Want to expand your cigar horizons beyond picking up a few random sticks at your local smoke shop? Try buying a box. Last week, I picked up a box of Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997s. These toros — deep chocolate brown, with an elegant steel band — shipped 12 to the lot, packed in a lovely lacquered cedar box.
- Buying by the box makes sense if you know and appreciate the cigar in advance. This means you’ve had at least a half-dozen of the brand, variety and size that you’re buying, so you can assess for variation.
- Boxed cigars ship in different quantities. Know in advance if you can deal with 12, 20 or even 50 of the exact same stick before you grab the box.
- Pick a box that’s stored in the humidor, not on a shelf in the lobby. Yes, the boxes are usually shrink-wrapped, but still.
- Transfer your new cigars to your humidor when you get home. If you don’t own a humidor, grab a humidifcation gel pack and keep it in the box — just make sure it doesn’t touch the cigars!
- Look for newer stock, if you can. Boxed cigars sitting out for long periods of time are more likely to be dry depending on factors outside your control — like where the box was stored, how long it was in transport, etc.
- Understand that even within the same box, you will experience variation. For example, eight of my Macs were flawless — but for one tray of four, each of the cigars had some problem related to the wrapper or the tightness at the cap that led to punching problems.
Buying your favorite sticks in bulk helps cut down on travel to the smoke shop. Just make sure you like what you buy!