Where To Buy Cigars? Best Online Cigar Stores & More
Where To Buy Cigars? Best Online Cigar Stores & MoreCharles-Philippe2023-09-26T05:35:09-04:00
Knowing where to buy your cigars is a tricking endeavor. It often takes a fair bit of research, time, and effort. While you can buy a cigar at a lounge or preferred golf course, you can also buy them online.
In this guide, we’ve outlined the top places where you can buy your favorite cigars and included some pros and cons for each:
In this guide, we look at the different places that you can buy cigars. We’ll share with you our thoughts and opinions when purchasing from these places with regards to convenience, quality and value for money.
With a few exceptions, it’s better to view the varieties of places that sell cigars according to your immediate needs rather than the best or worst.
For instance, while the internet can offer good deals on bulk orders, lounges are a relaxing environment and shops host personal guidance and advice. Meanwhile, some places are better for buying the cigars to take home whilst others are ideal for smoking on the premises.
However, smoking in a formal public setting requires that you may need to observe some protocol or etiquette. Meanwhile, smoking at home can be much more easygoing.
Why Buy Cigars Online?
The convenience of shopping from one’s own home and the ability to effortlessly compare prices across various websites are inherent benefits of buying cigars online. This is precisely why buying from online cigar retailers becomes especially appealing as you become familiar with your preferred cigars and particular flavor profiles.
Nonetheless, for those who are just starting their endeavor into cigars, knowing what to buy or who to buy from online can be challenging. For this reason, we recommend buying a few cigars from a brick-and-mortar (“B&M”) cigar store before shopping online.
Once you’ve gained some insight and are ready to invest in a whole box, you can always resort to online sellers.
That being said, several reputable online cigar stores are known for offering “bundles” featuring an assortment of cigars. While some might be unbanded or factory seconds, others represent quality brands. Often, these bundles can contain a single brand or feature a combination of different manufacturers.
Lastly, the diversity of cigars available online surpasses that in physical stores, as their shop dimensions constrain how much inventory they can keep. In this regard, an online cigar store will always be superior.
Disadvantages Of Online Cigar Stores
Price, convenience, and variety are the most notable advantages of purchasing cigars on the Internet. However, there are some disadvantages.
When buying in person, you can inspect the cigars for imperfections, assess the smell, and check the construction and firmness, all of which can be indicators of quality. Online, however, you must rely on standard product descriptions, which might not always accurately represent the cigar’s actual quality.
The best online cigar retailers will offer return policies that can help circumvent these issues, so keep this in mind when shopping from site to site.
Furthermore, cigars may be shipped without protection or humidity control and might arrive damaged or dry, respectively. And while it’s possible to re-humidify cigars that are a bit dry upon delivery, there is no fix for cracked or otherwise damaged wrappers.
Finally, there are a lot of dubious sites out there offering great deals and authentic Cuban cigars at unbeatable prices. Not all these sites are legitimate; you can easily find yourself being scammed with a box of fakes or nothing at all!
Our Favorite Online Cigar Stores
Having purchased hundreds of cigars from just about every online cigar store out there, we’ve certainly encountered some favorites. These offer not only variety but also incredibly competitive pricing.
CigarPage (Best Cigar Deals Online)
CigarPage stands out as one of the most prominent online cigar retailers in the market. Renowned for its enticing cigar deals, it offers many options for cigar aficionados to explore.
The extensive inventory features a wide range of brands, blends, and sizes, catering to both seasoned smokers and those new to the cigar world. Whether you are searching for a rare find, a daily smoke, or an enticingly-priced cigar bundle, CigarPage’s user-friendly platform and competitive prices make it a top choice for many.
What’s more, their Free Shipping policy allows for an even more economical shopping experience by eliminating additional costs at checkout.
Montefortuna Cigars (Online Cuban Cigars)
Established in 1985, Montefortuna Cigars has made a name for itself as a distinguished retailer specializing in authentic Cuban cigars.
With its foundation in Switzerland and additional offices in Spain, Montefortuna is dedicated to working exclusively with official Habanos distributors. This commitment ensures that customers receive only genuine Cuban cigars, promising a premium and authentic smoking experience.
Holt’s (Name Brand Retailer)
As a major US-based online retailer, Holt’s has established itself as a reliable source of premium cigars.
Regular discounts and special offers are a hallmark of Holt’s, making it an attractive option for those looking to balance quality with affordability. Unlike the other online cigar sellers, they also boast two physical locations – one in Center City Philly, while the other is in Northeast Philadelphia.
CigarBid (Online Cigar Auctions)
Something of an eBay for cigars, CigarBid presents a user-friendly platform for online cigar auctions. It includes a broad spectrum of brands and cigar lines available for bidding or immediate purchase.
Notably, CigarBid features a unique FreeFall section where the price of specific cigar boxes or bundles decreases over time, resetting to a higher value eventually. Swift action is key to seizing these momentarily attractive offers before they rebound.
However, a word of caution – the site does impose shipping fees, potentially transforming an exceptional cigar deal into a more average one when compared to alternatives elsewhere.
Cigar lounges are an ideal environment for carefree smoking. If your family or loved ones don’t appreciate the smell of cigars, you won’t have to worry about that here.
As the name implies, most cigar lounges will also sell cigars. You can expect to pay a premium for these. though you should be happy to, as your purchase allows the lounge to continue providing a haven for cigar enthusiasts. Moreover, buying on-site supports local businesses and contributes to the thriving culture of cigar appreciation.
Additionally, lounges offer the invaluable benefit of a knowledgeable staff. These experts can provide recommendations tailored to your taste preferences, guide you through pairings with drinks, and offer insights into the nuances of different cigars.
This personalized advice can significantly enhance your smoking experience and help you discover new favorites
Bringing Your Own Cigars To A Lounge
While you can bring your own cigars to a cigar lounger, there’s often a “cutting fee” for the privilege. Sometimes, this can be a reasonable symbolic gesture. However, some lounges make it relatively high in order to encourage you to buy cigars from them.
Similarly, prestigious cigar lounges can charge very high rates for their cigars. Much like buying wine or whisky at a bar or restaurant, you can expect the price to quadruple compared to buying them from a store.
Lounge Cost Benefits
Nevertheless, remember that the cigars are usually selected and cared for by experts. You’re not paying just for the cigar but for the lounge’s upkeep, rent, bills, salaries, and requirements to keep the cigar lounge in good condition.
If you’re somebody who smokes only a few cigars a year, then the cost-benefit can be particularly appealing. You won’t be investing in boxes of cigars, a humidor, and all the apparatus needed to start the hobby. Therefore, you can afford a higher price for the odd cigar.
However, this may be less ideal if you’re a regular smoker. Although it could be a nice treat now and then, daily trips to the lounge can get expensive very quickly.
That said, some private clubs may give you unlimited access for a membership fee. Furthermore, some places allow you to store cigars in your own humidified locker. This will allow you to come back whenever you want to smoke your own stock.
A final consideration for cigar lounges is that it’s often expected that you respect a certain level of etiquette. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on who you are.
For instance, some people thrive in tradition and enjoy sitting in a formal environment. However, some find this overbearing and stuffy. Although we won’t judge either way, be aware of your surroundings and its expectations.
Nevertheless, bear in mind that lounges and private clubs may often have their own dress codes.
Buying Cigars At Gas Stations & Convenience Stores
Unfortunately, unless a convenience store owner is a fervent cigar enthusiast, the chances are very high that the cigars are stored in poor conditions.
Therefore, the cigars may likely be dry, brittle, and almost particularly unpleasant. Additionally, good quality cigars are rarely sold in these places. While some might be handmade seconds, most will be industrial machine-made cigars.
In some countries, the lines can easily get blurred. For instance, regular tobacconists barely exist in the UK, and most corner shops sell newspapers, tobacco products, and some groceries. Therefore, you’ll unlikely find any half-decent cigars here.
Meanwhile, in France, the traditional “Tabac” still uses the same red diamond whether they’re a local tobacconist or specialized cigar retailer.
However, most today are also cheap cafés and betting shops. Sometimes they may have a small cigar humidifier or “civette,” but only premium and dedicated shops will have one that works properly.
Although the price point may initially look attractive in any of these locations, you’d probably waste your money on a sub-par cigar.
Buying Cigars At Golf Courses & Clubs
Some golf courses supply cigars to their members that they can enjoy while teeing it up. If a club decides to retail cigars, they’ll likely cater to a discerning clientele. Therefore, it’s almost certain that their goods are stored properly.
As with most locations offering premium products, like restaurants and clubs, you can expect the prices to be slightly high. However, the convenience should not be overlooked. After all, the club has gone to the trouble of catering to your needs in a relatively remote location.
If you choose to buy or smoke cigars at a golf course, try to observe protocol with a bit of etiquette. Firstly, being an open space, be considerate to others and ask anyone around you whether they’re comfortable with you smoking.
Stage V Clinger – Magnetic Cigar Holder
Similarly, consider positioning yourself downwind from other players so the smoke doesn’t blow towards them.
Finally, take care where you rest your cigar when taking shots. Avoid placing a cigar on putting surfaces or the fairway.
If you struggle to free your hands, consider buying a cigar holder that can be attached magnetically to the cart. We’ve covered this and more in our guide on the best cigar golf accessories.
Buying Cigars At A Tobacconist Or Shop
Paul Anthony – James J. Fox London
The most conventional and generally recommended place to buy your cigars is at a trusted retailer. If you’re particularly new to cigars, you can benefit from their experience and knowledge.
A particularly good vendor will give you recommendations and advice if you ask him or her. If you ever have questions about their storage conditions, a retailer will unlikely be offended but happily walk you through their precautions.
Pricing at a shop varies depending on its level of prestige. For instance, well-known shops may sell their cigars at a premium. However, this is always because of their ideal location and heritage decor. They may have earned a certain reputation thanks to their expertise, service, and product quality.
Charles-Philippe at Davidoff, Geneva
However, smaller stores may offer better pricing because they haven’t garnered the same status. That said, checking whether they take the same care in their wares is essential.
Similarly, smaller stores may have limited space to stock their ranges in the right conditions. Meanwhile, larger ones will have a plethora of different sticks, but their overheads for ample storage may impact their pricing.
Generally, shop prices will be significantly less than lounges or clubs. As mentioned above, they still vary wildly, and buying a box can be an investment. Yet, the care and quality of the product may well be worth the extra funds.
How To Protect Cigars During Transit
We’re often asked how new purchases should be stored when transporting or shipping. Indeed, a quick purchase of one or two cigars at your local tobacconist may not seem like a big deal. However, it highly depends on when you plan to smoke them!
For instance, a simple ziplock bag may be sufficient if you’re looking to smoke your purchase immediately. Meanwhile, larger purchases introduced into a humidor will require some extra attention. Similarly, even a few cigars that have been outside too long may destabilize your humidor’s biosphere.
Properly Storing Cigars During Transport
While this is effectively out of your hands if purchasing from online cigar stores, it’s reassuring to learn that a lot of brands are beginning to take this seriously. For instance, iHavanas and Montefortuna now properly seal their shipments.
Occasionally, Montefortuna will vacuum seal a box. However, they are now beginning to include Boveda humidity packs in airtight packaging. If you’ve read some of our content, you may know that we’re particularly fond of Boveda and its benefits.
Boveda’s humidity packs are designed with a reverse-osmosis membrane and provide two-way humidification. This means that they can absorb excess humidity, unlike most other humidifiers.
How Long Will The Cigars Be Out?
The same applies to your own purchases, especially if there’s a delay before putting them in your own storage. For instance, you may be out on a shopping spree or make your purchase during a lunch break. Alternatively, you may be buying a box while on vacation!
Whatever the situation, the cigars, even if in a box, will be unprotected for some time. It’s important to remember that cigars lose humidity seven times faster than they absorb it. Consequently, cigars can quickly become dry.
Therefore, try to plan ahead with an appropriate storage solution.
A small case may be sufficient if you’re buying one or two cigars. Meanwhile, we recommend investing in a travel humidor if it’s a few more. Our dedicated guide on them will provide recommendations on the best ones to buy.
Conversely, if you’re buying one or more boxes of cigars, they are already more or less protected from humidity shocks.
However, the wooden box provides little in the way of a seal. On this occasion, we suggest Boveda humidity bags. Not only are they larger than ziplock bags and can easily hold several boxes, but they have a double-laminated seal for extra protection.
Acclimate Your Cigars
As mentioned above, internet purchases are often well-wrapped but rarely properly sealed to prevent humidity from escaping. Likewise, if you bought them while on vacation as mentioned above, they’ve likely been exposed to swings in temperature and humidity.
Even if you have just bought the cigars and are immediately placing them in a humidor, you can’t be 100% sure whether their storage conditions are identical to yours.
Therefore, we highly recommend going through a process of acclimating your cigars. This essentially consists of placing them in quarantine for a period of time so they begin to match the humidity of your main cigar storage space.
The video above explains in detail how to acclimate your cigars. However, it mainly consists of either quickly making a tupperdor or using a Boveda bag so the cigars have their own micro-climate.
Usually, a two-week period is sufficient, but you may prefer to do it for longer.
You risk shocking your current collection if you don’t acclimate your new cigars before introducing them to your humidor. Given that the new cigars may be at an RH of perhaps 50%, they will begin to absorb the moisture from all the others that were already inside. As a result, it puts your entire collection in peril!
"Buying cigars online or in-person can at first seem daunting, but any time spent investing into the different avenues will undoubtedly improve your smoking experience, whether at home or out in public."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★
Now that you have discovered the different places where you can buy cigars online and in person, consider learning more about the subject before making your first purchase: