fuente Humidor Bag (69% Boveda inside) for a month. Done.
2. Put cigars and a Boveda 69% in Tupperware for a month. Done.
Why a month? Cigars lose moisture 4 times as fast as they can safely gain moisture. Expose your cigars to a safe, stable level of perfect humidity to minimize the chance of the wrapper cracking as the filler gains moisture and grows. Nothing good happens quickly with cigars, so be patient.
Of course, you can avoid dead sticks in the first place by using our zero-maintenance products in any of your storage devices. For simple how-to videos, check out our YouTube page.
Padrόn No. 88 Sampler uses Humidipak Inside
What’s the only 2-way humidity control trusted by one of the most respected cigar companies in the world? Boveda.
Since 2008, Padrόn Cigars has guaranteed the freshness of their No. 88 Sampler by using 69% Humidipak (now called Boveda) inside. This means that one of the most sought-after samplers will be fresh for 60-90 days after purchase, making it the perfect gift for the cigar smoker that you want to really impress.
Until Boveda, there was no guaranteed way of keeping the gift of cigars fresh. The Padrόn No. 88 Sampler is the perfect example of what the world’s top brands are doing to make sure their legendary cigars stay legendary maintaining the condition they intend from factory to lighter.