How NOT To Cut a Cigar

As I sat down enjoying a cigar and beverage late the other evening, a stranger sat down and offered to buy my a drink. Nothing creepy, they just recognized me and wanted to chat a bit.

That was cool. I am always up for some cigar talk as well as a free beverage.

I then offered my new found friend a cigar. He did not have any “tools” to light it up, so I handed over my personal cutter and lighter.

Mistake Number One..

The person said they didn’t need the cutter – He then proceeded to bite off the end of the cigar.

That hurt.

For starters, it was a good stick. Secondly, this act was the swan song to his telling me what a “cigar aficionado” he was.

There a a million posts on how to pick out a good cigar cutter and use it properly.

Here is what NOT to do…

Don’t bite off the end

Don’t use a key as a punch

Don’t take off the entire cap of the cigar (check out the example in that cool professional photo I found).

That is pretty much it. Use a cutter and remember that you can always cut more off if you decide you need to.

Here endeth the lesson.


Can I Store Cigars In My Refrigerator?

This happens more often than I care to count. Someone asks me if it is ok to store his or her cigars in the refrigerator.

Well, there is a short answer and a long answer.

The Long Answer…

Warning labels are for suckers. I mean we shouldn’t have them.

It is just a way to stop, for the most part, stupid people from shoring up the human gene pool.

We are only as strong as our weakest link.

If we stopped printing warning labels like, “Coffee May be Hot,” or “Don’t Operate Chainsaw Under Influence of Alcohol,” we might be collectively be smarter when those people are gone.

That said, there really is not a warning label on a cigar that says, “Don’t put cigar in the refrigerator.”

There is also not a warning label on the refrigerator that says something like, “Not suitable for storage of automotive oil, platypus urine, tar paper, or cigars.

So, it is understandable how some people could be confused.

Not having a humidor is really the “go to” excuse people use.

If you don’t have a humidor, make a small coolidor and call it good, but don’t get cigars anywhere near your refrigerator unless you are fighting tobacco beetles.

The Short Answer…

NO. It is bad for them. Wrong temperature, wrong humidity.

Hear endeth the lesson. Any questions? 

How to Save Your Cigars From Tobacco Beetles

There are worse things than tobacco beetles you could find in your cigar humidor

The day you open your humidor or go to light your favorite cigar stick and see a small pin-head size hole that is the telltale sign of a tobacco beetle – it will make your heart stop.

All is not lost, just follow these steps.

Step One: Assess the damage

First off, tobacco beetles hardly ever carry a lighter with them – so they have not smoked any of your cigars. Sure, they can be annoying, but if you catch it early enough, the actual damage to you cigar will be minimal.

You have to assume if you have some in your humidor, they are in all the cigars (or could be). It is possible if you catch them soon enough they are only in one drawer or level – but better safe than sorry.

Step Two: Off to the deep-freeze

You are going to want to take the affected cigars (and any you think might be affected) and pack them loosely in Ziploc bags. Pony up for the freezer Ziploc bags if you can find them.

Once you have packed them in the Ziplocs, you are going to want to put them in a deep freezer. I say deep freezer because, if you can, you are going to want a freezer that is below 25 degrees.*

*If you can’t find a deep freezer, it is not the end of the world. Your standard household freezer will work most of the time.

Keep the cigars in the deep freezer for 8-10 days.

Step Three: Move the cigars to the refrigerator.

Yes, I know, some guys will tell you just take them out of the freezer and move on. Frankly, I think it helps the cigar by not going from 25 degrees to 70 degrees in one shot.

Leave them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Step Four: Return to the humidor

Now, I am going to assume during that time you have cleaned your humidor. It does not do you any good if you return the cigars only to find tobacco beetles waiting for lunch to be delivered.

Clean out drawers and trays. Be sure to remove any trays (tobacco beetles just love to hide at the bottom of the humidor).

Don’t worry; you don’t need a microscope for this venture. Just clean it out (even using a vacuum will work).

Throw the cigars back in the humidor and keep and eye on them. If you don’t see any [new] tobacco beetle evidence in the next 4-6 months you are home free.

How to avoid them in the first place.

Here is the deal about avoiding cigar beetles. At some point you will come across them. It is just a part of nature. You can buy your cigars from the best store around and still end up with one (kind of like winning the lottery in a bad way).

If you bring home cigars that you are concerned with, keep them in a Ziplock in the humidor (think of it as a mini-cigar quarantine).

Some people we know have a whole other cigar humidor for suspect sticks. Although that may be bit overboard, you don’t want to rush to throw in that “It’s a Boy” cigar with your finest rare cigar.

How To Make A Coolidor Cigar Humidor

You have probably heard the term “Coolidor” in cigar smoking circles and wondered what the heck it is…and if you should even have one.

First off, the Coolidor is a great way to come up with a make shift cigar humidor – and don’t let the cigar snobs tell you otherwise.

Sure, a full fledged humidor is the way to go, but some people, either due to space or budget, just don’t want to outlay that kind of cash.

So, here is what you need for a quick humidor that will work great (and it sure beats throwing your cigars in a shoebox).

Here is what you will need.

One Igloo type cooler

4-Pack: Boveda Humidifier

2-3 Cigar Caddy Crystal Gel Humidification Jars

1 XIKAR Digital Round Cigar Hygrometer 832XI

Cedar cigar boxes (or cedar racks)

The concept…

The Igloo type cooler is sealed and works well. These coolers are “food grade” – so you don’t need to worry about some sort of plastic smell getting on your cigars.

The Boveda packs are great for maintaining a specific humidity. I like 72 for the Igloo, but there are other variations available so you can find one to your liking.

I like adding the Gel Containers. Although the Boveda packs work on their own, you will extend the life of them if you add another source for humidity. The gel containers can be refilled as needed (use distilled water). Keep up with those and you won’t need to replace your Boveda packs anytime soon.

The Hygrometer will keep everyone honest. You can adjust the gel containers and Boveda packs as needed.

The cedar boxes…well…it is cedar after all.

Going for a big cooler?

If you are going big (100 quart cooler or more), consider adding a cordless fan. You can get the battery operated ones at your local drug store. They run on batteries and are meant to work as a room air freshener. DO NOT add the air freshener part – just use the fan. They typically come on every 15 minutes or so, run for a few minutes, then turn off.

That is it.

You have a great make shift Cigar Humidor that does not cost you an arm and a leg – and will keep your cigars fresh!*

*and please don’t be that guy that keeps cigars in the refrigerator – you now know better!

Xikar 3D Mayan Cigar Cutter

I am not going to lie, this has to be the coolest cutter I have ever owned. For a couple reasons…

1. Xikar makes great cutters. Period. – If you are like me, you have seen a variety of neat looking cutters that just come up short (no pun intended) when it comes to the actual cutting portion. I have yet to have a Xikar cutter fail in the cutting department.

2. The 3D Mayan cigar cutter is a work of art – before you ever start cutting. Half cutter, half sculpture. Even the weight of it is noticeably heavier than the average cutter.

3. So far, knock on wood, I have not run into another one. It is a real attention getter – so much so you might want to consider keeping it on a chain.

We have seen these as high at $250 retail. I picked mine off Amazon for $179.00. Although somewhat pricey for the average recreational cigar smoker, it just may be the last cutter you ever buy.

It comes in a gift box with a certificate to redeem a free Sting-Ray cutter sheath.

Not sure how long you can grab them for the same price I did…so good luck.

California Lowers Excise Tax Rate On Cigars

How about some good news when it comes to tax rates and cigars?

The ICPCR reports

California’s Other Tobacco Products (OTP) Excise Tax Rate Drops for Fiscal Year 2012-13
State Revenue and Tax Code Section 30126 requires the Board of Equalization to annually review and determine the Other Tobacco Products (OTP) excise tax rate. The new excise tax rate is effective July 1, 2012 and will remain in effect for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The 2012-13 OTP excise tax rate is based on the wholesale price of premium cigarettes as of March 1, 2012.
The new California excise tax rate will be 30.68%. This represents a reduction from the 2011-12 rate of 31.73%.

Although the “amount” of reduction may not seem like much – especially given the massive amount cigars are taxed – it is still as step in the right direction!

Can You Really Get Premium Cigars for $20 a Box??

I get a kick out of the weekly emails sent out by cigar companies. This morning was,  “Grab this box of premium cigars for only $20 a box!”

Oh, and did I mention they were also going to throw in a humidor and lighter?

WOW! What a deal right?

Not really.

I get sick and tired of hearing about people that are disappointed with cigars just because they were chasing some ridiculous low price.

If I sold you a car for $10,000 and threw in a boat and RV would you think you were getting a good car? Of course not. Why do you think the cigar world operates any different.

The fact of the matter is that the cigars typically suck. Big time.

So the would-be cigar smoker ends up throwing half of them away or decides that they just can’t get a good cigar anymore.

Here is what I recommend;

Stop chasing the incredible $2.00 a stick deal that comes with “free stuff.”

If it is a budget issue for you, then smoke less, but get better cigars. You will enjoy the cigar experience a ton more (even if it is slightly less often).

If this sounds like a rant, it is.

I started the Nomad Cigar Company to try and stop people from chasing crappy cigars. No, you won’t find a $2 cigar over at Nomad…and I am not going to apologize for that fact either. Sure I have plenty of deals over there (like with the Fugitive club you can earn free cigars just for referring friends) – but I will never sacrifice quality.

Too many of these high-volume online shops take their dried out cigars that have been sitting in the back office and make them “specials.”

Really. You deserve better than that.

What Size Cigar Humidor Should I Buy?

Deciding which size humidor you should buy seems like one of those obvious questions that prompt the response, “well, how many cigars are you going to hold?”

What is the best size cigar humidor? Here are few guidelines to help you along the way.

The Small Fry ($29.00 – $150)

A small humidor holds somewhere between 50-100 sticks. Although we have seen some that hold less than 50, we don’t think you want to go there. 100+/-  is a great starter humidor and can often be picked up online very cheap.

Oftentimes you can find “specials” where the cigar merchant (typically online) throws in a humidor, lighter, and cutter – along with whatever cigars they are pushing that week. The cigars usually suck – buy hey, you can get a decent small humidor out of the deal for a great price.

The green “sponge bricks” that come with these cigar humidors are usually not very good. Grab a Boveda Humidifier Pack and you are in business – with little effort.

Medium Collector ($150 – $500)

The 300-500 count humidor is great for the average cigar smoker. Keep in mind, that you are still in the class where you are mostly buying individual sticks (boxes take up a lot of space).

You may not think you need something big, but you will invariably have about 30% of your stock that sits around for a variety of reasons (the need to age, saving for a special occasion, etc).

The medium size gives you a bit of flexibility over a small one when saving cigars for a later date.

Go Big or Go Home? ($500 – 2,000)

A large humidor is a commitment, but not a lot more hassle. We are talking about the cabinet size (roughly 5’ high, 2½’ wide, 2’ deep).

For starters, you can take advantage of box pricing. That alone can make the humidor pay for itself over time.

Secondly, some people are afraid of the humidification system. Save yourself time and pick up an Cigar Oasis II. Easy to use and will keep your collection safe.

Lastly, you might find a great large cabinet humidor for $600-$700. Keep an eye on Craigslist or eBay. If you are patient, you can practically steal one.

Size Matters

No matter which size you start with, you will most likely “upgrade” sometime in the future. Just seems to be the natural order of things. Make sure you shop around as the pricing on humidors is dramatically different from merchant to merchant – make sure you are getting a good deal.

Stop FDA From Regulating Premium Cigars

Help stop the FDA from regulating the cigar industry!

Bottom line, if you smoke cigars, this is important and will only take 2 minutes of your time.

Below you will find an excerpt of a petition to the Obama administration put forth by Cigar Rights of America (CRA) and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR). We only have 30 days to get 25,000 signatures.

Here is how you can help…

1. Visit

2. Click on the “Create An Account” button. (The White House requires this for security verification)

3. Within a few short minutes you will receive and email and you MUST click the link within to activate your account.

4. Once your account is active, click on the “Sign the Petition” button.

Your support is very important. The 2 minutes you spend helping now could equal hours of cigar enjoyment for the rest of your life!

Below is  a copy of the petition.

We petition the Obama administration to:

Not Allow The FDA To Regulate Premium Cigars

Dear Mr. President:

The FDA is considering the creation of regulations for the premium cigar industry. These regulations will jeopardize over 85,000 American jobs, destroy America’s “mom & pop” premium cigar retailers & manufacturers, and risk over 250,000 jobs in Latin American that produce cigars, impacting the economic/political stability in the region.

We hope you will stand up for small businesses that dot Main Street America & recognize that premium cigars are enjoyed by adults, are not addictive and therefore do not conform to the Congressional intent of the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act.

Tell the FDA to leave our premium cigars alone. With this nation’s more pressing issues, harming my simple ability to enjoy a cigar should not be a priority of the government.

Share with a friend…

Use the “Share” button below to share this with your friends. The last thing we need is more big government intervention in our everyday lives!

The Weight of Cigar Smoke

Hang around a cigar shop long enough and you will no doubt run into the old question, “Can you figure the weight of cigar smoke?”

The conversation starts out light enough (no pun intended) but it can get serious real quick as more and more people weigh in (pun intended).

First off, here is the history.

Rumor is, Sir Walter Raleigh once said that a large portion of a cigar is “smoke” and that he could effectively weigh it.

Here is what he did…

1. Weighed the cigar before smoking.

2. Smoked the cigar while carefully saving all of the ash created.

3. Weighed the ash (along with the remaining butt).

4. Subtracted the end weight (ash and butt) from the start weight (whole cigar).

5. The difference, he surmised, was the “weight of cigar smoke.”

Sounds simple enough huh? Probably best to leave it at that.

Enter the geeks…

As the evening progresses (and possibly some drinks) someone in the crowd knows more than they should and still gets an issue of popular science delivered to their home.

Then something like this comes up…

“But what is ash? I mean generally there are oxides of Si, P, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, and K. You need to consider what those elements were bound to before combustion. You also need to consider the temperature and pressure of the surrounding environment. I suppose a muffle furnace would suffice.”

What the hell?

OK Sheldon, sit down in your favorite cigar chair and shut up. Sheesh. Some people take all the fun out of it.