When you order cigars online, you want to make sure they are delivered to you in perfect condition. Of course, during the shipping process, cigars are taken out of their ideally humidified environment for the purposes of transport, and this is fine for a short period of time when the weather is warmer. The exception is during very hot months where the blazing heat can cook the cigars in the truck.
However, when it’s colder outside, there are other challenges that stand in the way of maintaining the integrity of your cigar. This is exacerbated by increased shipping demands which means packages can be sitting on trucks and in sorting facilities for weeks.
The good news is these challenges are easy enough to overcome, with a little foresight and information. We’re here to give you both.
Here’s what you need to know about shipping cigars in cold climates—specifically, what we do to preserve your cigar’s quality—and what you need to do to acclimatize your cigar once it arrives at your door.
Shipping Cigars in Cold Climates: What You Need to Know
Understand the shipping process. Every cigar retailer has different shipping practices and we can only speak to our own. In more temperate months, cigars can sit in delivery trucks for weeks, and this isn’t an issue. The packaging is airtight and the cigar’s humidity is not compromised.
In colder months, however, no matter how air tight the packaging is, the temperature is cold and dry and the moisture content in the cigar can freeze, causing the cigar to crack.
So, how to prevent this?
Never ship dry cigars. That’s why all our cigars are stored in walk-in humidors and factory boxes: so that our cigars are prepared for their journey to you.
Reacclimatize Your Cigars
We also strongly advise all our customers to reacclimatize their cigars once they’ve arrived for a bare minimum of 48-72 hours and, for best results, 2-4 weeks.
Yes, this may mean you have to delay enjoying your favourite smoke, but we assure you, it will be worth the wait.
How to Rehydrate Your Cigars
1. Assess Condition.
If the wrappers are already showing signs of cracking then it may not be worth the effort to rehydrate. If, however, the crack is near the foot (the end you light) of the cigar, then most of the cigar will be unaffected: you just have to get past the crack. If the cigar is badly cracked though, it can be difficult to smoke even a hydrated cigar.
If your cigar is crack free, pinch the cigar at the foot. If there’s a little give, then you’re good to rehydrate your stick.
2. Rehydrate slowly!
Again, this could take weeks. We recommend using a factory cigar box, which will give your cigar an amazing aging room bouquet.
You also need two Boveda Humidity packs: one 69% and one 65%, as well as a digital hydrometer. You can get them here.
3. Place the cigars in the box.
Along with the 65% humidity pack and the digital hydrometer. You’re starting with the 65% to avoid over saturating the cigars all at once, which will cause cracking.
4. Close the box.
It doesn’t need to be air tight, and check the cigars daily. Over the course of a week or so, it should start to become a little more pliable. Once the cigar does begin to give a little more, switch in the 69% humidity pack and wait another week or two, or until the cigars reach their ideal hydration level, which is anywhere between 62% to 72% humidity.
It’s that easy, but again, you’re going to have to be patient.
Check out this great video from Cigar Advisor Magazine.
Cigar Reacclimation and Taste
Something to keep in mind about rehydrating your cigars: they may lose some of their taste, depending on how badly they were dehydrated and for how long. The reason for this is because the flavours of the cigar are in the oils on the leaf, and if these oils have evaporated, no amount of rehydration can bring them back.
Once your cigar is properly rehydrated, you can put it in your humidor. To maintain ideal hydration, be sure to keep your humidor stocked at at least 50% full to maintain a consistent relative humidity level. To the same end, rotate your cigars from the bottom to the top row now and then.
That’s it! This is what you need to know about shipping cigars and cold climates, and how to rehydrate them so you can enjoy them more fully.
Have questions? Feel free to contact us, anytime. You can call at 1-877-526-2376 or email [email protected].