As we approach the colder months, a question that we often receive is whether cigar enthusiasts should worry about shipping cigars in the winter. We share your concerns about the best shipping practices and want to ease your mind about cigars patiently waiting in your mailbox before you can get home from work and tuck them into your humidors.
Bottom line up front: your cigars will be perfectly safe.
I’ll never forget the first time I froze cigars in an attempt to kill off tobacco beetle larvae. I was sure that this process would be irreversibly bad for my cigars, and it kind of blew my mind that they were fine afterward.
I think it’s because the absolute humidity of the cigar is around ~13%... We aren’t freezing a significant amount of moisture in the cigar, forcing the binder and filler leaves to aggressively expand and crack the wrapper. Of course, most people that freeze also acclimate their cigars to the refrigerator before and after the freezer as well to eliminate any sudden shocks.
I no longer worry about freezing cigars as the majority of non-Cuban brands already freeze their tobacco, but the lesson made me much more comfortable with cigars changing temperature. We also shipped a sensor around the United States for three weeks and saw rapid changes in temperature from ~44 degrees to ~95 degrees Fahrenheit. Those aren’t freezing temps, but they did occur suddenly, and caused the relative humidity of the sensor to fluctuate between ~34% and 100%. This reinforced our decision to include Boveda humidification pillows in every package.
When dealing with any changes in temperature, the number one concern will always be moisture. That’s because almost every aspect of your cigar experience can be attributed to moisture in some way: draw, taste, burn, smoking time, and even how it looks before you decide to smoke it.
There are four things that are proven to give you the cigar experience you deserve each and every time, regardless of the season:
- Sealed plastic bag
- Boveda pack
- Excessive amounts of bubble and plastic wrap
- Resting your cigars for 1-2 weeks ("Rest them before you test them")
Since the first three are included in every package, the number one thing you can do to improve your experience is to rest your cigars for one to two weeks after receiving them. Whether you pulled them out of the mailbox on a boiling hot day in Arizona or an artic day in Wisconsin, rest will improve your cigar experience like nothing else can.