Walk-in humidors, with hundreds of cigars of every size and shape and brand on display, can provide an overwhelming experience. Finding your away around the massive inventory and narrowing down your choices can be both challenging and intimidating.
Things to Remember
Here are a few tips to help you better navigate your first experience in a walk-in humidor:
- Don’t get flustered – Focus on the task at hand and don’t let the staff make you nervous. Take your time and don’t feel pressured into buying something just because employees suggest it. A good opening question is: “So what’s smoking well?”
- Ask questions – Speaking of questions, don’t be afraid to keep asking—especially when visiting a humidor in a foreign land. You might ask what’s popular or what products are well-aged. The staff member may even lead you to a hidden inventory. In general, pass on cigars with gimmicky branding. It often denotes a poorer quality cigarette hiding behind flashy packaging.
- Ignore larger sticks at eye level – Do not focus on the main displays, but rather explore around. Look for lesser known sizes and brands. You might find a hidden gem tucked away in an obscure corner.
When shopping for Havanas, care must be exercised when picking up boxes to check on the dates. Dates stamped underneath the boxes indicate when the cigars were rolled and boxed, not the year when the tobacco was harvested. Look for corona-sized cigars as they usually have more exceptional taste and value than the larger varieties.
Look for off-the-beaten path brands. Because they are not purchased as frequently, the inventory may be older. Remember that old stocks of cigars often taste better. Smaller sticks are often good choices, too. They may not offer quantity, but smaller formats can deliver a lot of bang for your buck. You may be able to pick up a deliciously unique Tres Petit, Petit or Half Corona for several bucks.
New World Cigars
When searching through an inventory of New World cigars, follow the same techniques used in choosing Havanas, even if you are on more familiar ground. Many brands deliver new cigars periodically. You might as well try some of them. If you are familiar with the store owner, ask for his or her recommendation on the best New World products available. Buy within your budget, but if you see something that is really outstanding, it may be worth an occasional splurge.
Exercise care and caution in opening and closing glass doors and inspecting the inventory. Cigars are delicately wrapped so make sure not to damage the packaging. Don’t be intimidated. Ask questions and think of the experience as a new adventure. With each return trip, you’ll feel more comfortable.